As the Violence Against Women Act gets ready to move in the Senate, no one seems to be lobbying against it as aggressively as the religious right.
While the Southern Baptist Convention’s political arm, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, is mired in scandal resulting from ERLC head Richard Land’s repeated plagiarism and inflammatory remarks on race, it has found time to criticize the Violence Against Women Act. Doug Carlson, manager for administration and policy communications for the ERLC, voiced the group’s opposition to the highly successful law because of new provisions that ensure that LGBT victims of domestic violence do not encounter discrimination while seeking help.
Carlson quoted a letter Richard Land signed along with Mathew Staver of Liberty Counsel, Jim Garlow of Renewing American Leadership Action, Tom McClusky of Family Research Council Action, C. Preston Noell of Tradition, Family, Property Inc., Phyllis Schlafly of Eagle Forum and Penny Nance and Janice Shaw Crouse of Concerned Women for America.
Notably, the letter was also signed by conservative activist Timothy Johnson, who was convicted of a felony domestic violence charge and was arrested a second time for putting his wife in a wrist lock and choking his son, as reported by Sarah Posner.
The lobbying efforts don't appear to be having much of an impact. The Hill reports today that Senate Republicans "will let legislation on domestic violence pass the upper chamber despite having concerns about its constitutionality."
The focus will shift quickly to the House. A Senate Democratic leadership aide added, "We will be happy to point out as long as it takes the inability of the House to act on the Violence Against Women Act. We won't let a day go by where we don't put pressure on the House to move forward. Republicans would be wise to let this go through the Senate and not count on House GOP counterparts to hold it up and strip out provisions."