In a bizarre twist of religious logic, Pope Benedict XVI says in a new book that condom usage might be OK by, for example, a male prostitute, but not as a general attempt to fight HIV/AIDS. Calling condoms “a first step toward moralization” for prostitutes, the Pope said condoms are “not really the way to deal with the evil of HIV infection.” Ironically, the Church’s stance on gay marriage has not changed, so, “safe” male prostitution is OK, but marriage equality, not so much…
This shocking statement by Pope, whose Vatican was at the center of a gay male prostitution sex scandal last spring, is being seen by some as a major shift in the Vatican’s approach to human sexuality.
Nevertheless, no one should take this as softening toward any aspect of same-sex relationships. Just months ago, the Pope declared that laws which legalize same-sex marriage â€œcontribute to the weakening of the principles of natural lawâ€ and to â€œconfusion about societyâ€™s values.â€
Reuters reports, “The pope says that the “sheer fixation on the condom implies a canalization of sexuality” where sexuality is no longer an expression of love “but only a sort of drug that people administer to themselves.”
“After the pope first mentions that the use of condoms could be justified in certain limited cases, such as by prostitutes, Seewald asks: “Are you saying, then, that the Catholic Church is actually not opposed in principle to the use of condoms?”
“The pope answers: “She of course does not regard it as a real or moral solution, but, in this or that case, there can be nonetheless, in the intention of reducing the risk of infection, a first step in a movement toward a different way, a more humane way, of living sexuality.”
Last year the Pope, who has been directly ties to abuse scandals in the U.S., cause an international uproar when he said, â€œYou canâ€™t resolve [the AIDS epidemic] with the distribution of condoms. On the contrary, it increases the problem.â€
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‘God Anointed Him’: Christian Right Expert Explains Conservative Outrage After FBI Raided Trump’s Mar-a-Lago
Veteran journalist Sarah Posner, who has spent years writing about religion and the Christian right, has an explanation for the outraged response from some Trump supporters over the FBI executing a legal search warrant on Mar-a-Lago.
Hours after the news broke, Florida Republican state representative Anthony Sabatini called for “an emergency legislative session” to “Sever all ties with DOJ immediately” over the FBI executing a legal search warrant of Trump’s home. “Any FBI agent conducting law enforcement functions outside the purview of our State should be arrested upon sight,” he wrote, apparently unaware of the U.S. Constitution.
Tuesday night Trump supporters formed a small convoy driving outside Mar-a-Lago, some with Trump banners, Trump flags, or the American flag, – even one vehicle painted with the American flag – to show their support for the former president who might be facing legal consequences, as video from NBC 6 reporter Cristian Benavides shows.
— Cristian Benavides (@cbenavidesTV) August 9, 2022
“The GOP position is that Trump is above the law,” writes The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent. “That’s what the GOP position on Trump was throughout his presidency, and that’s what it is now. Say it that way. Don’t let Republicans get away with using fake outrage to obscure this fundamental reality.”
Posner has written two books on the Christian Right including “UNHOLY: How White Christian Nationalists Powered the Trump Presidency, And the Devastating Legacy They Left Behind.”
In response to Sargent’s remarks she advises: “Remember too that much of Trump’s base believes that God anointed him, that it’s God’s will that he be back in the White House. And that they need to engage in ‘spiritual warfare’ with ‘demonic’ enemies of Trump — keep this in mind as right-wing influencers call for civil war.”
U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene Monday night tweeted, “The FBI is raiding President Trump’s home in Maralago! This is the rogue behavior of communist countries, NOT the United States of America!!! These are the type of things that happen in countries during civil war. The political persecution MUST STOP!!!”
Tuesday morning CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan posted a graph and noted the “big spike in tweets referencing ‘civil war’ right after the news of the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago broke last night.”
Dr. Caroline Orr Bueno posted an image of a large number of tweets that mention civil war and other related calls, including: “I already bought my ammo,” “Civil war! Pick up arms, people!” “Civil War 2.0 just kicked off,” “Let’s do the war,” and “One step closer to a kinetic civil war.”
‘This Is a National Security Issue’: Former FBI Agents Note Key Details About ‘Raid’ on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago
Two former FBI agents are weighing in on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s execution of a search warrant Monday at the Florida residence of Donald Trump, the former President, which he called a “raid.”
