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Is This Really Just ‘Mainstream Christian Advocacy’?

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Following the shooting of a security guard at the anti-gay Family Research Council, Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank called it “reckless“ for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) to say the FRC is a “hate group.” He further suggested that calling the FRC “hateful” is an example of “inflammatory labels” and “hurling accusations that can stir up the crazies,” and questioned why the SPLC considers the FRC a “hate group” alongside the KKK and Aryan Nations. Throughout the piece, Milbank describes the FRC as “a mainstream conservative think tank,” “a policy shop that advocates for a full range of conservative Christian positions,” “a mainstream Christian advocacy group,” and “driven by deeply held religious beliefs.”

But Milbank’s appraisal of the FRC as something other than hateful is only possible because of his complete refusal to examine the actual substance of the organization’s infamous “conservative Christian positions.” For anyone with even a cursory knowledge of the group’s so-called “mainstream Christian advocacy,” the claim that they aren’t hateful is so plainly ridiculous that the very word “hate” is meaningless if it doesn’t include the FRC.

An accusation of hatefulness certainly isn’t something to be thrown around lightly – it has to be earned. The SPLC does not consider organizations to be hate groups merely because they have strong political or religious views, but because they repeatedly make false and defamatory claims about LGBT people. And the FRC has been working overtime since its inception to do just that. They’ve made no effort to hide their extraordinary attacks on the LGBT community; for anyone who cares enough to look, all of this is a matter of public record.

The FRC is pervasively opposed to the recognition and acceptance of transgender people. In one edition of their “Washington Update,” they criticize the rules of Immigration and Customs Enforcement for providing undocumented transgender detainees with continued access to hormone therapy rather than forcibly de-transitioning them. As they see it, trans people as a group are not even entitled to receive their own prescribed medications. Contrary to the recommendations of the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Medical Association and the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, which recognize gender transition treatments as beneficial and medically necessary, the FRC considers this “exacerbating a mental health crisis like cross-dressing.”

Testifying before the Maryland State Senate, FRC senior policy fellow Peter Sprigg – whose medical qualifications include being a professional actor and an ordained Baptist minister — again claimed that trans people should only receive “mental health treatments to help them become comfortable with their biological sex.” He further added that they transition “to fulfill their sexual desires,” which he describes as “transvestic fetishism.” In a policy document on gender identity nondiscrimination ordinances, which Sprigg labels “bathroom bills,” he argues against trans people being allowed to present as their identified gender, calling them “often highly unconvincing and therefore disturbing to witnesses.” To Dana Milbank, this is just “mainstream Christian advocacy,” which apparently includes denying health care and legal protections to entire classes of people and calling them sexual fetishists who are ugly.

The FRC and its staff have also used distorted and debunked studies to claim that LGBT people are unfit parents and are more likely to molest children. FRC president Tony Perkins describes pedophilia as “a homosexual problem,” and senior fellow Timothy Dailey has claimed that “disproportionate numbers of gay men seek adolescent males or boys as sexual partners.” An FRC pamphlet from 1999 stated: “One of the primary goals of the homosexual rights movement is to abolish all age of consent laws and to eventually recognize pedophiles as the ‘prophets’ of a new sexual order.”

They’ve recently cited Mark Regnerus‘ widely criticized study, which included hardly any examples of long-term same-sex parenting and was found to be severely flawed in an audit by the journal that published it, to claim that children of gay parents were more likely to be sexually abused, and “fare worse on most outcomes.” The study’s author admitted that it was not representative of stable families with same-sex parents, and the journal Social Science Research believes the paper’s methodological flaws should have disqualified it from publication. The FRC called it a “gold standard” of research. Is misrepresenting the competence of same-sex parents and the welfare of their children just one of those “deeply held religious beliefs”?

Of course, the FRC isn’t content with merely opposing the recognition of our families and depicting us as sexual predators – they’ve repeatedly challenged the very legality of our consenting, adult relationships. In 2010, Peter Sprigg appeared on Hardball and stated, “I think that the Supreme Court decision in Lawrence v. Texas which overturned the sodomy laws in this country was wrongly decided. I think there would be a place for criminal sanctions against homosexual behavior.”

The FRC was also found to have spent $25,000 lobbying Congress against approving a resolution condemning Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which would institute the death penalty for anyone who had gay sex more than once. Their explanation was that while they don’t support the Uganda bill, they only wanted to remove “sweeping and inaccurate assertions that homosexual conduct is internationally recognized as a fundamental human right.” It’s not that they want us dead or anything – they just don’t think we have the right to do what heterosexuals do every day without facing “criminal sanctions,” like death.

And these aren’t just exceptions to an otherwise respectable record. At the FRC, such extreme stances are the rule. Whether they’re calling to “export homosexuals from the United States,” asking public health organizations to tell people to quit being gay as if it were a cigarette habit, recommending that teenagers be discouraged from identifying as LGBT in order to reduce teen suicide, comparing gay marriage to a man marrying a horse, describing efforts against anti-gay bullying as “telling school children that it’s okay to be immoral,” or comparing gay pride events to “adultery pride” and “drunkenness pride,” the FRC has made a name for itself. And that name is hate – proud, shameless, unapologetic hate.

