Since the arrest of an individual who allegedly helped Lisa Miller kidnap her daughter and flee the USA despite numerous court orders, there has been much coverage about possible ties to Liberty University and/or Liberty Counsel.
But the story may spread much wider across the Christianist universe of gay haters. Bob Felton at Civil Commotion has unearthed a Southern Poverty Law Center piece that looks at the web extending out from Philip Zodhiates - the owner of the Nicaraguan beach house to which Lisa Miller allegedly fled. Zodhiates (who is pictured at right), it seems, has long ties to some connected to with the nastiest "family values" organizations, including but not limited to the SPLC registered hate group, Conservative Values Coalition.
Moreover, Zodhiates has a long history of anti-Semitic propaganda, thus further underscoring the fact that gays are hardly the only targets of the Christianist campaign of lies and denigration. In my opinion, it seems increasingly far-fetched to believe that a lone administrative assistant at Liberty University Law School was behind Lisa Miller's illegal flight. Here are highlights from the Southern Poverty Law Center piece on Zodhaites entitled Haters for Sale:
For eight years, a major direct-mail firm "specializing in the Christian and conservative markets" has been selling lists of the readers of America's leading anti-Semitic newspaper and, since about 2001, its successor publication.
Response Unlimited, based in Waynesboro, Va., and headed by Christian Right activist Philip Zodhiates, charges $100 for the rental of every 1,000 names of subscribers to the now-defunct Spotlight newspaper. Founded by veteran anti-Semite Willis Carto, The Spotlight carried anti-Zionist, anti-Semitic and wildly conspiracist articles interspersed with ads for Klan, neo-Nazi and related hate groups.
Zodhiates also peddles lists of subscribers to the American Free Press, which replaced The Spotlight when that tabloid was shut down amid legal and financial troubles surrounding Carto. The Free Press began immediately after The Spotlight fizzled in 2001 and picked up many of its predecessor paper's propagandists. Today, the Free Press carries stories on Zionism, secret "New World Order" conspiracies, American Jews and Israel.
[I]t's clear that the lists have sold well, especially to political groups on the right. According to Response Unlimited's Web site, Spotlight list purchasers have included the Republican Governors Association; the National Right to Work Foundation; the Mountain States Legal Foundation; U.S. English, an English-only group; and the hard-right Washington Times newspaper.
In March 2005, The New York Times reported that Response Unlimited had cut a deal with Bob Schindler, the father of Terri Schiavo, a woman in a persistent vegetative state who was dying after a court authorized removal of her feeding tube. In return for the list of people who had donated money to Schindler, Zodhiates' firm agreed to send out an E-mail soliciting further donations for the Schindlers
Schindler cut his deal with Phil Sheldon, who is an officer of Response Unlimited. Sheldon is the son of the Rev. Lou Sheldon, founder of the Traditional Values Coalition, a group that also sent out appeals for support for Schiavo, who many Christian Right groups mistakenly believed was semi-conscious. Phil Sheldon is also partner with Zodhiates in a Web-based firm called Conservative Petitions that specializes in creating electronic petitions for right-wing causes.
Other lists offered by Response Unlimited include donors to the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, a group described by President Bush as "vigilantes" that has sent armed civilians to the border to guard against illegal immigration; Gun Owners of America, whose founder Larry Pratt has written for anti-Semitic publications and who was ejected from Pat Buchanan's presidential campaign for alleged ties to white supremacists; and American Border Patrol, led by Glenn Spencer, whose vitriolic Web site has long specialized in pillorying Latinos and especially Mexicans.