IOWA: GOP Candidates Refuse To Denounce Attendance At “Death To Gays” Convention

The Des Moines Register reports:

Three Republican presidential candidates spoke at a forum in Des Moines this month hosted by a pastor who raved approvingly that the Bible justifies killing gay people — “and I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ.” But neither Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (since endorsed by Iowa’s Congressman Steve King) nor Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal nor former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee rebutted Kevin Swanson incendiary statements. They chose instead to talk about a war on Christianity.

Calls and emails seeking a reaction to Swanson’s remarks by spokespeople for Cruz and Jindal (who suspended his campaign Tuesday) went unanswered. Huckabee’s spokeswoman Alice Stewart asked for documentation and was sent a video link. She responded the next day saying, “Gov. Huckabee appreciated the opportunity to speak with an audience in Iowa about the importance of standing up for our religious liberties.”

The program had a long list of sponsoring organizations including the conservative Iowa Family Leader and Homeschool Iowa, American Family Association, Landmark Events, Liberty Institute, Midwest Parent Educators, Generations with Vision, Samaritan Ministries, The American Vision, Heritage Defense and Illinois Christian Home Educators.

Iowa’s virulently anti-gay Family Leader told the newspaper that they “absolutely condemn any call for violence against homosexuals.” But they refused to say if they would have withdrawn their sponsorship of the event if they’d known what Swanson would say. As we all know, Swanson’s calls for the genocide of gay Americans were well-known long before the event began.

UPDATE: JMG reader Rob sends us this clip in which Sirius XM host Mike Malloy goes off on an extended rant about the issue.

  • Johnny Wyeknot

    Keep this story alive and hopefully it will gain some legs.

    • Todd20036

      Huckabee is a footnote at this point, but Cruz is still a viable candidate, who is the tea bag alternate to Carson.
      Damn right we should hold his feet to the fire as long as he is in the race.
      Not saying we shouldn’t point out Huckabee’s hypocrisy, but his poll numbers rank below kiddie table at best.

  • JT

    Finally something is being done about this. So they refuse to oppose genocide. Keep after the monsters.

    • Curieux Bleu

      Monsters … you have hit the nail on the head.

      Wanna be killers, they just want their underling dim light bulb followers to carry out the actual assaults and killings while “pastors” like Swanson and Cruz’s father sermonize violently against the LGBT.

      When questioned they add tiny disclaimers that they would personally not act before changed laws allow criminalisation, jail, and death sentences to queer identified citizens. “The Gospel of Love”, apparently.

      They are ranting for laws to marginalise us further and for their sheeple to vote for right wing Teabag haters as Governors, Legislators and all up and down the ticket in a severely gerrymandered system which is approaching a Koch style manipulated “pseudodemocracy”.

      So there really are a lot of extremely nasty cynical murderous minded Monsters at American TheoFascism Incorporated.

  • Herald

    I am glad someone besides Maddow is finally mentioning this.

    But if you want even a non-apology from these three or any sponsoring organizations you will be waiting a long time.

    • skeptical_inquirer

      I don’t want an apology from them. I’d rather that this be brought up at the general debate between the democratic nominee and the republican nominee where the moderator says “Hey, republican nominee, three of your guys went to this! Agree with it or not!”

      • Herald

        That kind of attention would be wonderful, but do not expect any kind of a relevant or sincere answer.

        • RoFaWh

          Unless the debates have a truly no-nonsense moderator who replies to bullshit with “Your answer is neither relevant nor sincere, answer the fucking question, you asshole!”

        • skeptical_inquirer

          A crappy answer would bring more blowback but the question has to be asked first.

      • DN

        We here say it so often, but it bears repeating… had Swanson said that about blacks, asians, jews, or even muslims… it’d be a huge fucking deal.

  • The FAMiLY LEADER (stylized that way, I guess, because a capital “I” would mean individual rights are important) should immediately be suspect for merely having “family” in its name. Somehow, the word now means “anti-gay,” as though we have no families. But their leader, a scary looking cretin named Bob Vander Plaats, is every bit as odious as Swanson.

