Sweeping Executive Order Would Enable Massive Anti-LGBT Discrimination Under Cloak of ‘Religious Freedom’
A draft “religious freedom” executive orderÂ leaked to news outlets Tuesday is creating overlapping states of anxiety and anger among LGBTQ people and their allies. Its title is, “Establishing a Government-Wide Initiative to Respect Religious Freedom.”
First reported by The Nation, the proposed language of the draft would make nearly total allowance for exemptions by any person, church, religious organization or for-profit business, allowing them to claim religious objections to same-sex marriage, premarital sex, contraceptives, abortion, and gender identity outside of their particular viewpoint.Â
As word spread Wednesday evening, Zack Ford, LGBT Editor for the Center for American Progress news site, ThinkProgress, reacted, writing:
“President Trumpâ€™s promise not to rescind President Obamaâ€™s 2014 executive order protecting the LGBT employees of federal contractors may very well have meant nothing. Rumors of an anti-LGBT ‘religious freedom’ order being developed this week proved to be quite accurate, and though it doesnâ€™t technically rescind the protections, it would create such a broad license to discriminate that it virtually overrides them. And LGBT people arenâ€™t the only target.'”
The White House did not respond to requests for comment Monday about whether a religious freedom executive order was being considered or a draft circulated, however, in answer to a question from The Washington Blade during the daily press briefing, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said, â€œIâ€™m not getting ahead of the executive orders that we may or may not issue. There is a lot of executive orders, a lot of things that the president has talked about and will continue to fulfill, but we have nothing on that front now.â€Â
Reacting to the language of the draft, Marty Lederman, a professor at Georgetown University Law Center and an expert on church-state separation and religious freedom told The Nation,Â â€œThis executive order would appear to require agencies to provide extensive exemptions from a staggering number of federal lawsâ€”without regard to whether such laws substantially burden religious exercise.â€
He went on to note that the exemptions could themselves violate federal law or license individuals and private parties to violate federal law. â€œThe exemptions would raise serious First Amendment questions, as well, because they would go far beyond what the Supreme Court has identified as the limits of permissive religious accommodations.â€ It would be â€œastonishing,â€ he said, â€œif the Office of Legal Counsel certifies the legality of this blunderbuss order.â€
Ford stated,Â “To be clear, it doesnâ€™t protect people regardless of what they believe on LGBT issues, sex before marriage, or abortion; it only protects people people who take the religious conservative position on those issues. It is a flagrant endorsement of one set of religious beliefs over another.”
Whether or not the draft or a variant of it will be finalized, signed and then released remains to be seen. However, responding to ABC NewsÂ on Wednesday, the White House did not dispute the authenticity of the draft, but did claim that it is one of hundreds of circulating executive orders that do not all reflect administration thinking or intended policy. White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders explained, â€œWe do not have plans to sign anything at this time but will let you know when we have any updates.â€Â
Rumors swirled that President Trump will sign or announce the order at Thursday morning’s National Prayer Breakfast.
Brody LevesqueÂ is the Chief Political Correspondent forÂ The New Civil Rights Movement.
You may contact Brody atÂ Brody.Levesque@thenewcivilrightsmovement.comÂ
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John Eastman Will Face Charges if Continues ‘Frivolous Argument’ Against Capitol Riot Probe: Adam Schiff
John Eastman, the far-right lawyer who authored Trump’s “coup memo,” announced on Friday that he would be defying a subpoena from the House January 6 Committee.
Appearing on CNN later in the day, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) made clear that Eastman is free to plead the Fifth if he has a good-faith reason to fear he could incriminate himself — but that doesn’t entitle him to a free pass to ignore investigators.
“Eastman says the partisan makeup of the committee, he says makes it invalid and doesn’t need to cooperate,” said anchor Wolf Blitzer. “What do you say to that?”
“Well, that was a frivolous argument,” said Schiff. “If he uses that as a basis to refuse to answer questions, he will be in contempt of the committee, simple and straightforward. So we’ll be seeing with each witness… whether they’re properly invoking a privilege or to stall and delay for the former president, and will make the judgment as to what the repercussions should be once we see and hear the testimony.”
Marjorie Taylor Greene Cries She’s the ‘Most Attacked’ – Less Than 24 Hours After Labeling All Democrats ‘Communists’
If it seems like it was just yesterday that U.S. Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene labeled the President of the United States and in fact every Democrat in the country “communists,” it was, which is why it might seem strangely hypocritical that the Republican from Georgia minutes ago was labeling herself the “most attacked” freshman member of Congress in all of U.S. history.
“Joe Biden is a communist,” Greene declared strongly Thursday evening. “And that’s who the Democrats are – they’re communists.”
