By Ray Stern
By Ray Stern
By New Times
By Amy Silverman
By Stephen Lemons
By Stephen Lemons
By Monica Alonzo
By Chris Parker
Days after Governor Jan Brewer vetoed Senate Bill 1062, which would have allowed businesses to discriminate against gays and others based on a business owner's "sincerely held" religious beliefs, Cathi Herrod retreated to the studio of a friendly TV talking head: fellow conservative, former pastor, and former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.
The theme of that episode of the Fox News show Huckabee might have been summed up as, "What's all the fuss about?"
Huckabee compared the bill's language with that of the 1993 federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, signed into law by President Bill Clinton to set a high bar for the government's ability to burden the free exercise of religion.
For example, the RFRA is one reason Native Americans aren't prohibited from using the hallucinogenic plant peyote in religious ceremonies.
Arizona passed its own version of the RFRA in 1999, Huckabee explained, and what Herrod's Center for Arizona Policy proposed with 1062 was a "very relative minor change to a bill that was non-controversial in 1999, [and] 1993 at the federal level."
The bill would've allowed a kosher deli to refuse to cater an event with bacon-wrapped shrimp, Huckabee claimed. Though how a customer would compel any business against its will to serve bacon-wrapped shrimp is perhaps known only to the Fox host.
Of course, Herrod agreed, claiming an unnamed "small minority" was able to make hay out of it.
"The [governor's] veto was really for a bill that didn't exist," Herrod told Huckabee in her lisping, child-like voice.
The law would have protected businesses from having to "forgo their religious beliefs" in the marketplace: Like the baker who didn't want to make a cake for a gay wedding or, as in a famous New Mexico case, a photographer who didn't want to shoot a same-sex wedding.
Never discussed was that New Mexico has a law protecting the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community from discrimination, though Arizona doesn't.
Discrimination against gays in Arizona is legal, except in cities such as Phoenix, Tempe, and Tucson, which have adopted ordinances protecting LGBT people.
Significantly, Herrod also mentioned the Hobby Lobby chain as a company that would be affected.
Three weeks after Brewer's veto, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in two cases dealing with the same issues as 1062, one of them involving Hobby Lobby's Christian owners, who object to providing certain types of birth control under the Affordable Care Act because they believe that such forms of birth control induce abortions.
Since Herrod's appearance on Huckabee, Salon.com has reported that the Center for Arizona Policy received generous donations from a foundation backed by Hobby Lobby's owners.
Huckabee didn't inquire about a pecuniary motive for Herrod. However, he did ask if Herrod was a homophobe, a hater. Did she want to see people "destroyed or discriminated against"?
No on all counts, Herrod replied, rarely blinking her wide-open eyes. She just wanted all Americans, "whether you have faith or no faith," to be able to "live out our convictions."
This indirect reply to Huckabee's question was disingenuous. In fact, the Center for Arizona Policy is a throwback to Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority. It's a juggernaut of theocracy, intent on imposing its beliefs on public policy and making Republican politicians in Arizona march in lockstep with CAP's war on gays, women, pornography, and public education.
Herrod's organization does this by combining political power with religious zealotry, perpetual lobbying, and successful fundraising efforts that put nearly $2 million in its kitty in 2011.
A network of churches and church-goers at CAP's beck and call also helps, as does the group's genius for messaging, which turns religious bigotry into religious liberty and a constant battle against abortion into a concern for women's health.
SB 1062 revealed the chinks in CAP's armor and created fresh wounds. But history and the underlying political reality of Arizona argues against the group's political demise.
During the lead-up to CAP's 1062 debacle, CNN anchor John Berman grilled Cathi Herrod on his morning show, asking her repeatedly whether, based on the language of the bill, a gay couple could be denied access to a restaurant.
Herrod dodged the question. But the guy doing her bidding in the Legislature, state Senator Steve Yarbrough, a primary sponsor of SB 1062, had no problem answering a similar query.
In mid-January, Yarbrough replied in the affirmative when Capitol Media Services reporter Howard Fischer wondered about possible 1062-inspired acts of bigotry.
Fischer paraphrased Yarbrough's admitting the legislation "could also be interpreted" as "allowing motel operators with vacant rooms to refuse to rent to gays."
Indeed, a year earlier, Herrod and CAP had lobbied hard against a Phoenix ban on discrimination in public accommodations toward LGBTers.
The ordinance passed the Phoenix City Council 5 to 3, over the objections of naysayers such as Herrod, who suggested that the "bathroom bill," as it was tagged, would be a green flag for sexual predators.
The passage was a blow to "religious freedom," Herrod wrote in a CAP "Action Alert" e-mailed to the organization's followers on February 27, 2013.
"Center for Arizona Policy is assessing the impact and what next steps to take in order to protect the residents of Phoenix from this deceitfully crafted law," Herrod wrote at the time.
As a supporter of CAP I feel you have misrepresented CAP starting in your title "Cathi Harrod's Center for Arizona Policy Hates Gays..." There is no gay bashing done by Cathi or her organization. On the contrary Christians are asked to love others. The Bible does say that sex between men is not the way God has intended sex to be. CAP is not out to hate gays. They are out to promote a society with strong moral values and liberty for individuals.
Arizona's SB1070, and SB1062 was passed by legislators belonging to a church that still worships a child molesting Poligamist leader that had about thirteen wives half of which were under the age of thirteen.
Brewer only vetoed SB1062 out of fear of lost revenues for the State, not for her lack of Hate.
This criminal has coledges in his name and fled justice for his crimes in Illinios.
