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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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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

DeSantis Hires New Surgeon General: A Hydroxychloroquine-Pushing Physician Who Appeared in ‘Demon Sperm’ Doc’s Video

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Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, responsible for one of the worst COVID-19 responses in the nation, has just announced his new Surgeon General, Joseph A. Ladapo, MD, PhD, a UCLA Medical Center physician and health policy researcher who appeared in the viral “Demon Sperm” quack doctor’s video that advocated the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19.

Dr. Ladapo appears to be anti-mask, pro-ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine, and against mass vaccinating the public against the coronavirus which to date has now killed over 675,000 Americans.

For example, in one of his many op-eds, mostly published in the Wall Street Journal, Dr. Lapado says it’s “reasonable” for parents to not want to, or to be skeptical of vaccinating their children. In February he hinted that the vaccine might not be safe for pregnant women, calling for “humility about areas of uncertainty—such as vaccination in pregnant women.” CDC guidance now urges them to be vaccinated. Studies show pregnant women who contract coronavirus are 10, 15, and even 22 times more likely to die if unvaccinated.

“Tools for stopping variants are limited and, like masks and distancing, vaccines are not a panacea,” Dr. Ladapo also wrote in February.

In an April op-ed, “An American Epidemic of ‘Covid Mania’,” he wrote: “The problem isn’t only the overreaction to the virus but the diminution of every other problem.”

In June he asked, “Are Covid Vaccines Riskier Than Advertised?” despite billions of people worldwide having been vaccinated with almost no lasting negative side effects.

Dr. Ladapo appeared in a viral video social media companies removed from their platforms in 2020, a video that received millions of views in part thanks to then-President Donald Trump. It featured “a group that has dubbed itself America’s Frontline Doctors, standing on the steps of the Supreme Court and claiming that neither masks nor shutdowns are necessary to fight the pandemic, despite a plethora of expertise to the contrary,” as The Washington Post reported.

The lead physician, Stella Immanuel, “has a history of making particularly outlandish statements — including that the uterine disorder endometriosis is caused by sex with demons that takes place in dreams.”

That led phrases like “demon semen,” and “demon sperm” to take over social media.

Rolling Stone, profiling the physicians who appeared in the video, including Ladapo, called them “COVID-19 Truthers.”

 

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CRIME

‘I Hope Your Car Explodes’: Newly Revealed Text Messages Show GOP Rep. ‘Threatening’ Democrat He Used to Date

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In newly revealed text messages, Michigan GOP Rep. Steve Marino (R) vowed to destroy Democratic Rep. Mari Manoogian’s life, even saying he hoped her car exploded on her way to work, the Detroit Free Press reports.

“I’m making it my life mission to destroy you,” Marino said to Manoogian in an undated text message, according to Ingham County court records. As the Detroit Free Press points out, the the messages and statements from Marino to Manoogian were used to secure a personal protection order against Marino.

In one text message, Marino tells Manoogian to “hide on the House floor” because “I’m going to park right next to your desk and ream you a new a–hole each session day until I leave that place.”

Court filings show Manoogian said she dated Marino for about four months in 2019, but things changed after their relationship ended. Manoogian said she believed Marino to be mentally unstable.

“Face to face and over text, Steve began threatening me and harassing me. It has escalated to a point where I fear for my safety and for Steve’s own safety,” she said in a statement filed with the court. “I am afraid of Steve. He repeatedly tells me that he hopes I get in a car crash on my commute to Lansing, and that he hopes my car will blow up…He constantly berated me with obscenities, calling me a c—, a b—-, and telling me to go f— myself.”

Manoogian also describes an encounter where Marino allegedly became physically abusive.

“Steve has emotionally and verbally abused me relentlessly. He also physically abused me. I do not like hugs, I am not a touchy-feely person. Steve knows this. He chased me around his apartment and held me against my will in a ‘hug’ until I cried,” she stated.

Read the full report over at the Detroit Free Press.

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Eric Trump to Headline Anti-Vaxxers Pro-QAnon Possible Super-Spreader Event Next Month: Report

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Eric Trump is scheduled to deliver the keynote address at an anti-vaxxers conference in October, despite his father, the former president, claiming credit for the three COVID-19 vaccines.

It’s just the “latest alliance between the Trump family and the GOP’s fringiest elements,” The Daily Beast reports. The second Trump son will be “joining a speakers’ lineup that includes some of the most prominent promoters of disinformation about vaccines, as well as leading figures in the QAnon conspiracy theory movement.”

A press release from the group holding the event describes it as organized “by health freedom activists, natural medicine practitioners, and freedom-loving truth seekers,” and claims it will be “a massive in-person gathering in Nashville, TN from October 22nd to the 24th.”

In other words, a likely super-spreader event.

Republican Tennessee Governor Bill Lee has not only refused to implement a mask mandate, he has banned local governments from ordering them.

The Daily Beast adds that the conference, called The Truth About Cancer Live! “is the brainchild of Ty and Charlene Bollinger, two major promoters of anti-vaccine disinformation who have made tens of millions of dollars promoting both alternative health cures for cancer and vaccine fears. The Bollingers have dubbed the coronavirus vaccine ‘that abominable vaccine,’ according to a Center for Public Integrity report, and sell a $200 video series promoting vaccine fearmongering on their website.”

Press release image

Eric Trump denies the event is an anti-vaxx conference.

“As to labeling something an anti-vaccine event, it wouldn’t make much sense for me to attend as a vaccinated person if it was,” Trump told The Daily Beast in an email.

His hosts disagree.

In posts on Telegram, a social media app popular on the right, the Bollingers have called the vaccine a “SHOT OF POISON!” and the “COVID kill shot.”

 

Photo, top: Eric Trump with Charlene Bollinger

Images via PR Newswire press release

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