“You know, a lot of people are swallowing down the word ‘socialist,’ but that’s not a good enough word for Democrats – they are communists,” Greene told her supporters, clearly ignorant of the words’ meanings.
“That’s the word we need to keep using with them,” she continued. “Because they’re using these unprecedented, authoritarian, tyrannical controls on the American people to force people to comply.”
Marge Greene today: “Joe Biden is a communist. And that’s what the Democrats are – they’re communists. A lot of people are swallowing down the word ‘socialist,’ but .. they are communists.” pic.twitter.com/agaGlwoi4N
— Ron Filipkowski (@RonFilipkowski) December 3, 2021
But Greene was singing a very different tune Friday afternoon.
“I have been the most attacked freshman Member of Congress probably in United States history,” Greene cried in a video she posted to social media. “The media has defamed me. They have completely smeared my character. Called me names and labeled me horrible things, none of which I am. None of the things they have said are true about me.”
Greene today: “I have been the most attacked freshman Member of Congress probably in US history. The media has defamed me. They smeared my character. Call me names and labeled me horrible things, none of which I am.” pic.twitter.com/a61WJaIsdP
— Ron Filipkowski (@RonFilipkowski) December 3, 2021
What has been said about Congresswoman Greene in the legitimate media? Unlike her videos, there’s a high degree of likelihood it’s mostly true.
Here’s a portion of what The New York Times wrote in January:
Marjorie Taylor Greene had just finished questioning whether a plane really flew into the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, and flatly stating that President Barack Obama was secretly Muslim when she paused to offer an aside implicating another former president in a crime.
“That’s another one of those Clinton murders,” Ms. Greene said, referring to John F. Kennedy Jr.’s death in a 1999 plane crash, suggesting that he had been assassinated because he was a potential rival to Hillary Clinton for a New York Senate seat.
Ms. Greene casually unfurled the cascade of dangerous and patently untrue conspiracy theories in a 40-minute video that was originally posted to YouTube in 2018.
Ms. Greene suggested in a 2018 Facebook post, unearthed this week by Media Matters, that a devastating wildfire that ravaged California was started by “a laser” beamed from space and controlled by a prominent Jewish banking family with connections to powerful Democrats. She endorsed executing Democratic lawmakers, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi. She served as a prolific writer for a now-defunct conspiracy blog called “American Truth Seekers,” writing posts with headlines including “MUST READ — Democratic Party Involved With Child Sex, Satanism, and The Occult.” And she argued that the 2018 midterm elections — in which the first two Muslim women were elected to the House — were part of “an Islamic invasion of our government.”
Ms. Greene has repeatedly claimed in multiple videos and social media posts that several school shooting massacres were “false flag” events perpetrated by government officials in an attempt to drum up support for gun control laws. In an October 2020 video surfaced on Friday by Mother Jones, she said that the “only way you get your freedoms back is it’s earned with the price of blood.”
Ms. Greene is perhaps best known for having endorsed QAnon, the pro-Trump conspiracy movement that claims that Mr. Trump was facing down a shadowy cabal of Democratic pedophiles.
That was almost an entire year ago. You’re probably more familiar with all the baseless and unfounded attacks she has made since.
Greene has made lying about and attacking Democrats part of her weekly, if not daily routine. Sometimes those attacks have been very personal – and very close. Like when she followed Parkland shooting survivor and gun control activist David Hogg around the streets of D.C. He said he felt she was threatening him. Or more recently, when she verbally assaulted U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on the steps of Congress. That was one of her countless attacks against the New York Democrat who Greene seems disturbingly obsessed with.
But if indeed Greene is the “most attacked” freshman member of Congress in all of U.S. history, she has only herself to blame.
On the Lam?: FBI Now Searching for Parents of Michigan Accused High School Shooter – Sheriff Says They’re ‘Missing’
James and Jennifer Crumbley, parents of accused high school mass shooter Ethan Crumbley, appear to be “missing,” according to Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard.
Sheriff Bouchard says his office is now searching for the Crumbleys, but they cannot be found and are not returning calls from their attorney.
MSNBC reports the FBI and U.S. Marshals are currently searching for them.
The Crumbleys will face four counts of homicide involuntary manslaughter. Their son, Ethan, is facing murder and terrorism charges, in addition to other charges.
Prosecutor Karen McDonald Friday afternoon detailed the alarming note and drawings that led to school administrators summoning the Crumbleys to the school. Among the words on the note, “the thoughts won’t stop help me,” “blood everywhere,” and “The world is dead.”
“So the Crumbleys are missing now?”
— Acyn (@Acyn) December 3, 2021
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