In several key House and Senate races this year, the winner may look familiar to voters — because he’s also been their pastor or faith leader.
America’s Christian Evangelical religious right has never been shy about spreading the word of God, nor about using any means to do so. Now, in several key House and Senate races, that motivation may pay off — with pastors and religious leaders winning Republican seats in Congress.Â
Oklahoma’sÂ James Lankford already has a leg up — he’s a sitting U.S. Congressman. But in November, he’sÂ likely to become the Senate’s only former full-time religious leader, and a handy tool for the religious right.Â
“Lankford served as the director of youth programs at Falls Creek, one of the largest Baptist youth camps in the country that boasts bringing 55,000 people to Oklahomaâ€™s Arbuckle Mountains every summer,” Roll Call reported last night, in “Megachurches Prove Mega-Influential in GOP Primaries.”
Republicans said that highly visible gig helped Lankford come out of nowhere to win his first House race in 2010 andÂ defeat one of this cycleâ€™s most-talked aboutÂ GOP Senate candidatesÂ in a June primary.
Lankford is vehemently anti-gay. In 2012, Think Progress cornered Lankford and asked him about supporting ENDA.
“Well, youâ€™re now dealing with behavior and Iâ€™m trying to figure out exactly what youâ€™re trying to mean by that,” Rep. Lankford told Think Progress reporters. “Because youâ€™re dealing with â€” race and sexual preferences are two different things. One is a behavior-related and preference-related and one is something inherently â€” skin color, something obvious, that kind of stuff. You donâ€™t walk up to someone on the street and look at them and say, ‘Gay or straight?'”
He added, “I think itâ€™s a choice issue.”
Roll Call also looked at several House races featuring members of the clergy, past and present.
Until late last year, Baptist Pastor Mark Walker held a leadership roleÂ at Lawndale Baptist Church, which has a membership of a few thousand, in the heart of the 6th District in Greensboro, N.C. Last week, Walker defeated the well-connected son of one of North Carolinaâ€™s most powerful politiciansÂ by 6,300 votes inÂ a GOP runoff.
Gary Palmer alsoÂ won a Republican runoff last week,Â in Alabamaâ€™s 6th District race to succeed retiring Rep. Spencer Bachus. Palmer has close ties to Briarwood Presbyterian Church, one of the largest churches in Alabama with more than 4,000 members.Â The founding pastor has endorsed Palmer.
A fourth candidate, Hice, is locked in a competitive House runoff to succeed Rep. Paul Broun of Georgia, who lost a Senate primary in May.Â Hiceâ€™s ties to a number of Baptist churches in the 10th District, including a faith-based talk radio show, could help him turn out his supporters in this district, located between the Atlanta exurbs and Augusta.
Pastor Mark Walker’s racist and anti-gay platform can be summed up in this quote from his campaign website:
“The breakdown of the American family is a tragic result of a systematic moral devastation. This travesty, created by our government, translates into many other problematic areas within our culture…Â Our government, which oppresses and misleads its people with its flawed agenda, has been effective in changing an entire culture. The social programs of the Lyndon Johnson era played a damaging role in stripping away the fabric of the family.”
Alabama’s Gary Palmer is endorsed by Rick Santorum, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, the Duggar family (“19 Kids and Counting”), Ralph Reed, David Barton, Gary Bauer, Erick Erickson’s Red State, and Tony Perkins and theÂ Family Research Council. Yes, a hate group has endorsed Palmer, and he proudly posts that on his campaign website.
That last candidate mentioned by Roll Call is Jody Hice.
You’ll likely rememberÂ Rep. Paul Broun, who infamously proclaimed in 2012:
“All that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and the Big Bang Theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of Hell. And it’s lies to try to keep me and all the folks who were taught that from understanding that they need a savior. You see, there are a lot of scientific data that I’ve found out as a scientist that actually show that this is really a young Earth. I don’t believe that the Earth’s but about 9,000 years old. I believe it was created in six days as we know them. That’s what the Bible says. And what I’ve come to learn is that it’s the manufacturer’s handbook, is what I call it. It teaches us how to run our lives individually, how to run our families, how to run our churches. But it teaches us how to run all of public policy and everything in society. And that’s the reason as your congressman I hold the Holy Bible as being the major directions to me of how I vote in Washington, D.C., and I’ll continue to do that.” [Bolding ours]
While Broun won’t be returning to Congress — he tried and failed to win a Senate seat — Hice, who is running to replace him, is noÂ better, and probably worse.
In May, the New Civil Rights Movement reported that Pastor Jody Hice, who is supported by the Family Research Council and Herman Cain,Â will likely become Tea Party RepublicanÂ Congressman Jody Hice.
Hice has saidÂ that gay people have a secret plot to seduce and sodomize Americaâ€™s sons, he thinks same-sex marriage is akin to bestiality and incest, and he has compared abortion to the genocide waged by Adolph Hitler.
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In Angry Letter McCarthy Warns Thompson J6 Docs ‘Do Not Belong to You’ – After Defending Trump Taking Classified Info
House Minority Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy in an angry letter to Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) warned the Chairman of the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack that his role will end on January 3 and it is “imperative that all information collected be preserved.” The California Republican congressman had a dramatically different position on Donald Trump‘s unlawful retention of well over ten thousand items from the White House, including at least 300 documents with classified markings, including some classified at the highest levels.
McCarthy, who is running to be Speaker of the House but is facing strong opposition from some of the GOP caucus, nevertheless is acting as if he will wield the gavel.
His letter, angry and accusatory in tone, also strongly suggests Republicans will hold their own hearings on the January 6 attack on the Capitol and on democracy, but with a vastly different focus.
