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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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CRIME

Who Is the Highland Park July 4th Mass Shooting Person of Interest? ‘Obsession With Mass Death and Nihilism’

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The person police are describing as a “person of interest” in the Highland Park, Illinois Independence Day mass shooting that left six parade watchers dead and 38 injured has been apprehended.

Robert “Bobby” Crimo goes by the name of “Awake the Rapper” on social media. According to The Daily Beast, he is “an amateur rapper who posted disturbing videos on his YouTube channel, including a crude animation depicting a heavily armed shooter being killed by police.”

Crimo, a 22-year-old white man, “is a video-game enthusiast and professional wrestling fan. One photo posted to Twitter showed him wearing a Trump flag like a cape; in another he sported an FBI cap. But the same account also liked a video of President Biden.”

USA Today reports Crimo has been arrested in connection with the mass shooting. There are no reports he has been charged, and it’s too early to determine his political beliefs, if any. NCRM has not verified any of the photos in this report.

An FBI wanted poster published by Fox News says Crimo “has the following tattoos: four tally marks with a line through them on his right cheek, red roses and green leaves on his neck, and cursive script above his left eyebrow.”

NBC News senior reporter Ben Collins, who describes his work as covering the “dystopia beat,” writes: “The most important thing to know about Crimo’s online identity is his obsession with mass death and nihilism.”

In an NBC News article, Collins adds Crimo “left a long trail of tributes to mass shootings and public killings on social media platforms, according to numerous profiles that appear to belong to him.”

“Crimo didn’t frequently post about major political figures on his websites, except for two posts about former President Donald Trump,” Collins adds.

A video posted to Crimo’s YouTube page on Jan. 2, 2021, appears to show Crimo among a throng of protesters cheering for Trump’s presidential motorcade outside an airport. Crimo flips the phone’s orientation to reveal his face at the end of the video.

Crimo is also seen draped in a Trump flag in a June 27, 2021, post on Twitter. The post is captioned with only the word “spam.”

Sawyer Hackett, a senior advisor to former HUD Secretary Julián Castro, posted these images that have been flooding social media, allegedly of Crimo.

Investigative journalist Steven Monacelli, who writes about extremism, warns about jumping to conclusions, but adds these photos he says are of Crimo and says he “does appear to have been active in some right wing political events.”

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

GOP Nominee for Illinois Governor Offers Prayers Then Quickly Dismisses July 4 Mass Shooting: ‘Let’s Move On’

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Darren Bailey, the GOP nominee to become governor of Illinois, quickly dismissed the Independence Day mass shooting in Highland Park that left six people dead and dozens hospitalized.

In a poor-quality Facebook live video Bailey, a far-right Illinois state lawmaker stands with a group of supporters holding campaign signs and says, “20 minutes away from here in Highland Park there was a shooting, there were several people that we know have been shot, that’s all we know, and we’re just going to take a moment and pray for the families [inaudible] pray for the law enforcement and even the organizers of this parade.”

He says canceling the parade after the shooting started was ‘the right thing because people’s safety has got to come first.” He offers no mention of guns or gun control or gun safety measures.

“The shooter is still at large so let’s pray for justice to prevail, and then let’s move on and let’s celebrate the independence of this nation. We know the mission. We have got to get corruption and evil out of our government.”

On Facebook Bailey writes:

Please pray for the families affected by the shooting in Highland Park!
Skokie Parade has been canceled.
Demand law and order!
Invest in mental health!!
Pray for Law Enforcement!!!
Let Freedom Ring!!!

Watch video below or at this link:

 

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BREAKING NEWS

President Biden: ‘Jill and I Are Shocked by the Senseless Gun Violence’ at Highland Park July 4th Mass Shooting

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President Joe Biden quickly issued a statement expressing his “shock” over the mass shooting in Highland Park, Illinois that has left six people dead and over 30 people hospitalized.

“Jill and I are shocked by the senseless gun violence that has yet again brought grief to an American community on this Independence Day,” the President says in his statement. “As always, we are grateful for the first responders and law enforcement on the scene. I have spoken to Governor Pritzker and Mayor Rotering, and have offered the full support of the Federal government to their communities.”

“I also surged Federal law enforcement to assist in the urgent search for the shooter, who remains at large at this time. Members of the community should follow guidance from leadership on the ground, and I will monitor closely as we learn more about those whose lives have been lost and pray for those who are in the hospital with grievous injuries.”

President Biden notes that he “recently signed the first major bipartisan gun reform legislation in almost thirty years into law, which includes actions that will save lives. But there is much more work to do, and I’m not going to give up fighting the epidemic of gun violence.”

The President and the First Lady are expected to speak around 5 PM Monday to deliver Independence Day remarks during their barbecue at the White House with veterans.

News reports state the shooter, who has not been apprehended, is believed to be a white man, 18-20 years old, armed with a high-powered rifle.

RELATED: Biden Blasts ‘Outrageous’ US Supreme Court – Calls to Change Filibuster to Codify Roe and Privacy Into Law

Many on social media are criticizing the NRA, which posted a tweet tying guns to Independence Day barely hours before the mass shooting began. It reads: “The only reason you’re celebrating Independence Day is because citizens were armed.”

There were many police officers at the Highland Park parade, yet the shooter was able to inflict great loss of life, a massive number of wounded victims, and massive terror. Nearby towns canceled their Fourth of July celebrations in response.

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