Attorney General Falsely Claims the ‘Hate Group’ Label Is Being Used to ‘Bully and Intimidate Groups That Fight for Religious Freedom’
Attorney General Jeff Sessions told the Alliance Defending Freedom Wednesday night that they are not hate group. The ADF has been designated as a anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a organization that actively tracks approximately 1000 hate groups nationwide.
“I wanted to come back here tonight partially because I wanted to say this: You are not a hate group,” Sessions told attendees (video below) at the ADF’s Summit on Religious Liberty, as Towleroad reports.
“When I spoke to ADF last year, I learned that the Southern Poverty Law Center had classified ADF as a ‘hate group.’ Many in the media simply parroted that as a fact,” Sessions charged. “They have used this designation as a weapon and they have wielded it against conservative organizations that refuse to accept their orthodoxy and choose instead to speak for their conscience and their beliefs. They use it to bully and intimidate groups that fight for religious freedom, these constitutional rights of the American people.”
Sessions raised eyebrows last week when he announced the creation of a secretive “religious liberty” task force at DOJ.
“We have gotten to the point,” Sessions said as he announced the new task force, “where one group can actively target religious groups by labeling them a ‘hate group’ on the basis of their sincerely held religious beliefs.”
The religious right and far right wing extremists for years have been outraged that the Southern Poverty Law Center has branded anti-gay groups that promulgate lies about LGBTQ people with the same label given to the KKK. And anti-gay hate groups like the Family Research Council, and the ADF have responded by falsifying the SPLC’s very clear definition of what hate groups are.
Sessions is responding to that outrage, apparently by targeting those who work to identify and monitor hate groups. And he’s made clear he will turn the concept of First Amendment freedom of religion on its head to do so.
Southern Poverty Law Center president Richard Cohen sent a letter to Sessions earlier this week explaining what a hate group is, and reminding him that the Dept. of Justice uses a similar definition. Sessions clearly ignored it as he addressed the ADF.
“In a manner analogous to how the Department of Justice defines hate crimes,” the SPLC president wrote, linking to the DOJ’s own website on hate crimes, “we identify hate groups as those that vilify others because of their race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability – prejudices that strike at the heart of our democratic values and fracture society along its most fragile fault lines.”
“Just as sincerely held religious beliefs would not be a defense to a hate crime prosecution, vilifying others in the name of religion should not immunize a group from being designated as a hate group, in our view,” Cohen added.
Watch Sessions address the anti-gay hate group’s Summit on Religious Liberty.
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Trump Administration to Allow Taxpayer-Funded Shelter Providers to Ban Homeless Transgender People, Because Jesus
The Trump Dept. of Housing and Urban Development late on Wednesday moved to roll back an Obama-era regulation that bans discrimination by taxpayer-funded shelter providers against transgender people. HUD Secretary Ben Carson wants to allow anti-transgender discrimination under the guise of religious freedom.
A statement on the HUD website filled with coded language says the proposed new rule “Returns Decision Making to Local Shelter Providers,” to allow them to “establish an admissions policy that best serves their unique communities,” and “better accommodate [the] religious beliefs of shelter providers.”
In reality, the new rule would allow taxpayers to fund anti-transgender discrimination fueled by religious-based bigotry, with the federal government’s stamp of approval.
The move comes during an out of control pandemic, amid an unstable economy, and worse-than Great Depression-era unemployment.
“This important update will empower shelter providers to set policies that align with their missions, like safeguarding victims of domestic violence or human trafficking,” Secretary Carson said in the statement.
In reality, the new rule would remove protections for one of the most vulnerable populations in America, the transgender community. At some point in their lives one in five transgender people experience homelessness.
“Transgender and gender non-binary adults are more likely than cisgender adults to experience unsheltered homelessness,” CBS News notes, adding that “according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, and transgender youth ‘make up a significant portion’ of homeless youth in the U.S.”
The move is yet another example of the Trump administration’s never-ending attacks on transgender Americans.
This month marks the third anniversary of President Trump’s infamous decision to ban transgender service members from the U.S. Military, which he did without consultation with the heads of the military services, and via tweet.
Last month Trump’s Dept. of Health and Human Services rolled back Obama-era protections for transgender patients, calling them “unnecessary.”
Last year Trump’s Dept. of Justice asked the Supreme Court to rule it is legal to fire transgender workers just because they are transgender. The Court last month decided it is illegal to do so.