“The American people chose Republicans to lead the 118th Congress,” McCarthy’s letter begins. “On January 3, 2023, your work as Chairman of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol will come to an end,” McCarthy told Thompson in his letter, which was reported on by CBS News.
“For those reasons, I remind you and your staff on the Committee to preserve all records collected and transcripts of testimony taken during your investigation in accordance with House Rule VII. As the Chairman, regardless of who may be directing the work of the Committee, you are responsible for the work done by its members and staff.”
Some have suggested that Thompson could transfer some or all of the Committee’s work product – all transcripts and other evidence – to the Senate.
McCarthy continued with his angry attack.
“It is clear based on recent news reports that even your own members and staff of the Committee have no visibility into the totality of the investigation. Some reports suggest that entire swaths of findings will be left out of the Committee’s final report. You have spent a year and a half and millions of taxpayers’ dollars conducting this investigation.”
House Republicans, including McCarthy, spent million dollars on six Benghazi investigations, the last one of which McCarthy admitted was designed to harm former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s presidential aspirations.
“Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping,” McCarthy bragged in 2015.
Unlike his defense of ex-president Donald Trump unlawfully removing and retaining at Mar-a-Lago approximately 13,000 items belonging to the National Archives from the White House, McCarthy warned Thompson the Committee’s work does not belong to the Chairman.
“It is imperative that all information collected be preserved not just for institutional prerogatives but for transparency to the American people,” McCarthy wrote. “The official Congressional Records do not belong to you or any member, but to the American people, and they are owed all of the information you gathered – not merely the information that comports with your political agenda.”
That’s actually false.
The Committee has undoubtedly uncovered government secrets, including national security information, classified information, and information, for example, the Secret Service needs to keep secret to allow it to continue to secure its protectees. It also has entered into agreements with witnesses that prevent it from releasing those documents, transcripts, and other evidence to the public.
Politico’s senior legal affairs reporter Kyle Cheney says, “Kevin McCarthy’s letter demanding that the Jan. 6 committee preserve its records is mostly nonsense because the committee is planning to release all but a few of its transcripts.”
McCarthy continued, warning: “Although your Committee’s public hearings did not focus on why the Capitol complex was not secure on January 6, 2021, the Republican majority in the 118th Congress will hold hearings that do so.”
He then served up what some might say is a threat.
“The American people have a right to know that the allegations you have made are supported by the facts and to be able to view the transcripts with an eye toward encouraged enforcement of 18 USC 1001.”
18 U.S. Code § 1001 is the federal statute that makes it a crime to knowingly make false statements.
McCarthy had a very different take when the U.S. Dept. of Justice executed a legal search warrant of Donald Trump’s Florida residence and resort, Mar-a-Lago, to retrieve government-owned materials, including classified documents.
“Joe Biden and the politicized Dept. of Justice launched a raid on the home of his top political rival, Donald Trump,” McCarthy said on Sept. 1. “That is an assault on democracy.”
“Joe Biden and the politicized Department of Justice launched a raid on the home of his top political rival, Donald Trump. That is an assault on democracy.”
— House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, before Biden gives remarks in Philadelphia, attacks the lawful Mar-a-Lago search pic.twitter.com/qDwPSzrYs8
— The Recount (@therecount) September 1, 2022
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Treasury Dept. Finally Hands Over Six Years of Trump’s Tax Returns to Powerful House Committee
The U.S. Dept. of the Treasury has finally handed over six years of Donald Trump’s tax returns, after the U.S, Supreme Court denied the ex-president’s request to block the document transfer. The powerful House Ways and Means Committee is now in receipt of all six years, according to a Wednesday afternoon report from CNN.
The returns are primarily from Trump’s time as president.
The Committee will need to work quickly, as Republicans will take over the House majority early next year, and the current Chairman, Richard Neal, will no longer serve in that role.
Republicans are expected to end any investigations into Donald Trump, including his tax returns, as they begin investigations into top GOP priorities: Hunter Biden’s laptop, the origin of the novel COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, and President Joe Biden’s withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan.
This is a breaking news and developing story.
Image via Shutterstock
Trump Allies So Shaken by His White Supremacist Dinner a Top Campaign Aide Will Now ‘Be Present With Him at All Times’
Top allies of Donald Trump were so disturbed by his decision to have dinner with white supremacist Nick Fuentes last week that the ex-president and 2024 GOP candidate will now have a handler with him around the clock.
The Associated Press also reports the campaign has also changed the protocols for visitors and will start to vet guests who come to see Trump, after the few procedures in place allowed antisemite Kanye West to bring along three guests.
“In an acknowledgment of the severity of the backlash and an effort to prevent a repeat, Trump’s campaign is putting new protocols in place to ensure that those who meet with him are approved and fully vetted, according to people familiar with the plans who requested anonymity to share internal strategy,” the AP adds, revealing the campaign apparently does not trust the 76-year old ex-president to make decisions about who he should or should not spend time with.
“The changes will include expediting a system, borrowed from Trump’s White House, in which a senior campaign official will be present with him at all times, according to one of the people,” the AP adds, revealing what appears to be a previously unknown fact.
The lax security at Mar-a-Lago was in place when Trump was storing 300 documents with various classified markings, including documents with top secret information and a set with the highest level of classification.
In yet another stunning revelation the AP reports that the antisemitic Holocaust “denier” and white supremacist Fuentes “arrived by car with Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, and was waved into the club by security, even though only Ye had been on the security list, according to one of the people present and others briefed on the events.”
The AP also reports that “Fuentes apparently did not show his ID and the car’s driver, a frequent guest at the club, got in using a credit card after misplacing her license.”
The report does not mention the other two guests Trump dined with, reportedly far right wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, who has supported adult men having sex with young teens, and Karen Trump 2016 aide Karen Giorno, who was reportedly involved in a pay-for-pardon scheme.
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