An evangelical leader who is a member of President Donald Trump’s Religious Advisory Council praised First Daughter and senior White House advisor Ivanka Trump, the Christian Broadcasting Network reported Monday.
Pastor Jack Graham of the Prestonwood Baptist Church received a $50,000 personal donation from Ivanka, who earned $82 million in outside income with her husband Jared Kushner in 2017, while both were working in the White House.
Prestonwood has a long history of anti-LGBT activism.
In 2014, Graham worked to repeal a non-discrimination ordinance in Plano, Texas.
“This is an old fight dating back to the Garden of Eden when Satan seduced the first family with lies and deception. The same lies are in play today,” Graham wrote. “The biblical design of marriage is clear: a man and a woman living and loving together in a monogamous relationship in the image of God.”
“Gay marriage violates God’s standard and is outside God’s plan for men and women. The Supreme Court of the United States has now reached their goal of legalizing gay marriage in every state in the country,” he continued. “We have set a course for disaster in our beloved nation and there seems to be no turning back.”
Now Graham is praising Ivanka Trump.
“I’ve had the opportunity to meet with Ivanka Trump a number of times over the last year, and I’ve been struck by her kindness and concern for those in need, so, it wasn’t that surprising to know she would want to help these families,” Graham said. “Hopefully, Ivanka’s generosity will inspire many other Americans to get off the sidelines and actually provide tangible help to those in need.”
“The beauty of America and the people in our church is that we don’t have to wait for our politicians to sort out their disagreements in order to do what is right,” said Graham, who has served two terms as president of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Graham has been a fierce defender of the president.
In 2016, just before the election, Graham stood by Trump following his “Access Hollywood” comments admitting to sexual assault.
In 2017, following the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Graham stood by Trump despite the president’s claim that there were “fine people” among the white nationalists.
Image by US Dept. of State via Flickr
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Trump Administration is Attempting to Dismantle Hard-Won Protections for LGBTQ People, Report
In a series of increasingly hostile attacks, the Trump Administration has targeted lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Americans, attempting to dismantle hard-won protections secured over the last decade.
The 2018 National Movement Report, published annually by the Movement Advancement Project (MAP), analyzes the first full year under the Trump Administration (Fiscal Year 2017), as well as budget projections for 2018.
The report finds that, at the end of Fiscal Year 2017, the participating organizations remain efficient, focused on providing vital programs and services, and are supported by a diverse range of revenue sources. Cumulative in-kind contributions increased by 52%, with multiple organizations reporting that the bulk of these increases were due to donated legal services to advance equality and counter the harmful and discriminatory policies of the Trump presidency.
The 2018 National Movement Report provides a comprehensive and standardized look at the LGBT movement’s finances for Fiscal Year 2017 across 40 major LGBT advocacy organizations. The total combined 2017 revenue (including in-kind) for the participating organizations was $269.7 million—up 13% from 2016. This is the largest year-to-year increase in the past five years. The majority of 2017 expenses (81%) was spent on programs and services, demonstrating that the largest LGBT social justice organizations operate efficiently.
“We have seen continued attacks on the nation’s most vulnerable populations, including the LGBT community,” said Ineke Mushovic, MAP executive director. “It is encouraging to see the rise in support of LGBT movement organizations; however, these resources are sorely needed. As the administration rolls back important nondiscrimination protections for transgender Americans, as states advance efforts to expand religious exemption laws that allow discrimination, and with the shift in the Supreme Court, LGBT people are increasingly vulnerable, and the work of LGBT organizations is critical.”
Among the key findings for organizations participating in the report:
- Excluding in-kind revenue, organizations reported an aggregate 5% revenue increase from 2016 to 2017. Aggregate revenue including in-kind revenue was up 13% for the same period. Over the past five years, total revenue has increased 34% from 2013 to 2017.
- Total combined 2017 expenses (including in-kind) across all participating organizations were $250.2 million–up 11% from 2016. This is also the largest year-to-year increase in the past five years, reflecting increased advocacy to combat the policies of the Trump Administration. Over the past five years, total expenses have increased 28%.
- Looking just at in-kind revenue and expenses, these increased 52% from 2016 to 2017, largely reflecting an increase in donated legal services.
One such group to benefit from an increase in in-kind contributions is GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), which works to create a just society free of discrimination based on gender identity and expression, HIV status, and sexual orientation.
“In fiscal years 2017 and 2018, GLAD received unusually high donated legal services, given the new challenges from the new federal administration and a reinvigorated conservative opposition,” said Janson Wu, Executive Director of GLAD. “We are grateful to those law firms that have stepped up to protect against the roll-back of LGBTQ rights, such as our co-counsel in our two challenges to the transgender military ban, and our partners in our New England-wide transgender ID clinic.”
- Individual donor contributions remain the most significant source of revenue among participating LGBT organizations, comprising 36% of their total 2017 revenue.
- In 2017, participating organizations saw a 14% increase in the number of individual donor contributions from 2016.
- Over the last five years, large donors ($25,000+ per year) increased by 91%. Medium donors ($1,000-$24,999) increased by 12%, and small donors ($35-$999) increased by 3%.
