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Republican Presidential Candidates Align With Anti-Gay Religious Leaders

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Why does much of America still think it is acceptable – and even expected – for Republican presidential candidates to align themselves with the most virulent of anti-gay religious right leaders?

For more than two decades, conservative Christian voters have been regarded as a crucial voting bloc necessary to win the Republican presidential nomination. 

GOP candidates Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, and Bobby Jindal, clearly in a seductive dance with conservative bases, have linked the approval of same-sex marriage by the Supreme Court to attacks on the religious liberties of conservative Christians. Their efforts to amass the conservative votes in early caucus conventions has produced some visible alignments of note between candidates and religious leaders.

As exhibited in the November 6-7 Des Moines Freedom 2015 rally sponsored and hosted by anti-gay and anti-trans extremist Colorado pastor Kevin Swanson, it appears some presidential candidates are willing to tolerate extreme hostility toward LGBT people for valuable conservative backing. All three Republican candidates spoke at Freedom 2015 after Swanson’s tirade without denouncing him. 

Another such display of endorsing hostility in exchange for votes will take place Saturday, when Ted Cruz travels to the campus of Bob Jones University, widely known for on campus anti-gay rhetoric throughout past decades that is still happening there despite recent administration apologies.

At the gathering, positioned as a “rally for religious freedom,” Cruz will be joined by Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, along with the usual cadre of bakers, florists, twins, and religious leaders.

Cruz, who has failed to denounced or distanced himself from the hateful rants of Swanson, will be joined by yet another anti-gay religious leader, Michael Brown.

Though Brown has publicly denounced the words of Swanson, stating it is “not Christian in any shape, size, or form to provoke hatred towards gay or lesbians, or worse still, to suggest that they should be mistreated,” one would be wrong to view Brown as the kind and compassionate voice he suggests himself to be.

Often lacking self-awareness of impact of their teachings, it seems a hierarchy of “God-approved” anti-gay religious leaders exists. Most of us would readily recognize Swanson as an extremist. But what about the pastor-types and organization heads whose teachings and policies foster mistreatment and hatred toward gays?

Brown, who has written three non-academic and ideologically-based books focused on gays and transpeople, their need to change, and their destructive influence on marriage, family and the culture, believes his version of damaging rhetoric is a more loving variety ordained by God.

I have engaged with Brown, his writings and books, his public action of leading 200 Christians into Charlotte Gay Pride with the intention of redirecting attendees to reparative therapy, and followed his public comments about LGBT people for almost five years. Though not as extreme as Swanson, Brown is guilty of dangerous teachings that have driven LGBT people, LGBT Christians, and their families and allies from finding spiritual haven in many Christian faith communities. and acceptance within their own families.

Typical of anti-gay conservative religious and organizational leaders and the presidential candidates who hold hands with them, Brown’s own cultural ideology, disguised as theology, thoroughly ignores the historical and cultural progression between what was written thousands of years ago to and in a specific culture and what we recognize today as same-sex couples in loving and committed relationships.

Increasingly, progressive Christians, myself included, are refusing to allow conservative interpreters of the Bible who neglect to address the cultural shifts in the status of women, the progression of understanding and input from experts in human sexuality, and the merger of conservative politics and religion since the late 1970s, each having significantly influenced the ability to take an honest look at biblical translations to inform our faith at its intersection with sexual orientation and gender identity. (I have written a book detailing this, Walking the Bridgeless Canyon)

In attempts to woo conservative Christian voters, we are witnessing public displays of alliances between candidates and religious leaders like Brown, and Eric Teetsel, a strong anti-gay leader amongst the Southern Baptists whom Marco Rubio has selected as his faith advisor.

Staunchly anti-gay Family Research Council representatives will also anoint their choice; as of now, that choice appears to be Cruz.

We’ve seen this demonizing and dehumanizing the LGBT community tactic used before in the 1980, 1992, and 2004 elections to get conservative voters registered and to the polls. 

As long as the candidates. or those who support them, continue to ignore the fact that every professional medical and mental health organization in the U.S. asserts that homosexuality is a normal variation of human sexuality, they are complicit in creating destructive environments for LGBT people and their families. 

There is no hierarchy of who hates less or with a “God-ordained” hatred when it comes to religious leaders who, in ignorance, formulate opinions and doctrine detrimental to LGBT people and their families. They are all guilty.

Presidential candidates who align with such ideologues are themselves anti-LGBT and should be plainly labeled as such as they exchange hostility of LGBT people for conservative votes.

 

 

Photo is from Ted Cruz Facebook page

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Former US Attorney Calls for ‘Full Investigation’ After Report Secret Service Failed to Share Threat Against Pelosi

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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.

RELATED: Top Democratic House Committee Chairs Accuse Embattled DHS IG of ‘Obstruction’ in Warning They Will ‘Ensure Compliance’

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

 

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Secret Service Held Onto Violent Jan. 6 Threat Against Pelosi, Watchdog Says

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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.”

READ MORE: ‘Coverup of Treason’: Trump-Appointed IG, Under Investigation, Knew of Missing Secret Service and DHS Texts Far Earlier

“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.”

READ MORE: Watchdog to DOJ: Secret Service ‘Likely’ Broke Federal Criminal Law by Deleting Text Messages

“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?”

 

 

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Watch: Pence Says He Would ‘Consider’ Appearing Before J6 Committee if Offered ‘Invitation’ to ‘Participate’

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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.”

RELATED: ‘We Save the Babies, We’ll Save America’: Mike Pence Calls for Total Abortion Ban Nationwide

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.”

RELATED: As Jan. 6 Rioters Were Chanting ‘Hang Mike Pence’ Trump Told Colleagues Maybe They Should: Report

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:

 

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