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Christian College Bans Homosexuality After Two Gay Athletes Come Out

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A private Christian college in South Carolina, after two gay athletes came out in the media, has very publicly banned homosexuality, and issued a threatening statement.

Last year volleyball players Drew Davis and Juan Varona, both openly gay at Erskine, a rural South Carolina private Christian college founded in 1839, were featured in a very intimate Outsports article. The piece detailed how Davis was inadvertently outed by his ex-boyfriend, how his father disowned him and his mother told him he’d be unemployed for the rest of his life, and how he attempted suicide. It also told of the strong support Davis and Varona have received from their fellow teammates.

This year, under the leadership of Dr. Paul Kooistra (photo), the school’s new president, Erskine has just released a damning policy statement that bans homosexuality, labeling it “sin and contrary to the will of the Creator.”

Under a section titled “In Action,” the Erskine policy notes, “We believe the Bible teaches that all sexual activity outside the covenant of marriage is sinful and therefore ultimately destructive to the parties involved.”

The policy statement is also foreboding and threatening, commanding, “members of the Erskine community are expected to follow the teachings of scripture concerning matters of human sexuality and institutional decisions will be made in light of this position.”

How are Erskine’s two openly-gay students expected to interpret that statement, that “institutional decisions will be made in light of this position,” and how are the students who are LGBTQ expected to feel safe in that environment?

That’s not an extreme question.

Hidden at the bottom of a financial report to the college’s trustees, a statement on the school’s website reads, “the Student Services and Athletic Committee submitted and the full board approved a Statement on Human Sexuality. The administration will add the statement to its official manuals and determine how it will be integrated into campus culture and procedures.”

Doesn’t that sound like the school is targeting its two gay players?

Varona told Outsports’ Cyd Zeigler he is “disappointed” by his school’s statement, “sad and worried for other gay people,” and added it took him “by surprise.” He says, “the school took several steps back instead of progressing towards a future where everyone can be treated as an equal.”

“I understand the religious stand on adultery, which is part of the Ten Commandments in the Bible, and that would apply to heterosexual and homosexual people.”

Zeigler has a few thoughts for Erskine College’s leadership.

It’s insightful that Varona would mention the Ten Commandments. There’s another Commandment among the 10 that’s given higher priority in all versions of the Bible: “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.”

We’re assuming this means that Erskine College will also ban all of its athletic teams from practicing or competing on Sundays. That’s unfortunate, because on Sunday, April 19, the men’s volleyball, men’s golf and women’s golf teams have tournament games scheduled. The following Sunday four teams – softball, women’s lacrosse, women’s tennis and men’s tennis – have matches scheduled.

For the school to ban homosexuality but not ban these competitions on the sabbath would be the highest form of hypocrisy.

 

Editor’s note – 03.01.15: Links to Erskine’s anti-LGBT statement have been updated after the college moved it in an apparent attempt to hide it from media reports.

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ONLY COLLUSION ONLY OBSTRUCTION

‘Jurors Meet With Defendant’: Anger Grows Over Report GOP Senators Met With Trump to Map Out ‘Rigged’ Impeachment Trial

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News from The Washington Post that top White House officials held a clandestine meeting Thursday with Republican Senators to map out a plan to limit the Senate impeachment trial while President Trump has been secretly “courting” Senate Republicans in an effort to gauge and gain their loyalty has many angered and alarmed.

The House is expected to pass articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, which would require the Senate to hold an impartial trial, over which the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court would preside. It very much is a legal proceeding with historic consequences for the future of America’s democracy.

Republicans appear to not have grasped this fact, not the gravity of their constitutional duties.

Many Americans are growing angered as a result. Some are calling the Senate impeachment trial “rigged” before it has even begun. Others are pointing out that this is akin to jurors meeting with the “defendant to discuss how long they think they have to let the trial go on.”

“Juries don’t collude with the accused criminals they’re judging,” one person on Twitter said. “Only collusion, only obstruction,” said another.

Take a look at the responses:

Meanwhile, the fact that the target of an investigation is conspiring with the very public servants who will serve as jurors on his trial is shocking to some.


