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College Students Refuse To Read Award-Winning Novel Because It Violates Their Christian Beliefs

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Some freshmen students at Duke University are protesting the assignment of Fun Home, claiming reading it would violate their Christian beliefs.

Fun Home is an award-winning, New York Times best-selling graphic novel and memoir that was adapted for the theatre and recently won five Tonys, including the coveted Tony Award for Best Musical. The book and the Broadway show both deal with the very personal, challenging, and emotional issues of its author, Alison Bechdel, including growing up, discovering she is a lesbian, and learning her father, who commits suicide, was gay.

The book was assigned to incoming Duke University freshmen as part of their summer reading list, but as Claire Ballentine at The Chronicle, Duke’s student newspaper, reports, several Christian students strongly objected to the book and refused to read it, citing their deeply-held religious beliefs.

“I feel as if I would have to compromise my personal Christian moral beliefs to read it,” Brian Grasso wrote on the Duke University Class of 2019 Facebook page, a closed group. He cited its “graphic visual depictions of sexuality,” as part of his reason. “Duke did not seem to have people like me in mind,” he added. “It was like Duke didn’t know we existed, which surprises me.”

“There is so much pressure on Duke students, and they want so badly to fit in,” Grasso observed. “But at the end of the day, we don’t have to read the book.” 

Grasso was not alone in his protest.

“The nature of ‘Fun Home’ means that content that I might have consented to read in print now violates my conscience due to its pornographic nature,” Jeffrey Wubbenhorst wrote in an email to The Chronicle.

Freshman Elizabeth Snyder-Mounts also objected, writing, “I thought to myself, ‘What kind of school am I going to?’”

Not all the students objected to being exposed to the critically acclaimed book.

“Reading the book will allow you to open your mind to a new perspective and examine a way of life and thinking with which you are unfamiliar,” freshman Marivi Howell-Arza wrote.

Duke, established in 1838, is a nonsectarian, secular, private university in North Carolina that has produced eight Nobel laureates.

 

Image by Marco40134 via Flickr and a CC license

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‘Segregated?’: Republican Ridiculed for Call to Return to ‘Where America Was in the 1960s’

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A Republican U.S. Congressman is being criticized for his remarks calling for a return to the 1960’s, a direct attack on federal government social safety programs like welfare and food stamps.

Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-WI), who has spent a decade in the House often fighting against those programs, lamented that “every year of course, I am lobbied by people who want the government … to take up an even greater role in their children’s life, be it daycare, be it preschool, be it after school programs, whatever. They clearly want the children raised by the government. So I hope the press corps picks up on this, and I hope Republican and Democratic leadership put together some sort of plan for January in which we work our way back to where America was in the 1960s.”

RELATED: Republican Complaining It’s ‘Almost Impossible’ for Straight ‘White Guys’ to Get Appointed by Biden Has History of Bigotry

“We now have the TANF program which gives cash benefits to people,” Grothman continued. “Indeed there are over 70 government programs in which your benefits are based on percent of poverty, which is to say, you get benefits if either you if you are not working hard or and if you are not married to a spouse who is working hard because as soon as you have one person who’s working kind of hard, they’re going to make enough money. They’re not eligible for all these programs. So, when you consider the powerful forces who wanted to get rid of the family, perhaps this is not a coincidence.”

This is not the first time Rep. Grothman has attacked critical social safety net programs.

Last month, in an interview littered with racist, misogynistic, and xenophobic remarks, claiming progressives, social justice movements, and the government for decades have wanted to destroy the family unit, he blamed the federal government for “bribing” low-income women with welfare to prevent them from marrying.

The 1960’s were plagued by racial segregation, discrimination, inequality, police brutality, the Vietnam War, anti-war protests, resistance to the draft, pollution, civil unrest, and political assassinations.

