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Victim Or Victimizer? Catholic Church, Diaz’s Gay Equality Intolerance



Victim Or Victimizer? Friend or foe?

Hard at work painting itself as the victim in a public debate on marriage equality, The New York State Catholic Conference, along with New York State Senator and Reverend Rubén Díaz, are instead victimizing the gay community.

Guest post by New York City-​based novelist and freelance journalist Scott Rose, who frequently writes about human rights.

The New York State Catholic Conference, which bills itself as “the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in New York State,” knows absolutely no shame in its efforts to perpetuate sexual orientation apartheid in New York State. Last week the Catholic Conference published a press release titled, “A Note on Intolerance” in which it painted itself and New York State Senator and Reverend Rubén Díaz, Sr. — a Pentecostal minister and sadistic opponent of LGBT civil rights — as victims of hysterical and vulgar attack from the marriage equality movement. In fact, gay rights foes are, indeed, the bullies. Merely consider which group has full, equal, constitutionally-protected civil rights, and which does not.

I sent the author of that press release, Richard E. Barnes — who, coincidentially, was quoted Sunday in an AP article, “Some gay-rights foes claim they now are bullied” – and other leading figures in the Catholic Conference an e-mail, objecting that their presentation of information surrounding the marriage equality movement was calculated to smear gay people. I specifically offered to help to do what Mr. Barnes had not at all done – that is, to present within the press release a well-reasoned, intellectual statement explaining just what about state-sanctioned sexual orientation apartheid in the matter of marriage is so hurtful, backwards and ignorant. I did not receive the courtesy of a reply.

The appearance is that the New York State Catholic Conference, whose web site states it “was founded to translate Catholic teachings into action in the public policy arena” — in clear, direct conflict of the U.S.  Constitution’s separation of church and state – wants to keep attention centered on that handful of LGBTers who in outrage and frustration over being oppressed, do something goofy, like decide to hold an F*!% Ruben Díaz Festival.

The core issues surrounding marriage equality have nothing whatsoever to do with such diversions. For that matter, the arguments involving marriage equality, as a politician like New York State Senator and Reverend Rubén Díaz presents them, also have nothing to do with those core issues. Díaz and his anti-gay co-conspirators in the Catholic Conference have their minds closed shut, like safes with nothing but cobwebs and anti-gay vindictiveness inside. The arguments they present against equality have all been resoundingly debunked.

To cite but one example from the Catholic Conference’s press release, they allege that marriage equality would take away their “religious liberty.” That is absolute hooey. The Catholic Church has a special interest in keeping gay people oppressed. Its noxious set-up in the past has been to persecute gays and lesbians over their sexual orientation as they are growing up, drive them to the utter depths of social despair and then offer to them as the only apparent workable option for living out their lives a sexless enslavement to the Church.

The nuns in particular get hidden away, doing the dirty work and the laundry for the men up through to those towards the top of the hierarchy like the Catholic Conference’s Barnes who exploit them to live cushy privileged existences. Where anti-gay bigotry is eliminated, where gay people’s long-term relationships are validated, where gay youth are shown hope for love and intimacy in their futures, the Catholic Church loses many potential candidates that it otherwise might have been able to terrorize into becoming slavish priests or nuns.

The Catholic Conference’s press release duplicitously alleges that the organization has a “love for all of God’s children, gay or straight.” Exactly what, according to these duplicitous anti-gay bullies, are the gay and lesbian people that these Catholics allegedly love supposed to do upon reaching a marrying age? Force themselves into impossible relationships with heterosexuals? Resign themselves to permanent second-class citizenship with a mate? Part of what caused the bullycide of Tyler Clementi when he jumped to his death off the George Washington Bridge last year was Tyler’s knowledge that his society irrationally hated him so strongly for who he was that it would not permit him to marry a man.

What, incidentally, but not insignificantly, is the source of anti-gay bullies in our schools?  Anti-gay bullies do not grow under cabbages, nor do they come from families that teach good strong acceptance values. Anti-gay bullies in the schools come from households where parents teach children fraudulent notions that there is something inherently “wrong” with homosexual human beings. The way the unrelenting anti-gay bully the Pope states it, actually, is that homosexual people are “objectively disordered.” That is rich, coming from a man who maintains his grip on power by alleging belief in a “virgin birth.”

The Catholic Conference’s press release also attempts to make all LGBT people accountable for supposed credible threats made against Diaz. None of those threats, however, have come from any leader of the push for marriage equality, such as Governor Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Michael Bloomberg or Senator Thomas Duane. By contrast, during an anti-gay hate rally Díaz held in the Bronx on May 15, his co-conspirator in anti-gay oppression, the Reverend Ariel Torres Ortega, hollered at an anti-LGBT mob that God says that gay people are “worthy of death.” Not only has Diaz not apologized for that, he and his associates have tried to excuse it away, with any number of repugnantly disingenuous defenses of it.

The arguments that Ruben Díaz and Richard Barnes would make against Cuomo, Bloomberg and Duane in their defenses of equality do not bear intellectual scrutiny. The intellectual bankruptcy of Díaz’s and Barnes’s anti-gay bigotry, furthermore, is thrown into heightened relief against all the religious leaders today — not to mention, Whole churches! Whole branches of Judaism! – that favor marriage equality.  It bears repeating here that in 2009, Saqib Ali, the first Muslim Delegate in the Maryland General Assembly, explained why he voted for marriage equality. “I recognize that I represent people of all faiths and no faith at all. If I tried to enforce religion by law – as in a theocracy – I would be doing a disservice both to my constituents and to my religion.”

