Thursday, February 08, 2018


I'm grateful for Jennifer Rubin's high level of outrage at Donald Trump and the people who back him. But does it really surprise her that religious-right groups were silent when they learned that White House aide Rob Porter is a spousal abuser?
Appearing on CNN’s “New Day,” Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) was blunt about the Rob Porter issue. “I have no use for anybody who beats their spouse,” he said....

That’s a lot more than we have heard from any of the so-called values voter groups that profess concern for the family. Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council, gave President Trump a “mulligan” on his alleged affair with porn star Stormy Daniels.... Surely his group has something to say about a White House aide whose two ex-wives have presented compelling accounts (in one case a photograph of her battered eye) and who reportedly failed to get a full security clearance.... We asked FRC for comment. No one has responded. Its website makes no mention of the matter.

Concerned Women for America, which claims a membership of hundreds of thousands of women, lists as one of its concerns “the alarming increase in violence in American households, including same-sex and opposite-sex partner assaults, spousal assaults, and child and elder abuse.” Its website explains that one of its goals is to bring “an end to violence within households, especially the sexual abuse of children, while reinforcing the importance and autonomy of healthy families.” I asked CWA for comment on Porter. I have received no response.
Maybe Rubin doesn't remember, but both of these organizations opposed reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act in 2012 and 2013. A 2012 email from Concerned Women for America laid out reasons for the group's opposition:
It is astounding that the left’s “war on woman” has some senators afraid to oppose a bad bill simply because it’s titled, “The Violence Against Women Act.”

This legislation, which is normally a boondoggle for feminists groups, has become even more political this Congress. The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), S. 1925, creates new protections for homosexuals. In order to receive federal grants, domestic violence organizations have to agree to embrace the homosexual agenda. It also expands categories of who is eligible to receive services.
CWA's Janice Crouse clarified what that last sentence means on a 2012 radio show:
... you have a number of women from other countries who marry Americans to come to this country, and then they want out of the marriage. Well, VAWA provides a way for them to get out, a very easy way for them to get out.
Yes, heaven forbid that a law should help immigrant women escape abusive marriages.

On that radio show, Crouse also said:
Quite frankly, much of the Violence Against Women funds reeducating programs for judges to try to train them in the principles of feminism and so-called ’women’s rights.’
So who cares if it helps victims of abuse? It advances the cause of "so-called ’women’s rights.’"! Can't have that!

The Family Research Council also opposed reauthorization:
In an email alert ... the FRC decried the VAWA ("which, ironically, is supported by the same administration that wants to put women in front-line combat!") as an "abuse of taxpayer dollars" that "does more to promote a radical agenda than it does to help women."

The email quoted conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly, who also opposes VAWA. "In its 17 years of operation," Schlafly wrote on, VAWA "has done little or no good for real victims of domestic violence, while its funds have been used to fill feminist coffers and to lobby for feminist objectives and laws. Although every spending bill should be subject to rigorous auditing procedures in order to curb waste and fraud, VAWA has somehow ducked accountability for the [$660 million] a year it doles out to radical feminist organizations."
The FRC didn't just oppose reauthorization -- it scored the vote:
The Family Research Council is taking VAWA opposition so seriously that it’s told congressional Republicans that this vote will be scored – if they want to maintain a high rating on religious right scorecards, they’ll have to vote against reauthorization.
The Violence Against Women Act was reauthorized in 2013, with unanimous support of all voting Democrats and independents, but 138 Republicans voted no in the House and 22 in the Senate.

Domestic violence is like so many other issues for the right -- it's secondary to the fight for conservative dominance. In 2012 and 2013, the religious right used the VAWA reauthorization fight as an excuse to bash gay people, immigrants, and feminists. In 2018, spousal abuse is deemed less important than standing with President Trump. It's not about morality for these people. It's about winning.

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