Day After Gay Teen’s Suicide, Lawmaker Says Gays Not “Mentally Healthy Adult Human Beings”
A lawmaker in Tennessee, one day after the suicide death of fourteen-year old gay Tennessee teenÂ Phillip Parker, wrote a constituent telling her that a gay person is not a “mentally healthy adult human being.” Rep.Â John Ragan, a Southern Baptist, pro-life, anti-gay, anti-immigrant, anti-education Republican, responded to a constituent’s letter asking him to oppose a now-infamous Tennessee bill that essentially delivers a license to bully to anyone who claims religious or moral prerogative. Ragan used the phraseÂ “mentally healthy adult human being,” as in, gays and lesbians are not mentally healthy adult human beings, three times in his letter.
Kristin M. Johnson a Political Science/Pre-Law student at Middle Tennessee State University, wrote her Congressman, and called the bullying bill, “simply hateful,” adding it is “a travesty of any part of the Constitution, much less the First Amendment.”
Â The threat to gay or lesbian children (yes, they do exist) or even to children rumored to be gay is quite overt. There is no mistaking that the purpose and language of this bill are to justify and defend anti-gay bullying, which has already caused too much pain and driven too many children to take their own lives. Let me clarify:Â bullyingÂ drove those children to suicide, not simplyÂ BEingÂ gay. If you support this bill, youÂ willÂ cause pain, and you may very well cause the deaths of more children like Jacob Rogers. Period.
Jacob RogersÂ was a Tennessee teen whoÂ succumbed to suicide in December after years of anti-gay bullying that friends charge went unacknowledged by local school officials.
Rep.Â John Ragan responded with a long-winded, oh-so-superior diatribe in which he attempts to use “logic” to explain that homosexuality is a choice, “defined by behavior,” using examples of “pedophilia, prostitution, murder, etc.,” and CDC statistics on HIV/AIDS and suicide to “prove” that gay and lesbian children neither need nor deserve protection.
All of these statistics are facts. A resulting critical thought question might be: do homosexual practitioners disproportionately contract AIDS, hepatitis, or syphilis through their own proclivities and behavior or in â€œreactionâ€ to opinions of that behavior by others or someone supporting a bill?
Examining another statistic, it has been well known for a decade that suicide is attempted much more frequently in the homosexual community than in the heterosexual community (Mathy, Cochran, Olsen, & Mays, 2009). This same source pointed out that, on average, suicide is approximately three times more likely among homosexuals than heterosexuals.
As a fitting critical thought question, it could be asked if other identifiable groups that engage in behavior of which â€œothers may disapproveâ€ commit suicide at similar rates? In other words, do prostitutes, pedophiles, polygamists, murders, etc., commit suicide at the same, or similar, rates to homosexual behavior practitioners? If similar rates were hypothetically so (not proven to be the case), do these behavior practitioners commit suicide at a higher rate because someone may have disapproved of their behavior or for other reasons? Should society avoid disapproving of pedophilia, prostitution, murder, etc., because practitioners of those behaviors may commit suicide at higher rates?
â€œFacts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.â€ —John Adams
Ragan, despite his chosen ignorance, is far from stupid. Here’s his Wikipedia bio:
John Ragan was born on December 16, 1948 inÂ North Carolina.Â He graduated from theÂ United States Air Force AcademyÂ and received a Master’s degree in Aeronautical Sciences fromÂ Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.He also attended theÂ University of Oklahoma, theÂ University of Southern California, theÂ University of North CarolinaÂ and theÂ University of TennesseeÂ as a graduate and professional student.
He served as aÂ commissioned officerÂ for 24 years, where he fought as anÂ Air ForceÂ pilot in theÂ Vietnam WarÂ and in theÂ Middle East.Â He also taught asÂ adjunct facultyÂ atÂ Embry-Riddle Aeronautical UniversityÂ and theÂ University of Tennessee.Â He has been aÂ business consultantÂ with 27 businesses, some of which are on theÂ Fortune 100Â list.
Johnson, who says she is gay, examines her Congressman’s response, and writes:
Heed, however, the awesomeÂ presumption, and particularly the coldness of the rationale, bent and twisted and applied to things not personally understood by him or his ilk in a way they are understood by me, by my Air-Force-brat wife, by all others like us – by all othersÂ notÂ exactly like him. This man wrote paragraph after paragraph clearly telling me what, in his view and in the view of others like the sponsor of the bill, by virtue of my “practiced” honesty, openness, and spiritually-based acceptance of my “feelings,” I amÂ not: a “mentally healthy adult human being” in control of my destructive urges. Very, very simply, I beg to differ.
As do we.
Tennessee has a major problem at this very minute: It has all but officially declared war on its LGBTQ citizens — of all ages — and the results are indeed human casualties. We know of two, recently, in Tennessee, but for every suicide by an LGBTQ youth or teen, we know there are dozens we will never know about, hundreds more attempted, and thousands more considered.
