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Watch: Evangelicals Franklin Graham And Ralph Reed Bash Gays For Easter (Video)

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For Easter, ABC News’ “This Week” hosted three top evangelical Christian leaders who spent a good portion of the segment obsessing over homosexuality, bashing gay people, and bearing false witness about same-sex couples raising children. The triumvirate at the table were Franklin Graham (image), the son of the 95-year old Rev. Billy Graham; Ralph Reed, the disgraced grifter, campaign finance law breaker, and Pat Robertson‘s former executive director of the Christian Coalition; and Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission who replaced the disgraced Richard Land in that role.

Host Martha Radditz invited Graham to “stand by” his recent infamous comments that gay people adopt children in order to sexually abuse them and to “recruit” them into homosexuality, and that Vladimir Putin signing his archaic anti-gay laws “was probably a pretty smart thing to do” in “protecting his nation’s children.” After watching video of himself making those comments, Graham was only too happy to stand by them. Graham trumpeted that President Putin thinks “taking advantage of children, exploiting children is wrong,” suggesting that gays are “taking advantage of children, exploiting children,” and that Barack Obama does not. He also added, “We used to have a president in this country who did what’s right for this country but we don’t seem to have that right now.”

Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart this morning called Graham “beneath contempt” and his comments “offensive” and “detestable.”

Moore pushed back only slightly, professing, “I agree that every child deserves both a mom and a dad.”

And then Ralph Reed pushed his way in, tossing to the table — and the millions of viewers watching across America — lies from the thoroughly-discredited Regnerus study. “And by the way, Martha, the social science on this is clear. This isn’t about Vladimir Putin, this is about what’s best for children here in the United States and the social science is irrefutable. And it is a child who grows up in a home without the mother and father present — and they both play very unique, procreative, nurturing, and socializing role — they’re nine times more likely to end up dropping out of high school, they’re five times more likely to end up in poverty, and they’re three times more likely to end up addicted to drugs and alcohol.”

//www.youtube.com/embed/H9a6qIyK7YI?start=308&end=520

Of course, most of America doesn’t know that just last month a federal judge who presided over a case on same-sex marriage in Michigan sat listening to the state’s lead witness, Mark Regnerus, and concluded that the “Court finds Regnerus’s testimony entirely unbelievable and not worthy of serious consideration, and that Regnerus “certainly cannot purport to have undertaken a scholarly research effort to compare the outcomes of children raised by same-sex couples with those of children raised by heterosexual couples.”

But Ralph Reed chose to tell falsehoods about gay people by couching them in the phrase, “a child who grows up in a home without the mother and father present,” while talking about same-sex couples raising children.

Cokie Roberts stepped in and took Reed to task.

But the social science is also irrefutable that a child raised in an orphanage is in much worse shape than a child raised in a home,” the ABC News anchor told Reed. “And the fact that people are willing to take these children and raise them, and raise them in a loving way is clearly better for these children.”

His response?

“I think the social science is just simply not in yet on same-sex couples and I think the law has every right to set an ideal. And the ideal is a mother and a father.”

Reed of course is lying out of both sides of his mouth.

From one side, he spouts Regnerus “facts,” which have nothing to do with gay parents, and from the other, “the social science is just simply not in yet on same-sex couples.” Which is it?

Meanwhile, the social science is in on same-sex couples.

Every major medical association has stated that children raised by same-sex parents turn out no different than their peers raised by different-sex parents.

“Decades of social science research also confirms that children of same-sex parents have similar levels of psychological adjustment and are no more likely than their peers raised by heterosexual parents to report behavioral issues. All of the leading national child welfare and social service organizations agree that children raised by lesbian, gay, and bisexual parents are just as happy, healthy, and well-adjusted as children raised by different-sex parents. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, Child Welfare League of America, and National Association of Social Workers all have published organizational statements confirming that lesbian, gay, and bisexual people make excellent parents who raise developmentally healthy children.”

— March 4, 2014, Amici Curiae Brief Of Family Equality Council, Colage, Voices For Utah Children, And The Children’s Center Of Salt Lake City, Kitchen v. Herbert.

Hat tip: Daily Kos and Mediaite

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Radical Right-Wing Paramilitary Group Recruiting Texas Cops for ‘Bloody Civil War’: Report

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According to a report from the Star-Telegram, a senior member of the rightwing paramilitary group Oath Keepers who moved to Texas in 2015 is actively recruiting local law enforcement employees while telling them a “bloody civil war” against the U.S. government is on the horizon.

The report states that John D. Shirley, the national director of the Las Vegas-based Oath Keepers finagled himself a job as a county constable in Hood County which provided him with access to other police officers and now he is using his position to recruit.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Oath Keepers organization is “one of the largest radical antigovernment groups in the U.S. today” with, reportedly, thousands of members made up of former law enforcement officials and military veterans.