 
Image by The White House via Flickr 

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YOU CAN'T DO THAT

White House Secretly Meeting With Republicans to Limit Impeachment Trial as President Courts GOP Senators

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The Trump White House is in secret  talks with top Senate Republicans to draft a strategy on how the impeachment trial will be conducted after the House passes what are expected to be damning articles of impeachment. The president has been focused the past few weeks on sitting down with Senate Republicans individually or in small groups to take the temperature of the caucus and to woo those who have occasionally suggested they might be uncomfortable with the actions he has taken that have led to the current impeachment inquiry.

“A group of Republican senators and senior White House officials met privately Thursday to map out a strategy for a potential impeachment trial of President Trump, including proceedings in the Senate that could be limited to about two weeks,” The Washington Post reports late Thursday afternoon.

Among the Republican Senators who clandestinely met with top Trump White House advisors are: Mike Lee (Utah), Ron Johnson (Wis.), John Neely Kennedy (La.), Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.), Ted Cruz (Texas) and Tom Cotton (Ark.). The six strong Trump supporters met, according to the Post, “with White House counsel Pat Cipollone, acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, senior adviser Jared Kushner, and counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway.”

Earlier Thursday Politico reported “Trump cozies up to GOP during impeachment,”noting the President has been “aggressively courting Senate Republicans” including Susan Collins and Mitt Romney, both seen as potentially dangerous to Trump should the Senate hold an impeachment trial.

In a separate Politico article Politico suggests the White House attempted to convince the majority-Republican Senate to immediately dismiss any articles of impeachment and hold no trial.

Senators “informed the White House that there simply aren’t the votes to approve a motion to dismiss the trial; it would take just three Republicans to block any impeachment vote on the Senate floor.”

The Washington Post echoed that reporting, explaining that “even a two-week trial could run counter to what Trump has expressed privately. The president is ‘miserable’ about the ongoing impeachment inquiry and has pushed to dismiss the proceedings right away.”

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CONSPIRACY THEORISTS

Watch: Nunes Stunned When State Dept. Official Knocks Down His ‘Black Ledger Isn’t Real’ Conspiracy Theory

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Intelligence Committee Ranking Republican Member Devin Nunes Thursday afternoon appeared stunned when he questioned a U.S. State Dept. official during the impeachment hearings and did not get the answer he anticipated.

Rep. Nunes has been spewing far right wing conspiracy theories during each impeachment hearing over the past two weeks, including the thoroughly debunked lie that Ukraine – not Russia – attacked the U.S. 2016 election.

(Earlier one of today’s witnesses, Dr. Fiona Hill, publicly lambasted the spreading of the false Ukraine conspiracy theory as she sat just feet away from Nunes. The video is here.)

Nunes asked David Holmes, who is the State Dept.’s counselor for political affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine about the “black ledger.”

That line of questioning did not go well for Nunes.

Nunes asked if Holmes had “ever heard of the black ledger.”

“I have,” Holmes replied.

“The black ledger – is that seen as ‘credible’ information?” Nunes asked.

“Yes,” Holmes responded without hesitation.

Surprised, Nunes repeated his question.

“The black ledger is credible?”

“Yes,” Holmes again replied.

Nunes did not look pleased.

“Bob Mueller did not find it credible. Do you dispute what Bob Mueller’s findings were? – They didn’t use it in the prosecution or in the report.”

“I’m not aware that Bob Mueller did not find it credible. I think it was evidence in other criminal proceedings. Its credibility was not questioned in those proceedings, but I’m not an expert on that.”

Holmes is correct – it was used as evidence in prosecutions (see below).

The black ledger is a register of off-the-book payments made by the corrupt now-former ruling party of Ukraine – not today’s ruling party.

It contains details of 22 payments allegedly made to Paul Manafort, totaling $12.7 million, by his former client, the ex-President of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych. Manafort later became Donald Trump’s election campaign chairman. When the ledger was exposed Manafort was forced to resign from the Trump campaign. He is now in prison, serving a 90-month federal sentence.

Mueller actually did find the black ledger credible, as The Washington Post reported one week ago. It was used as evidence in Mueller’s indictment against Manafort.

Rep. Nunes appears to believe the existence of the black ledger and its authenticity are conspiracy theories. He is the one spreading conspiracy theories. The black ledger is real.

 

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