July 12, 2011

One More Reason to Just Say No to ‘The Response’

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — Warren Throckmorton @ 6:00 pm

Of late, left leaning groups have raised concerns about a prayer meeting convened by Texas Governor Rick Perry and hosted by the American Family Association. Called “The Response,” the event bills itself as a religiously motivated solemn assembly. To me, it seems like a political statement. About his work, National Finance Chair for the event and uber-organizer David Lane says, “What I do is spiritual. The by-product is political.”

One of the major problems with the event as raised by critics is the involvement of the American Family Association. Even though I am an evangelical, I agree. In my view, the AFA has earned their designation as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Critics point to outrageous statements from the AFA’s Bryan Fischer regarding gays, Muslims and African-Americans as reason to question why a prominent elected official would partner with the AFA.

While all of the insults and stereotypes identified by critics are serious and disqualifying, I don’t want us to forget Bryan Fischer’s views of Native Americans. Early in 2011, Fischer wrote that “Native Americans morally disqualified themselves from the land,” saying that Native Americans were so savage and immoral that they were displaced for their evil. In other words, they got what was coming to them. Even though that article was removed from the AFA website, the AFA was silent on the issue, allowing Fischer to remove it without an apology saying he removed it because his critics were not “mature enough” for the subject. Then Fischer followed up that article with one that stated Native American assimilation into the new America would have been “seamless and bloodless” if only they had converted to Christianity. One Native American writer called Fischer’s articles “ugly” and said he advocated “thinly veiled race-purity arguments.”

A few evangelicals spoke out. Two Southern Baptist leaders criticized Fischer’s views as being “a barrier” to efforts to bridge gaps between evangelicals and Native communities. Native American Southern Baptist pastor, Emerson Falls, said about Fischer and the AFA, “This kind of stereotyping has traditionally been used to de-humanize people so they can be treated differently. I believe Native Americans are no different than any other people created in the image of God.”

That Rev. Falls would need to repeat the obvious is an indicator of the offense caused by the AFA. Despite calls for a redemptive response, the AFA refused repeated requests for comment on the matter. A couple of AFA staffers said they disagreed with Fischer but even they stressed that they were not speaking for the organization. In short, the AFA has done nothing to distance the group from Fischer’s racial stereotyping.

In my view, the AFA should not be leading a prayer event claiming to call America to their view of righteousness. I am surprised and sad that Governor Perry would partner with them.

I was even more surprised that Governor Sam Brownback (R-KS) would agree to take part. Brownback was a prime mover of the Native American Apology Resolution which I called on the AFA in March to endorse. I do agree that at times it can be productive to join together with various groups to accomplish an objective. However, it is beyond me how these two state governors can partner with a organization that regularly slanders and maligns entire groups of people—not individuals mind you, entire groups. In the case of Brownback, he once stood for confession of wrongs in apology to Native Americans, but now he stands with a group that openly rejects the need for that apology.

My response to The Response is no.

Warren Throckmorton is Associate Professor of Psychology at Grove City College and Fellow for Psychology and Public Policy at the Center for Vision and Values, which is a part of Grove City College. His academic work has been published by journals of the American Psychological Association, the American Mental Health Counseling Association and the Christian Association for Psychological Studies.

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September 28, 2011

Perry Touts Immigration Record While Supporter Praises ‘The Response’ for Breaking ‘Cannibal’ Indians ‘Curses on the Land’

While presidential wannabe Republican Texas Gov. Rick Perry touts his record on undocumented immigrants to woo Hispanic voters, his supporters are not doing him any favors in winning American Indian voters.

An article in the Huffington Post today, September 28, says Perry called his Republican rivals “heartless” and used ethnically charged language to defend his “moderate” immigration record. As a border-state governor, Perry has made a concerted effort for the past 10 years to gain the favor of Hispanics, the fastest-growing minority group in the country, but now he has to defend his policies to Republican supporters who are staunchly opposed to undocumented immigration, much like George W. Bush did when he ran for the White House, the HuffPost says.

In 2001, Perry supported a Texas law that allows undocumented immigrant children to receive in-state tuition at Texas universities if they meet certain requirements and he insisted that a border fence is not a good way to stop undocumented immigrants from entering the United States. In a series of debates this last month, Perry’s rivals used his policies to paint him as weak on undocumented immigration. He countered attacks from Mitt Romney, his chief rival, and from Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, by saying, “If you say that we should not educate children who have come into our state for no other reason than they’ve been brought there by no fault of their own, I don’t think you have a heart.”