The people and especially lawmakers, religious, and school leaders of Tennessee are killing LGBTQ children, not figuratively, but literally.
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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM
‘Troubling Questions’: Experts Slam Ginni Thomas’ Group That Waged Cultural War Against the Left via Web of Dark Money Orgs
Legal experts are responding to bombshell reporting from The Washington Post revealing Ginni Thomas, the spouse of a U.S. Supreme Court Justice, who had unprecedented access to the Trump White House and Oval Office, for years headed a secretive right-wing activist organization funded through a web of dark money groups, whose purpose was to wage a culture war against the left.
The Post reports the organization, Crowdsourcers for Culture and Liberty, took in nearly $600,000 in anonymous funds to fuel its efforts to battle “cultural Marxism,” as Ginni Thomas, who headed the group, called their mission.
Thomas had stepped away from her previous non-profit right-wing activist group “amid concerns that it created potential conflicts for her husband on hot-button issues before the court,” The Post says, and yet, she led Crowdsourcers for Culture and Liberty, which creates the same concerns. Where is the money coming from? What is the group doing with it? How much crossover is there between her activism and the group’s targets and efforts, and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ work?
According to The Post, in tax filings of its think tank sponsor, Crowdsourcers for Culture and Liberty is described as an “informal, unincorporated nonprofit association which serves as an incubator for ideas across a network of conservative leaders, cultural entrepreneurs, and cultural influences.”
READ MORE: ‘Heist’: Ginni Thomas Tells J6 Committee Election Was Stolen, Says She Never Discussed Efforts to Overturn With Spouse
It appears great efforts were made to ensure the donors to Thomas’ Crowdsourcers group would not be able to be publicly identified.
“In 2019, anonymous donors gave the think tank Capital Research Center, or CRC, $596,000 that was designated for Crowdsourcers, according to tax filings and audits the think tank submitted to state regulators. The majority of that money, $400,000, was routed through yet another nonprofit, Donors Trust, according to that organization’s tax filings. Donors Trust is a fund that receives money from wealthy donors whose identities are not disclosed and steers it toward conservative causes,” The Post explains.
Thomas, who is reportedly active in another secretive far-right wing group, the Council for National Policy, brought two well-known far-right wing activists from CNP into Crowdsourcers for Culture and Liberty: former Trump attorney, ally, and advisor Cleta Mitchell, and Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk.
The New York Times last year described the Council for National Policy as an organization that “brings together old-school Republican luminaries, Christian conservatives, Tea Party activists and MAGA operatives, with more than 400 members who include leaders of organizations like the Federalist Society, the National Rifle Association and the Family Research Council.”
But despite all the obvious red flags, an attorney for Ginni Thomas, Mark Paoletta, told The Washington Post she was “proud of the work she did with Crowdsourcers, which brought together conservative leaders to discuss amplifying conservative values with respect to the battle over culture.”
READ MORE: Ginni Thomas ‘Intertwined’ With ‘Vast’ Campaign Pressuring Supreme Court to Overturn Roe: Report
“She believes Crowdsourcers identified the Left’s dominance in most cultural lanes, while conservatives were mostly funding political organizations,” Paoletta also told The Post.
“There is no plausible conflict of interest issue with respect to Justice Thomas,” he claimed.
U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), who is also an attorney, responded to The Post’s report by mocking Paoletta’s claim there is no conflict of interest.
“Donors Trust was central to the far-right Court-packing operation, and now they pass secret donor funds to a justice’s spouse, but ‘no plausible conflict of interest’? Please.”
Sen. Whitehouse went on to explain his additional concerns.
“Plus, remember that the secrecy conduits like Donors Trust keep the *public* from knowing what’s happening, but nothing prevents the secret donor from telling the spouse or the justice, ‘Hey, that money that secretly came through to you — that’s me.'”
Adam Smith, Vice President for Democracy Initiatives at the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), observed: “Seems like the spouse of a Supreme Court Justice shouldn’t be able to hide the source of huge donations that could be from people with business before the court.”
READ MORE: Ginni Thomas’ Attempts to Influence Overturn of Election Even Wider Than Previously Known
CREW’s President, Noah Bookbinder, a former federal corruption prosecutor, adds: “Hundreds of thousands in anonymous donations to an activist group led by Ginni Thomas, spouse of a Supreme Court justice, raises all kinds of troubling questions about who could be influencing decisions that affect all of us.”
Attorney and Slate Magazine senior writer covering courts and the law, Mark Joseph Stern, pushed back against any idea the nearly $600,000 funding came from small donations.
“Ginni Thomas’ various political ventures have never had any small/grassroots donors. They have ALWAYS been funded by a handful of ultra-wealthy individuals and organizations who are very obviously trying to curry favor with her husband,” Stern said.
