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Rick Perry, If You Don’t Support LGBT Rights, Don’t Run For President

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Governor Perry,

I read your furious response to a recent White House memorandum where you called President Obama’s leadership “silly” for strengthening international protections of LGBT human rights. You also made generalizations that unfairly assume all people of faith in America are homophobic.

It’s unconscionable how out of touch you are with the values of equality, freedom and justice. Not only have you alienated Christians across the United States who unconditionally welcome and affirm the LGBT community; you’ve alienated many across the world who look to the United States as an example for upholding basic human and civil rights for all people. I’d like to introduce you to one of them.

There was a man I wrote about earlier this year named “Hamid” who lived abroad in a religious society. He was the owner of a small coffee shop, a law-abiding citizen, and lived his life in relative harmony. But when local authorities found out he was gay, he was abducted on the street, taken to his home, beaten half to death, had his possessions stolen and then dragged to an encampment where he was raped, tortured and humiliated for hours by a group of police officers.

When he attempted to have his day in court to seek justice for these abuses, his existence as a gay person was viewed by the courts as a crime punishable by death. He tried to press charges against the police for the sexual and physical abuse he endured, but the court refused to follow-up on the case. When he returned to his house, it was completely looted and he was forced to flee the country.

I checked in on Hamid a few weeks ago. The man — who once lived a relatively normal life — is now living in exile, unemployed, poverty-stricken and dealing with physical and psychological damage from the trauma and injustice. Let me be clear: the brutality against Hamid occurred because of a hostile, anti-gay culture legalized by government.

Does this sound “silly” to you?

As the White House has stated, the President is directing agencies abroad to make sure that LGBT human rights are protected. Not all countries are like the United States. Not all countries ensure due process or respect an individual’s basic human dignity. The President is directing an effort to combat this unfortunate reality. He is combating the criminalization of LGBT status or conduct to help people like Hamid who are imprisoned or abducted because of their perceived orientation. And he is pushing for stricter protections of vulnerable LGBT refugees and asylum seekers who often endure unspeakable trauma in their home countries and are left floating in an international system with no real place to call home.

We have a right to ensure that our tax dollars promote and protect basic human equality for all people. The President asked our State Department to ensure this.

You called these actions “national security nonsense” and accused President Obama of launching a “war on religion.” Our diverse country and world cannot be lead by a Commander-in-Chief who doesn’t recognize the complexities of human rights abuses faced by LGBT people around the world, nor honors the breadth of religious diversity in our country.

As the leader of one of the nation’s largest LGBT-inclusive Christian networks, I have seen the opinions and theology of people of faith grow towards welcome over time. Our organization spreads love and welcome, to make sure God’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender children are taken care of in our country’s churches, schools and diverse communities. We think about individuals like Hamid, who are voiceless and need help. And we think about people of faith, whom you summarily dismissed, who want to be respected for their belief in LGBT equality. Before you call LGBT human rights silly, or assume all Christians endorse your fabricated “war on religion”, you should think about these things too.

 

Joseph Ward is the Director of Believe Out Loud, an online network that empowers Christians to work for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality, and a writer on religion and LGBT equality issues. Follow him on Twitter @JosephWardIII..

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COMMENTARY

‘We’re in Trouble’: Steve Schmidt Issues Dire Warning About Changed GOP After January 6th Insurrection

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Appearing on MSNBC’s the 11th Hour with host Brian Williams, former GOP campaign consultant Steve Schmidt warned that Democrats need to accept that the Republican Party has changed drastically after four years of Donald Trump and the Jan 6th riot — and failure to recognize that simple fact puts the entire country at risk.

Using one of Schmidt’s tweets where he called Trump’s “truth” a “hideous deception” as a jumping-off point, the former Republican warned, “We’re in trouble.”

“Objectively, since the insurrection on Jan 6th, the Republican Party is far more radical,” Schmidt began. “Far more committed to the lie that Trump has told, fully committed to the authoritarian movement.”

“Should the events repeat themselves, the Republican Party is in a much different place than it was this past election with regard to being prepared to subvert the legal and lawful results,” he continued.

“The Democrats have done nothing since coming into office,” he added. “They have done nothing to prevent any of the abuses we have seen, done nothing to harden any of the infrastructures”

He later added, “This is a serious moment.”

Watch below:

 

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ANALYSIS

‘Something That’s Under Way’: Trump Aims to Use Russian Tactic to Be ‘Installed Without Winning’ in 2024 Says Yale Historian

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Former president Donald Trump and his GOP supporters are hoping to rely on a tactic that’s common in Russia to return him to the White House in 2024, according to one prominent expert on authoritarianism.

“As someone who follows contemporary Russia, there is a Russian phrase that comes to mind, which is the ‘administrative resource,'” author and Yale University history professor Timothy Snyder told MSNBC on Friday. “What the administrative resource means in Russian is that sure, you have an election, but the people who are running the election are going to determine how the election turns out. What the Republicans are going for is precisely that thing, the administrative resource.”

Snyder then explained how this mechanism works and how Trump and Republicans might apply it during the next election.

“Historically speaking, what we know about a ‘big lie’ is that because of its very scale, it’s not about truth or not truth; it’s about living in a kind of alternative reality,” Snyder added. “What we’re looking at is people who believe in or pretend to believe in this Big Lie, actually carrying out our elections. And the problem with this, or one of them, is that since these people have already claimed that the other side cheated, that basically legitimizes their cheating. In other words, if you talk about the Big Lie now, you’re basically promising to cheat the next time around, and that’s very concerning.”

He concluded by saying that this is a clear and present danger, not merely a theoretical one.

“The scenario for 2024 for most influential people around Donald Trump, which unfortunately means one of the political parties, is precisely to be installed without winning the election,” Snyder said. “I don’t think it’s something that could happen. I think it’s something that’s under way, and the question is, can we accept this reality in time to take the measures we need to take to prevent it?”

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

‘Ghoulish’ Lauren Bobert Branded a ‘Sociopath’ for Attacking Alec Baldwin: ‘Grieving Family Just Lost Their Loved One’

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U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, the QAnon Republican lawmaker and gun rights activist who owns a bar named Shooters in Rifle, Colorado, is being criticized after posting a tweet mocking and attacking Alec Baldwin. The well-known actor who spent several years playing Donald Trump on “Saturday Night Live” shot and killed award-winning cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, apparently by accident, with a prop gun on set less than 24 hours ago.

Boebert dug up a seven-year old tweet Baldwin had sent in support of Michael Brown, the 18-year old Black man fatally shot by a Ferguson, Missouri police officer.

She then added a snide and ugly remark and posted it to Twitter, only too happy to use the pain of Hutchins’ grieving family, friends, and industry as a tool to attack Baldwin:

The outrage was palpable, even from a few on the right, like former Trump White House Director of Strategic Communications:

A Democratic U.S. Congressman weighed in:

This MSNBC correspondent made a keen observation:

And many others:

 

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