Religious businessmen in an Arkansas town which conservatives claim relies on Christian tourists are fighting an ordinance that would protect LGBT residents.
Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Population, 2073. Thanks to its Victorian charm and the history of theÂ healing powers of its natural springs, the entire tiny downtown is listed as a protected historic districtÂ on theÂ National Register of Historic Places. Today, instead of being visited by hundreds of thousands annually, its main draw has become the Great Passion Play (image, above), which bills itself as “America’s ‘#1 Attended Outdoor Drama,'” a Eureka SpringsÂ website states. “Since 1968, 7.6 million people have witnessed this magnificent drama. Over 200 actors and animals help bring the Greatest Story Ever Told to life in a way that you have never seen it before.”
But now, Christian business owners and local Christian pastors are protesting a proposed ordinance that would help protect the town’s LGBT residentsÂ â€“ and tourists.Â
Rev. Randall Christy “and his allies here contend that Christian visitors are the foundation of the tourism trade in Eureka Springs,” the New York Times reports. “For nearly five decades, those visitors have flocked to the Passion Play, the seasonal outdoor depiction of Jesusâ€™ final days that is presented in this 4,000-seat amphitheater. But in recent years, Mr. Christy said, those tourists have become more reluctant to visit Eureka Springs because of efforts to promote the town as the ‘Gay Capital of the Ozarks.'”
â€œI think that is a mistake,â€ saidÂ Mr. Christy, the pastor of Union Valley Baptist Church in Ada, Okla., and founder of a gospel radio network who has operated the nonprofitÂ Passion PlayÂ since late 2012. â€œFamily vacation destination should be the thrust of this town again.â€
PastorÂ Philip Wilson “thinks the law could force churches to perform acts in violation of their religious principles.”
â€œMost mothers and dads who have 4- and 5-year-old daughters are not comfortable with open expressions of homosexual behavior,â€ he told the Times, â€œand they donâ€™t want to expose their children to that.â€
Local conservatives have forced a nondiscrimination ordinance the city council passed unanimously in February onto a ballot next month. And they’ve chosen to stoop as low as they can go.
â€œIf you think tourists are going to be excited about even the possibility that their wives, daughters and girlfriends will be sharing a bathroom with a guy who decides heâ€™s â€˜transgenderâ€™ just to have a little fun (or worse) at the ladiesâ€™ expense, you donâ€™t know tourists and you donâ€™t know sex offenders,â€ one local newspaper ad reads:
The anti-gay and anti-trans religious conservatives have banded together to wage an ugly war on the bill, promoting their fear- and hate-mongering onlineÂ and on Facebook, and in an especially vulgar, hate-filled example of ignorance in this video they posted to YouTube:
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Former US Attorney Calls for ‘Full Investigation’ After Report Secret Service Failed to Share Threat Against Pelosi
A former U.S. Attorney is calling for a full investigation into the U.S. Secret Service’s failure to share intelligence it had detailing a violent threat against Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and other top Democrats.
“This is deeply disturbing,” says Joyce Vance, who is now a law professor and MSNBC/NBC News legal analyst. She says it “requires a full investigation.”
“The Capitol Police are responsible for protecting the Speaker,” Vance continues. “If true” that the U.S. Secret Service “failed to pass on intelligence about threats, that’s very alarming.”
Vance points to a new report from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) that finds the Secret Service discovered a violent social media based threat on January 4, 2021, two days before the insurrection, but did not share that intelligence with the Capitol Police until nearly 6 PM ET on January 6.
The U.S. Secret Service is an agency under the Dept. of Homeland Security. The DHS Inspector General, Joseph Cuffari, is under investigation by two powerful House Committee chairs who on Tuesday accused him of “obstruction.”
In a separate report CREW reveals that “days before the January 6 attack on the Capitol, documents exchanged between the Secret Service and other law enforcement agencies outlined ‘threats of violence’ on the 6th, coming ‘predominantly from right wing groups’ with ‘plans to bring weapons into the District,’ according to documents obtained by CREW. The Secret Service knew that Trump’s supporters would be demonstrating around Freedom Plaza and the Capitol with the intent to cause violence, but the agency does not appear to have taken the threat seriously.”
