Tennessee Bill Gives Therapists Legal Right to Refuse to Treat LGBT People Based on a Sincerely Held Religious Belief
State Senator Jack Johnson says mental health counselors and therapists should have the legal right to turn away anyone who violates their sincerely-held religious beliefs. The Tennessee lawmaker Friday morning was challenged to protect LGBT youth and teens who need help the most, rather than trained professionals whose job it is to help others.
“What does it say to a kid when a counselor says, ‘Oh no, I don’t want to take care of you because you’re gay, I’ll refer you to somebody else?’,” Mitchell Gold (photo), co-founder and chairman of Â Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams,Â a top North Carolina-based furniture manufacturer, asked Sen. Johnson on CNN’s “New Day.”
“Instead of the Senator working hard to protect incompetentÂ counselors, how about protecting these kids that are out there? There’s over a million and a half gay teens that need the help and support of adults. They need the common decency of adults. They don’t need to be persecuted,” Gold said, insisting that mental health professionals “have to have continuing education,” and “live to the Hippocratic OathÂ â€“ do no harm.”
Johnson’s bill,Â HB 1840, is awaiting GOP Gov. Bill Haslam’s signature or veto. As NCRM reported earlier this week, theÂ legislationÂ is particularly onerousÂ for LGBT people in Tennessee. Of its 6.5 million residents overall, nearly one-quarter live in rural areas, where access to mental health professionals can be especially limited. While the bill states a therapist must provide a referral if they refuse service, it’s not only possible, but likely, another therapist willing to help an LGBT person could be hours away. For young people in need of help, that literally could mean life or death.
Gold is also an LGBT activist and founder ofÂ Faith in America, “a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating people about how religion-based bigotry is used to justify discrimination against gay people.” He reminded viewers that “LGBT kids are four to six times more likely to commit suicide, they’re more likely to suffer severe depression, they’re more likely to do drugs and alcohol, and they in fact, more often than their straight counterparts, kill themselves.”
Sen. Johnson claimed it is the American Counseling Association, not the Tennessee General Assembly, who is discriminating.Â
Johnson also claimed that CNN host Chris Cuomo, and Gold, “hadn’t read the bill,” which drew Cuomo’s denial and ire, prompting him to put up the text of the bill for viewers to read also.
Cuomo challenged him, insisting the bill says, “‘I won’t treat you if I feel something about you is offensive to my faith.’ Is that not what this bill says?”
Johnson says that throughout time, counselors have always been able to turn away clients if they disagree with them. “And by the way, why should someone seek counseling from a counselor who is unqualified, untrained, and has no experience in a particular subject matter?”
GoldÂ responded that if a counselor is untrained and not keeping up with their profession, “they really shouldn’t be a counselor.”
â€” Eliel Cruz (@elielcruz) April 8, 2016
“Senator Jack Johnson claims this bill upholds the status quo and doesn’t help any licensed therapist discriminate against LGBT people,” Eliel Cruz, Executive Director of Faith In America, told The New Civil Rights Movement via email.Â
“If that were true, why the introduction of this new bill? It’s clear to me and clear to the American people that this is yet another targeted bill against the LGBT community. For Senator Johnson to introduce legislation that will put LGBT youth in danger in the name of religious freedom is a bastardization of basic Christian tenets that include hospitality and loving the ‘least of these.'”Â
Image: Screenshot via Twitter
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‘Doesn’t Get to Tell the County What They Can Read’: Lawmaker Blasts Christian in Viral Video Attacking LGBTQ Library Books
A Tennessee Democratic state lawmaker is responding to a viral video of a Christian woman in her home state railing against “perversion,” apparently upset with LGBTQ-themed books being in a local public library, while ranting about Satan and “revelation prophecies.”
Rep. Gloria Johnson, a retired special ed teacher, blasted the young woman who spoke in the video for about three minutes berating, lecturing, and preaching to her fellow Maury County, Tennessee residents about books she believes the public library should not have.
