President Obama spoke at this morning’s National Prayer Breakfast — a massive, annual meeting attended by over 3000 Congressmen, international dignitaries, and of course religious leaders and followers of the Christian faith — but why did he? And why did progressive Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Mark Pryor (D-AK),Â Kay Hagan (D-NC),Â and Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ husband, Mark Kelly, U.S. Secretary of AgricultureÂ Tom Vilsack, and Vice President Biden, among other Democrats, attend?
The National Prayer Breakfast is infamously sponsored by “The Family,” the Christianist, extremist group headquartered at C-Street, made famous by author Jeff Sharlet. The Family is directly tied to Uganda’s David Bahati and his “Kill The Gays” bill that is making its way through Uganda’s legislature.
The downright ugly and evil work associated with The Family, also known as “The Foundation,” demands everyone ask why any public servant would attend this event. If you listen to today’s Prayer Breakfast, you’ll hear the absolute shocking intermix of religion and politics, surely a flagrant violation of our founders’ belief in separation of church and state.
In a press release, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) announced it had “called on President Obama and all members of Congress not to attend this year’s National Prayer Breakfast.”
“The breakfast, while designed to appear as a government-sanctioned event, in reality serves as a meeting and recruiting event for the shadowy Fellowship Foundation.
“The National Prayer Breakfast uses the attendance of elected leaders to give the Fellowship greater credibility and facilitate its networking and fundraising,” said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan. “President Obama and members of Congress should not legitimatize this shadowy group with ties to scandal-ridden politicians and hateful and discriminatory positions against gays.”Â Sloan continued, “It is all the more important that American political leaders avoid this event in light of the murder of prominent Ugandan gay activist David Kato.”
“The Fellowship, also known as “The Foundation” and “The Family,” is run by Doug Coe, a spiritual advisor to some government officials, who uses the organization to push his brand of Christianity. The Fellowship owns and operates the infamous C Street House, a congressional residence and meeting place on Capitol Hill that has been a frequent haunt of some ethically-challenged elected officials identified by CREW, including Sen. John Ensign (R-NV).
“The organization operates under an intense veil of secrecy, stays largely out of the public eye and hides its donors’ identities. The Fellowship has used its government clout to facilitate backdoor meetings between U.S. and foreign officials, improperly claimed tax exempt status for the C Street House, and has persuaded members of Congress, including Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) to conduct Fellowship-sanctioned evangelizing while traveling at taxpayer expense.
“Members of the Fellowship pushed for anti-gay legislation in Uganda that made homosexuality a capital offense. Just last month, prominent activist David Kato was murdered in Uganda. Much of the wave of anti-gay sentiment can be linked to the promotion of anti-gay policies by American evangelicals.”
Other protestoring organizations include GetEQUAL, which was instrumental in the fight for “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal. GetEQUAL lined up at 6:00 AM this morning, two hours ahead of the start of the Breakfast, with a reported sixty protestors, according to AmericaBlog’s Joe Sudbay, who was in attendance, to witness the attendees entering the Hilton, where the Breakfast was held. They named their protest the “Breakfast Without Bigotry.”
On the Facebook event for their Breakfast Without Bigotry protest,Â GetEQUAL writes,
“In the wake of the murder of Ugandan gay activist, David Kato, and the pending deportation of Brenda Namigadde from the UK back to Uganda, we believe it is imperative that â€œThe Familyâ€ be exposed not only for their role as organizer of the National Prayer Breakfast, but for their relationship with many of our legislators and their influence on world affairs, including the annihilation of LGBT people worldwide.
“While its organizers would have you believe the National Prayer Breakfast is an ecumenical gathering absent a policy agenda, it is in fact the tentpole event of the year for the clandestine operation â€œThe Familyâ€. This fringe group uses the visibility and support from the National Prayer Breakfast (attended by many politicians and business leaders) and other events to further its world-wide campaign against gay folk. Associates of â€œThe Familyâ€ continue to promote a proposed law that would imprison for life and murder LGBT peopleâ€”just for being who they areâ€”while also criminalizing knowing an LGBT person without reporting them.”
Michael Lavers, reporting from the protest, spoke with gay philanthropist Mitchell Gold, who said,Â “Iâ€™m here because two many of the people who are inside the National Prayer Breakfast donâ€™t understand the harm they are doing by trafficking their religion-based bigotry.” Lavers says Gold “held a sign reading â€™End the harm from religion based bigotry,’ and also said, “David Katoâ€™s death shows the slippery slope of people who claim to interpret the Bible literally.”
So, why did Obama and other elected leaders attend?
First, tradition. And second, given the fact that “A Quarter Of Republicans Believe Obama Is The Anti-Christ,” and 20% of Americans think Obama is a Muslim, Obama cannot afford to skip such a large religious gathering.
