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Man Behind Gay Pride ‘Festivus’ Displays Launches ‘In Satan We Trust’ Campaign

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Chaz Stevens Wants Alternative Plaques In Government Buildings That Display “In God We Trust” 

After successfully erecting gay Pride “Festivus” poles at seven state capitols this year, Chaz Stevens has hatched a more devilish plot — literally. 

Stevens, executive director of the Florida-based Humanity Fund, wants to put up “In Satan We Trust” banners in government buildings that display “In God We Trust.” 

Just as with the Festivus poles, the goal of the “In Satan We Trust” banners is to highlight free speech and the separation of church and state. 

“In the end, the right has James O’Keefe of the Veritas Project, and outside of the animal rights folks, those on the left sorely need my militant atheistic efforts,” Stevens wrote in an email to The New Civil Rights Movement. “You might not like me … you might even loathe me, but I get results.” 

It would be difficult to argue that Stevens didn’t get results with his gay Pride “Festivus” pole campaign this year. He drew national media attention by erecting them at state capitols in Washington, Illinois, Missouri, Michigan, Oklahoma, Georgia and Florida. 

https://www.facebook.com/thehumanityfund/photos/pb.1658217074397283.-2207520000.1451494913./1702336059985384/?type=3&theater

The 6-foot tall poles, adorned with 8-inch disco balls and wrapped in the colors of the LGBT rainbow, mark the Dec. 23 anti-commercial parody holiday made famous by an episode of the popular 1990’s TV sitcom, “Seinfeld.” 

Although the Festivus pole campaign reached new heights in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of nationwide marriage equality, the first was erected in Florida two years ago.

“In December of 2013, I felt the religious symbols being displayed in the state of Florida capitol rotunda building were showing the state’s endorsement of a certain viewpoint. So I forced the state of Florida to allow me to erect a Festivus pole,” Stevens said. 

“Sure, a Festivus Pole is a silly gesture, but it’s a world wide recognizable symbol that provides us with a vehicle to promote awareness to the issue of Christian privilege and the religious right’s manufactured” outrage, he added.  

That type of outrage was evident this year in places like Oklahoma, where lawmakers complained the pole was “sacrilegious” and part of the “war on Christmas.” However, if states allowed nativity scenes but not Festivus poles, they likely would have invited lawsuits. 

Next year, Stevens is aiming to place the poles in all 50 state capitols. But he’s also launching the “In Satan We Trust” campaign, beginning in Hallandale, Florida, where the mayor is pushing for an “In God We Trust” plaque. 

According to In God We Trust America, a national group that advocates displaying the motto, 373 local governments in 15 states were doing so as of last year. 

“In God We Trust,” which appears on US currency, has survived court challenges based on the establishment clause, but groups like the ACLU have questioned its legality in other contexts. 

“Especially in a courthouse or council chambers, people should not be made to feel like outsiders in their own community because they don’t share the dominant religious view,” said Victoria Middleton, executive director of the ACLU of South Carolina. 

Earlier this year, the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation sent letters to 30 US law enforcement agencies, objecting to the display of “In God We Trust” on police cruisers. 

In response to the letters, one Texas police chief told the foundation to “go fly a kite,” and right-wing Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued an opinion saying the displays were legal, although he acknowledged there are no court rulings addressing the specific issue. 

According to Breitbart, some police officials believe displaying “In God We Trust” on cruisers somehow counters mounting criticism of law enforcement amid a series of controversial fatal shootings across the nation.   

Stevens said the Humanity Fund is launching a nonprofit to fund the Festivus and “In Satan We Trust” projects, as well as partnering with a well-known legal firm that handles First Amendment cases. The group is also working on a documentary and plans to put up a KickStarter page in the next few weeks. 

“If you proclaim yourself worried about the separation of church and state, then you either get off your ass and get in the game, or open your wallet,” he wrote.

