“My Jesus is different,” saysÂ State Rep. Celia Israel, who happens to be a lesbian, taking a swipe at her anti-gay colleagues in epic fashion in a new documentary about the role of religion in the Texas Legislature.
“Everyone in Texas is made in the image of God, and because everyone is made in the image of God, that is serious business, itâ€™s almost like representing God, and who would want to blow that opportunity?” â€“GOP state Rep. James White
“God and Governing,” produced byÂ The Texas Tribune, could just as easily be an episode ofÂ The Daily Show, featuring right-wing lawmakers discussing how their faith (read: conservative Christianity) influences their views on the issues of guns, abortion, gay marriage and education.Â
But Israel, who’s Catholic herself andÂ became the state’s first out lesbian lawmaker in 2014, rejects the notion that the Lone Star State should be a theocracy. Â
“The way we get things done here is not by reading the Bible, itâ€™s by reading the rules of the floor of the House of Representatives,” Israel says. “All of this is not of God. All of this is a manmade institution thatâ€™s designed to do good things. For me, this is a secular environment. Weâ€™re not a church. Weâ€™re in the Texas State Capitol trying to do good things.
â€œWhen someone is introducing anti-gay legislation and you happen to be gay, itâ€™s hard not to take it personally,” Israel says later. “Iâ€™m doing the best I can to not let these issues be personal and respect their view, but I was raised a different way, and my Jesus is different.”Â
The comments of Israel and other Democrats are presented in response to numerous Republicans who indicate their personal theologies are paramount when it comes to lawmaking.Â Although four percent of Texans are Jewish or Muslim, and one in five are nonbelievers, all but four of the state lawmakers who responded to theÂ TribuneÂ said they’re Christian. (Texas has 150 representatives and 31 senators).
And while only three percent of Texans believe guns, abortion or same-sex marriage are the most important issues facing the state, the Legislature spent much of this year’s session focused on those topics, with religion more prominent at the Capitol than at any other time in recent memory.Â
“Everyone in Texas is made in the image of God, and because everyone is made in the image of God, that is serious business, itâ€™s almost like representing God, and who would want to blow that opportunity?” GOP state Rep. James White declares.Â
â€œA lot of times I look at as a fight for limited government, bringing government down so that God can be bigger, that thereâ€™s more of a role for the church,” says Rep. Jonathan Stickland, one of the state’s most prominent Tea Partiers. Â
GOP Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick indicates those views stretch to the highest levels of state government. Â Â
“Despite what anyone would want to say in the media, or anyone in the outside world to try to spin for their own purpose, we are still a Christian nation, and there are some people who want us to deny that,” Patrick says.Â
And to Patrick and others, “a Christian nation” clearly shouldn’t allow same-sex marriage.Â
Texas lawmakersÂ introduced more than 20 anti-LGBT billsÂ in this year’s session, butÂ all were defeated, largely due to opposition from the state’s chamber of commerce. And based on theÂ Tribune‘s interviews with right-wing lawmakers, it wasn’t due to any lack of homophobic fervor on their part.Â
â€œI donâ€™t look at homosexuality any different than I would at an adulterer, a pornographer, those who are caught up in those lifestyles or bondage,” says Sen. Charles Perry, the author of a bill aimed at undermining the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision inÂ Obergefell. “We all have our demons to slay, but to be in that lifestyle and say Iâ€™m a self-professing Christian with no expectation of turning away, thatâ€™s a direct violation of the Christian faith.Â This is a lifestyle and a choice and a decision, rather than an actual right that is granted to our pursuit of happiness.”Â
Others told theÂ TribuneÂ they oppose same-sex marriage because they believe the institution was created by God, not government. Â
“I do believe itâ€™s revealed in the scripture that marriage is between one man and one women, but I also believe itâ€™s revealed in nature, and so I donâ€™t think itâ€™s governmentâ€™s right or responsibility to define marriage, but to recognize it,” says GOP Rep. David Simpson.Â
Simpson delivers another gem when the subject turns to sex education. During this year’s session, lawmakers unsuccessfully attempted to divert $3 million from HIV/AIDS prevention to abstinence-only education, resulting inÂ a hilarious exchange on the House floor.
