Conservative Republican Governor Mike Pence has defiantly signed Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law. What’s next?
Indiana has just become the 20th state to pass aÂ Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law. This morning in what was supposed to be a private ceremony with no press or public (although this tweet proves otherwise)Â Governor Mike Pence signed the RFRA into law.
â€” Governor Mike Pence (@GovPenceIN) March 26, 2015
The legislation itself will enable anyone to discriminate against anyone else, with no fear of government intervention or punishment, merely by citing their sincerely held religious beliefs.
The governor disagrees, issuing a strongly-defiant statement this morning.
â€œToday I signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, because I support the freedom of religion for every Hoosier of every faith,” Pence’s statement reads. â€œThe Constitution of the United States and the Indiana Constitution both provide strong recognition of the freedom of religion but today, many people of faith feel their religious liberty is under attack by government action.
The 55-year old Evangelical Christian Governor citied the Hobby Lobby Supreme Court case several times, and pointed to other religious challenges to Obamacare.
And he claimed the legislation has nothing to do with discrimination, despite factual evidence to the contrary.
â€œThis bill is not about discrimination, and if I thought it legalized discrimination in any way in Indiana, I would have vetoed it. In fact, it does not even apply to disputes between private parties unless government action is involved. For more than twenty years, the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act has never undermined our nationâ€™s anti-discrimination laws, and it will not in Indiana.
â€œIndiana is rightly celebrated for the hospitality, generosity, tolerance, and values of our people, and that will never change. Faith and religion are important values to millions of Hoosiers and with the passage of this legislation, we ensure that Indiana will continue to be a place where we respect freedom of religion and make certain that government action will always be subject to the highest level of scrutiny that respects the religious beliefs of every Hoosier of every faith.â€
Many on social media are outraged:
â€” Hoosier Bromo (@HoosierBromo) March 26, 2015
â€” Ed Cates (@EdCates) March 26, 2015
â€” Toney (@ToneyCreature) March 26, 2015
â€” Disciples News (@DisciplesNews) March 26, 2015
Lobbyists allowed in for signing of #rFRA but not media…
â€” Niki Kelly (@nkellyatJG) March 26, 2015
â€” Meggie Dials (@meggiehd) March 26, 2015
Image via Twitter
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Watch: Fourth Grade Student Says Uvalde Police Told Children to Yell ‘Help’ – Shooter Shot One Child Who Did
What appears to be an increasingly clear understanding of how police in Uvalde, Texas handled the Robb Elementary School mass shooting – by not going inside for at least one hour – is being made even more horrific by reported actions of police once they finally entered the school.
One fourth grade child spoke with local CBS affiliate KENS 5, describing what happened inside the school at one point.
The shooter “shot the next person’s door. We have a door in the middle. He opened it. He came in and he crouched a little bit and he said, he said, ‘It’s time to die,'” the boy told KENS 5.
“When I heard the shooting through the door, I told my friend to hide under something so he won’t find us,” the child, whose name is not being released, told KENS 5. “I was hiding hard. And I was telling my friend to not talk because he is going to hear us.”
“When the cops came, the cop said: ‘Yell if you need help!’ And one of the persons in my class said ‘help.’ The guy overheard and he came in and shot her,” the boy said. “The cop barged into that classroom. The guy shot at the cop. And the cops started shooting.”
(Transcript via KENS 5, video below appears slightly edited.)
Some have noted that since the 1999 Columbine, Colorado school shooting when 12 students and a teacher were slaughtered, police practice has been to storm the school to not give the shooter time to kill more children, and to allow those wounded to get medical attention to hopefully save more lives. That does not appear to have happened.
Presuming the child’s recollection is accurate, it appears one or more officers telling children to yell “help” may have led to at least one child being wounded or killed.
A fourth grader who survived the shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde described how it ended.
“The cop said: ‘Yell if you need help!’ And one of the persons in my class said ‘help.’ The guy overheard and he came and shot her. Then the cops barged in.”https://t.co/COaVdedhnv pic.twitter.com/A0VOrNKvye
— KENS 5 (@KENS5) May 26, 2022
CNN Reporter Refuses to Accept Texas Official’s Claims About Uvalde Shooting: ‘Why Don’t You Clear All of This Up Now?’
There is an increasing concern among legal experts, security experts, and law enforcement experts about the way police in Uvalde, Texas handled the Robb Elementary School massacre where 21 people were shot and killed, and another 17 reportedly were wounded.
Two days after the mass shooting witness accounts, photos, and videos are circulating that appear to show police waited between 40 minutes and one hour before either entering the school or confronting the shooter, who was killed not by police but by federal agents on the scene. Some are suggesting that valuable time may have led to more death.
