Fairness For All Families- Billings

Family Portrait - Montreal 1963

Family Portrait – Montreal 1963 (Photo credit: Mikey G Ottawa)

As an alternative to the Chik-Fil-A fundraiser for Montana Family Council- an obvious dig at gay people and “unnatural” families- The Montana ACLU, Montana Human Rights Network and Pride Foundation are holding a rally nearby.

From their Facebook Event Page:

Fairness for ALL families is important in Montana. If you would like to show your support for equality and fair treatment for ALL Montana families and declare that LOVE is the most traditional family value, please join us in Billings for an Fairness Rally on Saturday, September 8. Details are being worked out so check back for the specifics!

If you cannot join us, please consider donating to the following organizations that work every day to support all families and protect them from discrimination against LGBT couples and their children. 
You can sign a statement of support with Fair is Fair Montana at: http://www.fairisfairmontana.org/statement-of-support-for-fairness-in-montana 
or DONATE to our LGBT work at: https://www.aclu.org/secure/support-aclu-montana

You can donate to the Montana Human Rights Network’s Equality Project at: https://interland3.donorperfect.net/weblink/weblink.aspx?name=mthrn&id=1

You can donate to the Pride Foundation at: https://www.pridefoundation.org/giving/give-online/

Have a look and do what you feel you should.

Related articles

Hate (Officially) Comes To Billings For A Day

From KTVQ News:


Chick-fil-A (Photo credit: Adam Kuban)

Calling it an opportunity to support traditional family values the Montana Family Foundation will open a Chick-fil-A drive through in Billings for one day in September. The chicken will be available for one day only in Billings’ west end on Saturday, September 8th from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. This one-day drive-thru event is called Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day 2.0.

For a suggested donation of $20 per person the public is invited to attend this fund-raising event where hot Chick-fil-A chicken, coleslaw and chocolate chip cookies will be available to the first 1000 people.

Jeff Laszloffy, President/CEO of the Montana Family Foundation said, “A majority of the citizens of Montana share the same conservative values as Dan Cathy and solidified them as the law in 2004 when Montana voted to amend its Constitution to define marriage as being exclusively between one man and one woman in this state.”
“Since Chick-fil-A doesn’t yet have locations in our state most Montanan’s were unable to participate in the national event in August. So we created Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day 2.0 on Saturday, September 8th from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. and invite the Treasure State to join the celebration and help support the Montana Family Foundation’s efforts.”

Yeah, this completely sucks- and it hurts my heart. But here’s something I love:

From the KTVQ Facebook comments on the story:

“Twenty dollar donation? Why protest across the street when you can be much more effective: they want people to donate twenty dollars to their deplorable organization. They will serve 1,000. Simply get in line, be polite, and pay .01 for the meal.”

Sounds like a plan.

Who’s in?

Update 2:  A Counter Rally is being planned- check it out here. 

Montana Family Foundation Candidate Survey

…is completely polarizing and just as completely predictable. As a public service, I wanted to put the whole shebang out on the internets. Now I’ll probably get letters protesting the word “shebang”.


Here’s the cover letter:

On behalf of all of us at Montana Family Foundation, let me congratulate you on your decision to run for public office. As a former state representative, I understand the sacrifices you are making during the campaign, and those that you will make throughout your term if you are fortunate enough to be elected (re-elected).

Montana Family Foundation is a non-profit, research, education, and advocacy organization, working to support, protect and strengthen Montana families.

In an effort to better educate your constituents on your positions related to family issues, we have enclosed our 2012 candidate survey. The results of this survey will be published in whole or in part on our web site (www.montanavoterguide.com), and in our printed voter guide, which will be distributed to roughly 150,000 Montana households.

*Please note: If you choose not to fill out the enclosed survey, we may determine your position on a given question using voting records, public statements you’ve made, your responses on other voter guides, or your party’s platform. If your position differs from that of your party on a given issue, we hope you will use this questionnaire to make that clear.

Please fill out the survey and return it in the enclosed envelope. The survey must be postmarked no later than Friday, March 23 to be included in our 2012 primary election voter guide. remember it must be signed to be valid.

Once again thank you for your time, and your commitment to the people of Montana.