What does Dana Milbank have to say about this?

Offensive, certainly. But in the same category as the KKK?

I have to wonder: if the KKK restricted itself to calling people of color child abusers and immoral sexual deviants with pedophiles for prophets, and demanded that they be denied health care and subject to “criminal sanctions,” would Milbank similarly object to calling them a hate group? Or would it be obvious that these are unambiguously hateful beliefs?

In asking us not to call this hateful, we’re expected to accept people wanting us demonized, detained, deported and dead as a normal part of American political and religious life. We’re the ones being told we must tolerate this as a simple difference of opinion – after all, it’s just “mainstream Christian advocacy.” To call them hateful is “reckless” and “inflammatory” of us; to be that hateful is mainstream and conservative of them.

There’s a remarkable irony in Milbank’s attempt to gloss over the particulars of the FRC’s beliefs by simply saying they’re “Christian.” He accuses us of calling Christian and conservative beliefs hateful, and yet he’s the one claiming that this unbelievable hostility toward our lives is just another element of Christianity and conservatism. Which is really worse: calling out hate groups for truly hateful behavior, or saying that mainstream American religion involves hating every aspect of our existence?

Not all deeply held Christian beliefs are hateful, and not all conservatism is hateful. But hate is still hate regardless of its religious or political origins. If these are your deeply held religious beliefs, then your deeply held religious beliefs are hateful. If these are your conservative Christian positions, then your conservative Christian positions are hateful. And if the FRC can’t be called hateful, then what can?

 

Zinnia Jones is an atheist activist, writer, and video blogger focusing on LGBTQ rights and religious belief. Originally from Chicago, she’s currently living in Florida with her partner Heather and their two children.

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Nikki Haley Continues Her IVF Evolution With Yet Another Policy Position 

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Nikki Haley is now on her fourth in-vitro fertilization (IVF) policy position. In a period of less than two weeks the trailing Republican presidential candidate has gone from saying embryos are “babies,” to distancing herself from the Alabama Supreme Court ruling that claims embryos are “children,” to saying she supports IVF but it’s an issue for the states, to calling for federal protections for IVF.

After the extreme Alabama Supreme Court ruling that declared human embryos to be “children,” the former Trump UN Ambassador quickly announced she agreed that embryos are “babies.”

“When you talk about an embryo, you are talking about, to me, that’s a life. And so I do see where that’s coming from when they talk about that,” Haley had said.

But public sentiment runs strongly against the Alabama Court’s February 16 ruling and Haley’s concurrence February 21.

Haley, who is trailing Trump in the polls by strong double digits, pulled back from aligning herself with the toxic Alabama decision.

RELATED: Republicans Kill Bill to Protect IVF After Claiming They Fully Support It

“Well first off all, this is, again, I didn’t say that I agreed with the Alabama ruling. The question that I was asked is, ‘Do I believe an embryo is a baby?’” Haley told CNN, as The New Republic reported. “I do think that if you look in the definition, an embryo is considered an unborn baby. And so yes, I believe, from my stance, that that is.”

That appears to not have been sufficient, because she quickly switched her stance yet again.

“We don’t want fertility treatment to shut down, we don’t want them to stop doing IVF treatment, we don’t want them to stop doing artificial insemination,” said Haley, again to CNN, on February 22. “But I think this needs to be decided by the people in every state. Don’t take away the rights of these physicians and these parents to have these conversations.”

And now, another switch.

“We don’t need government getting involved in an issue where we don’t have a problem,” she told CNN’s Dana Bash on Friday. “We don’t have a problem with IVF facilities. If you have a certain case, let that case play out the way it’s supposed to but don’t create issues and that’s what I feel like it’s happened with this.”

READ MORE: ‘Trump’s Lawyers Got It Dead Wrong’: Espionage Act Trial Will Not Be Stalled by DOJ Rule

But there is a problem, and it was caused by Republicans. Specifically, by the Dobbs case and the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. The Alabama Supreme Court majority opinion mentioned Dobbs over a dozen times.

“I think we want IVF to be as accessible as possible to parents who are wanting those blessings of having a baby,” she also said Friday, adding a religious element to her remarks. “I don’t know the details of any of the bills, so I can’t weigh to that. But what I can tell you is, we don’t want to take that away from parents who desperately want to have a child.”

“Michael and I got our children from fertility processes. We need to make sure that those are available, that they’re protected, that it’s personal, and that the whole situation is dealt with respect,” she added, echoing pro-choice concepts while applying them to IVF.

Asked, “should there be a federal protection” for IVF, “or do you think it should be left to the states?” Haley replied: “Well, I think there should be federal protection that we allow for IVF places to be able to function.”

She added, “I think that the people need to decide if they want to get into the details of it or not. It’s the same thing of, do they want to decide, you know, exactly how many embryos or anything like that. I hope they don’t get into that. I want to see that decision between the parents and the doctors. But I think the only thing that the federal government should do is make sure that IVF places are protected and available.”

