Tennessee’s LGBT Citizens Are About to Become Even More Marginalized Unless the Governor Vetoes HB 1840
Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam today must veto a bill that would allow therapists, counselors, and mental health professionals to cite their “sincerely held religious beliefs” as reason to refuse service to LGBT people. Unless the governor signs it or does nothing it becomes law. Only his veto, today, can stop this unconscionable attack on his citizens, some of whom are among the most vulnerable and in need of support. It would be the first law of its kind in the nation.
HB 1840 passed the Tennessee legislature and was sent to the governor April 15. He has ten days, excluding Sundays, to act.
The bill technically allows therapists to cite their religious beliefs as a reason to refuse service to anyoneÂ â€“ they must refer them to another counselorÂ â€“ so atheists, people who are divorced, Muslims, and other minorities are all potential targets.
Last week Gov. Haslam, NPR reported, “said he is ‘talking to a lot of folks to get some input’ on the bill and that he had boiled his thinking down to this central question: whether therapists could truly leave their values out of their work.”
The sponsor of the bill, RepublicanÂ Rep. Dan Howell, “said last week that administration officials have told him the governor ‘appears to be happy with HB 1840 and he may sign it,'” the Times Free Press reports.
Like many conservatives who support so-called “religious freedom” legislation, Haslam appears to be more concerned with “protecting” religious extremists increasingly unable or unwilling to operate in a diverse world, than actually protecting those who need protection the most, those who are at risk.
The choice is simple.
A therapist who isn’t allowed to refuse to help a teenaged LGBTQ person because they are LGBTQ isn’t going to consider or attempt self harm, but that LGBTQ teen, especially those who live â€“Â as 25 percent of TennesseansÂ do â€“Â in a rural area, might.Â
The clock is ticking, Governor.
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Florida Christian School Warns Parents All LGBTQ Students ‘Will Be Asked to Leave Immediately’
Citing the Book of Leviticus a Florida K-12 private Christian school is telling parents any student found to be LGBTQ will be asked to leave “immediately.”
NBC News reports it “obtained an email from the Grace Christian School in Valrico, about 20 miles east of Tampa, sent before the beginning of the school year by Administrator Barry McKeen.”
The school’s email lumps being LGBTQ, or engaging in acts including “bestiality, incest, fornication, adultery and pornography” as “lifestyles.”
“We believe that any form of homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, transgender identity/lifestyle, self-identification, bestiality, incest, fornication, adultery and pornography are sinful in the sight of God and the church (Genesis 2:24; Leviticus 18:1-30; Romans 1:26-29; I Corinthians 5:1; I Corinthians 6:9; I Thessalonians 4:2-7),” the email reads. “Students who are found participating in these lifestyles will be asked to leave the school immediately,”
NBC News says the “June 6 correspondence to parents cited scripture and said that students will be referred to by the ‘gender on their birth certificates’ during the school year beginning this month. While the email refers to ‘biological gender,’ the National Institute of Health defines ‘gender’ as a social construct, as opposed to ‘sex,’ which is the biological difference between females and males.”
On its website Grace Christian says annual fees are up to $6595, plus items including books and other fees.
“It is our desire to provide the best Christian education and training for ALL children, for God is not a respecter of persons,” Grace Christian says. It calls “humanism, materialism, secularism, and New Age” philosophies “godless.”
The school’s website also says, “Students are only admitted when the administration believes that the parents and their church are in full support of the purposes and policies of the School. Expressions of dissention or lack of support for the School’s mission, policies, or leadership are grounds for dismissal of any students of a family in which such action occurs.”
“ALL STUDENTS are expected to abide by rules set forth by the administration. Attendance at Grace Christian School is considered a privilege and not a right. Students forfeit this privilege if they do not conform to the standards and ideals set forth by the administration. The school may insist on the withdrawal of any student that, in the opinion of the administration, does not conform to the spirit of the ministry.”
Watch: McConnell Blasts GOP ‘Candidate Quality’ as He Admits Democrats Likely to Keep Senate
Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell made a surprising admission Thursday: the GOP’s candidates running for Senate may not be good enough for Republicans to take control of the chamber he once led as Majority Leader.
“I think there’s probably a greater likelihood the House flips than the Senate,” McConnell responded when asked at a Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce luncheon about his projections for the upcoming November elections, as NBC News reported.
“Senate races are just different,” he explained. “Candidate quality has a lot to do with the outcome.”
“Right now, we have a 50-50 Senate and a 50-50 country, but I think when all is said and done this fall, we’re likely to have an extremely close Senate, either our side up slightly or their side up slightly,” McConnell added, wrongly.
The country is not 50-50.