“This is a nat sec/CI issue,” tweeted Asha Rangappa Tuesday morning, meaning national security and counterintelligence. Rangappa is an attorney, former FBI special agent, senior lecturer at Yale, and CNN commentator.
She was pointing to a tweet by another former FBI special agent, James Harris.
Harris has an extensive bio, highlights of which include his role at FBI HQ Cyber Division as a Program Manager and then Unit Chief (Acting), FBI Senior Liaison Officer to DHS Cybersecurity and Communications, and FBI Assistant Section Chief of the Counterterrorism Internet Operations Section. Earlier in his FBI career he says he “built up the largest Federal Cybercrime Task Force in the US.”
Harris points to this section of a CNN article published Tuesday morning, written by seven CNN reporters:
“In early June, a handful of investigators made a rare visit to the property seeking more information about potentially classified material from Trump’s time in the White House that had been taken to Florida. The four investigators, including Jay Bratt, the chief of the counterintelligence and export control section at the Justice Department, sat down with two of Trump’s attorneys, Bobb and Evan Corcoran, according to a source present for the meeting.”
Harris on Twitter highlights this sentence: “The four investigators, including Jay Bratt, the chief of the counterintelligence and export control section at the Justice Department…”
He tweets: “All you ‘outraged’ GOPers better cool your jets. You might be walking your rhetoric back really fast when you figure out what this seems to be. The devil is in the details.”
In January the National Archives was forced to transport from Mar-a-Lago 15 cartons of documents and other items that, according to the Presidential Records Act and the National Archives, should have been turned over to the Archives.
The FBI’s execution of the search warrant and reports that they left with a large quantity of documents suggests Trump might not have turned over everything taken from the White House.
Rangappa earlier Tuesday tweeted: “Ask yourself: What kind of info makes its way to the WH, and specifically to the president? —> HIGH LEVEL SECRETS. PDB stuff. Defense info. These aren’t low-level diplomatic cables or overclassified State Dept. correspondence. Just saying.”
‘I’d Be Advising My Client to Tell Their Family I’m Looking at Jail Time’: Mueller Prosecutor on the FBI’s Trump Raid
Former Justice Department prosecutor Andrew Weissmann, who worked on special counsel Robert Mueller’s team, explained on MSNBC that if he was advising a client facing what former President Donald Trump is, there would be a strong warning.
“If I were Donald Trump’s lawyer right now, thank God I’m not, I would be advising my client to be telling [their] family, ‘I am looking at jail time, and we should make plans accordingly.'”
After House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) threatened Attorney General Merrick Garland, Weissmann said that he should just keep his head down and keep doing his job.
“That is such a palpably false statement, the comment from Mr. McCarthy that he has seen enough,” said Weissmann. “One of the things that none of us has seen is the warrant, an application to the court. It’s very important to remember this was not a break-in, this was not a raid, this was not the attorney general of the United States deciding willy-nilly on his own that he was going to do the search. A court had to approve the search here based on, as you point out Lawrence, evidence. The evidence had to show that there was probable cause of a crime. That is the way our judicial system works, and that is what happened here.”
While McCarthy may want to hold a public hearing of Garland and demand documents, what the Republicans might ultimately end up doing is drawing additional attention to what Trump stole or attempted to destroy.
“I think the thing that I found the most remarkable and I think it’s really worth people really taking a step back, is this does mean the attorney general of the United States did not trust the former president to simply produce the documents voluntarily pursuant to a subpoena,” said Weissmann. “And it was necessary to go via search warrant. Normally, you think that if you order a subpoena to any reputable person they will produce documents. When you issue and obtain a search warrant, it is because you do not trust that the person will actually produce the documents. That means if they had to have evidence of that that led Merrick Garland to take this step. It was bold but certainly approved by the courts.”
He went on to joke that the irony is that, all of a sudden, Kevin McCarthy cares about document preservation.
“The Trump administration pioneered all these different ways of doing it from flushing it down the toilet, to burning it in the White House fireplace,” recalled Weissmann. “Points for creativity, but, all in all, I don’t think I expect a statement from the Justice Department about [McCarthy’s threats].”
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