    • Ninja0980

      Indeed, he has been waging war on LGBT people in Iowa for a long time.

    • Chucktech

      “Family” has been a christian douchebag dog whistle ever since the spawn of the Moral Majority. FAMILY Research Council, Focus on the FAMILY, American FAMILY Association. Any group with “Family” in its name, much like any group who has “Freedom” or “Patriot” or “Liberty” in their names is almost always some stripe of christianist fuckwittery.

    • cleos_mom

      In the same way, a ‘community’ that’s described as being “traditional” and “strong on family” isn’t usually one it would be a good idea to visit

    • Ragnar Lothbrok

      I posted his pretty face above / below.

    • Lakeside

      Any group, media, or slogan with the term “family” in it is dog-whistle for ‘white’.

  • Sam_Handwich

    Ted Cruz refuses to say the words “Christianist terrorism”

    • HadenoughBS

      As far as I’m concerned regarding Cruz, Huckabee and the late presidential contender Jindal, they’re absolutely and totally guilt by association. If they truly didn’t know about this sponsoring group and/or Swanson’s kill-the-gays proclivities, they and their campaigns are either ignorant, stupid or too lazy to vet them. No matter what, none of these Rethuglican candidates will become President. It’s most likely the Trumpster we’ll need to defeat.

      • Chucktech

        “He’s a good christian pastor from Iowa, what could possibly go wrong?”

        • Todd20036

          His sheeple could stop putting money in the collection plate.

          • Chucktech

            They wouldn’t be sheeple if they stopped putting money in the collection plate. Hell, I’m sure there are grannies in his thrall eating cat food so they can put money in his collection plate.

          • RoFaWh

            Has anyone tried suing a swansonite for fraud?

        • HadenoughBS

          Good+Christian+pastor+Iowa = OMFG, that’s exactly what does go wrong, Chucktech! And, LOL, let’s not limit it just to Iowa.

      • Skokieguy

        Obama was smeared for simply being in the pews 30 year ago. He had no foreknowledge of what would be said and didn’t necessarily endorse the sermon. The sermon was simply critical of America, not calling for death. This was also long before he was even dreaming of being President.

        These Presidential candidates had advance knowledge of the event they would be at and weren’t merely attendees, they were invited guests. The Pastor wasn’t merely another speaker, he invited and interviewed them.

        They cannot wash themselves clean of this. And since none are going to be the nominee, what the DNC can do (pending the growing of balls) is to run ads against whoever ends up the Republican candidate “XXX did not denounce Pastor Swanson’s calls for the Government extermination of Gays. Is this the party you want to vote for? Are these the people you want controlling Congress?”

        [Very important to run against not just the candidate, but entire Congress, since flipping the Senate and reducing wingnut numbers in Congress and in state legislatures is critically important.]

        • HadenoughBS

          I agree, Skokieguy. And the corollary to your statement is that in November 2016 the Dems must have the strongest GOTV operation they’ve ever mounted in a national campaign. Apathy and disinterest among Democratic and Independent voters will kill our chances at the polls if we don’t motivate them to vote for Dems and against the GOP. All that will be at stake next November is the positive and progressive future of our country!

      • David Walker

        Ignorant, stupid, or lazy? No. Liars? Yes. Right Wing Watch said they told the handlers of all three assholes who Swanson was and what he has preached. The fuckwads appeared anyway. I call pig shit.

      • FAEN

        Oh they knew only too well who Swanson is and what he stands for. In their own fantasy world all of us would be dead or in reparative camps.

        • RoFaWh

          They simply didn’t (and don’t) think there’s anything wrong with calling for the killing of gays. Religious freedom, you know.

          • FAEN

            I honestly believe organized religion is a mental disease.

  • Ninja0980

    Remember folks, we aren’t being thrown off rooftops like in the Middle East so we need to shut up when someone in this country is saying it’s okay for us to be killed.

    • cleos_mom

      Because nothing says “dignity and compassion” — one of the Top 10 in meaningless but nice-sounding bromides — like “I’m not going to cut off your head or throw you off a very high roof.”

