New Yorkers and Catholics around the nation are responding to the use on Sunday of the New York Police Department to bar gay and allied Catholics from entering New York City’s historic St. Patrick’s Cathedral.Â St. Pat’s is the home of the Archbishop of New York and the President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who represents the Vatican in America.
Ten Catholics, responding to Cardinal Dolanâ€™s April 25 blog post, â€œAll Are Welcome!,â€Â which tells gay people who wish to participate in the Catholic faith, you must first â€œwash your hands!,” rubbed charcoal on their hands, and before they even approached the hallowed cathedral, were headed off by eight police officers and told if they attempted entry into St. Patrick’s Cathedral, they would be barred — and arrested.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s director of communications reportedly issued a statement yesterday that Dolan was “on a pilgrimage to Lourdes, France,” on Sunday, implying he had nothing to do with the arrest threats by NYPD officers, although it is hard to believe that the Cardinal doesn’t have access to email or a telephone.
The event, labeled by organizer Joseph AmodeoÂ as a “vigil,” did not result in any arrests, nor were the activists disruptive or intent on being so. They merely wanted to make a quiet statement, no louder than the wearing of a lapel button, in response to the leader of the Catholic Church in America’s patriarchal and offensive statement that gay people are unclean and must “wash their hands” before their church will recognize their right to be at the table.
“For Cardinal Dolan to imply that LGBT people are tainted with ‘dirty hands’ is for him to utterly fail to understand God’s creation,” Ross Murray, GLAAD’s Director of News and Faith Initiatives noted shortly after Sunday’s vigil. “There is no dress code to experience the love of God. Threatening worshipers with arrest displays no grace nor pastoral care. The action clearly tells LGBT people that they are not welcome. For someone who wants to ‘do better’ at reaching out to LGBT people, Dolan is failing miserably.”
GLAAD certainly isn’t the only one who thinks Cardinal Dolan is failing.
“I applaud faithful Catholics for confronting Cardinal Dolan on his duplicitous public stands regarding social justice for God’s LGBT children,” Phil Attey, formerÂ executive director of Catholics for Equality toldÂ The New Civil Rights Movement in an email conversation:
On Easter Sunday, Cardinal Dolan went on several Sunday morning political programs, advancing the idea that he and the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) must “forge a new relationship with the LGBT community.” But it’s clear from his subsequent public statements about LGBT Catholics that he had no such intentions.
Kudos to Joseph Amodeo and faithful Catholics in New York for publicly calling Cardinal Dolan on his lies. Jesus stands with them and all who stand up for social justice and for honesty.
Timmian Massie, anÂ adjunct professor of religious studies at Marist College, toldÂ The New Civil Rights MovementÂ also via an email conversation that the “security detail at St. Patrick’s Cathedral used the fear of arrest to stop a call for social justice, something the Catholic Church used to care about more that it apparently does now.”
“However,Â that responseÂ reallyÂ showed the fear the Church hierarchy has in allowing members to use their gifts of intelligence, rational thinkingÂ and free will to expose the hypocrisy of the Cardinal’s statement that in the Catholic Church, ‘All are welcome.’ Obviously,Â LGBTQ Catholics are not welcome because the hierarchy, notÂ necessarily its members, want LGBTQ people to be less than who we are,” says Massie, whoÂ studied theology at the North American College in Vatican City andÂ the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, and taught a course inÂ Rome on the Vatican.
“The Church does not actively and continually discriminate against any other group in its membership. The protesters had planned to receive Communion on the tongue, not in their hands,Â as a sign of respect for Catholic belief that the Eucharist is the Body of Christ. I have seen many people with ‘dirty hands’ approach a priest or Eucharistic Minister for Communion, but never be turned away.
“What the Cardinal and hisÂ staff at St. Patrick’s don’t realize is that they helped this small group of less than a dozen faithful LGBTQ Catholics and allies gain even more attention for the cause of equality than if they had simply allowed them to enter the cathedral in silence. In reality, the group’s witness was effective and not a failure, though being turned away at the door of one’s spiritual home may have caused pain for those involved. Jesus, who pointed out the hypocrisy of religious leaders of his day, would have approved of this simple act undertaken by people who wish nothing more than to be treated as equals in the eyes of the men who lead the Church. I believe the LGBTQ community is already seen as equal in the eyes of God.”
On Sunday evening, GLAAD noted that “Nicholas Coppola also participated in the witness.” GLAAD’sÂ Ross Murray writes:
Coppola is the man who wasÂ stripped of all his parish dutiesÂ after marrying his husband. Coppola presentedÂ 18,600 signatures with GLAADÂ to his bishop, asking him to be reinstated, which the bishop returned by mail with a cover letter that read simply, “FROM YOUR FAITHFUL ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP.” Coppola now has aÂ Change.org petition, asking to meet and dine with Cardinal Dolan. So far that petition has over 22,000 signatures.
Cardinal Dolan has yet to reply.