What a "Saint"
And to think that millions of Dollars are being wasted just to push other people's beliefs down other people's throat, we need to force the Government and Supreme Court to stop allowing all of these religious groups which do not amount but to sect groups, and have a whole bunch of legislators both at State and National levels in their pockets, to push for enactments like these to enable these groups to push the envelope to the maximum and all they do is create doubt, hatred anxiety and anguish, and all for what!! to allow a bunch of politicians to give them a bigger podioum, and to give these religious zealots more freedom to create Havoc???
If being religious means that you have to be intolerant and to hate others most people don't want to be part of that. Our government has to deal with everyone. This has absolutely no place in our government.
James777: I do not Hate anyone -- just feel sorry for the way "these people" feel about other human beings. .
Mr. Lemons, Outstanding cover story, that's been needed to be told for years. Husband a Maricopa County Superior Court judge? How is all this supposed to work?
All you have to do is read the comments below to appreciate the true hate that people like Herrod, Huckabee, and Palin represent and inspire. The insults operate on a 6th grade level, which appears to be the mentality of the people that organizations like the Tea Party and the Center for Az Policy represent.
Apparently Cathi Herrod doesn't understand "religious freedom". Freedom of religion doesn't equate to freedom to discriminate. While she is free to practice her religion any way she chooses (go to church, pray, dance with the devil, etc), she, nor anyone else, is not allowed to prevent my religious activities and as an equally-righted American Citizen, I am/will be allowed anywhere in public she chooses to be. We Americans call this Liberty.
She can survive and thrive only in a shithole like your state of Arizona. In normal states on the Coast, this woman would be no more paid attention to than a bag lady screaming on the L train or Market Street.
As always, when attempting to persecute others in the name of their religion, the religious reich does not shrink from anything, no lie, no matter how stupid, egregious, or hateful is too much. Nothing is forbidden, no matter how illegal, distasteful, ridiculous, or lacking in human decency is something they will not use joyfully.
Christians are the most judgmental and unforgiving people in the world.
As you correctly stated, most all of Arizona can ALREADY discriminate against the LGBT community. SB 1062 would not change that. So where is all this horrific discrimination NOW?
Lets pressure these wacko politicians from the other side. Why can't a groups of sensible, good, sane people of AZ organize. Then like the wackos lead by these Bible freaks find sensible people to oppose these crazy right wing politicians not only in the primary but in the general election as well? We might be able to get rid of Biggs, Yarbrough, Reagan, Crandell, Kavanagh, Montenegro, Ugenti, DiCiccico, McCain, Franks, Flake and the other embarrassing nuts that now represent AZ. The sane and sensible people of AZ already had success we got rid of Frank Antenori and his clone Ron Gould.
Sadly, these people are still out there. Have they met a gay person? Spent any time with this person? And, how about their (the anti-gay group) RELIGION. Where in their Bible does it mention gay men and women? I thought there was a "love thy neighbor," "judge not lest ye be judged," etc. The way some people spout their religion can be rather disconcerting. No, I have no religion. But then I have no prejudice nor any hate for anyone who is different.
Don't hate the player, hate the game! Gays have the problem but I still interact with them, professionally. I choose not to socialize with them because God has claimed that it is wrong. I believe that is what this lady is all about. Homey don't play dat!
@FJSmith What we see, could be described as "wolves in sheep's clothing". Who's been hiding behind the curtain pulling the strings for all these years?
@dkessler4 Well said. Couldn't agree more. Arizona, land of the hypocrites.
@Artaud49 Americans for Prosperity. Citizens for Decency in Law among other "feel-good" titles of non-profits.
@slrman just shows you that there is NO god and they know it or they wouldn't be doing and saying the things they do and say
@slrman Christian hypocrites damage the good Christians and Jesus.
@LaMano that's because the party of choice is the nazi fascist party of NO (repugs)
Except, perhaps, for "these people" who are so judgmental, prejudiced and hateful due to their religion?
@rockdog48 gawd claimed it was wrong? so he doesn't have any proof? You theists are whacked out.
@rockdog48 Yes, you do hate gays because you use your evil religion to condemn them.
I choose not to have anything to do with people as willfully ignorant and hypocritical as you are.
@rockdog48 I assume you wait by the fireplace each December 25th for Santa as well? There are many books that proclaim Santa exists, even books to tell children to behave or Santa won't visit them. It sounds a little bit like the bible huh? Be good, follow what we say or you won't be resurrected into heaven. All fairytales and scare tactics, luckily some of us are still rational people.
I agree. It's become so bad that "hypocrite" and "christian" are semantically equal.
FYI, there is no evidence that the mythical Jesus ever existed.
As stated by Dr. Bart Ehrman, Professor of religious studies at the University of North Caroline, Chapel Hill, NC said, "In the entire first Christian century, Jesus is not mentioned by a single Greek or Roman scholar, politician, philosopher, or poet. His name never appears in a single inscription, and it is never found in a single piece of private correspondence. Zero! Zip references!"
I also have an essay about it at:
It's not an anti-christ piece but one with which I think you might agree.
Finally, instead of putting christ back into Christmas, how about putting christ back into christians?
Does your "rationality" ever cause you to question your simplistic views of religion? Does it ever make you wonder, if Christians are merely following such an obvious behavior control system, why are scientists, physicians, artists, highly imaginative and successful entrepreneurs, and many other people who are smarter and more successful than you, followers of such a system?
They are mostly very wealthy cults, too. I read that, if all religions paid taxes like any other business, it would result in 71 Billion dollars of revenue in the USA alone. I'm not certain about that number, but it would certainly go a long way toward health care and education.
@James777 If it were a true statement that many scientists, physicians, and artists did follow Christianity then yes it would make me wonder. The fact is most physicians and scientists believe in evolution, hence the basis of their career so no I don't ever wonder about that.