After introducing herself as “Stephanie” (her last name was not discernible), the young woman in the undated video declares, “I speak on behalf of God Almighty, my husband, the daughter in my womb and every law abiding God fearing taxpaying citizen here in Maury County.”
She admitted she is not from Maury County, but she did feel very comfortable telling Maury County locals what to do and think.
“We moved here from Indiana to start our family,” she said. “I will not raise kids in a county that has sexual oriented books on the counter,” she insisted, later stating, “My taxes pay [for] this place.”
“The kingdom of God is within reach,” Stephanie went on to preach. “It is within here and we live not for heaven but from heaven. What that means is when perversion permeates our county, that is when the devil gets our children. If you don’t see this you are blind. We must understand that there cannot be perversion in this county, in this country. Obviously revelation prophecies are occurring right before our eyes. But what you need to know first and foremost, that obviously the future generation is our children.”
By the end of her lengthy rant she decreed, “God sees everything and by the grace of God, we will rise above this, but I’m not gonna let my children be raised – I’m gonna homeschool, you better believe it. I will not let my children be raised in a county like this. If we’re having sexual oriented books. You can even ask the gay community, a lot of them say why would you want to bring kids to the bars? They already think of pedophilia, why would you want them to come to the bars?”
“Understand that you serve our country second. You serve our God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob first,” she concluded.
She also flew into a false screed straight out of recent Fox News reports.
Saying, “I speak on behalf of millennials my generation,” she claimed, “We already have so many illegal aliens here who are bringing fentanyl they are killing our children, our youth.”
A right-wing think tank, the Cato Institute states: “Fentanyl is primarily trafficked by U.S. citizens.”
Rep. Johnson, who served in the Tennessee state House from 2013-2015, and is again serving, since 2019, also served up strong criticism against the woman in the video.
“She is welcome to monitor the books her children read, but she doesn’t get to tell the rest of the county what they can read,” Johnson tweeted.
Johnson is apparently a strong supporter of public libraries. This was posted to her Facebook page just days ago:
Watch the viral video below or at this link.
A Christian woman in Maury County, Tennessee argues against LGBTQ-themed books at her library and tells everyone they’re going to hell pic.twitter.com/F6McXs8Gs4
— Marjorie Gaylor Queen 🏳️🌈 (@Tim_Tweeted) September 28, 2022
Watchdog Reports Trump ‘Credibly Accused’ of ‘Staggering’ List of 55 Criminal Offenses – Urges DOJ to Prosecute
A nonpartisan federal government watchdog has updated its list of “uncharged” criminal offenses it says Donald Trump stands “credibly accused” of committing, and is urging the Dept. of Justice to prosecute them, warning that “the rule of law is not self-enforcing.”
“As of September 2022, Donald Trump has been credibly accused of committing at least 55 criminal offenses since he launched his campaign for president in 2015,” reports Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, better known as CREW. “That total only reflects allegations relating to his time in or running for office and omits, for instance, Trump’s criminal exposure for fraudulent business dealings.”
The lengthy list includes numerous allegations of campaign finance crimes and coverup, destruction of presidential records, obstruction of the Russia and Special Counsel Investigations, attempts to steal the 2020 election, false public financial disclosure reports, attempts to get Ukraine to interfere in 2020 election, profiting off of post-election lies, and unlawful post-presidency possession of government records.
CREW says its update includes “seven offenses we have added since we published the first version of this table in March 2022,” including “three criminal offenses relating to the investigation of election fraud and related crimes in Fulton County, Georgia; one offense relating to potential wire fraud stemming from fraudulent representations made to solicit PAC contributions after the 2020 election; and three offenses relating to Trump’s unlawful possession of government records at Mar-a-Lago after leaving office.”
“The updated tracker likely understates Trump’s legal exposure because the high volume of sensitive records discovered at Mar-A-Lago suggests that he could be indicted for multiple counts of willfully retaining without authorization government records containing national defense information, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 793(e)), even though it is only listed once on CREW’s tracker.”
CREW is not the only one keeping track of Trump’s misdeeds, criminal civil, or ethical.
