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Judge Rules One of America’s Most Vocal Anti-LGBT Catholics Must Testify About Abuse

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On Sunday afternoon, Ramsey County District Judge John Van de North confirmed that Minneapolis Archbishop John Nienstedt, one of the nation’s most vocal and vociferous Catholic anti-LGBT voices, must testify about covering up child abuse within the church in Minnesota. Sunday’s ruling, which mirrored his decision early last week, came in response to the Twin Cities archdiocese’s appeal to stay the testimony.

Former Vicar General Kevin McDonough, who recently resigned in light of the cover-up, will also be forced to testify before March 13. The judge also reconfirmed his ruling that the church must turn in a list of all priests accused of child and sexual abuse since 2004, though such names will remain under seal. The archdiocese released a partial list in late 2013, but had refused to release the entire list.

The church’s failed attempt at a stay represented, according to Minnesota Public Radio, a “more aggressive legal approach” than those yet fielded. It also offered its most public legal failure to date in the state, and it remains unclear whether any mechanism for appeal remains.

The ruling stands as a boon to both those seeking recourse for decades of sex abuse within the Catholic Church, as well as those who know Nienstedt for his history of outspoken bigotry. While his anti-LGBT views aren’t as prominent as Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Nienstedt arguably carries the most acidic views among high-ranking American Catholics.

Nienstedt’s beliefs came to a head in the lead-up to the state’s 2012 anti-same-sex marriage amendment, which the archbishop both spearheaded and helped fund through the church’s charity arm. (This, while numerous churches in his diocese were closing due to a lack of financial support.) After spending years graphically detailing scenes from Brokeback Mountain in church bulletins, staking that those who “actively encourage … homosexual acts” are committing “mortal sin,” and mailing — without asking — 400,000 anti-gay marriage DVDs to the state’s Catholics, the archbishop tossed the full weight of his organization behind a state amendment defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

The amendment, of course, failed, and but a few months later Minnesota became the 12th state to legalize same-sex marriage in the US. Not long after, MPR began unearthing claims and documentation detailing the decades of sex abuse committed by Minensota priests – and the subsequent cover-up from Nienstedt and the two archbishops coming prior. Numerous priests were reshuffled, promoted, or placed on paid leave without attendant reporting to local authorities. As MPR’s investigative work continued, a boy accused Nienstedt of improper touching during a Confirmation ceremony. The archbishop stepped aside temporarily while the investigation unfurled. He has not been seen in public since. As such, not only will the forthcoming testimony provide legal means to examine the decades of cover-up, but it will force Nienstedt to speak on an issue that, unlike LGBT rights, he has remained resoundingly silent on recently.

Casey Michel HeadshotCasey Michel is a graduate student at Columbia University, and former Peace Corps Kazakhstan volunteer. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Slate, and Talking Points Memo, and he has contributed multiple long-form investigations to Minneapolis’s City Pages and the Houston Press. You can follow him on Twitter.

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At the White House Johnson Says Biden Must Use Executive Orders After Calling Them ‘Gimmicks’

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Republican Speaker of the House Mike Johnson says President Joe Biden must issue executive orders to address the southern border, just days after scoffing at claims the President was considering using his executive authority, calling those orders “election year gimmicks.”

Republicans, with the assistance of – and some say, at the direction of – Donald Trump derailed a bipartisan  border bill several weeks ago.

Although the House is still on vacation, Speaker Johnson attended his first White House meeting with President Biden on Tuesday, along with Senate Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Democratic Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries.

The President’s goal in gathering the congressional leaders together was to find a way to avoid a government shutdown, which will come after midnight Friday if the House and Senate cannot agree and pass legislation to fund the government.

Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called the meeting “one of the most intense” of his career.

READ MORE: Democratic Senators Now ‘Daring’ Republicans to Block IVF Protections: Report

Schumer, McConnell, and Jeffries are all united in the need to pass legislation to help Ukraine battle Russian President Vladimir Putin’s illegal war.

Often after these meetings participants will hold a joint press conference outside the White House but Johnson opted to speak to reporters alone.

Defiant, and in opposition to the President, Leaders Schumer, McConnell, and Jeffries, Johnson declared that the southern border must be fixed before he could support funding critical military aid to Ukraine.

Pointing to “discussion about the supplemental spending package,” referring to the military aid bill, Johnson told reporters (video below): “I was very clear with the President and all those in the room that the House is actively pursuing and investigating all the various options on that, and we will address that in a timely manner.”

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“But again, the first priority of the country is our border and making sure it’s secure. I believe the President can take executive authority right now today to change that. And I told him that again today in person, as I’ve said to him many times, publicly and privately over the last several weeks, it’s time for action. It is a catastrophe, and it must stop and we will get the government funded and we’ll keep working on that.”

Last week, Politico reported Johnson, in addition to his “election year gimmicks” remarks, said: “The president suddenly seems interested in trying to make a change using the legal authority that he claimed until recently didn’t exist.”

Watch Johnson below or at this link:

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COMMENTARY

Stephen Miller: Arrest ‘Commie’ Teachers, Use Government Power to ‘Defeat Evil’

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Former Trump aide Stephen Miller told the MAGA activists gathered near Washington, D.C. last week for the annual Conservative Political Action Conference that conservatives must be willing to use power more aggressively against their opponents. He railed against district attorneys and other officials for not arresting teachers who violate new state laws that restrict teaching on race, gender, and sexuality.

Miller, an architect of the Trump administration’s anti-immigration policies, has been promising MAGA activists that if Trump returns to the White House, he “will unleash the vast arsenal of federal powers to implement the most spectacular migration crackdown.” Miller’s America First Legal group is part of the far-right Project 2025, which has prepared a battle plan for the movement to “take the reins of government” in a new Trump administration. The Heritage Foundation, ringleader of the Project 2025 scheme, was at CPAC recruiting foot soldiers willing to carry out the plan.