READ MORE: ‘Betrayal’: Trump Hosts ‘Russian Puppet’ Viktor Orbán as Biden Hosts NATO Leaders

Critics slammed Grothman Thursday. One, national security attorney Brad Moss, responding to the Republican’s desire to return to the 1960s, asking: “Segregated? Watching presidents and major political figures be assassinated?”

Others mentioned Project 2025, suggesting it is the vehicle Republicans plan on using to reach Grothman’s desired goal.

Watch the clips below or at this link.

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‘Betrayal’: Trump Hosts ‘Russian Puppet’ Viktor Orbán as Biden Hosts NATO Leaders

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President Joe Biden this week has been hosting the leaders of the 32 nations that form the 75-year old alliance known as NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and at 6:30 PM ET the leader of the free world will hold an unscripted, “high stakes” press conference with reporters to detail their progress (video below). Also Thursday evening, ex-president Donald Trump, the convicted felon who remains out on bail and is still facing 54 criminal counts, will reportedly host the authoritarian Christian nationalist prime minister of Hungary, Viktor Orbán, at Mar-a-Lago.

President Biden’s remarks will be televised nationwide. Donald Trump’s meeting will not.

Trump’s meeting with Orbán comes just one week after the far-right autocrat, branded a “neo-fascist dictator” back in 2014 by the late Republican U.S. Senator John McCain, met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, and just days after Orbán met with China’s President Xi Jinping, reportedly on a “peace mission” for the Russian war against Ukraine.

Thursday will be Trump’s second meeting this year with Orbán.

Critics have been sound alarms.

“Fresh from visiting Xi in China and Putin in Moscow, Viktor Orban will apparently complete his pilgrimage by showing up at Mar-a-Lago today,” observed The Bulwark’s Bill Kristol.

“Trump meeting Orban opposite NATO Summit immediately following Orban mtg w Putin and Xi is the sort of betrayal of the US that would’ve led to Congressional investigations or worse in the past,” observed noted foreign policy, national security, and political affairs analyst and author David Rothkopf.

Russian propagandists have been claiming Orban is acting as an intermediary, delivering messages from Putin to Trump and vice versa,” wrote Daily Beast columnist Julia Davis, creator of the Russian Media Monitor.

“U.S. Ambassador to Hungary David Pressman lashed out at Orbán recently, saying that no other U.S. ally has so ‘overtly and tirelessly’ campaigned for the Republican candidate,” Politico reports. “This week, Orbán praised Trump in an interview with Axel Springer media outlets, which owns POLITICO, as ‘the man of peace,’ and he predicted there is a ‘very, very high chance’ Biden will not win the U.S. election.”

READ MORE: ‘Dangerous’ and ‘Unfit’: NY Times Calls on Republicans to Reject Trump Ahead of Convention

Russia, Ukraine, and Eastern Europe expert Olga Lautman, a non-resident senior fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) also issued a warning:

“As NATO holds its summit Russian media reports that Russian puppet Orban may share info he collected from Russia & China of terrorist Russia’s nonstarter plan for Ukraine w Trump. Pay attention to Orban’s moves while he is in U.S. especially with Heritage Foundation and Trump’s people.”

The Heritage Foundation is the major entity behind the multi-million dollar Project 2025.

Lautman also pointed to a March post she wrote: “Newly emerged evidence shows how Hungary and Russia worked together during the 2020 Slovak elections to help the Slovak government stay in power, Orban acted as a middleman. Take note America,” she warned.

Also issuing warnings is former CIA analyst Gail Helt.

Responding to another Politico report that “Donald Trump is considering a reduction in intelligence sharing with members of NATO, which depends on the U.S. for the type of information that has helped Ukraine fend off Russia,” Helt wrote: “Oh dear God.”

READ MORE: ‘Dead Heat’: Biden Ahead or Tied With Trump in Two New Post-Debate Polls

“I walk my students through some ‘what if’ exercises in my intro to Intel analysis class,” she wrote Wednesday night, “this will make a great case study: what if an American president wanted to ally with Russia without the American people knowing? What would that look like? What would we see? What could he do?”