Former White House aide and CNN commentator Keith Boykin, also an attorney, called for Justice Thomas to recuse from certain cases: “If Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson had to recuse herself from the Harvard affirmative action case, then Clarence Thomas should recuse himself from all the cases on right-wing issues in which his activist wife, Ginni Thomas, is involved.”
RIGHT WING EXTREMISM
Christian Nationalist Group Working to Get Its ‘Biblical Worldview Spread Across the Nation’
Last week, Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed legislation prohibiting transgender people from using public school facilities that match their gender identity. That legislation was crafted by the National Association of Christian Lawmakers, a right-wing organization that seeks to elect “godly leaders in our nation at every level” and then use them to “restore the Judeo-Christian foundation of our nation.”
Following the signing of this legislation into law, Jason Rapert, a longtime religious-right activist and ardent Christian nationalist who founded the NACL, took a victory lap, crediting his organization for the law and celebrating its success in pushing back “against the things of the devil in our country.”
As Rapert reported, this legislation had first been proposed by Arkansas school board member David Naylor during an annual NACL meeting and then brought to the Arkansas state legislature by state Rep. Mary Bentley, who serves on the board of the NACL.
On Friday, Rapert interviewed Bentley on his “Save The Nation” program, where she celebrated the NACL’s efforts “to get our biblical worldview spread across the nation.”
“Thank goodness we’ve got some common sense left here in Arkansas,” Bentley said. “[It was because of the NACL] that we were able to get that passed as model policy and bring it forth. I just love seeing grassroots come together and school board members coming to the capitol and going to the governor’s desk and just seeing it all work and flow just exactly how we want to. So, for the folks that are supporting NACL and what we’re doing, this is what we want to do across the country.”
“This is an example of the power of the NACL’s ability with model legislation,” Rapert replied. “This was brought by one of our members, and this policy actually could be immediately adopted by school boards in every school district across this country. If the school board wanted to adopt it, this is the model that they can utilize. And in addition to that, just like you did, go and pass it for the state so that this is going to apply to all the school boards in your state.”
Rapert and Bentley agreed that Arkansas has now blazed the trail on this issue, thereby making it easier for legislatures in other states to enact the same law.
“That’s what happens when you can be a leader,” Bentley asserted. “Once you make a trail, it’s a lot easier for people to follow once you get that trail made.”
“Thank you again for being a part of the NACL,” Bentley declared. “It’s just what we need in this nation right now to have it moving forward, to get our biblical worldview spread across the nation.”
This article was originally published by Right Wing Watch and is republished here by permission.
Pence Ordered to Comply With Subpoena, Testify Before Special Counsel’s Grand Jury
Mike Pence, the ex-vice president, must testify before Dept. of Justice special counsel Jack Smith’s grand jury investigating the January 6, 2021 insurrection, a federal judge has ruled, rejecting his claims of executive privilege.
The judge is requiring Pence to answer questions about his conversations with Donald Trump leading up to the insurrection, and to answer any questions related to any possible illegal acts Donald Trump may have committed, according to ABC News’ senior investigative reporter Katherine Faulders and CNN’s Abby Phillip.
Judge James Boasberg, the chief judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, “outright rejected Trump’s executive privilege challenge, but ruled more narrowly on Pence speech and debate challenge,” Faulders adds.
The judge, apparently citing Pence’s “speech and debate clause” claim, said “that Pence can still decline to answer questions related to his actions on January 6 itself, when he was serving as president of the Senate for the certification of the 2020 presidential election,” CNN reports.
READ MORE: ‘We’re Not Gonna Fix It’: TN Republican Says Congress Can Do Nothing to Stop Gun Violence – Calls for Christian ‘Revival’
NBC News reports Judge Boasberg “did, however, grant Pence a partial victory as to his argument that he was shielded from having to testify about Jan. 6 because of his constitutional role as part of the legislative branch.”
In what some legal experts dismissed as a faulty argument, “Pence’s legal team had argued that the Constitution’s ‘speech and debate’ clause should prevent special counsel Jack Smith’s prosecutors from eliciting any testimony about communications or activity related to Pence’s role as president of the Senate in presiding over the certification of the election results.”
Overall CNN calls it “another win for special counsel Jack Smith, who is investigating the Trump-aligned effort to subvert the 2020 election. Smith subpoenaed Pence for testimony and documents earlier this year.”
Pence can still appeal.
Watch MSNBC’s report below or at this link.
BREAKING: Former VP Pence has been ordered to testify in the special counsel’s investigation into former President Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. https://t.co/EuAAgB8ILO pic.twitter.com/wrYoKJcL0g
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) March 28, 2023
This is a breaking news and developing story.
This article has been updated to add video.
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