- From 2016 to 2017, large donors increased by 43%, and small donors increased by 15%. Medium donors, however, slightly decreased by 2.4%.
- Participating organizations employed a total of 964 full-time and 127 part-time staff.
- Organizations that reported staff demographics have diverse staff that reflects the overall population. Fifty-six percent of staff are Caucasian, while 15% identify as Black, 13% as Latinx, 8% Asian or Pacific Islander, less than 1% as Native American, 5% as multiracial, and 3% as some other race or ethnicity.
- Among senior staff and board members of LGBT organizations, roughly two-thirds are Caucasian (65% of senior staff, and 67% of board members).
- Slightly less than half of all staff identifies as men (47%), and 46% identify as women, while 4% identify as non-binary and 3% as genderqueer or some other identity. One in ten (10%) staff identify as transgender. The majority (60%) of staff are between the ages of 30 and 54.
- Among board members, 51% identify as men, 45% as female, 2% as non-binary, and 2% as genderqueer or some other identity. Six percent of board members identify as transgender.
- Of organizations providing data on the sexual orientation of their staff, 54% of staff identified as gay or lesbian, 7% as bisexual, 16% as queer, 15% as another orientation, and 8% as straight.
While there has been a cumulative increase in revenue from individual contributions, the data continue to reiterate findings from previous years that very few LGBT people contribute to these major legal, advocacy, and public education LGBT organizations. Based on the number of donors to participating organizations (assuming that all donors are LGBT and there are no duplicates), only 2.8% of LGBT people contributed $35 or more in 2017 to participating organizations.
As the political landscapes change for LGBT equality, tracking these trends moving forward will be crucial for understanding the financial health and stability of the movement.
Rick Scott’s Solution to Bullied LGBT Youth? Legal Bullying by Church and State
Some Students Are Taught Gay Rights Are ‘Moral Evils’ by Private Schools That Bullied LGBTQ Students Are Supposed to Turn to if They’re Being Bullied
Florida Gov. Rick Scott earlier this year signed into law a bill that provides $7000 a year in state funding to public school students who are being bullied, enabling them to switch to private, often Christian schools.
“Every child in Florida should have the opportunity to get a great education at the school of their choice so they can achieve their dreams,” Scott, sounding very much like Betsy DeVos, said in March at the new law’s signing ceremony.
The problem, as HuffPost reports, is many of the schools are anti-LGBTQ, leading to “state-sponsored bullying ― by refusing to admit LGBTQ students or outlining punishment for students in same-sex relationships.” And at least 10 percent of the current private schools that have already signed up for the program “have zero tolerance policies for LGBTQ students.”
HuffPost adds that “more than 30 percent of the nearly 70 schools use a curriculum that promotes bigoted views of LGBTQ students. These schools use curricula created by ultra-evangelical companies like Abeka, Bob Jones University Press and Accelerated Christian Education. A HuffPost investigation into these curriculum sources found that they promote regressive or hateful ideas about LGBTQ people, women and non-Christians.”
One school’s student handbook says students are required to refrain from “Any action involving pornography or homosexuality.” Another school’s student handbook says that in addition to prohibiting sex before marriage, “Homosexuality is likewise denounced and is called an abomination to God.”
One textbook calls gay rights “moral evils,” likening equality to abortion. It also describes conservatives as “mainstream Americans,” and declares outright that opposition to gay rights and abortion, along with declaring oneself a born-again Christian is more important than political policies.
If Governor Scott, a Republican who is now running to oust Democratic U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, sounded like Betsy DeVos (she has donated to his re-election campaign), perhaps it’s because the U.S. Education Secretary has been heralding these “school choice” programs that funnel taxpayer funds into anti-LGBT private Christian schools.
Back in May DeVos said she would refuse to address anti-LGBT discrimination, even wrongly calling “school choice,” also known as vouchers, a panacea to bullying.
Anti-Gay Congressman’s Bill Would Ban US Embassies From Flying LGBT Pride Flag
A Republican U.S. Congressman from South Carolina wants to make sure America’s embassies around the world don’t promote equality or recognize Pride month. Rep. Jeff Duncan of South Carolina has filed a bill that would ban U.S. embassies from flying the LGBT pride flag.
During the Obama administration many U.S. embassies around the world opted to fly the rainbow flag during June, the official month of LGBT Pride. President Donald Trump for two years in a row has refused to issue any declarations honoring Pride month.
“The United States flag is the single greatest symbol of freedom the world has ever known, and there’s no reason for anything but Old Glory to be flying over our embassies and posts around the globe,” Duncan said in a statement, the Washington Examiner reports.
Some U.S. embassies have continued the tradition of honoring LGBT Pride even during the Trump years, prompting Rep. Duncan, an ardent anti-gay activist, to file his bill.
Rep. Duncan has ties to the far right wing of the Republican party, and even accepted an award from an anti-gay hate group, the Family Research Council.
Duncan is on record as opposing same-sex marriage and even claims that state laws supersede federal laws on marriage, which is false. He also believes those who hold anti-gay positions should be federally protected.
The South Carolina Republican Congressman was roundly mocked earlier this year when he falsely claimed the First Amendment applied to Facebook, and demanded conservatives’ free-speech rights be “restored.”
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