Jeff Laszloffy President/CEO

And the survey (reprinted in its entirety except for some basic identifying candidate stuff):

Please circle the response that most accurately reflects your position on the following issues. (SS=Strongly Support; S=Support; U=Undecided; O=Oppose; SO=Strongly Oppose)
  1. Public schools in Montana are: Over Funded Adequately Funded Under Funded
  2. Students should be allowed to recite the phrase “One Nation Under God” when saying the Pledge of Allegiance. SS S U O SO
  3. Parental choice should be expanded through tax credits to allow children to attend any school of their choice. SS S U O SO
  4. Montana should allow public charter schools. SS S U O SO
  5. Parents should be allowed to home school their children without additional state regulation. SS S U O SO
  6. Education – Sex education in public schools, should be based on “abstinence until marriage”. SS S U O SO
  7. Health – “Domestic partners” (i.e., cohabiting homosexual and heterosexual couples) should receive the same health care and employment benefits as married couples. SS S U O SO
  8. Health – Pharmacists should be forced to dispense birth control that works after fertilization (“Emergency Contraception”) even if it violates their conscience or religious beliefs. SS S U O SO
  9. Health – Anyone causing the injury or death of an unborn child (other than a doctor performing an abortion) should be subject to the same criminal penalties as they would be if the child were already born. SS S U O S
  10. Abortion – Abortion should be prohibited in all circumstances SS S U O SO
  11.  Abortion – Abortion should be prohibited, except in cases of rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is in danger. SS S U O SO
  12. In your opinion, are environmental regulations in Montana: Too Stringent About Right Not Stringent Enough
  13. Homosexuals should be allowed to adopt children. SS S U O SO
  14. Anti-discrimination laws should be expanded to protect sexual orientation in the same way that race, creed, nationality, religion, and color are protected.
  15. Income Taxes in Montana are: Too High About Right Too Low
  16. Property Taxes in Montana are: Too High About Right Too Low
  17. Corporate Taxes in Montana are: Too High About right Too Low18. Your view on the statement: The 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution allows all citizens to own firearms for self protection. SS S U O SO
  18. Physician-assisted suicide should be legal in Montana. SS S U O SO
  19. Global warming is a problem requiring increased regulation. SS S U O SO

Candidate Signature
Surveys are invalid if not signed
Please mail original to:
Montana Family Foundation P.O. Box 485 Laurel, MT. 59044

406-628-1141 http://www.montanafamily.org http://www.montanavoterguide.com


Family Foundation Features Speaker Comparing Obama to Hitler

Group Spirals Down the Rabbit Hole of Extremist Conspiracies

The Montana Family Foundation is featuring a speaker at fundraising events in Bozeman and Billings this week who is popular with Tea Partiers, because she compares Adolph Hitler’s Third Reich to President Barack Obama’s policies.  Kitty Werthmann has claimed President Obama is seeking to finish what Hitler started, and she has admitted that many people think she’s “a wacko.”[1]

“This is the latest indication that the Montana Family Foundation is going beyond the Religious Right’s traditional ‘culture war’ issues,” says the Montana Human Rights Network’s Travis McAdam.  “In recent years, they’ve also promoted the absurd notions that President Obama is not an American citizen and that socialism is taking over the country.  Kitty Werthmann headlining their fundraising events just demonstrates the Family Foundation’s extremism.”

The Montana Human Rights Network issued a briefing paper today (see below) outlining the Family Foundation’s formation and its work under the leadership of Jeff Laszloffy.  It also details their promotion of extreme right-wing beliefs that mesh with the Tea Party Movement.  The briefing outlines how Laszloffy and the Family Foundation supported efforts during the 2011 Montana Legislature to make President Obama prove he is an American citizen.  It also discusses the Family Foundation’s increased paranoia about socialism taking over the country and contains an overview of Kitty Werthmann.

“Jeff Laszloffy and the Family Foundation have tried to position themselves as a credible organization since forming in 2004,” says McAdam.  “Featuring activists like Werthmann and trumpeting conspiracy theories related to President Obama’s citizenship erode any sense of legitimacy they may have accumulated.”