The Star-Telegram reports that Shirley’s “Oath Keepers of Hood County” drive was scheduled at a local golf course earlier in the week before being canceled by the management because they felt the group had misrepresented itself when they booked the meeting place.

The report notes that Shirley has attempted to allay fears about the group’s intentions despite claims on their own website about a coming “New World order” and antisemitic rhetoric, that goes hand-in-hand with their unyielding  defense of gun ownership.

According to Shirley, in column for the online publication Hood County Today, the Oath Keepers are not “anti-government” because, as he wrote, “I am a public servant OF the government,” before adding, “The U.S. Constitution, the document this organization holds as sacrosanct, is the foundational document of our GOVERNMENT.”

The report notes that local law officials say there is no policy that bans police from joining the group which has one local running for sheriff extremely concerned.

According to Vance Keyes of Fort Worth, “I am absolutely concerned about militia groups infiltrating law enforcement. Their presence in policing undermines our obligation and ability to provide impartial justice … free from the thinly veiled, and often outright, racial bias that exist in such organizations.”

He added, “They destroy sincere efforts to strengthen police/community relations in minority communities. Their anti-government rhetoric is also an affront to police professionals that take seriously their obligation to public service and the rule of law.”

You can read more here.

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AMERICA IN CRISIS

Intelligence Agencies Saw Growing Risk From Coronavirus-Like Outbreak — but Stayed Quiet for Fear of Trump’s Wrath

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U.S. intelligence agencies have been warning against the likelihood of a global pandemic — just as coronavirus seems poised to become — but have recently backed down for fear of angering President Donald Trump.

Intelligence analysts assessed in 2017 and 2018 that a pandemic could strain resources and harm the global economy, but they agreed not to release a public warning so far this year because they’re reluctant to discuss intelligence that might displease the president, officials told NBC News.

“We assess that the United States and the world will remain vulnerable to the next flu pandemic or large-scale outbreak of a contagious disease that could lead to massive rates of death and disability, severely affect the world economy, strain international resources, and increase calls on the United States for support,” said the most recent worldwide threat assessment, issued in January 2019 by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

But so far this year the leaders of intelligence agencies have agreed not to release their threat assessments publicly, which has prevented Congress from getting public testimony about the implications of the outbreak’s impact on the economy and national security.

The intelligence analysis found that outbreaks are being spread from animals to humans, just as COVID-19 is believed to have originated — and analysts even mentioned a close cousin to the coronavirus strain in one report.

Related: Watch: Trump Jr. Falsely Accuses Democrats of Hoping Coronavirus ‘Kills Millions’ to End President’s ‘Streak of Winning’

 

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DISCRIMINATION

Bill Barr’s DOJ Intervenes to Support Lawsuit Filed by Christian Photographer Refusing to Photograph Same-Sex Weddings

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The U.S. Dept. of Justice under Attorney General Bill Barr has intervened in a pre-emptive lawsuit filed by a Kentucky wedding photographer who claims her interpretation of her Christian religion bars her from taking photos of weddings of same-sex couples.

No same-sex couple has ever tried to hire Chelsey Nelson to photograph their nuptials, but her attorneys, the far right wing Alliance Defending Freedom, filed the lawsuit against Louisville city officials anyway, according to the AP. The ADF appears on the Southern Poverty Law Center list of anti-LGBTQ hate groups.

And now the Justice Dept. in a 23-page “statement of interest” says the “Court should find that Plaintiffs have demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits.”

In other words, the DOJ has told the court hearing her case directly that it agrees with the ADF.

The Louisville law bans businesses from discriminating against LGBTQ people. Many legal experts agree that refusing to provide a service to an entire class of people is discrimination, hence the countless laws across the country that protect LGBTQ people and other minorities from being refused services their non-LGBTQ peers regularly pay for and receive without question.

The DOJ, however, in a press release claims the legal statement it filed explains that Nelson “is likely to succeed on her claim that requiring her to photograph weddings against her conscience constitutes government-compelled speech that violates the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment.”

“The First Amendment forbids the government from forcing someone to speak in a manner that violates individual conscience,” said Eric Dreiband, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “The U.S. Department of Justice will continue to protect the right of all persons to exercise their constitutional right to speech and expression.”

The ACLU disagrees, and “filed a brief defending the city, arguing that the Nelson’s intent to offer wedding photography only to heterosexual couples violates the city law.”

The renowned  civil rights group calls Nelson’s position “identity-based discrimination.”

The SPLC says the Alliance Defending Freedom “has supported the recriminalization of homosexuality in the U.S. and criminalization abroad; has defended state-sanctioned sterilization of trans people abroad; has linked homosexuality to pedophilia and claims that a ‘homosexual agenda’ will destroy Christianity and society.”

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