According to a Gallup poll conducted over a three week period in July, 28% of Americans identify as Republican, 29% as Democratic, and 41% as independent.
Thanks in large part to Donald Trump, “candidate quality” is definitely a challenge for the GOP.
There are 35 Senate seats up for (re)election in November, 14 are held by Democrats and 21 by Republicans. Possibly sensing the headwinds five GOP Senators and just one Democratic Senator are not running for reelection and are retiring.
The GOP pulling cash out of races it may think its candidates cannot win.
“As midterm election campaigns heat up in the Senate’s top battlegrounds, the National Republican Senatorial Committee is canceling millions of dollars of ad spending, sending GOP campaigns and operatives into a panic and upending the committee’s initial spending plan,” Politico on Monday reported.
Meanwhile, FiveThirtyEight currently shows Democrats have a 64 in 100 chance of retaining the Senate, a number that’s been growing: On July 22 it was 50-50.
Watch Leader McConnell below or at this link:
“I think there’s probably a greater likelihood the House flips than the Senate … Candidate quality has a lot to do with the outcome.”
— Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell does not sound too confident in Republicans’ ability to retake the Senate pic.twitter.com/XK8G451i01
— The Recount (@therecount) August 18, 2022
Herschel Walker Raked in Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars Giving Paid Speeches While a Candidate for Senate: Report
Like nearly every candidate for elected office, entrepreneur and former NFL star Herschel Walker, the Republican Party’s nominee for a U.S. Senate seat from Georgia, has been giving speeches since he announced his run for office. Unlike nearly every candidate for public office, Walker has been charging for those speeches.
Not entrance fees for an audience to hear him speak, but actual speaking fees, paid by lobbying groups and even non-profits like a Boys & Girls Club in Georgia.
And he’s racked up big money doing it as a declared candidate for elected office.
The fees he says on his disclosure form he’s received range from $12,000 to $60,000.
After having served as a U.S. Senator and then as a U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton was flogged by Republicans for giving paid speeches after leaving the Obama administration, during the time she was a private citizen and far from declaring any intention to run for office.
But Walker is making money as a candidate for elected office, according to The Daily Beast’s Roger Sollenberg.
A lot of money.
“Herschel Walker—who has so far only agreed to participate in the one debate that provides topics in advance—has earned $569,000 in speaking fees since Jan. 2021,” Sollenberger reports, citing Walker’s financial disclosure.
“More than half” of that $569,000 “came after he launched his Senate campaign last August.”
That means Walker has raked in well over a quarter million dollars while a declared candidate for public office.
NCRM examined Walker’s annual SEC filing, dated August 15, 2022. It lists his declaration of candidacy for office as August 24, 2021.
In February of this year Walker was paid $60,000 by the University of North Texas for its Kuehne Speaker Series. Last year, before officially declaring as a candidate for office Walker was paid $35,000 by the All Sports Association, and $25,000 by the Boys & Girls Club of Gainesville, Georgia.
These payments and many others – 21 in total – are listed under the section titled “Honoraria Payments or Payments to Charity in Lieu of Honoraria.” The filing asks, “Did any individual or organization pay you or your spouse more than $200, or donate any amount to a charity on your or your spouse’s behalf, for an article, speech, or appearance?”
Walker answered “Yes.”
The filing asks, “Who received payment?” For each of the 21 entries Walker indicated “Self.”
Under “Activity,” each response was “Speech.”
There are many others.
Three days after officially declaring himself a candidate Walker was paid $35,000 by the Texas Bankers Association. A few days later $20,000 by the Georgia Realtors Association. $35,000 in October by the Baldwin County Community Drug Foundation.
In December of last year the Atlana Journal-Constitution reported Walker is “the richest man in Georgia Senate race.”
“U.S. Senate candidate Herschel Walker is worth somewhere between $29 million and $65 million, and he pulled down about $4 million in income from late 2020 through late 2021, according to financial disclosures he filed late Wednesday,” the paper reported.
“About $400,000 of his earnings were from speeches he delivered to over a dozen groups, including charities such as the Boys and Girls Club that paid him as much as $27,000,” the Journal-Constitution confirmed at the time.
Walker, who was the subject of great controversy after The Daily Beast revealed in a series of reports that Walker, despite criticizing Black men for being absent fathers, has three secret children, and says he lied to his own campaign about their existence. In addition to his adult son, a popular social media influencer. One of the three is an adult but the other two and young children.
Walker has also taken money for speaking to anti-abortion organizations.
“He was paid $20,000 in October to speak to the Mid City Women’s Clinic in Hurst, Texas, and $27,000 in November to speak to the Pregnant Choice medical group in Augusta. Both are among a network of clinics that seek to deter abortions.”
Image: Screenshot via Facebook
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