Jeff Laszloffy and the Montana Family Foundation:

Promoting “Birthers” and Hitler-Obama Comparisons


Montana Family Foundation


The Montana Family Foundation, a state-level affiliate of the Religious Right powerhouse Focus on the Family, started in 2004.  At that time, some board members from an entity that was originally the Christian Coalition of Montana broke away from that organization to start the Family Foundation.  At the time, the Montana Human Rights Network noted that this tactical shift by Religious Rights activists in Montana mirrored what was happening at the national level.[2]

Following his run for the Republican presidential nomination in 1988, Pat Robertson formed the Christian Coalition of America.  It was the major player at the nexus of Religious Right organizations and Republican politics over the next decade.  Its annual “Road to Victory” conferences served both as Republican rallies and trainings about the nuts-and-bolts of political organizing.[3]  The Christian Coalition of Montana brought this fusion of right-wing theology and conservative political activism to the state when it formed in 1992.[4]

As offensive comments by Pat Robertson increased the amount of political baggage associated with the Christian Coalition at the national level, the centers of Religious Right power shifted.  As Robertson continued to lose credibility and the Christian Coalition of America lost its tax-exempt status due to its overt GOP politicking, Dr. James Dobson and his Focus on the Family were more than capable of stepping in to fill the void.  The switch in national power to Focus on the Family was smooth, as Dobson and his group already engaged in conservative politics.[5]

This transition in Religious Right power played out in Montana as well with the creation of the Montana Family Foundation.  The Christian Coalition of Montana transformed into the Montana Family Coalition in 2001. Board members of the Family Coalition left to form the Montana Family Foundation in 2004.  When the Montana Secretary of State dissolved the Montana Family Coalition in 2005, the Montana Family Foundation grew into the leading Religious Right organization in Montana.[6]

Those involved with the Montana Family Foundation may need to, once again, create a new entity if the organization continues to stray from its stated mission.  On its website, the Family Foundation says it is “dedicated to supporting, protecting and strengthening Montana families.”[7]  However, the group increasingly engages in issues that appear to fall outside of its stated purpose.  These include:  promoting conspiracy theories about President Obama not being a US citizen; featuring speakers who equate President Obama with Adolph Hitler; and claiming that America is embracing socialism.

Jeff Laszloffy, President of the Montana Family Foundation

Upon its formation in 2004, the Montana Family Foundation announced that its leader would be state Rep. Jeff Laszloffy (R-Laurel).  The group said he would retire from state politics to take over leadership of the organization.  For much of the group’s existence, most of the public activism by Laszloffy and the Family Foundation has followed what is expected of Religious Right organizations.  They’re a consistent presence at the Montana Legislature opposing reproductive freedom, equality for the LGBT community, comprehensive sex education, and other favorite issues of the Religious Right.  They can be found regularly on the opinion pages of local newspapers, and they occasionally engage in community-level campaigns.[8]

Laszloffy and the Montana Family Foundation are probably best known as the catalyst behind the 2004 campaign that successfully banned gay marriage in Montana.[9]  Their opposition to equality runs deep.  They aggressively oppose any attempt at fairness and equal protection under the law for Montana’s LGBT community.  In 2009, when the Montana Supreme Court upheld a lesbian’s parental rights in the Kulstad case, Laszloffy said the decision would “go down in history as a black day for Montana’s parents and children.”  He said the verdict would “threaten the traditional definition of family for generations to come.”[10]

It’s readily apparent that Laszloffy and the Family Foundation don’t view debates over public policy as just differences of opinion.  Instead, these debates take on the religious overtones of good versus evil.  A prime example of this comes from a legislative update by Laszloffy for the Family Foundation during the 2011 session.  Laszloffy said that, while in a committee hearing, he looked around the room and God revealed to him:

“Those with depraved minds are trying to change the very fabric of our society so that we look more like Sodom than Montana…Not only do these people live lives steeped in sin, they rise every day to proclaim the virtue of their sin in a very public setting…As Paul says, they’ve been taken captive, they are truly prisoners of Satan….”[11]

In recent years, however, Laszloffy and the Family Foundation have increasingly strayed from the Religious Right’s standard “culture war” issues.  This isn’t too surprising given Laszloffy’s views before assuming control of the group.  A piece written in June 1999 by Laszloffy provides an example.  He echoed right-wing themes that would become hallmarks of the Tea Party Movement.  He claimed the federal government was promoting socialism and invoked the 10th Amendment as a remedy.  He complained about the national debt and warned that people shouldn’t be fooled by those who “tout more power at the federal level as the answer to all of our problems.”  The short piece could be used as a primer for today’s Tea Partiers.[12]