Meanwhile, Perry supporter Cindy Jacobs appears in a YouTube video (below) posted by Right Wing Watch, praising Perry’s August 6 cluster-prayer event, The Response, for breaking the curse of American Indian cannibalism. She says: “So you go and so you study the area and you find out what happened, what did the indigenous people worship, you know?  And…and…and. . .if they did blood sacrifice, like, we found some areas where they were very violent because the former culture was a murderous violent …like in Texas here and all the coast around Houston and Galveston and some other areas the Native American people were cannibals, you know? And they ate people. And so you could see a manifestation of that in the churches where people turned against people and kinda cannibalized other people’s ministries. So there’s been a lot of prayer over that in Houston, Texas. They’ve done a lot of intercession over that and broke the curses on the land and we just had a prayer meeting in Houston a little week ago, the governor of Texas really as an individual instigated this. Thirty-five thousand people showed up to pray and . . . so what happened, the land is starting to rejoice, you see, because of that prayer.”

It’s doubtful whether the Texas Forest Service would agree with Jacob’s opinion that the land is rejoicing.  According to the Associated Press, the wildfires that broke out after “The Response” and spread widely in Texas have cost $152 million in agriculture losses alone, including nearly three million acres of scorched pasture.

Click here to view the embedded video.

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November 29, 2011

Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio Endorses Rick Perry; A Match Made in Heaven?

Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the icon of anti-immigration and tough-on-crime policies, has endorsed Republican presidential wannabe Texas Gov. Rick Perry, an advocate of Christian Dominionism.

Arpaio’s endorsement came on November 29, during a campaign swing with Perry in New Hampshire where Perry’s latest flubs occurred when he asked that all of the college students in the crowd who will be 21 by November 12 support his bid for the presidency. The voting age in the United States is 18. And the 2012 election will be held on November 6, 2012.

Arpaio said that while federal government has failed on border crime and enforcement, Perry led “border surge operations with state, local and federal law enforcement officials have helped shut down the illegal trafficking of weapons, drugs and people,” according to the Washington Times.

“I’m endorsing Rick Perry because we need a tough-on-crime president who will champion and fund full-time border security operations from Brownsville to San Diego,” the sheriff said. “Governor Perry has a superior border security record and plans to make our border and our nation safer.”

Arpaio’s blessing was highly sought after by Republican presidential candidate hopefuls. In an article called “Why Would Anyone Want Joe Arpaio’s Endorsement?” The Atlantic reported that Mitt Romney, Michelle Bachmann and Herman Cain all wooed the self-styled “America’s Toughest Sheriff,” who, according to Fox News, “famously re-instituted chain gangs in 1995 and has also been a major supporter of his state’s controversial SB 1070 immigration law.” Critics of SB 1070 call it a notorious anti-immigration law that targets and profiles Hispanics, American Indians and other people of color in Arizona.

In answering the question, The Atlantic listed a litany of Arpaio’s governing disasters, including litigation by the Justice Department over his alleged illegal withholding documents relating to a civil rights investigation; local investigations into fiscal mismanagement in his Maricopa County offices in one case over the alleged misspending of $99.5 million in public funds slated for inmates that were used to pay officials’ salaries, and earlier this month, the payment by Maricopa County of a $1 million settlement to the family of a man who died in Arpaio’s custody.

But Arpaio may be headed for a fall. A group called Citizens for a Better Arizona announced recently that they plan to form a “citizens posse” to challenge the Maricopa County sheriff in his 2012 re-election bid. Arpaio is currently serving his fifth four-year term.

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December 30, 2011

2011’s Memorable Quotes: Good and Bad Part 1

Every year Indian country is filled with leaders, politicians, broadcasters and talking heads provide memorable quotes for anyone listening to catch. Some ignorant, some out of touch, and some commendable. Indian Country Today Media Network has compiled a list of quotes that we will break down into three parts, Perceptions, Politics, and On The Past, the Present, the Future, that will be shared over the New Year’s weekend.


“Why is there a Bureau of Indian Affairs? There is no Bureau of Puerto Rican Affairs or Black Affairs or Irish Affairs. And no group in America has been more helped by the government than the American Indians, because we have the treaties, we stole their land. But 200 years later, no group does worse.” – TV talking head John Stossel, speaking on Fox News about how the U.S. government has done more during the course of 200 years to “help” Indians than anyone else.