      • Ragnar Lothbrok

        A regular on another board told me ” they want to chop off both of your heads “. He was getting kinda exited over it.

      • BlueberriesForMe

        According to the Gospel of Moosilla, this is why the Lard gives all 2nd, 3rd, 10th, 20020304230th, chances to stop being “sinners” and renounce our gayship. (Also, to keep having those joyful “unexpected” pregnancies.)

  • Michael Rush

    The conversation about ” the war on religion ” will end when these people make finally a statement :

    You don’t like gays , we get that , now what do you intend to do about the gay problem

    [ ] execute them
    [ ] quarantine them
    [ ] convert them into heterosexuals
    [ ] force them to remain in the closet
    [ ] forcibly impose your religious beliefs on them
    [ ] accept that they are actual human beings entitled the the same rights everyone else is .
    [ ] other ( please offer a clear explanation here or use a seperate piece of paper


    • Martin

      Yes basically.

      All the people who hate gay people, muslims, blacks, trans people….what do they think is the logical conclusion of their hate? Over time and after influencing the less informed, it becomes violent. It’s the same thing with the western right wing which is essentially ISIS.

      • Michael Rush

        In this video Chris Hayes asks Mat Staver what the ” End Game ” is , he never answers the question ( or any of the questions he is asked ( , I don’t think anyone will answer the question . All conversation about religious freedom is just SUBTERFUGE at this point .

        deceit used in order to achieve one’s goal.
        synonyms: trickery, intrigue, deviousness, deceit, deception, dishonesty, cheating, duplicity, guile, cunning, craftiness, chicanery, pretense, fraud, fraudulence More

        • DN
        • Cuberly

          Forgot who the interviewer was but there’s an interview of Porno Pete where he’s bluntly asked what his end game is, what does he want as a final solution. Pete is struck silent, confused look on his face. Almost as if he never thought his mania all the way through. It’s an interesting moment to say the least.

          • BlueberriesForMe

            “All I ever wanted to do was keep taking pictures of guys in assless chaps and wishing I were them. Is that too much to ask? (sob).”

          • Stephen Elliot Phillips

            their end game is simply to remain in a position of power, get more power if they can, and continue to milk the fuckwad idiots for donations…
            If they kills us all or the problem is neutralized then they lose their meal tickets

          • RoFaWh

            After us, the Muslims. After them, the Jews. Then the Unitarians, followed by Buddhists, Hindus, and atheists.

            Sooner or later they’d run out of victim classes and turn on each other, but it would be way too late.

        • JT

          What a moron. There was no constitution amendment. It was a SCOTUS decision. After he gets his ass handed to him on that, he does nothing but dodge.

          • Michael Rush

            That’s all Cruz , Huckabee and Jindal can do is dodge , it needs to stop ! Even Kevin Swanson needs to be cornered on what his plan is and how he plans to put it into effect .

          • David Walker

            They dodge because they can because they know that the interviewer probably doesn’t know enough to ask follow-up questions.

        • Zoey

          Wow. Chris Hayes peeled Staver like an onion.

        • FAEN

          Staver’s end game doesn’t end well for us but he knew if he said it out loud his money flow could be interrupted so he stayed silent.

    • Veylon

      You know the answer is, “Look the other way while someone less squeamish does the dirty work.”

      It’s the same with the Jews; very few Germans were willing to go beyond whinging and the occasional insult – more would violate their sense of middle-class propriety – but they were more than happy enough to look away and not ask any questions while the Nazis did their business.

      • McSwagg

        Some even ignored the evidence all while the smell, the smoke, and the ash of the concentration camp ovens washed over their towns.

  • Prion

    • Todd20036

      “Bigoted Grandpa Munster.”
      LOVE IT!!!

    • I would be happy to insult Ted Cruz to his face.

      • McSwagg

        Based on past news stories, an ‘audience’ with ‘His Royal Majesty, the Anointed Dominionist King, Turd Crust’ would cost you at least $50,000. He simply cannot be bothered by anyone that can’t pay to play.

  • Gigi

    They just let other nut jobs call for “death to gays” for them.

    • RoFaWh

      “A man is known by the company he keeps.”

