A Texas social conservative became an anti-gay extremist and activist after his wife left him for a woman.Â
Attorney Jonathan Saenz reportedly was always a social conservative. In 2011, as his bio reads, Saenz “headed the Liberty Institute offices at the Texas Capitol in Austin where he served as Director of Legislative Affairs and Attorney for Liberty Institute.”Â
But later that year something happened, and Saenz changed jobs,Â becoming the head of a local virulently anti-gay group, Texas Values.
According to an exclusiveÂ report by John Wright at Lone Star Q, just “months before Jonathan Saenz became president of the anti-gay group Texas Values, his wife left him for another woman, according to Hays County district court records obtained by Lone Star Q.”
The revelation could help explain Saenzâ€™s seemingly abrupt transformation from socially conservative lobbyist toÂ homophobic firebrand.
Saenz, a devout Catholic, has been a right-wing operative in Texas for many years â€” working on abortion and religious liberty cases as a staff attorney for the Plano-based Liberty Legal Institute as far back as 2005.
However, it wasnâ€™t until recently that Saenz emerged as one of the stateâ€™s best-known â€” andÂ most extremeÂ â€” anti-LGBT voices.
Court records indicate that Saenzâ€™s ex-wife, Corrine Morris Rodriguez Saenz, is a member of the LGBT community who was dating another woman when she filed for divorce from Saenz in August 2011.
In early 2012, with their divorce still pending, Saenz would take the helm of Texas Values after the organization spun off from the Liberty Legal Institute, where heâ€™d risen to chief lobbyist.
In March of last year,Â The New Civil Rights Movement reported on anÂ open anti-gay letter to theÂ Boy Scouts of AmericaÂ signed by over 60 Texas Republican elected officials. The letter, which originally appeared onÂ a website runÂ run by Saenz,Â Texas Values, had been lauded by anti-gay hate group head Tony Perkins.
GLAAD’s Commentator Accountability Project reports that Saenz has claimed that homosexuality is “dangerous and risky sexual activity that can fiercely jeopardize a person’s well-being,” and has said thatÂ marriage equality will lead to people marrying their own stepchildren.Â
“My heart breaks for you,” GLAAD reports Saenz saying, “if you are currently choosing to live a sinful sexual lifestyle while also trying to convince others that it is also okay to live a sinful lifestyle without making any efforts to change or resist sin and temptation. You can make a decision today to ‘go and sin no more.’ It’s not too late. It’s never too late.”
Wright’s extensive and thorough exposÃ© exposes some of the hate and homophobia exhibited by Saenz.
Corrine Saenz, Jonathan’s now ex-wife, in 2011Â “sought to modify” a court order barring her girlfriend, Ercilia M.Â Paredes, “from having contact with the Saenzesâ€™ children,” Wright reports.
â€œMs. Paredes is not a threat to the children or their welfare,â€ the motion stated. â€œThe injunction against Ms. Paredes is an extreme attempt to merely further control Corrine M. Saenz.â€
Corrine Saenz also alleged that Jonathan Saenzâ€™s Motion for Enforcement contained â€œpatently false allegations in an attempt to further harass and burden [her].â€
In addition to seeking the order barring Paredes from being around the children, Jonathan Saenzâ€™s attorney made discovery requests and issued subpoenas seeking information about Corrine Saenzâ€™s relationship with her girlfriend.
In one discovery request, Jonathan Saenzâ€™s attorney sought all records related to â€œtravel, entertainment, meals or gifts with or for Ercimin Paredes.â€ Another discovery request sought any photos or videos showing Paredes with Corrine Saenz and the Saenzesâ€™ children.
“Both Corrine and Jonathan Saenz agreed to psychological evaluations as part of the divorce, but results arenâ€™t included in the case file,” Wright reports. “However, court records suggest Jonathan Saenz had a prior history of mental health treatment. During discovery in the divorce, Jonathan Saenz sought to compel his ex-wife to produce all records in her possession ‘pertaining to the psychiatric, psychological, counseling or other mental health treatments of Jonathan Saenz, including but not limited to any documents relating to any consultations or treatments during their marriage.'”