In a recent article for Political Research Associates’ “The Public Eye” magazine, I noted that Project 2025 reflected a “movement-level, ideological shift away from a libertarian mistrust of government power and toward an authoritarian view of government power being used ruthlessly—whether as a righteous force wielded to advance a ‘biblical worldview’ or turned against an ‘administrative state’ supposedly captured by a radical Marxist left.”

Miller provided ample confirmation about the MAGA movement’s intentions, down to his dismissal of libertarianism as “a terrible ideology” that might be fine for academic debates but not in the real world, where he said public officials have a responsibility to “defeat evil.”

Excerpts from Miller’s appearance on a Friday, Feb. 23 CPAC panel:

Call it a mental illness, call it a spiritual failing, call it a moral deficiency, call it weakness, softness, or just being pathetic. There is something really broken in the conservative brain. They’re afraid not only of conflict, we know that. But there’s an even deeper fear, a deeper fear than all that, which is having power, and using power. Conservatives are addicted to the language of libertarianism, which is fine–you know, it’s a terrible ideology, but in an academic setting, okay, have these debates. …

You elect a state supreme court justice, you elect an Attorney General, and so on and so forth, to have an office with specific powers, duties, and responsibilities, with the expectation that they will use that authority to defeat evil, to protect the good, and to accomplish positive change in society. And you have to use that power fearlessly. …

A number of states, for example, have passed laws, saying that you can’t have this in the curriculum, or you can’t have that in the curriculum, and you can’t teach DEI and so on and so forth. Without exception, I can promise you, all the commies in the classroom changed the name of their lecture, changed one word, changed one little paragraph in the syllabus and did the exact same damn thing every single day because they’re communists and that’s what they do. Were they sued? No! Were they arrested if they broke a law and it’s applicable? No! Did any D.A. anywhere, if you’re talking about trans issues, think of arresting somebody for abusing children with trans ideology? No, we write blog posts about it. That’s what we do. So until we get serious, all the way down to the local DA, all the way up to the state A/G. and every office in between, including judges, electing people who have power and will use that power and measure their success by change in the real world, then we aren’t going to be able to beat the left.

This article was originally published by Right Wing Watch and is republished here by permission.

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Democratic Senators Now ‘Daring’ Republicans to Block IVF Protections: Report

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Democratic Senators led by U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) will ask unanimous consent on Wednesday to pass legislation to protect in-vitro fertilization (IVF), after the Alabama Supreme Court ruled frozen embryos are “children.” Immediately following that ruling, some medical facilities that offer IVF services paused those practices over fear they could be prosecuted.

“I warned that red states would come for IVF, and now they have. But they aren’t going to just going to stop in Alabama,” Senator Duckworth said Tuesday during a press conference announcing the legislation, The Hill reported. “Mark my words. If we don’t act now, it will only get worse.”

Many House and Senate Republicans quickly came out to claim they support IVF after the Alabama ruling, some at the direction or urging of Donald Trump and the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), despite having voted for legislation that claims human life begins at conception. Because IVF can involve discarding frozen embryos, discarding them could put fertility clinics and physicians at risk, under the Alabama ruling.

Senator Duckworth has a PhD in human services and is the first U.S. Senator to give birth while serving in office. She “had her two daughters via IVF,” Axios reports, and “says that under Alabama’s ruling, her doctor’s decision to discard her non-viable embryos with her consent would’ve potentially been considered manslaughter or murder.”

READ MORE: ‘Conspiring With Putin’: Democratic Congressman Brings the Hammer Down on Jim Jordan

Over the past two years Sen. Duckworth has supported or sponsored legislation to protect IVF and “other assisted reproductive technology (ART) services.”

On Tuesday Duckworth announced “she’ll seek unanimous consent tomorrow in Senate on her bill to protect the right to IVF nationwide,” reports CBS News’ Scott MacFarlane. “She is quite noticeably daring Republican US Senators to attempt to block it.”

CNN reports, “The Life at Conception Act – which was introduced in January 2023 by GOP Rep. Alex Mooney of West Virginia and has 125 total Republican sponsors in the House, including House Speaker Mike Johnson – defines the term ‘human being’ to include ‘all stages of life, including the moment of fertilization, cloning, or other moment at which an individual member of the human species comes into being.'”

In one of numerous examples of incongruence between their stated claims and voting record, CNN adds that “GOP Rep. Michelle Steel of California, who represents a Biden-won swing district, was one of the Republicans who came out quickly on social media to express support for IVF and share her own struggles with infertility. She also said she opposes any federal restrictions on the procedure.”

“But Steel is also a co-sponsor of the Life at Conception Act — which Democrats have been quick to point out. Steel’s office has not yet returned a request for comment on how she squares those two positions, nor have other House Republicans who expressed support for IVF while being co-sponsors of the House bill.”

READ MORE: ‘How Extremism Is Normalized’: Schlapp Furious as Critics Slam CPAC Over Report of Nazis

Republicans have been “scrambling to contain the fallout” after the Alabama Supreme Court ruling, Reuters reported.

“Recent polls conducted by Republican strategist Kellyanne Conway, who worked in the Trump White House, and shared with Reuters showed widespread support for IVF and fertility treatments, even among those who oppose abortion,” Reuters added. “According to Conway’s firm, 85% of all respondents and 86% of women support increasing access to fertility-related procedures and services for individuals facing challenges in conceiving, including 78% of people who consider themselves anti-abortion and 83% of evangelicals.”

In 2022, U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) killed Sen. Duckworth’s legislation to protect IVF, after objecting to it being passed by unanimous consent.

Watch below or at this link.

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