 

Image of Chaz Stevens: Screenshot via Chaz Stevens/YouTube
Image of Festivus pole via Facebook

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POLITICIZING A PANDEMIC

Trump Calls on FDA to Fast-Track Coronavirus Vaccine Approvals

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President Donald Trump on Wednesday publicly called on the Food and Drug Administration to fast-track approvals of coronavirus vaccines after a fourth American drug company’s COVID-19 vaccine entered the final clinical trials stage. The call came just one day after the U.S. saw its 200,000 coronavirus death.

Big news,” Trump tweeted. “Numerous great companies are seeing fantastic results. @FDA must move quickly!”

Trump then retweeted other tweets praising the Johnson & Johnson drug trial.

Many see Trump’s actions as inappropriate pressure on what is supposed to be an independent, non-partisan federal agency, and some see them as dangerous.

A Washington Post reporter noted the FDA on Tuesday said it was raising the bar on coronavirus vaccine approvals.

But Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on Monday issued a draconian order hamstringing the FDA and requiring all moves to be approved by him.

Here’s former Obama Under Secretary of State Richard Stengel, issuing a warning:

 

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VLADIMIR SAYS HI

GOP Senator’s Hyped Report on Biden and Ukraine Is a Dud With ‘Minimal, if Any, Evidence’: Reporter

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Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) has been hyping up a report that purportedly implicates Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in corrupt activities in Ukraine.

But according to Politico’s Kyle Cheney, Johnson’s report is not going to be nearly as explosive as Republicans hoped, and he describes it as “an 87-page rehash of previously known allegations (with minimal, if any, evidence), news articles and impeachment testimony.”

In fact, the report leads off with impeachment testimony from State Department official George Kent, who said it was “awkward” to have Biden working on Ukraine-related issues while he was serving as vice president even as his son, Hunter Biden, had taken a job on the board of a Ukrainian energy company.

However, Kent also testified that Biden’s work in Ukraine was part of official American foreign policy and was not about serving his personal interests.

Additionally, Cheney reports that “ten of the interim report’s 87 pages are dedicated to countering Democratic attacks and pushing back on reporting that [Johnson was] fueling narratives that dovetailed with a Russian disinformation effort.”

Image via Shutterstock

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TALK ABOUT RIGGED

Pence Suggests Unnamed Trump SCOTUS Nominee Should Skip Committee and Just Be Confirmed Before ‘Election Issues’ Arise

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Vice President Mike Pence is in full campaign mode now, making the rounds on news channels and holding re-election rallies. On Tuesday the Indiana Republican told Fox News Business’ Lou Dobbs that perhaps President Donald Trump’s yet-to-be-named Supreme Court nominee should just skip the usual Judiciary Committee hearings and get confirmed by the U.S. Senate immediately.

Pence said the nominee should get a committee hearing, but only “if needs be.”

He might have been thinking that since Chairman Lindsey Graham has already said there are enough votes to confirm, even though no one knows who the nominee is, why take up valuable time when the outcome has, for the first time in U.S. history, been preordained without even a facade of interest in vetting.

Insisting that Trump has “a duty” under “the Constitution to appoint a new justice to the Supreme Court,” Vice President Pence said, “we respect the role of the Senate to advise and consent but President Trump truly believes that the Senate should move thoroughly thoughtfully and quickly and and move to consideration a hearing, if needs be and ultimately to a floor vote because we you know we have, we have major issues in the country today.”

What are the major Supreme Court issues?

“You know, Lou with all of the talk about universal unsolicited mail and validating where we see states around the country that are now, extending the deadline,” Pence said, referring to President Trump’s lie that voting by mail will make the election “rigged.”

“There is a possibility that election issues may come before the Supreme Court in the days following the election and all the more reason why we should have nine justices on the Supreme Court to, to be able to resolve any issues that may arise then or on any other matters.”

In other words, Trump wants a justice on the nation’s top court prepared to hand him the election.

Watch:

 

Image by Michael Candelori via Flickr and a CC license

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