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Lawmaker On ‘Religious Freedom’ Bill: ‘Baking A Cake Is Not Persecution’

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Only Jewish Lawmaker In West Virginia House Emotionally Denounces Religious Freedom Restoration Act

The West Virginia House of Delegates on Thursday took up one of dozens of anti-LGBT bills making their way through state legislatures this year. Most in some way try to make discriminating against LGBT people – especially same-sex couples – legal, by letting anyone or any company, corporation, or organization claim to have a “sincerely held religious or moral belief” against same-sex marriage or even LGBT people in general.

The House debate Thursday was contentious. For two hours lawmakers battled with HB  4012, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), even though one supporter of the bill admitted that it “really doesn’t restore anything.”

Several lawmakers took to the floor to explain why the bill was supposedly necessary. 

Republican Delegate John Shott, according to The Register-Herald, “said he was dismayed at a Christmas party last year when a guest there said he had not displayed his Nativity scene this year because he ‘wasn’t sure whether it was legal or not, whether it was going to create any problems or not or whether somebody was going to complain.’ Shott said the party guest ‘just didn’t think it was worth the trouble.'”

“That really caused me to pause,” Shott told his fellow lawmakers. “We really live in a country of hyper-sensitivity. We have really become so paranoid,” he added, at expressing “the devotion that we feel to what is the foundation of this nation, and that’s religion.”

Democratic Delegate Mike Pushkin took to the floor, and in a very respectful and honest speech, explained that he was “offended by the intent” of the bill.

Pushkin said he attended a hearing that detailed that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act “is about protecting a religious minority from undue persecution.”

“I believe I am the only member of a religious minority elected to this body currently,” Pushkin said. “I’m Jewish. Religious freedom is very important to me. If it wasn’t for religious freedom I wouldn’t be here,” he stressed, adding that his family fled “real religious persecution” in Eastern Europe.

EARLIER: Watch: West Virginia Lawmaker Says If Gays Are Allowed Nondiscrimination Protections Pedophiles Will Get Them Too

“In my lifetime I cannot tell you what religious persecution is, because I’m an American, and we do not persecute people in America for religious beliefs, because we have the First Amendment to the Constitution, that’s very well written.”

Asking what the real reason behind the RFRA is, Pushkin concluded it’s because “same-sex marriage is now legal in West Virginia.” He called the bill a “pushback” from people who are “not persecuted, but possibly inconvenienced.”

He offered as an example of religious inconvenience a meeting he had to attend as a state lawmaker on the most holiest of days on the Jewish Calendar, Rosh Hashanah.

“I did my job,” Pushkin said, adding that he was late for religious services. “That was an inconvenience.”

“I didn’t stand on the courthouse steps and cry about it, I didn’t really say much,” he said. “Mike Huckabee didn’t fly into West Virginia and hold my hand on the courthouse steps,” Pushkin said, raising his arm in a manner similar to the now-iconic image of the Baptist preacher standing with Kentucky clerk Kim Davis.

“It was a scheduling problem that interfered with my religious beliefs.”

Pushkin then offered an example of the difference between religious inconvenience and religious persecution.

“Having to bake a cake when you are a professional baker, and having somebody pay you to bake a cake is not discrimination. It could, possibly, be seen as an inconvenience,” Pushkin offered. “But you’re a baker.”

“I don’t see that, really as an inconvenience. It’s somebody choosing to do their job,” he said, then, paused in frustration.

“I guess what I’m trying to say is, baking a cake is not persecution. Getting baked in an oven is persecution,” Pushkin said, clearly alluding to the millions of Jews and other people slaughtered in Nazi Germany.

The West Virginia Religious Freedom Restoration Act on Thursday passed by an overwhelming majority, 72-26. It now moves on to the Senate.

There is a change.org petition you can sign asking the Senate to not vote for hate.

 

Image via Facebook
Video via WV House Democrats

 

 

 

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BREAKING NEWS

Highly-Anticipated J6 Committee Hearing Likely Postponed

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Wednesday’s highly-anticipated hearing of the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack, the first one since July, and possibly the final publicly-televised event, will likely be postponed due to Hurricane Ian which is ravaging Florida.

The Washington Post’s Jacqueline Alemany and Josh Dawsey were the first to report the postponement. MSNBC has confirmed the likely postponement.

No new date has been scheduled yet.

This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change.

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

‘Yes’: GOP Nominee Mastriano Supports Charging Women With Murder if They Have an Abortion After a 6 Week Ban (Audio)

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Pennsylvania’s GOP nominee for governor, state Senator Doug Mastriano, in 2019 said women who violate a bill he sponsored that would ban abortion after six weeks should be charged with murder.

“OK, let’s go back to the basic question there,” Mastriano told Pennsylvania radio station WITF, as NBC News reports. “Is that a human being? Is that a little boy or girl? If it is, it deserves equal protection under the law.”