Joseph Ward III, Director ofÂ Believe Out Loud,Â an online network that empowers Christians to work for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality, toldÂ The New Civil Rights Movement via email,Â “Nobody should ever be denied entry into God’s house on the basis of their gender identity or sexual orientation. These Catholics sent a powerful message that they and all LGBT people are wonderfully made in the image of God, and should be treated with dignity.”
Finally, the words ofÂ Joseph Amodeo, the event’s organizer, via his Facebook page yesterday:
I want to thank everyone who has reached out to me over the past 24 hours; your support means a lot. To be honest, I’m still trying to digest and understand how we were treated at St. Patrick’s Cathedral yesterday. There is one thing that I am sure of, the Holy Spirit was with us. The prayers, embraces, and tears that we shared were a powerful expression of the feelings we all had standing in front of the Cathedral. Pax et bonum.
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Why Was GOP’s Star Witness Re-Arrested? He May Have Been Trying to Flee the Country: Report
The re-arrest of Alexander Smirnov, the former FBI informant who allegedly may have provided House Republicans with Kremlin propaganda that was the basis for their efforts to impeach President Joe Biden and attack his son Hunter, raised some eyebrows on Thursday.
Smirnov, once considered House Republicans’ Jim Comer and Jim Jordan’s star witness, was re-arrested even after a magistrate judge ordered him released, and at his attorneys’ offices, raising eyebrows from even national security experts, insisting there had better be a good reason for it.
Now, according to a noted legal expert, it appears there was.
“A California judge seems to be suggesting [Smirnov’s] lawyers are complicit in his efforts to flee, in a remarkable line ordering detention for the FBI source whose lies propelled Biden impeachment efforts,” writes professor of law and MSNBC legal contributor Joyce Vance, a former U.S. Attorney.
U.S. District Judge Otis D. Wright II in his order wrote on Thursday: “It has come to this Court’s attention that counsel for defendant has sought an emergency hearing in the District of Nevada to arrange the release of Defendant Smirnov, likely to facilitate his absconding from the United States.”
After detailing Smirnov’s arrest and release, Judge Wright ordered his re-arrest, adding: “The U.S. Marshal Service is advised there is to be no deviation from this Order.”
“They did not respond to questions about the language in the judge’s order suggesting a ‘likely’ aim to ‘facilitate’ their client ‘absconding from the United States.'”
Vaccine-Laced Lettuce and Tomatoes? Tennessee GOP Lawmaker Worried
A Tennessee Republican state lawmaker says he’s worried Tennesseans might overdose on vaccines if they eat too many tomatoes.
State Rep. Scott Cepicky claims vaccines can already be added to foods like lettuce and tomatoes, and to tobacco products, so he has filed legislation to require grocery store items containing vaccines to be labeled.
“University of California Riverside has already perfected the ability to put human vaccines into our lettuce right now,” Rep. Cepicky told his fellow lawmakers Wednesday while discussing his legislation. “Also, tomatoes, has the ability to do that also per UC Berkeley. And then big tobacco, RJ Reynolds and stuff has perfected the ability to put a human vaccine in tobacco products.”
Cepicky, who has been endorsed by U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), warned, “there is no law, deeming those that when you go into a grocery store, you should know as a consumer, this head of lettuce is a head of lettuce. The head of lettuce right next week could contain a vaccine in it. All we’re saying is if it does have the vaccine in it, make sure it’s listed as a pharmaceutical so people can get the proper dosage.”
Facing some pushback from Democratic Rep. John Ray Clemmons, Cepicky went on to say, “This is more of a consumer protection bill right here, is to make sure that if you’re going in to buy tomatoes, and there’s a polio vaccine in there, that you are aware of what you’re buying has a polio vaccine. The problem you have is if it’s not treated as a pharmaceutical, being the size and difference between you and me, how many tomatoes do I have to eat to get the proper dosage versus how many tomatoes that you have to eat? And if you eat too many do you get a overdose?”
Asked if his legislation was necessity, Cepicky added, “Well, if you’d have a child that is allergic to a certain vaccine, and it’s not disclosed, when you go to buy that, that vegetable, whatever it is, and your child dies from that, I would think that having place is going to make sure that that is treated as a pharmaceutical so that the consumers know exactly what they’re buying.”
Anti-vaxers gained a foothold during the COVID pandemic, spreading false claims about vaccines. Last year the fact-checking website Snopes deemed it “false” that “mRNA from COVID-19 vaccines has entered the food supply via genetically modified plants bred to contain it or through the consumption of vaccinated livestock.”
“Claims regarding COVID-19 vaccines ‘in your salad‘ have persisted on the internet and recirculated due to misreadings or misinterpretations of several press releases or scientific research,” Snopes added, “Mike Flynn, during a September 2021 podcast appearance, referenced this research, describing it as ‘putting the vaccine in salad dressing.'”
Flynn, the former Trump U.S. national security advisor, is a far-right Christian nationalist and Trump MAGA activist.
Tennessee lawmakers voted to move Rep. Capicky’s forward.
Watch Rep. Capicky’s remarks below or at this link.
