Connect with us

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



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.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.

NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.


GOP Congresswoman Saying She Would ‘Do Anything’ to Protect Her Grandchildren, Even ‘Shooting Them’ Sets Internet on Fire



U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Lesko (R-AZ) in a speech denouncing a House bill on gun safety, appears to inadvertently have declared that to protect her five grandchildren, she would “do anything,” even shoot them.

“I rise in opposition to H.R. 2377,” Congresswoman Lesko says in the video. “I have five grandchildren. I would do anything, anything to protect my five grandchildren, including as a last resort shooting them if I had to, to protect the lives of my grandchildren.”

NCRM has verified the video is accurate. Congresswoman Lesko made the remarks on June 9, according to C-SPAN, while she was opposing a red flag law.

The Congresswoman presumably meant she would as a last resort shoot someone threatening her grandchildren.

One Twitter user, Ryan Shead, posted the previously ignored video to Twitter, where it has gone viral and is trending.

Lesko, who some social media users note is running for re-election unopposed, went on to say: “Democrat bills that we have heard this week want to take away my right, my right to protect my grandchildren. they want to take away the rights of law-abiding citizens to protect their own children and grandchildren. and wives and brothers and sisters,” which is false.

“This bill takes away due process from law-abiding citizens. Can you imagine if you had a disgruntled ex or somebody who hates you because of your political views and they go to a judge and say, ‘oh, this person is dangerous,’ and that judge would take away your guns?”

Lesko’s hypothetical claims are false. Red flag laws are designed to protect both gun owners and those around them.

Some social media users noted that Congresswoman Lesko reportedly “attended meetings about overturning the election,” while others are having fun with the Arizona Republican’s remarks:

Watch Congresswoman Lesko’s remarks above or at this link.


Continue Reading


Separation of Church and State Is a ‘Fabrication’ Says Far Right Activist Charlie Kirk: They Should Be ‘Mixed Together’



Far-right religious activist, conspiracy theorist, and founder of the right-wing organization Turning Point USA Charlie Kirk has falsely declared that separation of church and state, a bedrock principle on which American society is based, is a “fabrication” not in the Constitution.

Kirk is a member of the secretive theocratic Council for National Policy., a close friend of Donald Trump, Jr., and spent years promoting President Trump – even interviewing him at one point. Turning Point USA has had repeated challenges. The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer in 2017 write a piece about TPUSA titled, “A Conservative Nonprofit That Seeks to Transform College Campuses Faces Allegations of Racial Bias and Illegal Campaign Activity.”

Former TPUSA communications director Candace Owens has praised Hitler, saying “the problem” with him was that he wanted to “globalize.”

RELATED: Watch: Charlie Kirk Calls for Texans to Be ‘Deputized’ to Protect ‘White Demographics in America’

On Wednesday Kirk declared, “There is no separation of church and state. It’s a fabrication. It’s a fiction. It’s not in the Constitution. It’s made up by secular humanists.”

That’s false.

The claim separation of church and state is not in the Constitution is a religious right belief that has been debunked by countless legal experts.

“Of course we should have church and state mixed together,” Kirk continued. “Our Founding Fathers believed in that. We can go through the detail of that. They established – literally – a church in Congress.”

That too is false.

RELATED: ‘When Do We Get to Use the Guns?’: TP USA Audience Member Asks Charlie Kirk When Can ‘We Kill’ Democrats? (Video)

“It’s a good thing Charlie Kirk doesn’t go to Wheaton because he would fail my Constitutional Law class,” writes Dr. Miranda Yaver, PhD, a Wheaton College professor.

As most public school students know, Kirk’s claims are belied by the First Amendment to the U.S., Constitution, which states:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

It’s the Establishment Clause, legal experts say, that debunks Kirk’s falsehood.

In reviewing the Supreme Court’s recent rulings, Reuters last month noted: “It was President Thomas Jefferson who famously said in an 1802 letter that the establishment clause should represent a ‘wall of separation’ between church and state. The provision prevents the government from establishing a state religion and prohibits it from favoring one faith over another.”

Jefferson is also considered the principal author of the Declaration of Independence.

Watch Charlie Kirk below or at this link.



Continue Reading


Pat Cipollone Is ‘A Greatest Hits Package of Crazy Statements’ by Donald Trump: Legal Expert



Former White House Counsel Pat Cipollone has agreed to speak to the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on Congress on Friday.

Former Assistant Deputy Attorney General Harry Litman told CNN that Cipollone has carefully negotiated the testimony and he will likely “steer around down the middle” of the attorney/client privilege. However, former President Donald Trump is not the client of a White House counsel, the White House is. President Joe Biden has waived executive privilege for anything involving Jan. 6 or the 2020 election.

“He is a greatest hits package of crazy statements by Donald Trump,” Litman said of Cipollone. “He is the one who says to Mark Meadows, ‘You know, if you do this, you’ll have blood on your effing hands.’ He’s the one who says to Mark Meadows about [Mike] Pence, ‘You’ve got to stop it’ and Meadows says, ‘You’ve heard him. He thinks the rioters are right.’ He’s the one who has to go to Cassidy Hutchinson, a 25-year-old, and plead with her because Meadows won’t speak to him. ‘Please try to keep him from going to the Capitol.’ He’s the one who says, ‘if I go to the Capitol, it will be every effing crime imaginable.'”

READ MORE: Longtime friend of GOP’s Eric Greitens calls him a ‘broken man’ and accuses him of lying about his beliefs

“Now, they’ve negotiated it up, and probably what he wants is to say he’s not piercing attorney/client privilege. But all these statements I’ve said to you, Trump’s nowhere around. So, attorney/client has to be with the client for the purpose of getting legal advice, so he’s got tons to say without that.”

As Litman explained, Cipollone is in “everything.”

See the discussion below.

Image: Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks  via Flickr:
President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump talk with Supreme Court Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett, her husband Jesse Barrett, Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, his wife Virginia Thomas, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, and Deputy White House Counsel Kate Comerford Todd in the Blue Room of the White House Monday, Oct. 26, 2020, after attending Barrett’s swearing-in ceremony as Supreme Court Associate Justice.


Continue Reading


Copyright © 2020 AlterNet Media.