After Meeting With 400 Top Evangelical Christian Leaders, Trump Says He Has ‘Such Tremendous Respect and Admiration’ for His New Group
Donald Trump has just released the names of the people who will head his new Evangelical Executive Advisory Board, and among them are several dozen mostly well-known individuals, including Michele Bachmann, Ralph Reed,Â James Dobson, andÂ Robert Jeffress. The GOP presumptive nomineeÂ been behind closed doors with about 400 of America’s top evangelical Christian leaders, including the heads of several anti-gay hate groups, and some of the most activelyÂ anti-LGBT faith leaders in the nation, since about 8:30 AM today in Manhattan.
The group has no public duties but is expected to be used to convince evangelicals to vote for Trump. A press release states they willÂ “convene on a regular basis.”
Former Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, who grew her political career on the backs of first Minnesota’s and then the nation’s LGBT citizens, is one the list. So isÂ James Dobson, who foundedÂ Focus On The Family and later, theÂ Family Research Council. Also on the list isÂ Jerry Falwell, Jr., son of the anti-gay televangelist who now heads his father’s Liberty University.Â Ronnie Floyd, the head of the Southern Baptist Convention, Bishop Harry Jackson, who worked for several years withÂ NOM, the National Organization For Marriage. Fire and brimstone megachurch anti-gay pastor and Fox News contributorÂ Robert Jeffress, who has called the Mormon faith a cult and is publicly opposed to both Catholicism and Islam, almost as much as he is opposed to LGBT people.Â
Others on the list include ethically disgraced former head of the Southern Baptist Convention’sÂ Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, Richard Land.Â
Ralph Reed, who made his name working for Jerry Falwell until he too ran into ethical troubles. He is now the head and founder Â of theÂ Faith and Freedom Coalition, where Trump two weeks ago promised he would protect traditional marriage three days before he promised the LGBT community he is the most pro-gay candidate running for president.
In a statement, Trump said,Â â€œI have such tremendous respect and admiration for this group and I look forward to continuing to talk about the issues important to Evangelicals, and all Americans, and the common sense solutions I will implement when I am President,” as Politico reported.
Some have called into question the ethics of stumping for Trump, given their prior statements:
â€” Jack Jenkins (@jackmjenkins) June 21, 2016
â€” Ryan Struyk (@ryanstruyk) June 21, 2016
Speaking of “crooked” some of Trump’s evangelical board are beyond shady… https://t.co/9GqaNfBWcJ
â€” Jackie Kucinich (@JFKucinich) June 21, 2016
James Dobson, now on Trump’s evangelical board, said in Feb ad: “we could not support” Trump after he accepted SCOTUS gay marriage ruling
â€” Rebecca Berg (@rebeccagberg) June 21, 2016
Inbox – On Trump’s evangelical advisory board: Richard Land, who called Trump a “scam” before endorsing him as the “lesser evil” in the race
â€” Rebecca Sinderbrand (@sinderbrand) June 21, 2016
The full list (below) includes only three women, as NPR’s Matt Katz reported.
23 of the 26 members of Trump’s new Evangelical Executive Advisory Board are men. The 3 women include Michele Bachmann.
â€” Matt Katz (@mattkatz00) June 21, 2016
Â· Michele Bachmann -Â Former CongresswomanÂ
Â· A.R. Bernard -Â Senior Pastor and CEO, Christian Cultural Center
Â· Mark Burns -Â Pastor, Harvest Praise and Worship Center
Â· Tim Clinton –Â President, American Association of Christian Counselors
Â· Kenneth and Gloria Copeland -Â Founders, Kenneth Copeland Ministries
Â· James Dobson -Â Author, Psychologist and Host, My Family Talk
Â· Jerry Falwell, Jr. -Â President, Liberty University
Â· Ronnie Floyd -Â Senior Pastor, Cross Church
Â· Jentezen Franklin -Â Senior Pastor, Free Chapel
Â· Jack Graham -Â Senior Pastor, Prestonwood Baptist Church
Â· Harry Jackson -Â Senior Pastor, Hope Christian Church
Â· Robert Jeffress -Â Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church of Dallas
Â· David Jeremiah -Â Senior Pastor, Shadow Mountain Community Church
Â· Richard Land â€“Â President, Southern Evangelical Seminary
Â· James MacDonald â€“Â Founder and Senior Pastor, Harvest Bible Chapel
Â· Johnnie Moore -Â Author, President of The KAIROS Company
Â· Robert Morris -Â Senior Pastor, Gateway Church
Â· Tom Mullins â€“Â Senior Pastor, Christ FellowshipÂ
Â· Ralph Reed –Â Founder,Â Faith and Freedom Coalition
Â· James RobisonÂ – Founder, Life OUTREACH International
Â· Tony Suarez -Â Executive ViceÂ President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference
Â· Jay Strack -Â President, Student Leadership University
Â· Paula White -Â Senior Pastor, New Destiny Christian Center
Â· Tom Winters -Â Attorney, Winters and King, Inc.