“If you’re going to talk about sex and marriage and intercourse, itâ€™s best done with oneâ€™s parents in the privacy of oneâ€™s home, not when your hormones are really growling and moving in the classroom,” Simpson says. “I remember that when I was in seventh grade, and you know, thatâ€™s just so unnatural.”Â
Watch the full special below.Â
Image: Screenshot via The Texas Tribune/YouTube
Enjoy this piece?
… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.
NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.
Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.
Comer Threatens ‘Contempt’ Despite Hunter Biden’s Lawyer Quoting Chairman’s Media Appearances
Republican House Oversight Committee Chairman Jim Comer is now threatening Hunter Biden with “contempt” of Congress if he refuses to testify behind closed doors. The President’s son has repeatedly offered to testify in public.
Abbe Lowell, the attorney with “close ties inside the Trump White House” who is now representing Hunter Biden, Wednesday morning again reiterated his demand that any testimony before the House Oversight Committee be in a public hearing, and he used Chairman Comer’s own words to make his point.
But Comer, who is moving toward impeaching President Joe Biden despite having offered no actual proof of any impeachable offense, was quick to tell Politico: “He’s been subpoenaed. We expect him to show up. They don’t get to make the rules.”
“I would expect Congress to hold the president’s son in contempt,” Comer said, if Hunter Biden refuses to testify in a closed-door session.
“As indicated in my November 28, 2023, letter,” Lowell wrote to Chairman Comer earlier on Wednesday, in a letter published by The Washington Examiner, “Mr. Biden has offered to appear at a hearing on the December 13, 2023, date you have reserved, or another date this month, to answer any question pertinent and relevant to the subject matter stated in your November 8, 2023, letter.”
Lowell made clear his motivation for a public hearing before cameras.
“He is making this choice because the Committee has demonstrated time and again it uses closed-door sessions to manipulate, even distort, the facts and misinform the American public—a hearing would ensure transparency and truth in these proceedings.”
But Lowell cited Comer’s own words from a few of his numerous media appearances to demonstrate how the Chairman welcomed an open-door public hearing. The Daily Beast’s Justin Baragona noted that Lowell, in his letter, “again cites Comer practically daring Hunter to publicly testify.”
Lowell cited Comer’s remarks on October 31 on “The Benny Show.”
“We’re in the downhill phase of this investigation now because we have so many documents, and we can bring these people in for depositions or committee hearings, whichever they choose , . . . .”
Also, his September 13 statement on Newsmax.
“Hunter Biden is more than welcome to come in front of the committee . . . he’s invited today. We will drop everything.”
He also cited Comer’s “November 8, 2023, statement in your cover letter addressed to me: ‘Given your client’s willingness to address this investigation publicly up to this point, we would expect him to be willing to testify before Congress.”
(Emphasis included in Lowell’s letter.)
“We look forward to working out the schedule,” Lowell concluded.
Jim Comer Decimated by NBC Reporter in ‘Under Two Minutes’
Republican House Oversight Committee Chair Jim Comer melted down in an interview with NBC News Capitol Hill correspondent Ryan Nobles on Tuesday as he once again appeared unable to prove President Joe Biden engaged in money laundering or other illicit acts.
“So sir, there were the two checks,” Nobles told Comer (video below), “the $40,000 check and the $200,000 check that came from the president’s son and into the President’s bank account. There was also subsequent bank records, which were provided through the [Oversight] Committee, that demonstrate that there were also subsequent pieces of information that went from the President to the president’s son.”
Comer repeatedly denied Nobles account.
“That is not true,” Comer claimed.
“So that you’re saying that that information has been made up then?” Nobles tried to confirm. “Where did that information come from? That came from the Committee.”
“I don’t know,” Comer claimed. “We haven’t seen that information.”
“That is Committee information that is collected from the bank records that your committee has obtained,” Nobles, in something of a “Perry Mason” moment, informed Chairman Comer.
“Just show the check,” Comer insisted.
“Do you have a canceled check for every wire transfer that’s ever come into your account?” Nobles asked.
“Yes,” Comer declared.
“And that’s what has been shown, there is bank records that demonstrate an exact same amount of money,” Nobles explained, as Comer talked over him.
“Are you saying, okay, sir, are you saying those bank records do not exist?” Nobles pressed, “That show the money leaving the President’s account and into his son’s?”
“They were money laundering. You see wires going all over the –” Comer charged.
“Sir, answer this specific question: Is there a bank record that demonstrates the exact amount of money that came from the President’s account into his son’s account that matches the checks that then went back to him? Does that exist? Yes or no?”