Tennessee State Rep. Scott Cepicky (R-Culleoka) defends his bill to label vaccines (?) in food:
“When you go into a grocery store, you should know … This head of lettuce is a head of lettuce, the head of lettuce right next to it could include a vaccine in it.” pic.twitter.com/Q7fd33H05D
— Heartland Signal (@HeartlandSignal) February 22, 2024
‘Insultingly Stupid’: Trump’s Move to Toss Out Classified Docs Case Torn Apart by Experts
Lawyers for Donald Trump late Thursday night launched a multi-pronged effort to toss out of court Special Counsel Jack Smith’s prosecution of the ex-president in the classified documents case, which includes charges under the Espionage Act. Many legal experts were stunned, not only by the move, but by the shallowness of the arguments.
The motions will be decided by U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, appointed by then-President Donald Trump during his last year in office.
“Mr. Trump’s lawyers made a barrage of legal arguments in seeking to circumvent a criminal case that many legal experts consider the most ironclad of the four against him,” The New York Times reported just past midnight, observing that some of the claims presented by attorneys for the indicted ex-president “tested the bounds of credulity or clashed with prior court rulings.”
“They attacked the law he is accused of violating, questioned the legality of the special counsel prosecuting him and argued that he is shielded from prosecution by presidential immunity,” the Times reported, adding that many of the arguments “appeared designed to delay the case from moving toward trial, a strategy that Mr. Trump has pursued in all of the criminal proceedings he is facing.”
Politico late Friday morning added the seven different motions filed were “a grab bag of arguments that the charges are legally faulty, that prosecutors have targeted him for political reasons and that the special counsel spearheading the case had no legal authority to bring it.”
Nearly two weeks ago Trump, citing his claim of “presidential immunity,” asked the U.S. Supreme Court to delay proceedings in Special Counsel Smith’s other court case against him, the election interference trial. The Court agreed to take up the case but has not released its decision.
Now, citing the same or similar arguments, Trump is plowing forward.
“Trump claims that he designated the classified materials ‘personal’ and he took his ‘personal records’ to Mar-a-Lago with him,” MSNBC legal contributor Katie Phang reported Thursday night.
Phang points to this section, the opening of Trump’s motion:
“President Donald J. Trump respectfully submits this motion seeking dismissal of Counts 1 through 32 on the basis of presidential immunity, as these charges stem directly from official acts by President Trump while in office,” it reads. “Specifically, President Trump is immune from prosecution on Counts 1 through 32 because the charges turn on his alleged decision to designate records as personal under the Presidential Records Act (‘PRA’) and to cause the records to be moved from the White House to Mar-a-Lago. As alleged in the Superseding Indictment, President Trump made this decision while he was still in office. The alleged decision was an official act, and as such is subject to presidential immunity.”
After the FBI executed a legal search warrant of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence and resort in 2022, agents retrieved “11 sets of classified documents, including some marked as top secret and meant to be only available in special government facilities,” The Wall Street Journal reported at the time.
The federal government, in total, has recovered from Trump “more than 300 classified documents” with classified markings, totaling over 700 pages, The New York Times reported in August of 2022.
“Material about nuclear weapons is especially sensitive and usually restricted to a small number of government officials, experts said,” The Washington Post also reported at the time. “Publicizing details about U.S. weapons could provide an intelligence road map to adversaries seeking to build ways of countering those systems. And other countries might view exposing their nuclear secrets as a threat, experts said.”
Back in October, NBC News reported, Trump “allegedly shared sensitive information about U.S. nuclear submarines with an Australian billionaire who is a member of his Mar-a-Lago club.”
Meanwhile, legal experts were stunned by Trump’s attorneys’ overnight motion to toss the case.
“This motion is insultingly stupid,” wrote national security attorney Brad Moss. “Trump is arguing he designated all these highly classified records as PERSONAL records, and that he therefore had the right to keep them. Even if that was a plausible argument, this is a motion to dismiss: he can’t introduce news facts.”
Former U.S. Ambassador and former Obama “Ethics Czar” Norm Eisen, an attorney and CNN legal analyst, Thursday night wrote, “I just finished reading Trump’s absolute immunity motion in the MAL [Mar-a-Lago] docs case.”
“If this were allowed, POTUS could declassify all of our most sensitive secrets when leaving office & sell them to Putin 5 minutes later,” he noted, adding: “As bad as Seal Team 6 hypo[thesis] in 1/6 case.”
In a more in-depth examination, Moss explained, “If Trump’s immunity arguments in the DC and FL cases actually succeed, Joe Biden can do the following: 1) declare Trump a threat to election integrity and have him imprisoned immediately, at a minimum, 2) declare the entire Trump Org a threat to national security and seize all of its assets.”
He continues: “3) cancel the election, 4) if, by some chance, he is forced out of office, he can walk out of the White House with 15 moving vans full of every classified secret he wants and sell them to the highest bidder. And no one could do anything to prosecute him for any of it. He can pardon anyone he wants while in office and who helped him commit any illegal act he could think of to do #1-#3, and he can then claim immunity for himself if he is later indicted.”
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