Â· Sealy Yates â€“Â Attorney, Yates and Yates
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Shady U.S. Department Trump official used his position to get his son-in-law an EPA job
An inspector general report published Friday found that Assistant Interior Secretary Douglas Domenech at the U.S. Department of the Interior used his position to help his son-in-law Eric Frandy get a job at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
According to the report, Domenech reached out to a senior EPA official in person and via email in 2017 to persuade them to hire Frandy. He also encouraged the official to use another family member’s wedding-related business.
When asked about his pressuring the official to hire his son-in-law, Domenech admitted he was “trying to influence the process to move along.”
What’s troubling is that Domenech didn’t technically break the law because the law around this states you can’t use your political influence to benefit yourself, your wife, child or business… but shilling for in-laws is totally okay.
Regardless, Domenech will be forced to undergo ethics training. But House Natural Resources Committee Chairman, Arizona Democrat Raul Grijalva, believes the training will be useless because Domenech already received two rounds of ethics training when first joining the Trump administration.
Instead, Grijalva wants Interior Secretary David Bernhardt to fire Domenech. “Firing Mr. Domenech is the only serious course of action at this point,” another round of ethics training is clearly just a waste of time, since it hasn’t sunk in by now,” Grijalva said.
This is just the Domenech’s second ethical violation that we know about so far.
“Investigators in December found that he broke federal ethics rules by twice meeting with his former employer, a conservative Texas-based policy group, to discuss legal disputes between the group and the agency in early 2017,” the Star Tribune reports.
Trump threatens to use “vicious dogs” and “ominous weapons” on police brutality protestors
A day after President Donald Trump urged people to shoot looters associated with the nationwide protests against police brutality, he threatened racial justice protestors in Washington D.C. with “the most vicious dogs, and most ominous weapons” should they dare try to breach the White House fence.
In a series of tweets published in the early morning hours of May 30, Trump wrote:
The professionally managed so-called “protesters” at the White House had little to do with the memory of George Floyd. They were just there to cause trouble. The @SecretService handled them easily. Tonight, I understand, is MAGA NIGHT AT THE WHITE HOUSE???
Great job last night at the White House by the U.S. @SecretService. They were not only totally professional, but very cool. I was inside, watched every move, and couldn’t have felt more safe. They let the “protesters” scream & rant as much as they wanted, but whenever someone….
….got too frisky or out of line, they would quickly come down on them, hard – didn’t know what hit them. The front line was replaced with fresh agents, like magic. Big crowd, professionally organized, but nobody came close to breaching the fence. If they had they would….
….have been greeted with the most vicious dogs, and most ominous weapons, I have ever seen. That’s when people would have been really badly hurt, at least. Many Secret Service agents just waiting for action. “We put the young ones on the front line, sir, they love it, and….
….good practice.” As you saw last night, they were very cool & very professional. Never let it get out of hand. Thank you! On the bad side, the D.C. Mayor, @MurielBowser, who is always looking for money & help, wouldn’t let the D.C. Police get involved. “Not their job.” Nice!
