A New Hampshire lawyer who works with a virulently anti-gay Christian right organization has been found guilty of child pornography charges after videotaping a 14-year-old girl having sex with two men on multiple occasions.
Lisa Biron, 43, of Manchester faces a minimum sentence of 25 years in prison after a jury convicted her yesterday after deliberating for less than an hour.
Biron, arrested by the FBI last November, was accused of eight felony counts involving the videotaping of men having sex with the girl. She also allegedly made a cellphone video of herself having sex with the girl.
Biron, who claimed on her Facebook page (which was taken down, according to the Concord Monitor) that the Bible was her favorite book, had worked with Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), formerly the Alliance Defense Fund, in defending a Pentecostal church in Concord in a tax fight against the city.
The Arizona-based ADF calls itself a “servant ministry” that seeks to transform the legal system and advocate “for religious liberty, the sanctity of life, and marriage and family.” The group issues dire warnings about “the homosexual agenda” and offers a book (available for a donation of $35) by its president, Alan Sears, and senior director Craig Osten, with that title. In the book, the authors claim that “the homosexual agenda” will destroy religious liberty and free speech. In one chapter, they claim that homosexuality on college campuses leads to pedophilia, and that homosexuality and pedophilia “are intrinsically linked,” a falsehood long perpetuated by the anti-gay right to demonize LGBT people.
In the wake of Biron’s arrest, the ADF removed all mentions of her from its website and Facebook page, and in a November CBS News report said that Biron was never an employee. The group has released no further statements on Biron. According to the LGBT blog Joe.My.God., the group continued to remove mentions of her from its Facebook page yesterday and banned anyone who posted anything about her.
Brown then joined forces with a group called El Pasoans for Traditional Family Values (EPFTFV) and announced he would recall Cook, Ortega and Byrd. His ministry’s website posted an “Open Letter to City Council” that said in part, “If you are up¬set at this action and would like to sign and/or circulate a recall petition against Mayor John Cook and Representatives Susie Byrd and Steve Ortega, then fill out the form below. Share this page with your friends and get them to fill out the form. Thanks.”
Brown’s church and ministry essentially organized and coordinated the recall campaign, taking the lead role in circulating petitions. The church gathered enough signatures to put the matter on the ballot, but Brown overlooked one thing: Texas election laws prohibit corporations (which includes non-profit groups) from intervening in elections.
County Court Judge Javier Alvarez had earlier ruled that the church and EPFTFV had broken the law, but he refused to stop the election, arguing it would thwart the will of the people.
The Texas 8th Court of Appeals was not impressed with this curious logic. Ruling unanimously, the court slammed Alvarez and made it clear that the state’s laws must be enforced.
“Despite having viewed the evidence in the light most favorable to the trial court’s order and indulging every reasonable inference in its favor, we find the trial court’s order denying injunctive relief is so arbitrary as to exceed the bounds of reasonable discretion,” wrote the judges.
The appeals court added, “It is essential to the independence of the judiciary and public confidence in the judicial process that a judge be faithful to the law and not be swayed by public clamor or fear of criticism. It is significant, we think, that the trial court lost sight of the fact that a proper application of the law to the facts in this case does not act to bar voters from properly exercising their right to seek a recall of elected office holders, provided that such right is exercised in accordance with the provisions of the Election Code.”
The Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), a Religious Right legal organization founded by television and radio preachers in the early 1990s, jumped into the case on behalf of Brown’s church. Joel Oster, the ADF attorney who handled the lawsuit, didn’t comment after the ruling came down, and the two local attorneys who worked on it, Theresa Caballero and Stuart Leeds, hung up on an El Paso Times reporter who called asking for comment.
On Friday night Newt Gingrich spoke at the “Prayer for America” event at the International Church of Las Vegas (ICLV) led by Apostle Paul Goulet. Jim Garlow, a member of the campaign’s national Faith Leaders Coalition, introduced Gingrich and promoted a pastors’ revolt against IRS rules that prohibit endorsement of a political candidate from the pulpit. Following is information on the event, the “non-denominational” Assemblies of God church led by Apostle Goulet, and a brief recap of Gingrich’s past history with apostles and prophets of the NAR.
Apostle Goulet introduced Garlow, who then introduced Gingrich to those assembled and watching the live streaming. As part of Garlow’s remarks, he promoted efforts by the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) to provoke a court case over IRS restrictions of candidate endorsements from the pulpit. As Garlow explained to the audience, this is a yearly effort that began in 2008 with the recruitment of 33 pastors, who videotaped political endorsements they made from the pulpit and sent them to the IRS. Each year the number of pastors involved has grown, according to Garlow, and he calls for those in the audience and watching live streaming to encourage their pastor to participate.
“Here’s what happens. On October 7th of this year, there will be several thousand pastors standing up and intentionally defying the Johnson Amendment based upon our biblical authority and our Constitutional right based upon the First Amendment. Secondly, any pastor in any state, during these primaries, over any candidate, if he wants to endorse or oppose, [he repeats] if he wants to endorse or oppose, they have the full legal right to do that. And they have 2500 attorneys who will back them up, regardless of the candidate.
Garlow asked the audience to write down the website or get the information being passed around by ushers about the event. The Alliance Defense Fund’s Pulpit Initiative 2012 website features a video of Garlow, who appears to be one of the driving forces behind the effort. Garlow then introduced Newt Gingrich, who began his speech by calling the children in the audience to the stage. See coverage by Right Wing Watch.
Apostle Paul Goulet and International Church of Las Vegas
Goulet and his wife Denise are well known apostles who have led New Apostolic events with C. Peter Wagner, Chuck Pierce, Dutch Sheets, James Goll, Barbara Wentroble, and others. By 2006, Goulet was on the list of elite members of the C. Peter Wagner-led International Coalition of Apostles. Goulet is currently in the Global Spheres network of Chuck Pierce.
In Pat Robertson’s bizarre universe backlash against someone denying basic civil rights to gay couples makes the oppressor a victim, and every natural event is a sign of the end of times. (then comes the plea for more money for his McMansion, Jet, and Limos.)
The 700 Club today featured a story on Rose Marie Belforti, the New York town clerk who refuses to sign marriage licenses following the passage of the state law providing marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples. The highly sympathetic story featured interviews with Belforti along with her allies in New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms and her legal counsel, the Alliance Defense Fund. People For the American Way Foundation is representing a lesbian couple Beforti turned away, and Belforti is facing a write-in challenger in her re-election race tomorrow.
Following the segment, Robertson called marriage equality an “abomination” and said that Belforti, along with two town clerks who resigned after the Marriage Equality Act passed, are “prisoners of conscience.”
NASHVILLE — On Sunday, a group of 100 preachers nationwide will step into the pulpit and say the only words they’re forbidden by law from speaking in a church.
They plan to use the pulpit as a platform for political endorsements, flouting a federal law that threatens churches with the loss of their nonprofit status if they stray too far into partisan politics.
This seems like a brilliant idea. Of course, the homophobic bigot brigade known as the Alliance Defense Fund is behind this.
The article has a pretty good summary of a normal human reaction to this type of attention whoring:
The defense fund’s polar opposite, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, issued a statement this week calling pulpit-based lawbreaking “the worst idea ever.”