Professor of law Joyce Vance said recently, “It’s pretty simple. If life begins at conception, IVF is off the table. If you make an exception for IVF then we’re just having a conversation about who you’re willing to make exceptions for.”

Watch the video above or at this link.

READ MORE: Tuberville: Secure the Border Because Immigrants ‘Know Nothing About God’

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‘Trump’s Lawyers Got It Dead Wrong’: Espionage Act Trial Will Not Be Stalled by DOJ Rule

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Special Counsel Jack Smith’s prosecution of Donald Trump in the Espionage Act case, which will be tried in Florida, will not be stalled by the U.S. Dept. of Justice’s policy on not taking certain actions 60 days before an election. The case, often referred to as the classified documents case, includes 31 charges under the Espionage Act.

MSNBC legal analyst and contributor Katie Phang Friday afternoon reports on the “BIG news out of Ft. Pierce.”

“The DOJ advises Judge Cannon that the ’60-day rule’ does NOT apply in Trump’s case as he has already been indicted & the case is already being litigated,” Phang writes. “So, no reason to delay taking him to trial, even with elections in November.”

Phang notes professor of law and her fellow MSNBC contributor Joyce Vance has been making that point.

“Read the policy for yourself,” Vance added Friday. “it doesn’t apply after a case is indicted, when the judge, not DOJ, is in charge of the schedule. Trump’s lawyers got it dead wrong.”

Vance points to her own Substack newsletter’s commentary, where she explains: “At the start of his filing, Trump tries to invoke DOJ policy as a justification for not having a trial this year. But he gets the analysis dead wrong. Trump tries to claim the protection of a DOJ policy against interfering in elections—a huge irony in light of Trump’s efforts to corrupt DOJ after the 2020 election and get the Justice Department to legitimize his false election fraud claims.”

READ MORE: Trump Swore Under Oath He Had $400 Million in Cash – Now He’s Telling a Court a Different Story

“Trump argues that ‘Given President Trump’s status as the presumptive Republican nominee and President Biden’s chief political rival, a trial this year would also violate Justice Manual § 9-85.500, which applies to the Special Counsel’s Office, and prohibits ‘Actions that May Have an Impact on an Election.’ ‘”

“The provision Trump references reads as follows: ‘Federal prosecutors and agents may never select the timing of any action, including investigative steps, criminal charges, or statements, for the purpose of affecting any election, or for the purpose of giving an advantage or disadvantage to any candidate or political party,'” Vance notes.

She adds that the timing of a trial is controlled by a judge, not the DOJ.

READ MORE: ‘Injustice’: Experts Condemn Supreme Court’s ‘Fundamentally Corrupt’ Trump Decision

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Tuberville: Secure the Border Because Immigrants ‘Know Nothing About God’

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U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville says America must put God back into the country and the government, and right now the government isn’t honoring our “Judo” Christian values. The Alabama freshman Republican, a Christian nationalist, also says God cannot be put back into this nation currently because immigrants, who “know nothing about God,” are crossing the southern border illegally.

Sen. Tuberville is also calling for massive cuts to the federal government, saying only the “mentally unhealthy,” “elderly,” “veterans,” and “farmers” should be eligible for financial support from the government.

Tuberville told Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo that “the federal government is not here to take care of every person in this country. We have to take care of the mentally healthy, mentally – mentally unhealthy. We have to take care of our elderly, our veterans. Everybody else needs to go get a job. They need to get off that couch. We’re paying so many people. Maria, we have turned into so much of a socialist country headed to communism.”

He insisted there is no “free speech” in America. “They’re taking all of our rights away.”

READ MORE: Bartiromo Blasts Biden Administration for Encouraging Americans to Register to Vote

“We need to ask God for help, our country needs help,” Tuberville said in a separate interview. “We’re in a tough situation right now. I’m right here in the middle of it. I get to see it every day.”

“We live in a constitutional republic that’s trying to do things without our Judo-Christian [sic] values. And that’s how this country was built. And we got to get back to that. If we don’t, we won’t make it,” Tuberville claimed.

“The biggest thing right now I will tell you is what’s going on at our southern border. When you’ve got a country without borders, you don’t have a country. And it goes back to one thing: God is not in this building. We’ve got to get God back in this building and we’re gonna get God back in our country. We’ve got to get the God back in the nuclear family. We have to get moral values back into our country. And you can’t do that when you have a million people every couple of months come into this country that know nothing about God, that know nothing about our laws and constitution.”

Back in October, Tuberville said European countries have been “lost” to “immigration” as he praised Christian nationalist authoritarian Viktor Orbán of Hungary. Tuberville has a history of promoting white nationalism and has said he sees a white nationalist as a “Trump Republican.” The Senator also declared immigrants “don’t assimilate,” and are “globalists” who “don’t go by the laws.”

Watch the videos above or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Jaw Dropping’: Democratic Senator Slams Tuberville’s ‘Open’ Talk About ‘White Supremacy’

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