      I don’t know if this association harms Cruz/Jindal/Huckabee more or Swanson himself.

      Also “Lie down with dogs, get up with fleas.”

  • Prion


  • oikos

    Jeebus is watching you, repugs.

    • David L. Caster

      I so hope that this haunts these fuckwits for a good long time.

      • oikos

        It the press did their jobs, these assholes would be asked about this.

        • Chucktech

          “If the press did their jobs…”

          Oh, well, that’s that…

          • oikos

            The ‘liberal media’ is as liberal as the big conservative corporations that own them.

    • Michael Rush

      Jeopardy : What is ” Glory Hallelujah ” ?

      • Chucktech

        You mean Glory Hole-e-lujah…

  • Ninja0980

    At the end of the day, these people do truly want us dead.
    The fact one of them is adored by the Republican base is a scary thought.

  • Jan Wesselius

    This great, Huckabee talks about the war on Christianity while attending a conference where the out right murder of Gays is endorsed. Then the media doesn’t even question him about it.

  • bambinoitaliano

    Let’s call Swanson the Christian Jihadist that he is and see how comfortable these clowns want to associate with a jihadist.

    • Crusader is the word for Christians. Muslim kids in the middle East have bogeymen hiding under their beds who look like nasty Templars in armor . . . )

      • bambinoitaliano

        Crusader just does not have the impact to wake up those semi coma followers. Jihadist will perk up their ears.

  • David F.

    Moral cowardice. Had it been any other minority there would calls for Swanson’s head on a pike. There is no valid excuse for their “we weren’t aware of his previous statements” claim – that they or someone in their campaign couldn’t take a minute to vet this asshole with a single Google or Bing search is further proof.

  • delk

    Own your hateful shit.

    You are not stupid and neither are we. You knew exactly what you were doing, so fucking own it. Take the dog whistle out of your mouth and shove it up your ass.

    Giving daesh a run for the money in the cowardice department.

    • Octoberfurst

      You nailed it! I get sick of these Christo-fascists like Cruz and Huckabee trying to play down or ignore the fact that they were on stage with a man who called for the execution of gays. They act like they didn’t know. Bullshit! They had to have heard the speech plus there were pamphlets all over the place stating why gays needed to be killed. So I assume they all must agree with it otherwise they would have said something. I hate right-wing Christians. I really do. But I don’t want them executed. Why? Because I am not a monster.

      • Zoey

        So far it’s working pretty well for them though. The media didn’t pick up on it so why the need to alienate their supporters by saying they don’t agree with genocide.

        • RoFaWh

          Remember, it doesn’t generate page view or ad clicks, so it’s not worth covering.

          My fave author, Jack Vance, in one of his many SF opuses, has the protagonist, who has come into obscene wealth, buy a failing magazine “now in its eight hundredth year” and take control. One flunkie laments “but how will we know what the public wants to read about if we don’t do polls and tailor our content to the results?” The reply is “Examine the real questions of today and readers will soon flock to read all about it.” [paraphrased]

          In a nutshell, that describes what’s wrong with “the media” today. It’s controlled by marketing types, not real journalists.

          The GOP candidates undoubtedly have so much dirt and scandal in their closets that you could print a Sunday edition of the NYT every day for a year without exhausting the riches.

          Edit: This episode is in the Demon Princes” quintet, but I can’t remember which book it’s in.

          • Sean

            It’s been a while since I read the books, but I suspect Mr. Gersen bought the magazine in the third book, “The Palace of Love,” the better to induce the reclusive criminal Viole Falushe to grant him an interview.

            Vance has been my favorite author ever since high school. Just blissfully good reading.

  • Yalma Cuder-Zicci

    How can you be for religious liberty and then vehemently oppose accepting Muslim refugees solely based on their religious identity? That should be “Christian liberty”.

    • Chucktech

      Easy. You just have to be a stultifyingly duplicitous, douchebag of a lying hypocrite, otherwise know as a god-fearing, bible believing christian.

    • RoFaWh

      And Huckafuck’s definition of “Christian” is extremely narrow: those who belong to the same church he does, the Snake Vale Everlasting Church of Hysteria and Fraud.