The tweets are unsurprising considering Trump’s love of “strongman” leaders like Russian President Vladimir Putin, Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte, and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. In 2017, Trump has long stoked racial tensions by referring to white supremacists and neo-Nazis as “very fine people,” calling former NFL-player and police brutality protestor Colin Kaepernick a “son of a bitch,” and also encouraged police to treat criminal suspects roughly.
To his meager credit, “Trump has ordered the FBI and Justice Department to expedite an investigation into Floyd’s death in addition to the local investigation into the incident,” according to The Hill.
Trump also called the family of George Floyd, the Black man whose May 25 death helped inspire the current nationwide protests. However, Floyd’s brother said Trump rushed the call and didn’t sound at all interested in what he had to say.
So now the fact that Trump is gleefully talking about attacking demonstrators who are protesting in Floyd’s name is disquieting to say the least.
Anti-gay bigot Lou Sheldon, founder of Traditional Values Coalition, dead at 85
Reverend Lou Sheldon, founder of the Traditional Values Coalition (TVC), a conservative Christian anti-LGBTQ hate group that lasted from 1984 to 2018, died this week at age 85. Good riddance.
His cause of death hasn’t been revealed.
Sheldon served as the California executive director of Anita Bryant’s 1977 Save Our Children (SOC) campaign, the first-known anti-gay political organization. SOC successfully opposed municipal ordinances protecting gay, lesbian and bisexual citizens from discrimination in cities across America.
The SOC did this largely by painting gay people as godless sluts who wanted to cross-dress and rape children. The group’s public face, singer Anita Bryant, compared LGB people as prostitutes, thieves, murderers, and child molesters.
Gay activists at the time showed how the SOC’s rhetoric was similar to Nazis during the Holocaust — and once, members of the Ku Klux Klan even showed up at one of Bryan’ts public events to protect her. The anti-gay stigma being voiced by supporters of the SOC in print, TV and radio contributed to anti-LGBTQ sentiment, increased harassment and suicides of queer people.
As for the TVC, it opposed gay-straight alliances in schools; disseminated anti-gay “educational” videos to schools, churches and community groups across America; was pro-death penalty; anti-immigrant; anti-pornography; anti-abortion; pro-military; anti-taxes; anti-drug; supported Christians converting all non-Christians; and supported conversion therapy (the debunked form of psychological torture that seeks to change a queer person’s sexual orientation or gender identity).
Here’s just a taste of Sheldon’s anti-LGBTQ quotes, courtesy of the Southern Poverty Law Center:
- “The effort to push adult/child sex … is part of the overall homosexual movement.”
- “As homosexuals continue to make inroads into public schools, more children will be molested and indoctrinated into the world of homosexuality. Many of them will die in that world.”
- “Homosexuality is a behavior, not a fixed identity. It is similar to smoking or drug use, not an immutable characteristic like race or ethnicity. There are no ‘former’ Blacks, but there are ex-homosexuals. The existence of ex-homosexuals is clear evidence that homosexuality is behavior-based, not an unchangeable characteristic.”
- “Americans should understand that their attitudes about homosexuality have been deliberately and deceitfully changed by a masterful propaganda/marketing campaign that rivals that of Adolph [sic] Hitler.”
Sheldon also helped lobby for a congressional hearing to support Senator Jesse Helms’ proposal to deny federal funds to public schools “encouraging or supporting homosexuality.” At the hearing, a speaker said gay activists use federal AIDS funds to host orgies.
When Congress introduced the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) in 2013, the TVC released campaign literature calling transgender people “psychologically unhealthy” and accusing them of wanting to introduce “gender confusion” into public schools.
In June 2014, the TVC released a flier comparing gay and lesbian people to those who have sexual fetishes for amputees and eating feces. Physical disgust, revulsion, and demonizing tactics like this are often used by anti-LGBTQ activists to appeal to fear over logic.
The TVC was also intensely Islamophobic, contributing to anti-Muslim sentiment following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
The only upside to Sheldon’s existence is that it helped unite LGBTQ people in cities across America and gave the press a reason to focus on the day-to-day discrimination and violence queer people experience.
Correction: An earlier version of this story referred to Anita Bryant as SOC’s “pubic face.” We are very sorry for this typo.
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