“No, no!” Comer blared. “There’s money coming from a law firm.”
“That doesn’t exist? That doesn’t exist, sir?” Nobles asked.
“It does not exist. It’s coming from a law firm. Who put who put the money in the law firm? How do you know the money came from Joe Biden? It could have come from one of Hunter shell companies. You have no idea,” Comer replied.
“Okay. So you are saying that that money that that money exists?” Nobles, making his case, concluded. “That transfer does exist there in the bank records that you and your committee –”
“No!” Comer then declared. “You don’t know what that transfer is.”
Tim Mulvey, the former communications director for the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack responded to the clip, writing: “In my experience, when a chairman goes on tv and can’t answer even the most basic questions about ‘blockbuster’ evidence without utterly unraveling, it might not be the strongest case.”
“In under two minutes,” wrote Adam Cohen of Lawyers for Good Government, “James Comer goes from checks that confirm harmless transactions between Joe and Hunter Biden ‘do not exist’ To ‘they exist, but we claim they might be suspicious.'”
White House spokesman Ian Sams posted the clip on social media late Tuesday night, with a snarky comment.
Watch the video below or at this link.
— Ian Sams (@IanSams46) December 6, 2023
‘What Bible Is He Reading?’: Morning Joe Trashes Mike Johnson for ‘Lie After Lie’ to ‘Keep His Job’
The Louisiana Republican, who led a legal effort among House Republicans to invalidate Donald Trump’s 2020 election loss, has ordered the release of security video footage from the U.S. Capitol attack, but with the faces of rioters blurred out to protect them from being “retaliated against and to be charged by the DOJ.”
“Lie after lie after lie – I would love to see his Bible,” Scarborough said. “‘Look at my Bible, that’s how I live.’ Lie after lie after lie. He’s lying about transparency. Liz Cheney was saying yesterday, release all the tapes. He’s not going to release all the tapes. He’ll release selected portions of it. As far as the blurring of the faces, the FBI has all of the footage. They’ve got the footage. Who is he lying to? The press is not stupid enough to believe him. Is he insulting Republicans? Like, why would he lie like that? The FBI has all the footage, so the DOJ has all the footage. Who is he lying to? Maybe he’s just lying to himself, I don’t know. Again, it’s an interesting Bible he has there.”
A spokesperson for Johnson later clarified, saying the speaker wanted to protect participants from retaliation from unspecified non-governmental actors, but Washington Post congressional correspondent Jacqueline Alemany said his stance on Jan. 6 was clearly intended to bolster his position with the MAGA base.
“This is Johnson trying to curry favor with a growing pocket of the House GOP conference that, you know, has been campaigning on vying for freedoms for these insurrectionists,” Alemany said. “Johnson is realizing that his honeymoon is coming to an end as hardliners, especially those in the House Freedom Caucus, the same people who have been advocating for the insurrectionists, for what they have said, have claimed without evidence as the mistreatment behind bars, and this is Johnson just trying to show – even though it really, it doesn’t make all that much sense – he is behind them, and he sees them.”
According to the Department of Justice, more than 1,069 defendants have been charged in the Capitol assault, and at least 594 of them have pleaded guilty to a variety of charges. At least 98 have been convicted at trial, while another 24 have pleaded guilty.
- News2 days ago
‘Authoritarianism’: Florida Says Its Public Schools Exist to ‘Convey Government’s Message’
- News2 days ago
RNC Chair Falsely Claims ‘Biden White House’ Killed Hunter Laptop Story in 2020
- News2 days ago
‘Given My Experience’: Gaetz Waiting to ‘Render Judgment’ on Florida GOP Chair Accused of Rape
- News2 days ago
Comer Says Biden’s Bank Records ‘Don’t Lie’ but His Claims Are Quickly Debunked
- News2 days ago
‘Simply Nonsense’: Judge Shoots Down Rudy Giuliani’s Desperate Bid to Escape Liability
- News2 days ago
‘Denied’: Trump Loses Latest Gag Order Effort
- News1 day ago
‘Aiding and Abetting’: Speaker Johnson Blasted for Blurring Faces of J6 Participants
- News1 day ago
Florida GOP Chair Could Face ‘Censure or Discipline’ After Rape Allegation and Three-Way Sex Claim