A group of U.S. evangelicals, including former Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), held a rare meeting Thursday with Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman at his palace.
The delegation to Riyadh was led by Bachmann and communications strategist Joel Rosenberg, who are each known for pushing an apocalyptic worldview relating to events in the Middle East, and the heads of other Israel-tied evangelical organizations, reported Al Jazeera.
“We’re under no illusions about the challenges that are in Saudi Arabia and that remain,” Rosenberg said. “But I think it’s respectful to go and listen to leaders who have the opportunity to make life better for Christians and Muslims and potentially for Israel as well and who are against the crazies in Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood.”
“I’d ask people to pray,” he added. “Pray for the (Jordanian) king, pray for the crown prince, pray for the people of Saudi Arabia — and I think it’s the right thing to do.”
The unusual visit came a day short of the one-month anniversary of Washington Postcolumnist Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance while visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
An adviser to Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday the journalist was “dissolved” after he was murdered and dismembered.
The crown prince, who has denied any involvement in Khashoggi’s disappearance, reportedly described the journalist as a dangerous Islamist shortly after he vanished in a phone call with White House adviser Jared Kushner and national security adviser John Bolton.
The American right-wing Christian delegation, which included Mike Evans, founder of the Jerusalem Prayer Team, met with Saudi foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir, Saudi ambassador to the U.S. prince Khalid bin Salman and secretary-general of the Muslim World League Mohammed al-Issa.
Saudi Arabia has long insisted that normalizing relations with Israel requires its withdrawal from Arab lands captured in the 1967 Middle East war — which Palestinians seek for a future state.
“We aren’t here for a short-term purpose,” Bachmann told CBN News. “We are not here for a photo op, we could care less about that. We’re here to build long-term relations and to benefit our brothers and sisters that are here in this region.”
Johnnie Moore, the group’s spokesman who also serves as the White House’s unofficial liaison to conservative evangelicals, said they “discussed” Khashoggi’s killing, but declined to elaborate, and he insisted they were not representing Israel or Trump in any way.
“Absolutely false — the White House had no knowledge of our coming and we conveyed no messages from the White House or to the White House,” Moore told the Washington Post.
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‘Love This Guy’: Franklin Graham Praises Mayor for Having ‘A Lot of Guts’ After He Attacked LGBT People
Evangelical empire scion Franklin Graham has made attacking LGBTQ people a core principle of his self-styled “ministry,” aka Facebook. After New Jersey Mayor Alfonso Cirulli delivered an 11-minute anti-gay screed during a township committee meeting Graham took to social media to praise the Republican for calling the LGBTQ community “an affront to almighty God.”
“Love this guy—he’s got a lot of guts!” Graham told his nearly 8 million followers on Facebook.
Mayor Cirulli told elected town officials he opposes the state’s new law that requires schools to teach students about the contributions LGBTQ people have made to society.
“We’ve crossed over the line into absurdity,” Cirulli said. And he urged residents to vote state lawmakers out, saying, “no group has a right to force others to comply with their beliefs, deprive them of their First Amendment rights, and strip them of their parents of how to morally raise their children.”
Graham totally agreed.
“In the world we live in,” Graham wrote, “the truth of God’s Word many times isn’t received well. But that shouldn’t stop us from standing with God’s teachings from the Bible. Pray for Mayor Cirulli—and pray that this state mandate will be reversed.”
Graham has been preaching his version of the anti-gay gospel for years, but in recent times many have grown sick and tired of his ministry of hate.
After telling Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg to “repent” or suffer “eternal damnation” for marrying his husband, Graham’s hometown newspaper’s editorial board made clear where it stands.
“It’s been a little while since Franklin Graham offered up a shovel of moral manure,” The Charlotte Observer’s editorial board wrote in “The gloriously growing irrelevance of Franklin Graham.”
They called his attack on Buttigieg “a typically ripe bite of bigotry from Graham,” and said his “perspective on homosexuality has been pushed to the fringe.”
‘Broadest Protection of Religious Exercise’: Trump’s New Labor Rule Would Allow Massive Discrimination by For-Profit Companies
President Donald Trump’s Labor Department on Wednesday announced a new rule that not only would codify the “right” to discriminate into practice, but would help corporations do so. The new rule applies to federal contractors, who employ up to one quarter of all employees. As NCRM reported earlier, it would allow any company, corporation, or organization with a federal contract that claims it is either religious or faith-based or follows any sort of belief system – so-called “religion-exercising organizations” – to discriminate based on those beliefs.
The word “religion” appears 241 times in the 46-page draft document.
The draft rule says “religious employers can condition employment on acceptance of or adherence
to religious tenets,” and “should be construed to provide the broadest protection of religious exercise permitted by the Constitution and other laws.”
The ACLU calls it ” taxpayer-funded discrimination in the name of religion. Period.”
Buzzfeed calls it “Trump’s latest move to let religious people sidestep civil rights policies,” and says it allows federal contractors to “cite religious objections as a valid reason to discriminate against their workers on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sex, LGBTQ status, and other characteristics.”
The new rule would not apply only to, say, churches, Catholic hospitals, or even a privately-held company like Hobby Lobby – if Hobby Lobby were a federal contractor. It would allow discrimination at literally any federal contractor that can show it has a “religious purpose,” but makes clear: “This need not be the contractor’s only purpose.”
The National Center for Transgender Equality says the new rule “would allow federal contractors to apply for broad exemptions to civil rights law after engaging in discriminatory behavior, including firing or refusing to hire someone because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. It could also lead to federal contractors refusing to hire women or unmarried workers who are pregnant or parents, or even discrimination on the basis of race.”
Here’s the Truth About the Shadowy Group Behind the National Prayer Breakfast
The National Prayer Breakfast is a relatively uncontroversial affair these days. Presidents from both parties make a habit of attending it, and giving simple speeches about what their faith means to them, and leaders from around the world join them.
But a new Netflix documentary miniseries, “The Family”, explores the shadowy group known as the Fellowship, which originally set it up in 1935.
The Fellowship began as a secretive fraternity of evangelical men, first organized under the leadership of a man named Abraham Veride, who was attempting to gather business leaders to thwart union drives. It evolved into what Rolling Stone described as a “secret theocracy” used by powerful Christian men to influence politics worldwide. Its members include Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Jim Inhofe (R-OK), and Vice President Mike Pence is also reported to have ties to it.
The group has stringent rules against sex and dating, and there is an undercurrent of homophobia — but also simultaneously homoeroticism. “[There’s] a lot of that uneasy joking about masculinity and the potential for it and, at the same time, this desire for intimacy that becomes really challenging for people who have a theological and ideological opposition to that,” said Jeff Sharlet, an author who has written extensively on the Fellowship.
They also have had ties to current and former authoritarians around the world who have committed atrocities in their home countries, for the sake of advancing a conservative religious agenda — including the late former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
“In the face of all these dictators, they don’t say anything at all,” Sharlet said. “They don’t ask any accountability.”
Yet despite this group’s broad reach in world affairs, it has attracted little public scrutiny, because it operates with scrupulous secrecy. A secrecy that the Netflix series seeks to dissipate.
You can read more here.
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