“While the Secret Service downplayed threats posed by right-wing extremist groups and Trump’s supporters leading up to January 6, the newly obtained documents reveal just how grave and explicit the threats had actually been,” CREW alleges.
Image via Shutterstock
Secret Service Held Onto Violent Jan. 6 Threat Against Pelosi, Watchdog Says
Two days before the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of Donald Trump the U.S. Secret Service discovered a “series of violent threats” made on social media, including against Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, but did not pass them on to the Capitol Police until the evening of January 6 – after the violence of the insurrection had ended, a watchdog reports.
“On January 4, Secret Service agents discovered a Parler account, which we’ve chosen not to name, posting a series of violent threats towards lawmakers. Other profiles with the same name appeared on Twitter, MeWe, Bitchute, Youtube and Facebook,” Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) reveals.
“On December 31, the account posted, ‘January 6 starts #1776 all over again…Fight for EVERYTHING’ and listed ‘Enemies,’ including Pelosi. At 5:55 pm on January 6, after hours of defending the United States Capitol from a violent mob, the United States Capitol Police received the post along with a message from the Secret Service.”
“The language used by the account, as we’ve now seen repeated in recordings released by the January 6th Committee, is a clear call for a violent overthrow of the American government on January 6, 2021,” CREW adds.
The Secret Service found what CREW calls other “troubling” posts tied to that account.
“Biden will die shortly after being elected,” the account posted on January 2, four days before the insurrection. “Patriots are gonna tear his head off. Prison is his best case scenario.”
“We’re all on a mission to save America. Lone wolf attacks are the way to go,” read a Jan. 3 post. “Stay anonymous. Stay alive. Guns up Patriots!!”
CREW takes the Secret Service to task.
“In the past month, we’ve learned that the Secret Service failed to prepare for violence on January 6 despite receiving explicit warnings, then deleted key evidence from the day, likely breaking the law,” the nonpartisan watchdog reports, presumably referring to the deleted text messages from Jan. 5 and Jan. 6, 2021. “The delay in notifying Capitol Police about the threat to the Speaker of the House only adds to the impression that the agency failed to do its job, and leads to more questions. Why did the agency wait two days, until after the Capitol had been breached and Congressional leaders were in hiding to pass it along?”
Watch: Pence Says He Would ‘Consider’ Appearing Before J6 Committee if Offered ‘Invitation’ to ‘Participate’
Former Vice President Mike Pence, asked if he would testify before the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack, said if invited he would “consider” participating.
“If there’s an invitation to participate, I would consider it,” Pence said Wednesday morning at a political event in New Hampshire, a state presidential hopefuls visit early and often. “It would be unprecedented in history for a vice president to be summoned to testify on Capitol Hill, but as I’ve said, I don’t want to prejudge.”
In fact, as NBC News producer Frank Thorp V noted, “It would not, actually, be unprecedented for a VP to testify on Capitol Hill.”
Pence, as he often does, tried to frame his remarks in a historic context.
“Under the Constitution, we have three coequal branches of government, and um, any invitation that’d be directed to me, I’d have to reflect on the unique role I was serving in as Vice President.”
Thorp notes that “Vice President Schuyler Colfax testified before the House Select Committee to Investigate the Credit Mobilier on January 7, 1873, which was while he was in office.” He also points out that President Abraham Lincoln and President Woodrow Wilson testified before Congress.
Politico’s Kyle Cheney adds that “many” of Pence’s “former top aides have testified at length, presumably with his blessing.”
Pointing to the video below, law professor and CNN contributor Steve Vladeck noted Wednesday morning that “Former Vice President Ford testified before Congress in October 1974 … while he was PRESIDENT.” He also notes that “former Presidents (to say nothing of former VPs) have testified before Congress *sixteen* times.”
NBC News presidential historian Michael Beschloss says the former vice president “needs to testify fully under oath before the House January 6 Committee — and he must not take the Fifth.”
Watch Pence below or at this link:
Former Vice President Mike Pence when asked if he would cooperate if the January 6th committee called on him to testify:
“If there was an invitation to participate, I would consider it.” pic.twitter.com/y9NFrHwYtf
— The Recount (@therecount) August 17, 2022
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