A Defeated Donald Trump Declares ‘We Live’ After Historic SCOTUS Ruling on LGBTQ Workplace Discrimination (Video)
President Donald Trump, whose administration lobbied the Supreme Court to deny LGBTQ people civil rights, on Monday lamented the high court’s landmark ruling that finds workplace discrimination against gay and transgender Americans is illegal.
“They’ve ruled and we live with the decision,” Trump said, defeated and somewhat sad. “We live with the decision of the Supreme Court.”
This is the first time Trump has weighed in on the historic ruling. It took him more than six hours to say anything, and he only did after being asked about it by a reporter.
The President also claimed he had read the 170+ pages decision handed down just after 10 AM Monday.
“Very powerful decision, actually,” he added. “They have so ruled.”
In 2017 Trump’s DOJ told a federal appeals court the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not protect “homosexuals” from discrimination.
Last year Trump Solicitor General Noel Francisco told the Supreme Court it is the opinion of the administration’s Dept. of Justice that a “plain text” reading of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not protect gay people in the workplace from discrimination, including firing for being gay or transgender.
The Supreme Court on Monday ruled it does.
Trump, who is the most anti-LGBTQ president in American history – at least modern American history, has repeatedly refused to sign the Equality Act, which the House has already passed.
Trump, who considers himself a hero to the LGBTQ+ community, is visibly upset when asked about the landmark SCOTUS decision barring employers from discriminating on the basis of sex:
"We live with their decision."pic.twitter.com/TpktjrTvDH
— Brian Tyler Cohen (@briantylercohen) June 15, 2020
Missouri Lawmaker Wants to Make It Easy for Parents to Sue Their Local School if Kids Are ‘Subjected To’ Anything LGBTQ
A Missouri state lawmaker is pushing a bill that would make it easy for parents to sue schools if their children are “subjected to” anything LGBTQ.
Rep. Chuck Basye wants parents to have total control over what their children see in school, even if it’s not part of the curriculum. The bill is in response to a poster a GSA – gay-straight alliance club – put up without getting approval from all the students’ parents.
Basye says the purpose of his legislation “is to give this a little bit of teeth so parents can take action if they feel that they’re not being listened to or their child is subjected to something they don’t agree with,” MissouriNet reports.
“I think the parents have a right to know what is in front of their children in public schools,” Basye told MissouriNet.. “That’s the intent of the bill, nothing more, nothing less.”
The ACLU has weighed in, and says Basye’s bill, HB 1565, goes too far.
“This is not only way too far reaching, but absolutely censorship of essentially livelihoods and existence at all,” Jay-Marie Hill, with the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri, told MissouriNet. Hill says if the bill becomes law teachers could be responsible, and even fired, if they have a guest speaker who says something parents might disagree with.
The bill is clearly framed to focus on “instruction on human sexuality and sexually transmitted diseases.”
And while it says information presented to students must be “medically and factually accurate,” it also mandates that “abstinence from sexual activity as the preferred choice of behavior in relation to all sexual activity for unmarried pupils.”
Abstinence only education has been proven to not work.
Some responses to Rep. Basye’s bill from social media:
— PROMO Missouri (@PROMOMissouri) February 25, 2020
I also take so much issue with this idea that people would be denied opportunities to learn… I was a part of two bible studies that met at my public hs, it didn’t stop me from becoming gay. And I turned around represented the Bisexual Gay and Lesbian Alliance… #HB1565 #moleg
— Stephen Eisele (@stepheneisele) February 25, 2020
I am a cisgender, heterosexual woman and the mom of a (likely) cisgender, heterosexual 5th grader. I want him to have access to inclusive and comprehensive sex education. HB1565 is bad for Missouri students. #moleg
— JennyB (@JenKBernstein) February 25, 2020
Rep Baker says it’s the parents right to opt out of anything regarding the LGBT community if they disagree with it. Ok but whether you “agree with it” or not QUEER PEOPLE EXIST. We are part of history too; you can’t erase an entire community. Call him at 573-751-9781 #hb1565
— Hannah Brashers (@hannahbrashers) February 25, 2020
UPDATE: 4:56 PM –
Rep. Basye’s Democratic challenger, Adrian Plank, calls Basye’s bill “one of the most obviously discriminatory pieces of legislation that I’ve ever seen in Missouri.”
What I find inappropriate is a legislator that spends his time trying to pass bills that uses the power of the government to treat those most vulnerable like they are lesser human beings, or even worse, that they don’t exist. That they shouldn’t be considered worthy of attention. People have real problems that need solved, and this is how he chooses to spend his time.
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