GetEQUAL To Tony Perkins: Where Were You When Our People Got Shot, Bullied, Beat Up?
GetEQUAL last night released a statement condemning Wednesday’s shooting of a guard/building manager at theÂ Family Research Council (FRC), but, unlike most other responses, GetEQUAL didn’t put on kid gloves when writing it. The GetEQUAL statement balances their condemnation of violence with a strong message holding FRC president Tony Perkins accountable for decades of his organization’s anti-gay rhetoric and actions.
GetEQUAL’s “mission is to empower the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community and our allies to take bold action to demand full legal and social equality, and to hold accountable those who stand in the way.” Their statement fulfills that mission, as they ask Tony Perkins:
Where was Tony Perkins when two members of our community were left for dead in the bushes ofÂ Violet Andrews Park in Portland, Texas? Where is Tony Perkinsâ€™ condemnation of the thousands of LGBT youth being bullied, beat up and laughed at in the halls of our schools? Where was Tony Perkins when North Carolina pastor Charles Worley declared that all gays and lesbians should be rounded up and put in camps surrounded by electric fences, and left to die?
Here, in full, is GetEQUAL’sÂ Statement on FRC Shooting:
Wednesdayâ€™s shooting at the Family Research Councilâ€™s (FRC) headquarters is a stark reminder of the fragility of life.Â GetEQUAL condemns the shooting and wishes the officer a speedy recovery.
In the aftermath of Wednesdayâ€™s events, it would benefit us all to consider the impact of the continued discrimination that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Americans face on a daily basis. For decades, LGBT Americans have endured ridicule, stigmatization, demonization, physical abuse â€” often at the hands of our own families, classmates, co-workers and neighbors â€” and blame for countless natural disasters, including Hurricane Katrinaâ€¦all in the name of â€œfamily values.â€
At a Thursday afternoon press conference, and despite no evidence to substantiate his claim, FRC president Tony Perkins laid the blame for Wednesdayâ€™s shooting at the feet of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), stating that by labeling the FRC a â€œhate group,â€ the SPLC had contributed to this horrible and violent tragedy.Â To be clear, the SPLC has worked for decades to track incidents of violence and intolerance in an effort to prevent just such an attack, laboring tirelessly to provide reliable information on hundreds of groups across the country that demonize groups of people simply for who they are â€” whether thatâ€™s based on race, ethnicity, religious affiliation, or sexual orientation and gender identity.
We stand side-by-side with the Southern Poverty Law Center â€” a group born out of the civil rights movement over four decades ago â€” and support their work to track incidents of hatred and intolerance directed toward the LGBT community and other marginalized communities across the country. Despite Mr. Perkinsâ€™ attempts to paint himself and the FRC as victims, it is groups like the Family Research Council that regularly and routinely use deceptive practices and intolerant rhetoric to create a dangerous environment for LGBT Americans. It is for this very reason that the SPLC has, accurately, labeled the FRC as a hate group.
While Tony Perkins places the blame for Wednesdayâ€™s shooting at the feet of the SPLC, we must ask: Where was Tony Perkins when two members of our community were left for dead in the bushes ofÂ Violet Andrews Park in Portland, Texas? Where is Tony Perkinsâ€™ condemnation of the thousands of LGBT youth being bullied, beat up and laughed at in the halls of our schools? Where was Tony Perkins when North Carolina pastor Charles Worley declared that all gays and lesbians should be rounded up and put in camps surrounded by electric fences, and left to die?
We all know the answer â€” Tony Perkins is and has been silent. Mr. Perkins has time and again advocated against the humane treatment of LGBT Americans and against any legislation that would protect LGBT people from discrimination or attack. Decades of paid work focused on marginalizing and demonizing LGBT Americans has resulted in tacit endorsement of violent acts and the spread of false information about LGBT Americans. Through his ongoing campaign of discrimination and insistence on pursuing a radical right-wing agenda, Mr. Perkins has advocated for the reinstatement of â€œDonâ€™t Ask, Donâ€™t Tell,â€ an amendment to the Constitution that would forever outlaw marriage equality, and state laws that would continue to keep LGBT Americans as second-class citizens.
As GetEQUAL is committed to fighting against injustice and for equality by using non-violent civil disobedience, we condemn Wednesdayâ€™s shooting even as we also ask the Family Research Council (and organizations that share its views) to think about the environment they have created by marginalizing a minority group and making family members, neighbors, and friends into scapegoats for societyâ€™s challenges. GetEQUAL never condones or advocates for violence, and believes wholeheartedly that when violence is used we all lose. There is no power in violence; our power comes by coming together as a community, standing shoulder to shoulder with our brothers and sisters and refusing to be moved under the weight of discrimination, prejudice, and intolerance. Even as we hope for the recovery of the security guard who suffered violence on Wednesday, we also hope for an end to the Family Research Councilâ€™s tactics of division and fear-mongering that have created such a toxic environment within our homes, neighborhoods, schools, places of worship, and workplaces.
Telling the truth about a groupâ€™s hateful message is not the same as advocating violence. We pray, with all people of good will, for an end to violence as a means of expression.
(For highlights from Tony Perkinsâ€™ anti-LGBT record, visit:Â http://www.glaad.org/cap/tony-perkins.)
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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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