McSweeney’s published a list of 1056 “atrocities,” it calls “horrors,” titled: “A Catalog of Trump’s Worst Cruelties, Collusions, Corruptions, and Crimes.” It stopped updating on Jan. 20, 2021.
Civil liberties and national security journalist Marcy Wheeler on Wednesday published her “Trump Document Theft Resources,” a timeline of events surrounding the former president’s unlawful retention and refusal to return classified documents, complete with numerous links.
For those who’ve missed it: I have put together a post with links to all MY posts on the Trump Espionage case, as well as the public docs, statutes, and some other key reports. Not entirely up-to-date and a work in progress, though. https://t.co/1xpy6I5ine
— emptywheel (@emptywheel) September 28, 2022
Christian Nationalist GOP Nominee Doug Mastriano Calling for ‘40 Days of Fasting and Prayer’ to Help Campaign
The far-right Christian nationalist and state lawmaker who is the Republican Party’s nominee to become governor of Pennsylvania is so extreme and has been performing so poorly in the polls it took the media two days to learn of his latest plan to win election: 40 days of fasting and prayer.
State Sen. Doug Mastriano, who led a Zoom meeting days before the January 6 insurrection praying his fellow Trump supporters would “rise up” and overthrow the government, on Monday posted to Facebook a call for “40 Days of Fasting and Prayer.”
To date it has received little attention, a mere 10 comments, 46 shares, and 156 various likes. That’a after one news outlet, The Philadelphia Inquirer, published an article on Mastriano Wednesday afternoon.
“The Republican gubernatorial candidate is losing some support among GOP allies as his cash-strapped campaign turns to Twitter memes and, apparently, divine intervention,” the Inquirer reports.
A mere “few dozen supporters joined the Republican state senator on the steps of the Capitol building in Harrisburg — some of them members of a local militia group,” for campaign rally last weekend, adding that “Mastriano hasn’t run or booked any TV ads in response. He doesn’t do interviews with most media outlets, and won’t agree to a standard format debate.”
Mastriano recently made headlines over previously unreported remarks showing he supports criminal murder charges for women who violate a 6-week abortion ban.
It seems likely Mastriano will lose the election. FiveThirtyEight gives the far right Republican state lawmaker just seven chances in 100 to win the governorship. His opponent, Democrat Josh Shapiro, has spent millions more that Mastriano, who the Inquirer notes has spent just $6300 on TV ads.
Some are highlighting bigger, more longterm concerns, noting that Mastriano is helping to expand the Christian nationalism and fascism his ideologies represent.
Media Matters for America’s Eric Hananoki on Wednesday reveals: “Mastriano announced that he’s holding a rally with Jack Posobiec this weekend. Posobiec has collaborated with white nationalists and neo-Nazis and has targeted Jewish people with antisemitic hate.”
Doug Mastriano announced that he’s holding a rally with Jack Posobiec this weekend. Posobiec has collaborated with white nationalists and neo-Nazis and has targeted Jewish people with antisemitic hate, as the @splcenter has documented. https://t.co/V4xQeohozl
— Eric Hananoki (@ehananoki) September 28, 2022
“Mastriano is a QAnon conspiracy theorist and a January 6 insurrectionist,” Media Matters report adds. “He has also shared toxic commentaries about Muslims; abortion; and gun safety; along with making other inflammatory remarks.”
“He has surrounded himself with numerous extremist media figures in his campaign for Pennsylvania governor. They include: antisemitic Gab CEO Andrew Torba; QAnon and antisemitic conspiracy theorists Allen and Francine Fosdick; “prophet” Julie Green, who has promoted an antisemitic conspiracy theory; and QAnon supporter and 9/11 conspiracy theorist Toni Shuppe. Mastriano also recruited Jenna Ellis, who has a history of anti-LGBTQ remarks and election denialism, as a senior adviser.”
The New York Times last month reported Mastriano “speaks almost exclusively to far-right podcasters like Stephen K. Bannon, conservative talk radio hosts and Fox News. On a recent swing through northwest Pennsylvania, he brushed off a Pittsburgh TV station that sought to interview him, and even the small-circulation Meadville Tribune.“
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