Cuccinelli Campaign Warns Clergy Could be Imprisoned for 'Teaching Christian Morals'

By Sunnivie Brydum

Originally published on Advocate.com October 10 2013 2:19 PM ET

Ken Cuccinelli, the ultraconservative Virginia attorney general currently running to become the state's next governor, seems to be getting desperate to shore up his right-wing base in the face of slumping poll numbers and a recent loss at the Supreme Court in his bid to keep Virginia's unconstitutional law banning consensual sodomy between adults on the books. 

Right Wing Watch revealed the latest fund-raising email from Cuccinelli's campaign, which features a hyperbolic scare tactic from the attorney general's wife, Teiro Cuccinelli, claiming that clergy will soon face imprisonment for preaching antigay doctrine from the pulpit. 

"We live in a nation in which our inalienable rights to life and liberty face real threats," Cuccinelli writes to open the fund-raising pitch. "Our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, second amendment rights, parental rights, and property rights are all slowly being strangled by our federal government." 

The email goes on to claim that the Obama administration intends to revoke the right of parents to homeschool their children — an apparent reference to a recent case involving a German family that was denied asylum in the U.S. after the German government told the family they could not homeschool their kids. RWW notes that nothing in the case, argued by Attorney General Eric Holder, implied in any way that the Obama administration intends to restrict the right of American citizens to homeschool their children. 

Cuccinelli closes by citing an anonymous "priest friend" who is "concerned that there might come a day soon when he and his fellow clergy might face imprisonment for teaching the Christian morals from the pulpit." While the claim doesn't explicitly cite anti-LGBT sentiment, "Christian morals" often refers to a moral opposition to homosexuality, as some Christians believe the Bible condemns it. But again, as RWW notes, "there is absolutely no evidence for the claim that clergy will be thrown in jail for preaching 'Christian morals' on issues like gay rights." In fact, those clergy members and religious institutions are protected from such retaliation by the very First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press."

But the Cuccinelli campaign apparently envisions an America where the Constitution is null and void, closing the pitch for money with this ominous cliff-hanger: "What will the future look like for our children? I do not know the answer."