Also like the Tea Parties, Laszloffy and the Montana Family Foundation opposed national healthcare reform with fear mongering about how the federal government was pushing socialism.  They promoted a webcast that Laszloffy stated would address the “government takeover of healthcare” that was “taking us down the path to socialism.”  Additionally, Laszloffy and the Family Foundation opposed the Troubled Asset Relief Program and cap and trade legislation.  Laszloffy stated that all three issues were part of a “race towards socialism…[that] scares me.”  He complained that the country was heading towards a “national welfare state” that would “destroy what we used to call the American dream.”  Laszloffy promised that the Montana Family Foundation would battle this “march toward socialism.”[13]

Laszloffy, in his personal and professional capacities, and the Family Foundation have echoed the calls of the Tea Party Movement.  This was never more apparent than when Laszloffy and his group supported the “Birther Bill” during the 2011 Montana Legislature.[14]

Promoting the “Birther” Conspiracy

The “Birther” conspiracy takes many forms.  However, central to every version is that President Barack Obama is not the legitimate president of the United States, because “Birthers” believe he is not an American citizen.  One of the more common conspiracies claims Obama is a Kenyan-born Muslim, and that his birth documentation from Hawaii has been faked.  Numerous news agencies andorganizations have discredited the “Birther” conspiracy.  In April 2011, President Obama even released his long form birth certificate to try to end the controversy.  However, many “Birthers” believe that document is also a fake.  The “Birther” conspiracy originates from a core belief that an African-American could only be elected president as part of a sinister plan, which has taken decades to implement and includes faking birth records and birth notices in local newspapers.

During the 2011 Montana Legislature, Rep. Bob Wagner (R-Harrison) sponsored a bill that would have required presidential candidates to file an affidavit with the Montana Secretary of State declaring they met citizenship requirements, in addition to filing a certified copy of the candidate’s birth certificate.  Laszloffy testified in favor of the bill.  He stated there was a “question as to whether President Obama was born in the United States.”  He repeated the “Birther” conspiracy talking point about how a certificate of live birth was supposedly not a valid form of documentation.[15]

At the hearing, Laszloffy said he was not representing the Family Foundation.  However, he devoted a January 2011 update from the Family Foundation to the “Birther” topic.  He started off the segment by saying he had tried to avoid the topic.  However, he said there were persistent “rumors” that President Obama was born in Kenya, which raised questions about his eligibility to be president.  He complained that Obama “disparages” anyone questioning his legitimacy by calling them “Birthers.”  He noted that Montana legislators would consider this issue and try to make the president provide the “proof” that Obama was “unwilling or unable to provide.”  Wagner’s bill failed to make it out of committee, probably due both to its basis in outlandish conspiracy theory and Wagner’s embarrassing performance on a CNN news program.[16]

Working with Missoula Patriots

In addition to ideological crossover with the Tea Parties, Laszloffy and the Family Foundation are working with a Tea Party group while bringing Kitty Werthmann to Montana for fundraising events in Bozeman and Billings.  The Missoula Patriots were set to feature Werthmann at an event in Missoula before she headed to Bozeman and Billings.  In an e-mail promoting it, Missoula Patriots thanked Laszloffy and the Family Foundation for bringing Werthmann to Montana.  The group said Laszloffy was paying for “her air fare toMissoula for us…the Missoula Patriots [emphasis in original].”[17]

Gloria Roark and Nancy Engebretson started the Missoula Patriots in June 2009.  Saying they were “disenchanted with what the Republicans were doing,” they patterned their group after the Bitterroot-based Celebrating Conservatism.[18]  Celebrating Conservatism, an anti-government “patriot” group which currently appears dormant, was very active for about two years.[19]  It brought a long list of anti-government extremists into Ravalli County and western Montana starting in 2009.  These speakers included:  militia favorite Richard Mack; anti-Semitic tax protestor Red BeckmanOath Keepers founder Steward Rhodes; and failed Constitution Party presidential candidate Chuck Baldwin.

Similar to Celebrating Conservatism, Missoula Patriots likes to portray itself as a group dedicated to preserving the Constitution.  “People are afraid of losing their freedom,” Roark has told the press.  “We want to preserve the Constitution.”  The Missoula Patriots is active in Tea Party circles.  It’s listed as a member of the Montana Tea Party Coalition.  Additionally, representatives from the Missoula Patriots participated in the Montana Tea Party State Convention held in February 2011.[20]


Kitty Werthmann, Leader of South Dakota Eagle Forum

Following her presentation for the Missoula Patriots, Kitty Werthmann is headlining two fundraising events for the Montana Family Foundation.  The group has “Friends of the Family Fall Banquets” scheduled in Bozeman and Billings this week.[21]