“What group of people would even want ‘help’ like this?”—Tex G. Hall, Chairman of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation, in response to Stossel’s claim.

“Our grandfathers well understood that each time a new promise was held out another was about to be broken.”—Joe Valandra, on the importance of protecting sovereignty

“So you go and so you study the area and you find out what happened, what did the indigenous people worship, you know?  And…and…and…if they did blood sacrifice, like, we found some areas where they were very violent because the former culture was a murderous violent …like in Texas here and all the coast around Houston and Galveston and some other areas the Native American people were cannibals, you know? And they ate people. And so you could see a manifestation of that in the churches where people turned against people and kinda cannibalized other people’s ministries.”—Evangelist Cindy Jacobs, in a YouTube video posted by Right Wing Watch praising Rick Perry’s August 6 cluster-prayer event, The Response. Jacobs is a Perry supporter.

“If my Haudenosaunee passport is a fantasy document, I’m a fantasy person living in a fantasy land and looking at a fantasy border.”—Joyce King, St. Regis Mohawk Tribe citizen, on being told her Haudenosaunee passport is a ‘fantasy document’ when it was confiscated by the Canadian Border Services Agency.

“Citizenship by blood quantum alone is a guarantee of physical extinction. Know the tribal population, the required blood quantum, birth and death rates, rate of exogamous marriage, and the date of extinction is easily calculated. This is not opinion. This is arithmetic.”—ICTMN columnist Steve Russell in his new book, Sequoyah Rising.

“They were rejecting me because I’m unrecognized.”—Marine Sisk-Franco, explaining why she didn’t get a permit to carry an Eagle feather, and the pain of being a member of a tribe not recognized by the federal government.

“The measure of being Indian should be a pain index—How many funerals have you gone to?”—author Sherman Alexie on the many battles over blood quantum and tribal enrollment.

“Most Americans do not even consider whether the language they use about Natives might be considered discriminatory. In fact, when they think about ‘Native Americans,’ the image that comes to mind is a romanticized, historical image, not a contemporary 21st century Native. The notion that we might feel offended by their language does not even enter their minds.”—Stephanie Fryberg, an assistant professor of psychology and affiliate faculty in American Indian Studies at the University of Arizona, explaining why Indians are perennially talked about negatively in mainstream society.

“The celebrations of our extinction turned out, of course, to have been premature. However, certain ideas and themes in the popular culture remain persistent and influential.”—Kevin Gover, Director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian, on the use of Native mascots in sports.

“[S]hut the fuck up Dan Snyder, you own the most sickeningly racist relic of a brand in all of professional sports.”—Gawker writer Hamilton Nolan calling out the hypocrisy of the National Football League’s Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder for alleging anti-Semitism based on a newspaper article published in the D.C. City Paper. Snyder in September, facing a public backlash, dropped his lawsuit against the paper.

“(The Redskins name has) been there since the early ‘40s and no one has complained about it. No one has complained until the people from the Indian nations came down here and made their complaint.”—Wiscasset High School Board of Education member Ed Stover in defense of continuing to use the offensive name for the school mascot.

“It’s spreading the word that no matter if you want to play baseball or be a mechanic—whatever it may be—your dream is your dream and nobody’s going to take it away until you take it away from yourself.”—Joba Chamberlain on the importance of emphasizing good news in Indian country.

“Honor the memory of heroic Native warriors like Geronimo, Lori Piestewa and many others, not by promoting false stereotypes, but by bringing attention to the plight of veterans, both Native and non-Native, who continue to be plagued by substandard health care and homelessness.”—ICTMN columnist Ruth Hopkins urging a change in the mindset of the leadership of the U.S. military in the wake of its offensive use of Geronimo as the code-name for Osama Bin Laden.

“To Natives Geronimo is a hero because he fought America. To Natives Bin Laden was evil because he fought America…[try to] explain that to a kid.”—Filmmaker Chris Eyre commenting on the Geronimo/Bin Laden blunder.

“Native people say they feel more welcome in town now, and shopkeepers are picking up some Ojibwe phrases. Promoting the language does a lot to bridge barriers.”—Dr. Anton Treuer, professor of Ojibwe, on the use of Ojibwe language signs in Bemidji, Minnesota.