“This,” she continued. “He could do this. Curtailing Intel sharing with NATO hands the continent to Russia. He’s not trying to make America great. He’s will make Russia great and erode US standing in the world. We have to ask why. Don’t let him do it.”

You can watch Biden’s 6:30 PM ET press conference live below or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘No Change’: Biden Debate Performance Has Had ‘Almost No Impact’ on 2024 Race Report Finds

 

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‘Dangerous’ and ‘Unfit’: NY Times Calls on Republicans to Reject Trump Ahead of Convention

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In a massive 4300 word editorial The New York Times Editorial Board calls Donald Trump “dangerous” and “unfit to lead,” just days ahead of the Republican National Committee’s convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where the convicted ex-president is slated to officially become the GOP nominee for president.

“A once great political party now serves the interests of one man, a man as demonstrably unsuited for the office of president as any to run in the long history of the Republic, a man whose values, temperament, ideas and language are directly opposed to so much of what has made this country great,” the Editorial Board writes.

Editorial Board member Mara Gay told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Thursday (video below) that this extensive project had been in the works for “months,” and said it had nothing to do with the Editorial Board twice declaring President Joe Biden should exit the race after his debate performance two weeks ago.

“This election is not a policy disagreement,” Gay explained. “This is about two vastly different visions for America, one that is committed to multiracial democracy, and to pluralism, to human rights, to well-being and reproductive freedom and things that most Americans say consistently that they want and are committed to, and the other vision for America, which is about retribution, and about authoritarianism, and is hateful, racist, and extremely close-minded.”

READ MORE: ‘Dead Heat’: Biden Ahead or Tied With Trump in Two New Post-Debate Polls

“We don’t believe that that’s the direction that most Americans want to go in. And so we are really urging American voters to listen to Donald Trump’s words, and to take him seriously. And to understand that this second presidency could be even more dangerous than the last. Of course, we lost a million Americans to the COVID virus, and a lot of other horrific events took place under Donald Trump’s presidency. His calling folks at Charlottesville who were Nazis, ‘fine people.’ The list goes on. We make the case. I would urge people to read the editorial. This is this is a moment of alarm not just for people who are progressives or Democrats, but for anyone who still wants to see this country remain a democracy.”

The multi-media interactive editorial begins in all-caps:

“HE IS DANGEROUS IN WORD, DEED AND ACTION”
“HE PUTS SELF OVER COUNTRY”
“HE LOATHES THE LAWS WE LIVE BY”

“Mr. Trump has shown a character unworthy of the responsibilities of the presidency,” the editorial states. “He has demonstrated an utter lack of respect for the Constitution, the rule of law and the American people. Instead of a cogent vision for the country’s future, Mr. Trump is animated by a thirst for political power: to use the levers of government to advance his interests, satisfy his impulses and exact retribution against those who he thinks have wronged him.”

“He is, quite simply, unfit to lead.”

READ MORE: ‘No Change’: Biden Debate Performance Has Had ‘Almost No Impact’ on 2024 Race Report Finds

It also warns: “The Supreme Court, with its ruling on July 1 granting presidents ‘absolute immunity’ for official acts, has removed an obstacle to Mr. Trump’s worst impulses: the threat of legal consequences. What remains is his own sense of right and wrong. Our country’s future is too precious to rely on such a broken moral compass.”

The Editorial Board adds, “with his nomination by his party all but assured, Mr. Trump has become even more reckless in employing extreme and violent speech, such as his references to executing generals who raise questions about his actions. He has argued, before the Supreme Court, that he should have the right to assassinate a political rival and face no consequences.”

What the Editorial Board does not do is call for Donald Trump to exit the race, as it has done for President Biden, twice, over one debate performance.

Read the entire New York Times editorial here, and watch the video below or at this link:

READ MORE: Josh Hawley: ‘I’m Advocating Christian Nationalism’

 

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