Werthmann is a native of Austria and the South Dakota state leader for the Religious Right’s Eagle Forum.  She’s experienced a spike in her right-wing popularity over the past few years because of her comparisons between current events and Adolph Hitler’s Third Reich.  Her credibility rests on her living for seven years under Nazi rule in Austria as a child.[22]  She draws parallels between Austria under Nazi occupation and the United States under President Barack Obama.  The Family Foundation encourages people to attend its fundraising events to hear Werthmann’s “stern warning as America drifts towards socialism.”[23]

Werthmann gives an almost identical presentation wherever she goes.  Advertisements for a Freedom to Dictatorship video featuring Werthmann stated she helps people “see we are walking the same path as the Nazis.”  The video cites as proof such things as women in the workplace, euthanasia, and rising unemployment.  On the Eagle Forum website, Werthmann claims that liberals in America are promoting national identification cards and gun control, which she identifies as Nazi programs.[24]

At the “How to Take Back America Conference” in September 2009, Werthmann claimed that universal healthcare, the Equal Rights Amendment, and increased taxes were signs of Nazism.  An attendee asked her what people should do to stop America’s drift toward Nazism.  She exhorted people to not give up their guns and to buy more guns and ammunition.  “Don’t you dare give up your guns,” she said.  “Never, never, never!”  This response was greeted by an audience member saying, “Give them [guns] back one bullet at a time.”[25]

Werthmann’s last visit to Montana came in May 2010.  Celebrating Conservatism featured her as a speaker at its “Liberty Convention 2010” in Missoula.  Werthmann shared the speakers’ podium with a slate of presenters that included an anti-Semitic tax protestor, heroes of the militia movement, and an Alaskan “patriot” who is currently on trial for allegedly plotting to kill law enforcement officials.[26]

At the Liberty Convention, Werthmann used many of her standard talking points.  She discussed how the Third Reich promoted equality for women, which she said undermined the family.  She warned that the national healthcare system instituted by Hitler decimated a thriving Austrian one.  She compared that dynamic to what she said will happen under national healthcare reform in America.  She claimed President Obama established a “snitch program patterned after the Gestapo.”[27]

She also told a bizarre story that linked Soviet communism during the Cold War to current issues of immigration.  She claimed she attended the summit held in 1985 between President Ronald Reagan and Premier Mikhail Gorbachev in Geneva, Switzerland.  Werthmann claimed she infiltrated the peace movement at the summit.  She claimed she met members of the German Communist Party who had a private meeting scheduled with Gorbachev.  These women, according to Werthmann, said the Communist Party’s plan was to take over Latin American countries and establish a beachhead in Mexico to undermine America.  Werthmann said she came to the conclusion that pro-immigration forces were part of this communist plot.  She claimed one of the German women told her everything hinged on who was president, saying it would most likely culminate in 2008.[28]

As she routinely does, she told attendees of the Liberty Convention that, when people fear the government, that’s tyranny.  However, when the government fears the people, it means liberty.  She said she had travelled all around the country and knew that thousands of patriots were working hard to take the country back.[29]

The events for the Montana Family Foundation aren’t the first time she’s teamed up with Focus on the Family.  At a South Dakota presentation for that state’s Focus on the Family affiliate, she said that welfare became a “huge apparatus” under Hitler, where everyone had access to subsidized housing, food stamps, and other benefits.  “That’s called socialism,” she told the crowd.  She said that President Obama’s remarks about “spreading the wealth” during his campaign were a sign that America was drifting towards Nazism and socialism.[30]

Werthmann and the Tea Parties

Her comparisons of America under President Obama and Austria under Hitler have made her a favorite on the Tea Party speaking circuit over the past few years.  She’s been featured at Tea Party rallies in her home state and was the keynote speaker at the 2010 South Dakota Tea Party Summit.  A recap of the event stated she described “the parallels between the step by step loss of freedom in Austria and developments that have been in motion in the United States for years.”  She’s even been featured at Tea Party rallies on the East Coast, including in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.[31]

At one such New Jersey event in June 2011, Werthmann stuck mostly to her normal script, but did add a few new things.  She talked about how Hitler was a great orator, adding “we’ve heard that here, too, haven’t we.”  As a youth in Austria, she said she was part of the Hitler Youth, because it was compulsory.  She discussed how, under Hitler, schools engaged in “political indoctrination,” promoted single teen mothers, and “drove a wedge” between children and parents.  Throughout her remarks, she ended segments by saying, “That’s socialism.”  She told attendees they needed to “take our country back as we know it” by regaining control of the US Senate and the White House.[32]  Toward the end of her speech, she echoed something she said in Missoula at the Liberty Convention, telling the Tea Partiers:

“When the people fear the government, that’s tyranny, but when the government fears the people, that’s you, the Tea Party.  That’s liberty.  Keep your guns.  Keep your guns, and buy more guns.”[33]

National and regional Tea Party luminaries embrace Werthmann.  She’s appeared on Glenn Beck’s show on Fox News where she gave her standard stump speech and encouraged people to vote to take back the US House and US Senate.  When Beck spoke in South Dakota in 2010, Werthmann said she was glad Beck also preached about the dangers of socialism in America.  “I have been preaching for 30 years what socialism is all about. And now we are seeing it very clear,” she said. “I remember when people always thought I was a wacko — too far out, you know. But now, I’m being vindicated.”[34]

Werthmann has also appeared on the “Shad Olson Show.”  Shad Olson became a player in Tea Party circles after KOTA TV suspended him from his news anchor position for speaking at a 2010 Tea Party rally in South Dakota. Olson voluntarily resigned and started his “Shad Olson Show.”  By August 2010, he had helped start the South Dakota Tea Party Alliance.[35]

On the “Shad Olson Show,” Werthmann has compared what she views as favorable media coverage of President Obama to how Joseph Goebbels, the Third Reich Minister of Propaganda, ran the German media.  “History is coming back,” she warned.  “To me, it’s frightful, frightful seeing things coming back.”  On another program, Olson and Werthmann criticized comments President Obama made regarding Israel.  Olson said Obama was abandoning Israel and that it was important for America to keep Muslim countries in the region from annihilating the country.  Werthmann chimed in that Arabs and the Third Reich worked together to kill Jews.  “What Hitler couldn’t finish,” she said, “that is what Barack Obama is doing now.”  Olson agreed, saying that both were focused on “exterminating the Jewish race.”[36]



As Kitty Werthmann told the press in her home state, people have historically viewed her as a “wacko.”  She’s claimed vindication by finding people, especially in the Tea Party Movement, who are open to any conspiracy theories that perpetuate their hatred and distrust of President Obama.  Jeff Laszloffy and the Montana Family Foundation are promoting this same anti-government strain of thought and injecting a heavy dose of fear mongering about socialism supposedly taking over the country.  Additionally, they are adding racist conspiracy theories about President Obama to the mix and elevating speakers who compare Obama to Adolph Hitler.

It would be bad enough if the Family Foundation was just putting this type of extremist propaganda out into the community.  However, this week it is using Kitty Werthmann to raise money to support its work.  Her last appearance in Montana was at an anti-government convention where she shared the podium with the likes of an anti-Semitic tax protestor and other extremists.  Werthmann is the type of person to which the Family Foundation is hitching its cart.

The Family Foundation continues to gravitate towards and promote extreme right-wing conspiracies and the activists and organizations that promote them.  If it continues to do this, its political legitimacy as the main mouthpiece for Montana’s Religious Right could diminish.  Pat Robertson’s promotion of one-world-government conspiracy theories, and his use of anti-Semitic sources in doing so, played a part in the Christian Coalition of America’s diminishing power at the national level.[37]  The Montana Family Foundation partnering with people like Werthmann and the “Birthers” could have a similar impact in Montana.

[1] Shad Olson Show, May 25, 2011; Rapid City Journal, Oct. 27, 2010.

[2] Billings Gazette, Feb. 2, 2004.

[3] Rob Boston, Close Encounters with the Religious Right, Prometheus Books (2000), pp. 65-104.

[4] Great Falls Tribune, April 15, 1992; Missoulian, Jan. 18, 1992; Great Falls Tribune, April 15, 1992.  The Christian Coalition of Montana held a conference, titled “God’s Building an Army,” to launch the new organization in 1992.  A number of leading Republicans spoke at the conference, including Attorney General Marc Racicot (who would become Montana Governor and later chairman of the Republican National Committee), State GOP Chairman Rick Hill (who would be elected to the U.S. House), and various state legislators.  Ralph Reed of the national Christian Coalition was a featured speaker, and he urged the Montana group to operate secretively and deceptively as it mobilized for its political work in the state.

[5] Rob Boston, Close Encounters with the Religious Right, Prometheus Books (2000), pp. 68-74 and 180-197.