“Another language is not just a different way to communicate the same thing. It’s a whole other thing. It’s an intricate web of meanings and relationships and thoughts.”—Alaska Native storyteller Ishmael Hope on the artist’s role in preserving Tlingit.

“Currently the public doesn’t know enough about Native people because our news is rarely covered, as many still think our people are in the past.”—Lori Edmo-Suppah, editor of the Sho-Ban News, arguing in January that the mainstream media, including the Huffington Post, need to do a much better job of covering Indian issues.

“It is important as an indigenous people that we not allow Hollywood to define who we are, and I believe we have been very successful in that endeavor.”—Quileute Nation Chairwoman Bonita Cleveland on educating fans of Twilight’s Wolf Pack.

“The first time I saw a Native actor laugh it was Chief Dan George in Little Big Man. I remember thinking, I have never seen a Native actor laugh, ever.”—Neil Diamond, director of Reel Injun, on Indians in the movies.

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January 3, 2012

Before the Iowa Caucuses: Romney Leads, Paul Surges, Gingrich Plummets

More than 100,000 Iowa residents are expected to gather in their communities tonight to participate in the first caucuses in the nation to begin the process of picking a Republican candidate for president. The New York Times compared tonight’s statewide events to “pulling the trigger on the starting pistol for the 2012 campaign.”

Six candidates are vying for the party’s nomination. Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, is considered the front-runner. Although Romney has spent millions of dollars on negative ads against Newt Gingrich, former Republican Speaker of the House, Romney spent the last days before the caucus attacking President Barack Obama and not mentioning his Republican rivals. Gingrich was the front runner in the race until early December when Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn.), the only woman in the competition, accused him in a nationally televised debate of taking $1.6 million in lobbying fees from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Gingrich said he wasn’t lobbying; he was consulting a “historian.” Bachmann, who has lagged in the polls, told the New York Times on caucus day there could be “a miracle” and that she might actually win. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum gained in the polls in the past few weeks and is said to be among the top three candidates alongside Romney and Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas). Still plugging away despite a precipitous fall in the polls is Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

In addition to the allegations that he was profiting from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two government-sponsored enterprises that played a role in the low-quality mortgage scam that was a major factor in the 2008 economic collapse, Gingrich has a scary, l’etat c’est moi political platform. He promised, among other things if he becomes president, to defy U.S. Supreme Court rulings that he didn’t agree with, abolish lower courts, and allow judges to be impeached, subpoenaed even arrested by U.S. Marshals if their rulings were deemed “anti-American” by the Gingrich administration, meaning himself.

Paul, on the other hand, has gained support and a surge in the polls, placing him second to Romney, because of his anti-war stance and his recent criticism of the National Defense Authorization Act. “Little by little, in the name of fighting terrorism, our Bill of Rights is being repealed…” Paul said in The Nation. “The Patriot Act, as bad as its violation of the 4th Amendment, was just one step down the slippery slope. The recently passed [NDAA] continues that slip toward tyranny and in fact accelerates it significantly… The Bill of Rights has no exemption for ‘really bad people’ or terrorists or even non-citizens. It is a key check on government power against any person. This is not a weakness in our legal system; it is the very strength of our legal system.”

Read more @ Indian Country Today Media Network.comBefore the Iowa Caucuses: Romney Leads, Paul Surges, Gingrich Plummets - ICTMN.com.

January 4, 2012

Oh How the Republican Race Has Changed After Iowa Caucus

In the weeks leading up to the Iowa Caucus, the unofficial start to the 2012 campaign season, the race appeared to be between former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich for the Republican Party candidacy.

But if the Iowa Caucus is to be used as a measuring stick, there appears to be a surging candidate for that top spot in Rick Santorum. The former Pennsylvania Senator finished in second, by only eight votes, to Romney and well ahead of Texas Rep. Ron Paul, in third, and Gingrich, in fourth.

Paul, who was hoping for a breakout victory, had a disappointing showing but told his supporters to “be ready and raring” according to an article by The Washington Post.

The remaining candidates whose names have been mentioned in this race, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Minnesota Rep. Michele Backmann finished fifth and sixth. Following the caucus, Backmann announced she was suspending her run for this election on Wednesday morning in a press conference and Perry has retreated to Texas to reassess his campaign according to an article by CBS News.

“Last night, the people of Iowa spoke with a very clear voice, and so I have decided to stand aside,” Bachmann said in her press conference.