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Antidepressants, Pot, and Women to Blame for Horrific July 4 Mass Shooting According to Tucker Carlson
Barely hours after authorities announced charges against the 21-year-old police believe shot and killed seven people and wounded scores of others at a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Illinois, Tucker Carlson explained to his Fox News audience why Robert Crimo allegedly committed mass murder: women, marijuana, and antidepressants, along with a life filled with pornography, video games, and social media.
Carlson said Crimo seems “like a nutcase,” but he “he didn’t stand out, maybe because there’s a lot of young men in America who suddenly look and act a lot like this guy.”
“That’s not an attack, it’s just true,” Carlson insisted, as Media Matters reports. “Like Crimo, they inhabit a solitary fantasy world of social media, porn, and video games. They are high on government-endorsed weed. ‘Smoke some more! It’s good for you,'” he mocked.
“They’re numbed by the endless psychotropic drugs that are handed out at every school in the country by crackpots posing as counselors,'” Carlson claimed, apparently referring to antidepressants, also known as SSRIs. School counselors, unless they are also MDs, cannot prescribe SSRIs.
(SSRIs are prescribed for “depression, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), premenstrual dysphoric disorder, migraine (prophylaxis), and other conditions.”)
Then Carlson arrived at the root of what he determined drives these young men, presumably these young men who kill.
Instead, he says, “they are angry.”
Because, Carlson declares, “the authorities in their lives — mostly women — never stop lecturing them about their so-called privilege. ‘You’re male! You’re privileged.’ Imagine that. Try to imagine an unhealthier, unhappier life than that. So, a lot of young men in America are going nuts. Are you surprised?”
Tucker: The authorities in their lives, mostly women, never stop lecturing them about their so-called male privilege. A lot of young men in America are going nuts. Are you surprised? A shockingly large number have been prescribed psychotropic drugs. pic.twitter.com/bB9Nb4CHQ1
— Acyn (@Acyn) July 6, 2022
Meanwhile, very little is known about the shooter. It is not known if he’s taking antidepressants, using pot, has a mother who attacks him for his privilege, or uses porn. But Carlson and others at Fox News are suggesting to viewers they know why he flooded more than 70 rounds into an Independence Day parade.
There have been 320 mass shootings in America this year – and we’re only on day 187.
The nation has suffered 22,583 deaths from guns just this year alone. That’s 120 deaths on average every day.
Despite those numbers, the vast, vast majority of people taking antidepressants, or using pot or porn, are not pulling the trigger in a mass shooting.
Carlson points to no statistics to show women “never stop lecturing them about their so-called privilege.”
In fact, he offers up no statistics, no proof at all of any of his claims.
Same with Fox News’ Laura Ingraham, who blames the mass shooting on pot.
Ingraham: On the mass shooting in Illinois, indications are that he was a regular pot user… What can regular pot use trigger in young men in particular? Psychosis and other violent personality changes.. pic.twitter.com/5QxveHmSXZ
— Acyn (@Acyn) July 6, 2022
U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene quickly dredged up the “psychiatric drugs” allegation less than 24 hours after the shooting started.
“What drugs and/or psychiatric drugs was he on for his mind to be ruined in alternate reality games that caused him to commit a mass shooting? His parents know. The police know. School, arrest, hospital records? The public DESERVES to know.,” she tweeted.
Dr. Sherry Pagoto is a licensed clinical psychologist, social media researcher, professor at the University of Connecticut, and Director of the UConn Center for mHealth and Social Media. She’s also the former president of the Society of Behavioral Medicine.
And she’s pushing back against the SSRI blame game.
“Psychologist here,” writes Dr. Pagoto. “Yep. And far more women take SSRIs than men and yet women never commit mass shootings. The SSRI hypothesis has absolutely no scientific support. Quite the contrary, SSRIs save lives.”