  • Rebecca Gardner

    Why would they denounce that which they believe so strongly?

  • DaveMiller135

    How could I have known what was happening in the next room?

    They’re called “Google, Wikipedia and YouTube.” And our next President’s gonna need someone on her staff who knows how they work.

    • Stubenville

      I saw what you did there.

  • Bluto

    They want to exterminate every muslim in the world so what’s a few million more fags added to the pyre. eh, no biggie.
    The GOP has made genocide more popular than a clam bake.

  • Lumpy Gaga

    Just [bannable] Kevin Swanson.

  • Menergy

    I’m confused. Aren’t these “abomination” things all in the Old Testament? That is not the Gospel of Jesus Christ that I always hear about. (I.e., The New Testament). My head hurts

    • Mark Lewis

      The New Testament is much more harmful.

      • NancyP

        However, the Greek Scriptures / N.T. has many instances of Jesus breaking purity laws and has some disagreements among followers concerning necessity of purity laws. The actual purity laws and their penalties are listed in the Hebrew Scriptures / O.T. / Tanakh. Homosexuality is generally considered an offense against purity of the scriptural Nation of Israel, along with other foreign customs such as cooking a goat kid (nursing offspring) in the milk of the mother, patronizing temple prostitutes at the Goddess temples, and such like. The famous Romans 1:26-32 passage condemning male – with – male sex acts and other assorted behavior is usually quoted by the conservative Christians starting with 1:26 or 1:27, ignoring the context. The context is paraphrased as: Do not worship gods other than God. If you do so, the penalty will be that you behave in reprehensible manner worthy of death – long list of miscellaneous offenses follows. In other words, the main offense is idolatry. I don’t know about you, but I can’t remember meeting any gay (or any other) followers of Ba’al recently.

        • Mark Lewis

          For me… Reads more like a warning in the first one to keep the population count up–“don’t do this, you’re gonna get killed by someone, uh…not convinced? It’s an abomination blah blah blah feel bad so you do what we want.” In the second one it seems more like a “symptom of a depraved culture” which is a natural result of the idol worship. Worshipping Ba’al was basically getting thrown into a bonfire from what I remember–or is that maloch or something–population count down again. I don’t know what’s worse, referring to it directly, or using it as a symbol for depravity. Two different faces of the same evil I guess. Admittedly, I haven’t read the things for a good 20 years. They’re currently acting as a plant stand for my Pothos. I have to repot soon anyway so I may as well take another boo at it. Thanks for the update. 😉

  • cleos_mom

    No way would they have withdrawn their sponsorship. They’re saying things that “God’s people” think but don’t want to say aloud. (And when they do, you can count on the NALTS to chorus “now, now! don’t blame us!” as their one and only concern)

  • Ragnar Lothbrok

    Head of ” Family Leader “, Bob Vander Platts aka : POS !

    • RoFaWh

      Toupee! Toupee!

      [Or should I say Wig! Wig!???]

  • Cuberly

    They have conferences where they each attend one another’s events over and over. Linda Harvey speaks at FOTF, Dobson is interviewed on Janet Porter’s show. Etc…it’s a religio-cornicoppia of well known crazy talk in a bubble. Of course they know Swansen is a lunatic, of course they still attend.

    They’re in the jebus approved bubble, intrusion from outsiders is heretical and to be viewed with suspicion. If you corner them and ask them about what goes on in the bubble you’re more likely to get a look of, “How do you know about that?” Ya see, they’re unaware that cameras and recording devices exist.

    Or, they pull a Cruz and huffily change the subject, or ignore it altogether.

  • jayjonson

    When they say “religious liberty,” it is a code name for genocide of gay people.

    • Todd20036

      Only partly. It’s also code for Christian domination. Suppressing gay people is a subset of that.

  • Their refusal to denounce the incitement of Christianist terrorism at the convention implies their support of terrorism. Cruz and the others are already doing their best to help ISIL recruit more willing suicide bombers, by turning their “cause” into a Crusade versus Jihad cage match between “Christianity” and “Islam” – when the reality is that ISIL has only gone to a terrorism campaign BECAUSE they are LOSING in their “take and hold land” strategy to carve out a Fundamentalist Islamist Caliphate nation-state in the area that Bush-Cheney destabilized.