[6] Montana Human Rights Network, Network News, October 2003Billings Gazette, Feb. 2, 2004.

[7] Montana Family Foundation, website, “Mission Statement,” Oct. 26, 2011.

[8] Billings Gazette, Feb. 2, 2004; For an example of the Montana Family Foundation engaging in a local campaign, see:  Montana Human Rights Network, Network News, January 2011, p. 6.

[9] Montana Human Rights Network, Network News, November 2004, p. 6.

[10] Montana Family Foundation, e-mail, Oct. 6, 2009.

[11] Montana Family Foundation, “A Depraved Mind is a Sad Thing,” Feb. 4, 2011.

[12] Laurel Outlook, June 13, 1999.

[13] Montana Family Foundation, e-mail, July 24, 2009; Montana Family Foundation, “The March Toward Socialism,” July 24, 2009.

[14] For more on the Tea Party Movement and the “Birther” Conspiracy, please see:  Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights, Tea Party NationalismFall 2010.

[15] Montana Legislative Services, audio, hearing on House Bill 205, House State Administration Committee, Feb. 2, 2011.

[16] Montana Family Foundation, “The Birth of a President,” Jan. 26, 2011.

[17] Missoula Patriots, e-mail, Oct. 14, 2011.

[18] Missoulian, Jan. 23, 2010; Missoula Independent, Oct. 29, 2009.

[19] For more on Celebrating Conservatism, please see:  Montana Human Rights Network, Network News, April 2010, p. 5; Montana Human Rights Network, Network News, December 2009, p. 8.

[20] Missoulian, Jan. 23, 2010; Missoula Independent, Oct. 29, 2009; Montana Human Rights Network, archives, notes from Montana Tea Party State Convention, Feb. 18-19, 2011.

[21] Montana Family Foundation, e-mail, Sept. 16, 2011.

[22]  Worldnet Daily, Sept. 22, 2009; Dakota Voice, Nov. 12, 2009.

[23] Montana Family Foundation, e-mail, Sept. 16, 2011.

[24] The Prophecy Club, “Freedom to Dictatorship in 5 Years,” May 12, 2010; Eagle Forum, “Freedoms Can Disappear in a Hurry if We Aren’t Careful,” 2003.

[25] Anti-Defamation League, Rage Grows in America (2009), p. 11; The Washington Independent, Sept. 28, 2009; Think Progress, “Right-Wing Conference Tells Activists to Get Their Guns Ready for ‘Bloody Battle’ with Obama the Nazi,” Sept. 28, 2009.

[26] For a recap of the Liberty Convention, please see:  Montana Human Rights Network, Network News, August 2010, p. 10.

[27] Montana Human Rights Network, archives, notes from Liberty Convention, May 21, 2010.

[28] Ibid.

[29] Ibid.

[30] Dakota Voice, Nov. 12, 2009.

[31] Dakota Voice, Feb. 27, 2010; Capital Journal, Dec. 6, 2009; Shad Olson Show, June 29, 2011.

[32] You Tube, “Let Freedom Ring June 28 2011 Kitty Werthmann,” June 28, 2011.

[33] Ibid.

[34] Glenn Beck Show, Sept. 24, 2010; Rapid City Journal, Oct. 27, 2010.

[35] Rapid City Journal, May 12, 2010; Rapid City Journal, Aug. 14, 2010.

[36] Shad Olson Show, June 29, 2011; Shad Olson Show, May 25, 2011.

[37] For examples, see:  Pat Robertson, The New World Order, Word Publishing (1991); Right-Wing Watch, “The Perils of Wooing Pat Robertson,” Nov. 7, 2007.

Montana Family Foundation: Using Scripture To Slander Others

First, listen to this podcast.

Second, listen to this:
This fundamentalist, smug and patronizing interpretation of Paul’s letter to the Romans by Mr Laszloffy is used to villify and degrade other human beings- and in particular, a human being I consider to be a friend.
Jamee Greer is not part of the radical homosexual agenda or a latter-day Gomorran. He is a man who simply wants identical freedom for all Montanans.  This irresponsible podcast advocates harsh judgment, not God’s love and forgiveness.
I’m terrified that some fundamentalist is going to start picking off liberal lobbyists.

Third: If something happens to Jamee Greer because of this, Mr Laszloffy, the cries to heaven will be deafening. So will my words. And they will be these: You are personally responsible for spreading hate and destruction. And I will speak them until you repent.