NBC’s Kerry Sanders is reporting that one of the children lived through the shooting but died in the hospital, underscoring why it matters that police took an hour to breach that classroom.
— Ken Dilanian (@KenDilanianNBC) May 26, 2022
Law enforcement also appear to not have a grasp on exactly what happened, with numerous reports revealing some officers were focused on subduing not the gunman but parents desperate for police to take action.
A mom of two children at #Uvalde was put in handcuffs after urging police and law enforcement to enter the school.
Once freed from her cuffs, she jumped the school fence, ran inside and sprinted out with her kids.
— Peter Schorsch 🇺🇦 (@PeterSchorschFL) May 26, 2022
There are also concerns that not only police inaction may have led to more death, but police action may have as well:
A fourth grader who survived the shooting said officers assaulting the barricaded room told kids to call for help before they had incapacitated the gunman, which led to him shooting a kid who called for help https://t.co/rJP1B2hPC7 pic.twitter.com/6bHgb2risi
— Evan Hill (@evanhill) May 26, 2022
Former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance, a well-known MSNBC/NBC News legal analyst rightly says “we’re clearly going to have to wait” for accurate information, but notes what the public is being told “Doesn’t make sense.”
While reporting about Uvalde still feels confused & we’re clearly going to have to wait on accurate ones, this detail stands out. If there were deputy US Marshals present, why were they arresting parents? Why weren’t they launching an assault on the shooter? Doesn’t make sense. pic.twitter.com/0XPF86N9hf
— Joyce Alene (@JoyceWhiteVance) May 26, 2022
One reporter apparently agreed that information being given to the public did not make sense.
CNN’s Shimon Prokupecz, who attended Thursday afternoon’s Uvalde press conference and was not ready to accept what he apparently felt was police stonewalling.
“You guys have said that he was barricaded,” Prokupecz said, referring to the shooter. “Can you explain to us how he was barricaded and why you guys cannot breach that door?”
“So, I have taken all your questions into consideration. We will be doing updates,” replied Victor Escalon, from the Texas Dept. of Public Safety, according to a Mediaite transcript. “We will be doing updates to answer those questions.”
“You should be able to answer that question now, sir,” Prokupecz, clearly not satisfied, responded.
“What is your name?” Escalon asked.
“Shimon Prokupecz from CNN. We’ve been given a lot of bad information, so why don’t you clear all of this up now and explain to us how it is that your officers who were in there for an hour, yes, rescuing people, but yet no one was able to get inside that room,” Prokupecz continued.
“Shimon, we will circle back with you. We want to give you the why. That’s our job. Give us time. I’m taking your questions back to talk to the team,” Escalon replied.
“We’ve been given a lot of bad information so why don’t you clear all of this up now and explain to us how your officers were in there for an hour but yet no one was able to get inside that room?” pic.twitter.com/VIgTazT3I9
— Acyn (@Acyn) May 26, 2022
‘Demon Seed’ Doctor and Far Right Radio Host Call to ‘Lock Up’ Men Who Have Gay Sex to Prevent Monkeypox
As a small handful of monkeypox cases have been documented in the United States the far right is using that disease to target LGBTQ people. In a segment on Stew Peters’ radio show, he and “Demon Seed” Dr. Stella Immanuel called for the imprisonment of men who have sex with men, presumably to slow the spread of monkeypox.
As with HIV/AIDS, monkeypox is not a “gay disease” but some recorded cases are believed to have been transmitted by men who have sex with men. The far right has been attacking the LGBTQ community all year, with the rise of the false “groomer” label made popular among extremists by Christina Pushaw, the press secretary for Florida GOP Governor Ron DeSantis.
“So one of the answers would be, don’t have gay sex, repent for your homosexual lifestyle, and go find Jesus,” Peters says as Immanuel, the hydroxychloroquine-pushing physician and pastor who believes demons having sex with women causes tumors and other illnesses, agrees.
“The real pandemic here is promiscuous sex among gay men – sex, orgies, and participating in satanic depravity,” Peters continued, as Immanuel again agreed. The chyron reads: “Gay Sex Detonates Monkeypox Bomb.”
“So, stop that, as a matter of fact we should make a law against homosexual sex. We should just say that that’s not allowed, it’s a criminal offense, and we should lock these people up.”
Again, Immanuel agreed.
While discussing monkeypox, Stew Peters and Stella Immanuel agree that “we should make a law against homosexual sex. We should just say that that’s not allowed, it’s a criminal offense, and we should lock these people up.” pic.twitter.com/gCla3wOi33
— Right Wing Watch (@RightWingWatch) May 26, 2022
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