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WATCH: Republicans Team Up With Anti-LGBT Group to Introduce Bill Allowing Churches to Endorse Political Candidates

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Trump Campaigned on Repealing Johnson Amendment

U.S. Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma and Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana on Wednesday teamed up with the Family Research Council to announce the introduction of a bill that would permit churches, other religious organizations, and non-profits to endorse political candidates. Current IRS rules, almost never enforced, ban many non-profits and religious institutions from doing so, but allow them to advocate for or against political and social issues. Republicans supporting the legislation see it as simply as an extra source of revenue and votes.

“A preacher should not have to get permission from the IRS to be able to preach to their congregation,” Rep. Scalise, who also serves as the House Majority Whip and head of the far right House Republican Study Group, said in a press event Wednesday. 

Rep. Scalise’s suggestion is false. Preachers do not have to ask permission from the IRS to preach to their congregations.

The Family Research Council posted the video below to Facebook, writing, “We’re joining pastors and congressional leaders on Capitol Hill to introduce the Free Speech Fairness Act.”

We're joining pastors and congressional leaders on Capitol Hill to introduce the Free Speech Fairness Act.

Posted by Family Research Council on Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Scalise further mischaracterized the actions of the IRS, falsely claiming it is preventing congregations from communicating important messages.

“The federal government and the IRS should never have the ability to inhibit free speech,” Sen. Lankford said in a statement. “The Free Speech Fairness Act is needed to prevent government intrusion and suppression of free speech by removing a restriction on speech that has existed since 1954. The First Amendment right of free speech and right to practice any faith, or no faith, are foundational American values that must extend to everyone, whether they are a pastor, social worker or any charity employee or volunteer. People who work for a nonprofit still have constitutional rights to assembly, free speech, and free press.”

Sen. Lankford’s statement is dangerously misleading.

Free speech is a First Amendment guarantee. The vast array of non-profits that are allowed to not pay taxes, forcing other citizens to make up the more than $80 billion they are except from paying, while they use the same government services taxpayers do, is not a First Amendment guarantee.

Lankford also falsifies his argument by suggesting that people who work for a nonprofit do not have the constitutional rights of assembly, free speech, and free press.

Of course they do.

The law, known as the Johnson Amendment, is quite clear. 

For example, a pastor cannot stand in his or her church and preach to their congregation about why they should or should not vote for or against a particular candidate. They can make those arguments in their roles as private individuals. They can even go so far as to, for example, sign petitions or public letters using their titles and employers “for identification only.”

They also can – and do – preach about political and social issues without fear of reprisal from the law, as the law allows them to do so. Catholic priests can tell their congregations homosexuality is a sin, abortion is a sin, and so on. Jewish orthodox rabbis can tell the members of their synagogues that cremation goes against Jewish law.

And so on.

The Johnson Amendment has no bearing on the day-in and day-out operation of churches and other places of worship in America.

Senator Lankford knows this, but he also knows his conservative base will love this bill, and he know that as a canddiate Donald Trump promised point-blank to sign a law repealing the Johnson Amendment, so his falsehoods are worthwhile to him, apparently.

It should be noted that Sen. Lankford thinks being gay is a “behavior” and a “choice” – he has said so – and so it’s OK to fire people for being LGBT:

That was 2012. Three years later, Sen. Lankford co-authored an insane op-ed in the Christian Post, claiming that the right to not serve pork is the same as the right to not serve gays.

I kid you not.

There’s so much more we could tell you about the far right extremist positions of Senator Lankford, and Rep. Scalise, but you get the picture.

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

AOC Slams McCarthy and His GOP ‘Ku Klux Klan Caucus’ for Allowing ‘Violent Targeting’ of Women of Color in Congress

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U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) is criticizing House Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy for refusing to deal with the members of his “Ku Klux Klan” caucus who are ignoring and allowing the “violent targeting” of women of color members of Congress.

The Democratic Congresswoman from New York, herself the frequent target of violent threats, pointed to this video of U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar playing a death threat received after she was targeted by GOP Congresswoman Lauren Boebert:

“People truly don’t understand the scale, intensity, & volume of threats targeting” Congresswoman Omar, Ocasio-Cortez says.

“Kevin McCarthy is so desperate to be speaker that he is working with his Ku Klux Klan caucus to look aside & allow violent targeting of woc members of Congress. This cannot be ignored,” she warns.

Congresswoman Boebert over the past week was exposed – on video – suggesting Rep. Omar is a terrorist three times, including in one video she herself posted to social media.

McCarthy has refused to take any action against Boebert.

 

 

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'BLAZING POSITIVE'

‘Massive, Dangerous, Likely Intentional’: Immunologist Blasts Trump for Ignoring Positive COVID Test Before Biden Debate

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A Harvard epidemiologist, immunologist and physician is blasting Donald Trump‘s decision to continue his activities as normal in September 2020, not go public with the results of his positive COVID test result, and continue business as usual – including participating in a debate against Joe Biden – revelations made in a new book by Trump’s White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on Wednesday.

Dr. Michael Mina says if Trump had been given a rapid COVID test the day of the first presidential debate against Joe Biden, President Trump “would have been blazing positive,” and calls the decision to not test “massive, dangerous and likely intentional.”

“The decision to continue to not test on [the] day of the Rose Garden superspreader event and on [the] day of the debate with now @POTUS Biden was a massive, dangerous and likely intentional decision,” says Michael Mina, an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology and Immunology and Infectious Diseases at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and an Assistant Professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

“Was Trump the superspreader? For a year, I’ve suggested Trump was the likely superspreader at White House Rose Garden on 9/28/20,” Mina posits. “All were supposedly tested, so how would a superspreader enter? Now we know Trump tested COVID positive 2 days earlier.”

Citing Meadows’ new book, The Guardian reported Wednesday morning that Trump tested positive on Sept. 26, and shortly thereafter, before the Sept. 29 presidential debate, tested negative – but three days after the debate, on Oct. 2, again tested positive, and was rushed to Walter Reed hospital hours later.

Because Trump “was testing so frequently, he was [likely] detected using a molecular test at the earliest time, before becoming infectious,” says Mina.

“So when he immediately tested again with a rapid Ag test, it did not yet register positive because he was not YET infectious,” Mina explains. “Had he used a rapid test later that day or next day though, once he was becoming slightly infectious, he almost certainly would have been positive.”

 

 

 

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Listen Live: US Supreme Court Arguments in Case That Will Decide Future of Abortion in America

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The U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday morning will hear oral arguments in what will be a decisive case for the future of abortion in America.

Justices will hear arguments in the case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, over a Mississippi abortion ban designed to overturn the nearly 50-year old precedent-setting ruling in Roe v. Wade.

Listen live starting at 10 AM ET below via C-SPAN or a Reuters feed:

 

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