I asked My friend Kathy to do a bit more work with this. As a straight woman, a Christian, a non-Montanan and a friend, she’s got more objectivity than I do right now.

by Kathy Baldock, Canyonwalkerconnections.com

The Word of God is a Holy Text. Abuse of the Word of God, unfortunately is rampant in the church. Theology is a compilation of the interpretation that we read (re-written from the original Greek and Hebrew), with our personal translation of what those words mean as understood in our context, our language and our own personal filters.  Added to all this, is the personal revelation and relationship we individually have with Jesus.

So, is there room for one person to view Scripture differently than another person?  Of course.

One of the most flagrant mis-uses and abuses of verses of the Bible is the section quoted by Jeff Lazloffy on the Legislative Update on the  Montana Family Foundation Radio podcast.

Mr. Lazloffy bases his assessment of a group of people at the legislative session in Montana on some verses from the Book of Romans. Verses originally spoken to a group of people left behind in Rome in about 60 AD after all the  converted Jewish Christians, the Jews and Gentile “acting like Christians” were forced to leave Rome. Theses groups were infighting over who was right, who got to use the temple space (kind of like today), so the Caesar kicked all the trouble makers out of Rome in the Edict of 54 AD. They were excommunicated for five years. So, after five years, the baby Christians left behind, the ones that were once polytheists and idol worshippers (from generations and culture of both) had fallen back into their old ways of worship in the temples. Duh! They were doing what they knew to do and, they had no mentors around to help stop the falling back.

Priscilla carried a letter from Paul to these Romans (hence the Book) and the letter told the once-gentiles-then-believers-now gentiles-again to please recall commitment once made. Having once known Jesus as Lord, they had turned from Him. THAT was the grave sin. Turning back to idol worship. Not same sex behaviors!  Not homosexuality. Idol worship.  Putting others things before the commitment to God.

But, misreading and abusing this text from Romans give more fuel to the anti gay crowd, so, we keep on repeating the scenario. “If you are gay and will not stop being gay, God will cut you loose and you will be a reprobate.” Noooooo.  If you once had the knowledge of God and turn from Him, He will let you go your own way. Back to your old stuff.

For a full treatment of these verses go to “Romans 1:18-32. . .To Whom Was This Directed?”

It is dreadful when Christians misuse Holy Words to subjugate, threaten and demonize any other group of people . I read the Gospel as Good News. How did a Book of love get to become a weapon of fear and destruction? This is how: you put it in the hands of a people who indeed have an agenda of fear and exclusion, two messages completely contrary to the message of the Gospel.

I speak the same language as you Mr. Lazloffy, so this is for you.  I do not believe for one minute that God showed you a vision of Mr. Greer in the way you depicted it. If those were God’s eyes, you would have seen someone you are called to love and serve, not judge and oppress. You were looking at one of God’s children, equal to you in His eyes. If you need a verse, stop camping on the misuse of Romans 1: 28 and drop on back to Isaiah 58:6-12.  Cut the cords of oppression, fight for justice. Stop laying more oppression onto the backs of others.

I am assuming many of the objects of your version or “God love” have left churches.  Yet, you want them to follow the club rules and, not only have they never bought into the rules, you won’t even let them in the club. (My assumption here, but I do assume you are not welcoming of gay/trans people in your home church, unless they change that is.)

The church has gotten to looking very much unlike Jesus. Rather than look at this group of others as “steeped in sin”, do what God really did ask of you:  look at your own sin and, back to this again, love and serve.

Christians like you are keeping the youth away from churches, denying 5% of the population access to a God that somehow was able to handle my sorry self and yours. If He wants to make someone not gay, or not liberal, or not whatever the thing they are that makes you uncomfortable, then let Him do it. This stinky stuff called self-righteousness that we wear out in public is a stench to a Holy God. And it is stinky to others too.

Go love and serve, fight for justice and against oppression and then, you might actually smell sweet enough, like Jesus, to draw people to Him instead of repulsing them away.

I am a straight Evangelical Christian who is finally understanding the message of Jesus that is not embodied in Romans 1:28.  The overarching message of the Bible is not power packed into six anti gay verses, it is this : love your neighbor (told once) and love your enemy/the stranger (told twenty six times). I do not need a vision to confirm that you are failing at that calling. I only needed to listen to your three minute legislative summary.

Go apologize and serve the others, then, you will begin to look like the Lord I love and serve