In 2019 Politifact looked at the “dubious claim that psychiatric drugs fuel mass shootings?” The fact-checking group talked with six medical experts, with one explaining “that in her view there is no evidence that psychiatric medicine is linked to mass shootings.”
Watch the videos above or at this link.
Christian Right Facing ‘Credibility’ Issues — Just as They Try to Force Their Will on Everyone Else: Analyst
On Tuesday, writing for MSNBC’s ReidOutBlog, Ja’han Jones outlined how the Christian Right is facing renewed moral scrutiny and a crisis of “credibility” — at exactly the moment they have captured the Supreme Court and have begun striking down rights and protections they have long declared to be counter to moral society.
Specifically, he argued, the latest rash of sex abuse allegations against conservative Christian institutions puts their moral authority on the line.
The Catholic Church has long faced criticism for overlooking and shielding priests accused of molesting children — but now, noted Jones, other denominations are coming under scrutiny for similar alleged misconduct.
“First, there’s the scandal still unfolding at Agapè Boarding School, a Christian facility for young men in Missouri that’s facing a slew of child abuse allegations. Agapè pitches guardians on its ability to ‘biblically teach your child the importance of submission to authority and the joys of being an obedient law-abiding citizen,'” wrote Jones. “The Missouri State Highway Patrol has been investigating Agapè for systemic child abuse for more than a year now. On Monday, The Daily Beast reported new details about several students who have filed lawsuits alleging they were sexually abused and beaten by workers at the school.”
“That alleged culture of abuse sounds similar to the one victims say was fostered by the Southern Baptist Convention, an ultraconservative denomination of Christian nationalists,” wrote Jones. “In May, church leaders released a report showing hundreds of pastors and church workers have been accused of sexual abuse. The SBC, which is in ideological lockstep with the conservative movement, has since released the names of pastors it says were accused between 2000 and 2019. When the news dropped, SBC President Ed Litton said in a statement there ‘are not adequate words to express my sorrow at the things revealed in this report,’ and that Southern Baptists ‘must resolve to change our culture and implement desperately needed reforms.'”
All of this, he noted, comes as many right-wing Christian organizations are claiming that their hate speech and discrimination against LGBTQ people is in the name of “defending children.” And this is “an impossible sell when the worlds they operate appear even more broken than the one they want to ‘fix.'”
You can read more here.
Highland Park Shooting Deaths Include Both Parents of Two Year Old Found at Scene of July 4th Massacre
On Twitter Sunday afternoon in the aftermath of the July 4th Highland Park mass shooting a photo of a young boy appeared in several tweets. He was described as lost, good samaritans assumed he had become separated from his parents in the mayhem of the massacre, and people were trying to reunite him with his family.
CBS Chicago reporter Marissa Parra now reveals the boy’s name is Aiden, but he won’t be reunited with his parents: both were shot dead by the Highland Park gunman.
Remember this little boy found wandering alone after #HighlandPark parade? We’ve just found out why… both his parents were killed💔
A fundraiser has been started for Irina and Kevin McCarthy’s 2-yo son Aiden as he grows up without them
— Marissa Parra (@MarParNews) July 5, 2022
“Kevin McCarthy, 37, and Irina McCarthy, 35, were among the seven people [who] were killed during the mass shooting,” CBS Chicago reports.
“We took him to safety under tragic circumstances, came together to locate his grandparents, and prayed for the safety of his family,” reads the story on a GoFundMe page hoping to raise money for Aiden.
“Sadly, I need to share his name…Aiden McCarthy. And he needs more of our help,” it adds. “At two years old, Aiden is left in the unthinkable position; to grow up without his parents,” it adds. “Aiden will be cared for by his loving grandparents, Misha and Nina Levberg, and he will have a long road ahead to heal, find stability, and ultimately navigate life as an orphan. He is surrounded by a community of friends and extended family that will embrace him with love, and any means available to ensure he has everything he needs as he grows.”
About $475,000 has quickly been raised with more than 7600 people contributing. The top donation is $5000.
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