Michael Hamar

The Lisa Miller/Janet Jenkins Saga: Liberty Counsel, Anti-Semites and Anti-Gay Christianists

Filed By Michael Hamar | April 26, 2011 3:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch
Tags: American hate groups, anti-gay Christians, Liberty Counsel, Lisa Miller Janet Jenkins, Matt Staver, Southern Poverty Law Center

Since the arrest of an individual who allegedly helped Lisa Miller kidnap her zodhaites.jpgdaughter 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.

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It is, and long has been, very clear that the Christianist right is not only virulently homophobic, but xenophobic in general - they are anti-Semitic, usually anti-Catholic, and the American branch is generally white-supremacist/racist as well. More and more, they insist that their various -isms are religiously motivated and therefore protected; they claim the rest of us simply have to accept their bigotry. We may have to accept their right to SPEAK their bigotry (First Amendment and all that), but we CANNOT allow them to enshrine it in our law, or in our public entities and services.

TerpsFan00 | April 28, 2011 1:34 PM

You are mistaken if you believe all Christians are full of bigotry and hate and are bent on a complete takeover of the law.
There are of course, the extremists who misrepresent the majority. It's fair to say that most Christian believers do indeed hold their values for religious reasons, not because they are racist or anit-Semitic.
I guarantee that most don't know about supposed underground dealings such as this but I know most would disagree with such unethical practices.

Ugh, this is a terrible saga. But it really shows how far the right is willing to go to get children away from gay people.

Seriously? I'm a Christian and I'm not homophobic, xenophobic, anti-semitic, anti-catholic, white-supremacist or racist. In fact, I live with a Jewish friend, my family is Catholic (I'm not) and a best friend of mine is of a different race. Dr. Randy, I don't know what your experience has been with Christians so I can't address all of your concerns in a simple quote on a website you may never visit again. I can say though that you have made some railing, hasty generalizations. I don't hate gay people a bit; however, I do believe that action of homosexuality is bad for the family and society in general. I can also say that most Christians would agree with that. Anyways, through my life I have learned that people that make untrue accusations like you have done often end up become the very thing they have accused. I only hope you can contain your bigotry in the future.