Next up for the Republican candidates will be New Hampshire on January 10. According to an article by Huffington Post, Santorum shouldn’t see the kind of support he saw in Iowa. Romney however according to CBS News holds a commanding lead.

Going into the caucus Gingrich held a 2.4 lead over Romney as of January 2 in the latest Real Clear Politics polls. Paul was in third and Santorum in sixth. Only time will tell how this caucus will change the layout of the polls.

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January 11, 2012

Romney Puts Distance Behind Him After New Hampshire Caucus

All signs leading up to the New Hampshire Caucus on January 10, pointed to Mitt Romney running away from his Republican rivals. Even with attacks from the rest of the Republican candidates aimed at him, Romney still came out on top Tuesday night and is now in the drivers seat of the Republican Race.

Romney pulled in 39.3 percent of the votes with Ron Paul in a distant second with 22.9 percent. The remaining candidates finished in the following order: Jon Huntsman (16.9 percent), Newt Gingrich (9.4 percent), Rick Santorum (9.4 percent), Rick Perry (.7 percent).

In the latest Real Clear Politics poll Romney has become the front runner with a 10.6 point lead over Gingrich, followed by Santorum, Paul, Perry and Huntsman.

Following Tuesday night’s caucus, candidates arrived in South Carolina to prepare for the next caucus, one that could be foreshadowing of the Republican candidate.

“If Romney can win South Carolina, he’s probably going to be the nominee,” Gingrich said in a New York Times article. “He has so much money. If he also has the momentum, it’s going to be very hard to stop him.”

Awaiting Romney in South Carolina leading up to the January 21 caucus are intensified attacks from his rivals all of which Romney says will fall flat, addressing Perry and Gingrich by name on Wednesday according to The Wall Street Journal.

Unlike the fall out from Iowa’s caucus, there doesn’t appear to be any of the remaining six candidates deciding to drop out yet and Perry who is sitting in a distant fifth doesn’t feel Romney has it in the bag yet.

“If Mitt’s thinking he’s got it in the bag, he’s in for a surprise,” said the Texas Governor in the Times. “I’m the outsider who’s willing to step on some toes.”

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January 19, 2012

5 Reasons We’ll Miss Rick Perry in the Race

Now that Texas Governor Rick Perry has announced his departure from the Republican presidential seat race, Indian Country Today Media Network wants to share five things we will miss with him bowing out:

  1. No more whacky religious supporters talking about American Indians as cannibals.
  2. No more confusing us on the appropriate voting age.
  3. Goodbye Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s soapbox.
  4. Calling him out for his family’s ill-advised, racially named hunting cabin.
  5. Calls for Civil War, we only need one, have left the GOP race. Now if we can only get Newt Gingrich to stop agreeing with Andrew Jackson.
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January 23, 2012

Gingrich Wins SC Handily, Now For Florida

In the end, the South Carolina primaries on January 21 weren’t even close. Newt Gingrich, former House Speaker ran away, in a state he has felt was a must win, with 40 percent of the votes.

Mitt Romney, the Republican primary leader going into South Carolina holding a 14.8-point lead, came in a distant second with 27.8 percent of the votes.

According to Real Clear Politics latest poll, the win helped Gingrich close that gap a little as Romney now holds a 7.5-point lead.

Rounding out the South Carolina primaries were, Rick Santorum in third with 17 percent of the vote, Ron Paul in fourth with 13 percent and Rick Perry, who pulled out of the race before the primary, and the other category accounting for 1.8 percent of the votes.

Next up for the 2012 Republican hopefuls is Florida, which will hold its debate tonight. The primary voting will be January 31, and with the top three candidates all notching a win so far on the primary trail, this could give one of them a second win.

As the candidates prepare for the debate and the rounds in Florida, all of them will be faced with the hurdle of housing—an issue all to familiar with Indian country.

According to an article by The Washington Post, Florida’s economy rests heavily on housing and has been hit considerably since the bubble burst.

Where do the candidates stand on the housing situation?

Romney was quoted in the Las Vegas Review-Journal as saying “I think the idea of helping people refinance homes to stay in them is one that’s worth further consideration. But I’m not signing on until I find out who’s going to pay and who’s going to get bailed out, and that’s not something which we know all the answers to.”

A caution that is one thing Romney shares with his GOP counterparts, when it comes to improving the housing situation according to The Post.

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