“Asked if he was saying yes, they should be charged with murder, Mastriano responded: ‘Yes, I am.'”

READ MORE: ‘Seize the Power’: Christian Nationalist Doug Mastriano Prayed MAGA Would ‘Rise Up’ Against the Gov’t on 1/6 (Video)

Mastriano is a conspiracy theorist, election denier, and white Christian nationalist with ties to Gab founder Andrew Torba, an antisemitic Christian nationalist and white supremacist.

Mastriano’s bill would have barred abortions once a so-called “fetal heartbeat” could be detected, NBC News adds, “usually around six weeks,” generally before most women even know they are pregnant.

Mastriano, when confronted, falsely attempted to downplay the ability of a governor to shape laws.

“My views are kind of irrelevant because I cannot rule by fiat or edict or executive order on the issue of life,” Mastriano told the conservative network Real America’s Voice, NBC adds. “It’s up to the people of Pennsylvania. So if Pennsylvanians want exceptions, if they want to limit the number of weeks, it’s going to have to come from your legislative body and then to my desk.”

READ MORE: Watch: Torba Warns GOP to Not ‘Disavow or Condemn Us’ Because ‘Christian Nationalists Are the Republican Party’

Mastriano, endorsed by Trump, is facing Democrat Josh Shapiro, who is leading in the polls.

The New York Times reports Mastriano’s campaign is “sputtering,” and says he “is being heavily outspent by his Democratic rival, has had no television ads on the air since May, has chosen not to interact with the state’s news media in ways that would push his agenda, and trails by double digits in reputable public polling and most private surveys.”

Earlier this month Rolling Stone just days before the January 6 insurrection Mastriano “was video taped leading a group in prayer, asking God that the MAGA movement would overthrow the federal government, praying they would ‘seize the power’ and ‘rise up’ on January 6.”

Listen below or at this link:

 

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CRIME

Trump Mocked for ‘Sidelining’ His New $3 Million Attorney: ‘Must Have Given Him Actual Legal Advice’

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It’s no secret Donald Trump has been virtually unable to hire highly-respected attorneys to defend him in the many legal and civil cases he is facing for a variety of alleged crimes and misdeeds, including his actions surrounding fraudulent efforts to overturn a free and fair election and the January 6 insurrection, his retention and refusal to return hundreds of classified documents, and his alleged real estate and tax fraud cases, and more.

One of the rumored reasons Trump, a former President, has been unable to retain quality legal representation is he “has a long history of allegedly not paying his bills,” as Vanity Fair has noted.

Trump did manage to hire what many consider a qualified and respected attorney for his legal issues surrounding his classified documents case.

READ MORE: ‘Bright-Red, Ear-Splitting Alarm Bell’: Former Top GOP Congressman Blasted for ‘Normalization’ of Fascism (Video)

Chris Kise, the former solicitor general for Florida, agreed to work for Trump but only if he was paid up front.

Thanks to Trump’s massive fundraising operation Kise is being paid millions, effectively by Trump supporters.

Kise is also no longer leading the case.

CNN reports Kise “has been sidelined from the Mar-a-Lago documents investigation less than a month after he was brought on to represent Trump in the matter, two sources familiar with the move tell CNN.”

READ MORE: Embattled Trump-Appointed DHS Inspector Was Given Phones of Secret Service Agents in July, Raising ‘New Questions’: Report

“Kise’s hiring came with an unusual price tag of $3 million, paid for by Trump’s outside spending arm. The retainer fee, paid upfront, raised eyebrows among other lawyers on Trump’s team, given the former President has a developed a reputation for not paying his legal fees.”

Legal experts are mocking Trump for sidelining his top attorney.

“Obviously this means the lawyer must have given Trump actual legal advice,” teased George Conway.

“Which is just RUDE,” replied attorney Ken White.

MSNBC/NBC News legal analyst and anchor Katie Phang asked, “So Kise is a $3 million dollar benchwarmer?”

“Trump is already throwing over Chris Kise after signing a $3M retainer and convincing him to leave Foley & Lardner? That seems … not smart,” says Liz Dye, who writes about law and politics. “Chaos monkey gonna chaos monkey, I guess.”

Dan Berman, CNN Politics managing editor for legal, immigration, and the Supreme Court serves up the perfect headline: “Trump’s 3 Million Dollar Man is sidelined already.”

LA Times columnist Harry Litman, a frequent guest on MSNBC and a former U.S. Attorney offered perhaps the most amusing response:

“The one credible lawyer that Trump has hired in years, Chris Kise, paying $3M up front, now has been demoted and is no longer leading the MAL defense. Must be Trump’s payback for the fix he’s now in w/ Judge Dearie. He thinks he’s Goldfinger/Dr.No but he’s really Austin Powers.”

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