Rubbing elbows with religious bigots, haters, and those directly tied to the anti-gay hate in Africa, evidently, is just part of the job of a politician. And a president who the right believes is a Muslim, cannot afford to skip Breakfast with Jesus.
If Obama’s attendance did one thing, it allowed the media and social media, to produce vast quantities of articles, reports, blog posts, tweets, and Facebook updates that tie Obama to Christian religion and prayer.
Next year, perhaps we can at least make it politically less-advantageous to let our elected representatives attend this particular gathering of people who support anti-gay hate, and even, anti-gay murder.
Enjoy this piece?
… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.
NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.
Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.
‘Scared to Death’: Trump’s Prison Panic Admission Means He Knows He’s Doomed Says Legal Expert
Reacting to a report that Donald Trump has been quizzing his attorneys about what type of prison he likely will be sent to, former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner stated that is not only an indication that he knows he’s going to be convicted but also an admission of guilt.
Speaking with MSNBC host Jonathan Capehart, the attorney was asked about a recent Rolling Stone report about Trump’s prison panic.
As Rolling Stone reported, Trump asked if he’s “be sent to a ‘club fed’ style prison — a place that’s relatively comfortable, as far these things go — or a ‘bad’ prison? Would he serve out a sentence in a plush home confinement? Would government officials try to strip him of his lifetime Secret Service protections? What would they make him wear, if his enemies actually did ever get him in a cell — an unprecedented set of consequences for a former leader of the free world.”
According to the attorney, Trump is revealing himself by asking for so many details.
“What does this tell you about Trump’s mindset?” host Capehart asked.
“It tells me he is scared to death” Kirschner quickly answered. “It tells me he has overwhelming consciousness of guilt because he knows what he did wrong and he knows he is about to be held accountable for his crimes. So it is not surprising that he is obsessing.”
“If he was confident that he would be completely exonerated, would he have to obsess about what his future time in prison might look like?” he suggested. “I think the last refuge for Donald Trump can be seen in a recent post where he urged the Republicans to defund essentially the prosecutions against him. which, to this prosecutor, Jonathan, smells a lot like an attempt to obstruct justice.”
Watch below or at the link.
Image via Shutterstock
‘Vulgar and Lewd’: Trump Judge Cites Extremist Group to Allow Drag Show Ban
A federal judge in Texas known for a ruling that attempted to ban a widely-used abortion drug is citing an extremist anti-LGBTQ group in his ruling allowing a ban on drag shows to stay in place.
U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, a former attorney for an anti-LGBTQ conservative Christian legal organization, and a member of the Federalist Society, in his 26-page ruling dated Thursday cited the “About” page of Gays Against Groomers to claim, “it’s unclear how drag shows unmistakably communicate advocacy for LGBT rights.”
Judge Kacsmaryk, appointed by Donald Trump twice before finally assuming office in 2019, suggests the First Amendment does not provide for freedom of expression for drag shows, calls drag “sexualized conduct,” and says it is “more regulable” because “children are in the audience.”
Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern adds, “Kacsmaryk’s conclusion that drag is probably NOT protected by the First Amendment conflicts with decisions from Texas, Florida, Tennessee, and Montana which held that drag is constitutionally protected expression. It also bristles with undisguised hostility toward LGBTQ people.”
Calling the judge “a proud Christian nationalist who flatly refuses to apply binding Supreme Court precedent when it conflicts with his extremist far-right beliefs,” Stern at Slate writes that Kacsmaryk ruled drag “may be outlawed to protect ‘the sexual exploitation and abuse of children.’ In short, he concluded that drag fails to convey a message, while explaining all the reasons why he’s offended by the message it conveys.”
Stern does not let Kacsmaryk off the hook there.
“From almost any other judge, the ruling in Spectrum WT v. Wendler would be a shocking rejection of basic free speech principles; from Kacsmaryk, it’s par for the course. This is, after all, the judge who sought to ban medication abortion nationwide, restricted minors’ access to birth control, seize control over border policy to exclude asylum-seekers, and flouted recent precedent protecting LGBTQ+ equality,” Stern says.
“He is also poised to bankrupt Planned Parenthood by compelling them to pay a $1.8 billion penalty on truly ludicrous grounds. And he is not the only Trump-appointed judge substituting his reactionary beliefs for legal analysis. We have reached a point where these lawless decisions are not only predictable but inevitable, and they show no sign of stopping: Their authors are still just settling into a decadeslong service in the federal judiciary.”
West Texas A&M University President Walter V. Wendler penned the letter that sparked the lawsuit.