Díaz is to be condemned for more than just endorsing the idea that God says gays are “worthy of death.”  He calculatingly scheduled his May 15 anti-gay hate rally on the same day as this year’s annual New York Aids Walk, so people would not be available to protest at his anti-gay hate rally — forcing some to choose between their love of their brand of religion and their love of a loved one. More heterosexual than lesbian women are living with HIV or AIDS, yet lesbians of course give priority to participating in the AIDS walk over protesting Díaz’s anti-gay hate rally. The New York State Catholic Conference should be ashamed of its attacks on LGBT New Yorkers and equally ashamed of its preposterous presentation of the maliciously anti-gay Reverend-Senator Díaz as a victim.

Diaz and the Church are not the victims. Indeed, they are the victimizers.

(Image, top: Catholics at the Capitol, buttons from a March, 2011 religious lobbying effort by the New York State Catholic Conference.)

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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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Pence Ordered to Comply With Subpoena, Testify Before Special Counsel’s Grand Jury



Mike Pence, the ex-vice president, must testify before Dept. of Justice special counsel Jack Smith’s grand jury investigating the January 6, 2021 insurrection, a federal judge has ruled, rejecting his claims of executive privilege.

The judge is requiring Pence to answer questions about his conversations with Donald Trump leading up to the insurrection, and to answer any questions related to any possible illegal acts Donald Trump may have committed, according to ABC News’ senior investigative reporter Katherine Faulders and CNN’s Abby Phillip.

Judge James Boasberg, the chief judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, “outright rejected Trump’s executive privilege challenge, but ruled more narrowly on Pence speech and debate challenge,” Faulders adds.

The judge, apparently citing Pence’s “speech and debate clause” claim, said “that Pence can still decline to answer questions related to his actions on January 6 itself, when he was serving as president of the Senate for the certification of the 2020 presidential election,” CNN reports.

READ MORE: ‘We’re Not Gonna Fix It’: TN Republican Says Congress Can Do Nothing to Stop Gun Violence – Calls for Christian ‘Revival’

NBC News reports Judge Boasberg “did, however, grant Pence a partial victory as to his argument that he was shielded from having to testify about Jan. 6 because of his constitutional role as part of the legislative branch.”

In what some legal experts dismissed as a faulty argument, “Pence’s legal team had argued that the Constitution’s ‘speech and debate’ clause should prevent special counsel Jack Smith’s prosecutors from eliciting any testimony about communications or activity related to Pence’s role as president of the Senate in presiding over the certification of the election results.”

Overall CNN calls it “another win for special counsel Jack Smith, who is investigating the Trump-aligned effort to subvert the 2020 election. Smith subpoenaed Pence for testimony and documents earlier this year.”

Pence can still appeal.

Watch MSNBC’s report below or at this link.

This is a breaking news and developing story.

This article has been updated to add video.

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‘Taking Guns Away Is Not the Answer’: Scalise Encourages Prayer After Nashville School Mass Shooting



The official line from House Republicans on Monday’s mass shooting at a private Christian elementary school in Nashville is to encourage prayer and making schools “safer,” but “taking guns away is not the answer.”

GOP Majority Leader Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the second-most powerful Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives, on Tuesday encouraged prayer, waiting for more facts, and looking into mental health option, despite his record of voting against them. Six people, including three nine-year olds and three adults, were shot to death after a shooter shot through the doors of Covenant Presbyterian Elementary School.

“The first thing in any kind of tragedy I do is I pray,” Scalise told a reporter Tuesday when asked if there’s anything Congress can do to reduce gun violence and deaths. “I pray for the victims. I pray for their families.”

On Monday, U.S. Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN) also encouraged prayer over action. “We’re not gonna fix it,” he declared point-blank, while calling for a Christian “revival.”

READ MORE: Tennessee Governor Slammed After ‘Praying’ for Nashville School Community Without Mentioning Mass Shooting

Scalise was shot in 2017 in a rare act of left-wing gun violence by a man angry at then-President Donald Trump. He and House Republicans have repeatedly used that attack to target Democrats and their policies.

“I really get angry when I see people trying to politicize it for their own personal agenda,” Scalise continued, referring to shootings, “especially when we don’t even know the facts. There are facts coming out.”

“It looks like the shooter originally went to another school that had real stronger, much stronger security and ultimately went to this school,” Scalise said, which is false. According to a CNN report, the shooter had previously “scouted” a second location but had a detailed plan and maps of The Covenant School.

“Let’s get the facts,” Scalise insisted, suggesting no action should be taken before any investigations into this shooting are complete.

The Washington Post in a continually-updated report notes, “There were more school shootings in 2022 — 46 — than in any year since at least 1999.”

It adds, “There have been 376 school shootings” since Columbine, in 1999, and, “More than 348,000 students have experienced gun violence at school since Columbine.”

But Scalise urged Americans to “work to see if there’s something that we can do to help secure schools.”

READ MORE: New WSJ Poll Is Devastating for DeSantis and His ‘Anti-Woke’ Policies

And he insisted reducing the number of guns in America, currently believed to be over 400 million – more than the total population of the country – is “not the answer.”

“We’ve talked about things that we can do, and it just seems like on the other side, all they want to do is take guns away from law abiding citizens, before they even know the facts. The first thing they talk about is taking guns away from law abiding citizens. And that’s not the answer, by the way. So why don’t we number one, keep those families in our prayers and see if there were things that were missed. Along the way, we’ve talked about the need to improve mental health in this country, and that’s been a driver of a lot of these shootings as well.”

But just last September, Scalise, along with all but one House Republican, voted against a bill that would “increase access to mental and behavioral health care.”

He also skipped a vote one week earlier on the Mental Health Justice Act of 2022.

Watch Scalise’s remarks in this clip, below or at this link.


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