Religion: Canadian Catholic Schools Now Viewed As Too Liberal – By Some
After facing efforts by Governor Rick Perry (R-TX), the American Family Association (AFA), and other religious right groups, the U.S. LGBT community is bracing for the next wave of heightened attacks running up to the current election. With that being said, it is interesting to see what is happening north of the border in Canada.
This week, the Canadian Egyptian Congress issued a call urging parents to reject the direction of a Coptic Orthodox priest. The Catholic school system in Canada is facing a pull towards inclusion of homosexuality and religious difference. The priest called on Canadian parents to pull almost 4,000 children out of the Catholic school system if it moved towards a more open, progressive and inclusive way of being.
The Equity and Inclusive Education policy is to be voted on at the end of this month, and is structured in a way that would help to create a softer and more open-minded policy on some strictures of Catholic doctrine so that they meet more closely with provincial standards, from whom they receive money.
â€œThe kids have friends, they have a place to go, and they would lose that,â€ Nazeer Bishay, President of the Canadian Egyptian Congress, said Sunday. â€œAnd besides, we donâ€™t have enough schools for all of them. So we will lobby, we will pressure the board, we will keep up the fight. But we do not recommend withdrawal.â€
Mr. Bishay is a prominent member in his social and religious community. When he went forward and proclaimed publicly that Father Jeremiah Attaalla spoke out of turn when he suggested that the boardâ€™s proposed equity policy would result in Coptic Orthodox students being pulled from class in September, the Egyptian Congress president sent out an email to hundreds of families Sunday, urging them to maintain their childrenâ€™s enrolment in the Catholic system.
Attaallaâ€™s foundation is from an article in the policy where the Catholic School Board will commit to providing â€œa learning and working environment in which all individuals are treated with respect and dignity regardless of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, age, record of offences, marital status, family status or disability.â€
The Coptic Orthodox community has often sent their children to Catholic schools. While they are not of the Catholic faith they do hold to the same liturgies. They however believe that the Pope is human, not a divine person.
Prominent members of his congregation have suggested that Father Attaallaâ€™s reaction to potential anti-homophobia policies within the school system were foolhardy and overblown.
â€œI have no concern about it at all,â€ said one father. â€œYou have to be realistic now â€” itâ€™s a fact of life. Iâ€™d just be concerned about teaching these things at an age when theyâ€™re able to understand it.â€
Father Attaalla has gone as far as state that he would start his own school. It would be the first private Coptic Orthodox School in Canada that would hold to such strict homophobic teachings.
Were it possible to remove 4,000 children, as Attaalla has threatened, it would be a total loss of almost $40 million dollars per year to the Catholic School system. With a budget of almost $1 billion and more than 90,000 students, it would definitely be able to survive with the removal of the students however it would be one of the worst precedents in Canadian history.
Homosexuality being taught and the creation of gay-straight alliances are issues most often brought up by parents.
â€œOur policies are always fluid so theyâ€™re always open for change, modification and clarification,â€ said one school board trustee, adding that the proposed equity policy is â€œto ensure that all students are treated fairly.â€
While Attaalla appeared focused on the potential softening of the Catholic stance that homosexuality is against Godâ€™s will, Bishay suggested a more pressing issue in the Catholic system.
With the Toronto District School Board recently approving formal Friday prayer services for Muslim students in a public school, the fear among the Coptic Orthodox community is that the Catholic systemâ€™s proposed Equity policy will introduce the same in Catholic schools.
â€œIf you walk through the doors of a Catholic school, respect their rules. If you donâ€™t like the religion, donâ€™t go,â€ Bishay said. He noted that an array of non-Catholics â€” Jewish, Sikh, Hindu and many others â€” were now represented in the Catholic system, none of them demanding leave from class to observe their faith.
In the past 20 years, requirements for admission to Catholic schools in Toronto have changed. Once, students had to be Catholic to be admitted. Now, admission is open to all religions, in accordance with the provinceâ€™s anti-discrimination policies.
Letâ€™s hope that we can actually see the continuation of an openness within the Catholic school system leading to a more inclusive religion as a whole!
Growing up in Northern Ontario as aÂ Jehovahâ€™s Witness, Michael Talon experienced firsthand the struggle for equality. Now living in the U.S. with his partner, they work with advocates for federal equality, including immigration. Working side by side, Michael and his partner Brad, head of Luna Media Group, help to deliver messages for equality to the nation.
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‘Restore My Account Immediately’: Marjorie Taylor Greene Cries After Twitter Suspends Her Over Anti-Trans Tweets
U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) is lashing out at Twitter owner and CEO Elon Musk after the social media company, she says, suspended her official government account for seven days for posting apparently anti-transgender tweets. At least four of her tweets appear to have been deleted.
Rep. Greene appears to have been promoting an unverified claim that “Antifa” and transgender activists are planning a “Trans Day of Vengeance.” Fox News is also claiming there is a “Trans Day of Vengeance,” and a website the report links to says it will be on April 1.
“My Congressional account was suspended for 7 days for exposing Antifa, who are organizing a call for violence called ‘Trans Day of Vengeance.’ The day after the mass murder of children by a trans shooter. Restore my account immediately,” Greene demanded, tagging Musk, Twitter Safety, and the head of Twitter Safety, Ella Irwin.
There is no evidence that “Antifa” which is not an actual group, has anything to do with the alleged Trans Day of Vengeance.
The Independent adds Greene made “unfounded” claims “about the Nashville school shooting being a product of ‘Antifa’ and ‘trans-terrorism.'”
According to The Hill, Congresswoman Greene tweeted a poster of the alleged event, and Twitter removed the post, so she repeatedly reposted it, only to have Twitter remove it.
This is a lie.
My Congressional account was suspended for 7 days for exposing Antifa, who are organizing a call for violence called “Trans Day of Vengeance.”
The day after the mass murder of children by a trans shooter.
Restore my account immediately. @elonmusk @ellagirwin… https://t.co/p9XZLtuuDF pic.twitter.com/svViCYUyhm
— Marjorie Taylor Greene 🇺🇸 (@mtgreenee) March 28, 2023
Ella Irwin, Twitter’s head of trust and safety, tweeted: “We had to automatically sweep our platform and remove >5000 tweets /retweets of this poster. We do not support tweets that incite violence irrespective of who posts them. ‘Vengeance’ does not imply peaceful protest. Organizing or support for peaceful protests is ok.”
On her personal Twitter account, Greene also promoted a similar, baseless claim:
“In the wake of a transgender shooter targeting a Christian school and murdering kids, every American should know the threat of Antifa driven trans-terrorism. Twitter should not whitewash the incitement of politically motivated violence,” she said, pointing to another of her tweets that had been removed.
Greene on Monday made anti-trans remarks in the wake of the the Nashville shooting.
“How much hormones like testosterone and medications for mental illness was the transgender Nashville school shooter taking? Everyone can stop blaming guns now,” she said.
Currently, numerous right-wing and far-right wing Twitter accounts are linking the alleged Trans Day of Vengeance to Monday’s horrific Covenant Presbyterian elementary school shooting in Nashville, where three nine-year olds and three adults were shot to death. The shooter allegedly identified as transgender, according to Nashville police.
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.
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