Titled, “A Harmless Drag Show? No Such Thing,” Wendler wrote: “I believe every human being is created in the image of God and, therefore, a person of dignity. Being created in God’s image is the basis of Natural Law. James Madison and Thomas Jefferson, prisoners of the culture of their time as are we, declared the Creator’s origin as the foundational fiber in the fabric of our nation as they breathed life into it. Does a drag show preserve a single thread of human dignity? I think not.”
Journalist Chris Geidner concludes, “It’s an extremely biased ruling by a judge who has established that he does not care about being overturned — even by the most conservative appeals court in the nation.”
Gaetz Praises GOP Congressman Who Echoes His Call for Change ‘Through Force’
U.S. Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL). largely seen as pushing Speaker Kevin McCarthy‘s Republican-majority House of Representatives toward shutting down the federal government, is praising and promoting remarks made by a freshman GOP lawmaker that appear to suggest the use of violence. U.S. Rep. Eli Crane‘s comments, posted Friday (below), call for change “through force,” remarks echoing Congressman Gaetz’s recent comments which were denounced by an expert on authoritarianism as fascistic.
“The only way we’re going to see meaningful change in this town is through force,” wrote Congressman Crane, Republican of Arizona atop a three-minute video in which he frames what is now an almost guaranteed government shutdown as a “spending fight.” In his video he says, “the only way you’re gonna get any change in this town is through force.” Gaetz in August had said, “we know that only through force do we make any change in a corrupt town like Washington, D.C.”
Congressman Crane is a former Navy SEAL. He has promoted the false “Big Lie” conspiracy theory that there was massive fraud in the election President Joe Biden won, and called “on the state legislature to decertify the 2020 election.” He is one of six House Republicans who voted against McCarthy’s speakership all 15 times in January.
“Congressman Eli Crane is a fountainhead of political courage,” said Rep. Gaetz Friday afternoon. “He holds the line.”
Crane recently came under fire for calling Black people “colored,” during debate on his legislation that would force the U.S. Armed Forces to not use any diversity requirements in its hiring practices.
Just days before he won his House seat last year, The Washington Post reported Crane had urged an “audience to look up an antisemitic sermon at a recent campaign stop.”
“Crane said that he was motivated to run because of ‘radical ideologies that are destroying this country’ and that he was most concerned about ‘Cultural Marxism,’ which the Southern Poverty Law Center has described as an antisemitic baseless claim gaining traction on the American right.”
“He encouraged the audience to watch a speech by a right-wing pastor who blamed cultural change on a group of German Jewish philosophers and condemned Barack Obama for having a ‘homosexual agenda.'”
“If we don’t wake up,” Crane said, according to the Post, “if we don’t study what they’re doing, and if we don’t put people in influential positions that understand what this war is all about, what they’re trying to do and have and have the courage to call it out, we’re going to lose this country.”
In August, while standing next to Donald Trump at a campaign rally, Congressman Gaetz said, “Mr. President, I cannot stand these people that are destroying our country. They are opening our borders. They are weaponizing our federal law enforcement against patriotic Americans who love this nation as we should.”
“But we know that only through force do we make any change in a corrupt town like Washington, D.C. And so to all my friends here in Iowa, when you see them come for this man, know that they are coming for our movement and they are coming for all of us.”
At the time, Raw Story reported, “historian and author Ruth Ben-Ghiat called Gaetz comments alarming.”
“What he is saying is that they are not going to have change through elections or through legislation or through reform. They are going to have change through violence,” she warned.
“And that’s how fascists talk,” Ben-Ghiat added. “So, even if Trump is out of the picture, these are people who have adopted methods very familiar to me as a historian of fascism, that violence and corruption and lying that’s what the party is today.”
Image via Shutterstock
- News2 days ago
Pete Buttigieg Just Testified Before Congress. It Did Not Go Well for Republicans.
- News1 day ago
‘Corruption of the Highest Order’: Experts ‘Sickened’ at ‘Definitely Bought’ Clarence Thomas and His ‘Pay to Play’ Lifestyle
- COMMENTARY2 days ago
‘Good Riddance’: Experts Blame Rupert Murdoch for ‘Intellectual and Moral Decay’ of America, Issue Warning on Future
- News2 days ago
‘Sexy’: Comer Obtains Unredacted Emails to VP Biden Revealing Women ‘Privately Mused’ They Found Him Attractive
- News2 days ago
‘Just Want to Burn the Whole Place Down’: McCarthy Rails Against House Republicans as GOP Conference Explodes in Chaos
- News2 days ago
‘We’re Not There Yet’: House Republican Hasn’t Seen Any Evidence to ‘Get Anywhere Near Impeachment’
- COMMENTARY2 days ago
‘Total Breakdown’: House Sends Members Home – Experts Warn ‘Republicans Can’t Govern’ And Have No ‘Working Majority’
- News1 day ago
‘Total Nonsense’: Joe Scarborough Pours Cold Water on Panic Over Kamala Harris in 2024