  • Sean

    Of course they won’t because just like ISIS they want millions of LGBT Americans to be executed & it is 100% BULLSHIT that “Family Leader” condemns violence against LGBT people. They incite it & this is a proven fact.

  • TexasBoy

    Fortunately, Piyush Jindal has taken the first steps in dropping out of the Presidential race, and Mike Huckabee has a 0% chance of being considered a viable candidate. And Ted Cruz has burned a lot of bridges within the GOP.

  • j.martindale

    Cruz, Huckabee & Jindall:

  • Huckabee, Cruz, Ryan, Jindal are all members of the Christian DAESH = ISIS living openly and wantonly in America. They should be arrested for publicly promoting hate speech and the solicitation of murder of gay people. If this were a conference where Jews were the target each of these Republicans would be arrested and put in jail. Drive the Christian Faith OUT of America.

  • Clive Johnson

    What if the GOP elephant were replaced with this image?

  • Robert Pierce

    They won’t as long as hate speech of this nature is protected.

    • RoFaWh

      The First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of speech is not unlimited. Try calling for the murder of the President if you don’t believe me. Or yell “Fire!” in a theater.

      The limits of free speech need to exclude all calls for illegal actions, period.

      • NancyP

        Well, I wouldn’t go that far. Speech organizing peaceful protests would be forbidden. Most municipalities have regulations about organized large gatherings occurring on public property – one has to have permits, etc. All of the Civil Rights Movement was based on calls for illegal actions: sit ins, marches, etc.

      • Robert Pierce

        Interesting. I always wondered if there really was 100% freedom of speech in the U.S. Odd that hate speech for the most part is protected but the two exceptions you mentioned aren’t. Seems a bit conflicted but thanks for informing me. What I find fascinating too is that mainstream religious leaders don’t take them to task.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Sooo….. Uber-nutcase Family Leader denounces Anderson’s ranting, but Huckabee “appreciated the opportunity to speak with an audience in Iowa about the importance of standing up for our religious liberties”? Some day, once he’s no longer seeking office, I think he will contemplate the extent to which he was willing to sell his soul in his quest for power. I would not want to be him.

  • FAEN

    Take note Caitlyn-THIS is the BS your party approves of. They would happily throw you and the rest of us off buildings in the name of Christianity and yet you keep voting for them. Money over your very existence…shame on you.

    • McSwagg

      As long as she keeps donating money to them, she will be safe. They dare not cut off their grift stream.

  • dcurlee

    Doesn’t matter none of them have a chance in hell of becoming president

  • Blackfork

    I wish Joe had made Mike Malloy’s account of these radical christianists a main item on his front page instead of an update.

  • The Sentinel

    Mike Malloy is terrific! I’ve been a listener for decades.

  • charliebkk

    For those of you who did not take the 24 minutes to listen to the Malloy video above, I urge you to do so. It is bone-chilling, and more relevant that any of us wish it was.

  • NancyP

    Huckabee is the reason I didn’t even bother visiting an AR university trying to recruit me onto the faculty.

  • TheManicMechanic

    Why would they want to denounce something they very deliberately did and are very proud of attending?

  • teedofftaxpayer

    I still think they should be charged with conspiracy to commit terrorism. They have threatened U.S. Citizens.

  • Galvestonian

    …and we’re supposed to be surprised ? They’re Republicans …black hearted villains, each and every one, the lowest of the low, fuck the middle class, fuck immigrants, fuck the poor, fuck LGBT’s, fuck anything except ways they can make more money. Keep the people stupid ’cause they vote Republican. Of course they’re Christians – the white, upper class Sunday only Christians.

  • Grumpy old Man

    None of those pigs read the entire page that the condemnation of homosexuality is on has a long list of abominations that require death. Here is President Bartlet’s take on that stupidity.,

  • JCF

    Refuse to denounce? “I’m shocked, shocked!”