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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

For 21 Years Trump’s Attorney General Nominee Was a Board Director of a Virulently Anti-LGBT Religious Group

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For over two decades President Donald Trump’s nominee to become the next Attorney General was a Director on the Board of Advisors to a virulently anti-LGBT organization. That group has worked to prevent same-sex marriage and equality for LGBT people under the guise of defending religious liberty, and advised on high-profile cases for the religious right.

William Barr served as a Director on the Board of Advisors for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a non-profit legal firm that has worked on pivotal and well-known culture war cases including Hobby Lobby and Little Sisters of the Poor. Barr, according to his just-completed and released Senate Judiciary Committee questionnaire, served for 21 years, from 1994 to 2015, in an uncompensated capacity.

His name appears on the organization’s letterhead, as this image from 2012 shows:

The Becket Fund’s Canterbury Medal is awarded annually. Among its recipients have been Robert P. George, the co-founder of the National Organization For Marriage (NOM), once the religious right’s leader against same-sex marriage. Other recipients have been Chuck Colson, the virulently anti-LGBT evangelical minister best known for his role in Watergate, including being President Nixon’s “hatchet man.” Also, Charles Chaput, the Archbishop of Philadelphia, and Dallin Oaks, one of the heads of the Mormon Church, both anti-LGBT crusaders.

In an article asking, “Who Is Weaponizing Religious Liberty?,” People for the American Way reports the Becket Fund was “dubbed ‘God’s Rottweilers’ in a 2014 Politico story,” and notes that “Becket is also a big player in the religious liberty litigation culture wars.”

RELATED: HOW BAD FOR LGBTQ PEOPLE – AND ALL AMERICANS – IS TRUMP’S PICK FOR ATTORNEY GENERAL? REALLY BAD. THIS BAD.

“Becket’s board includes the Family Research Council’s Kenneth Blackwell, Religious Right mega-funder Sean Fieler, and Robert George, an architect of the Religious Right’s ‘religious liberty’ strategy. Back in 2007, a Becket attorney warned that marriage equality would lead to ‘widespread legal confusion resulting in pervasive church-state conflict and a substantial chilling of religious expression.'”

All that was done during Barr’s tenure.

It’s hard to see how someone with this background could be designated as the nation’s top law enforcement agent in 21st century America, despite having been Attorney General for little over a year under President George H.W. Bush (photo).

If you’re not yet convinced, consider this: From 2004 to 2009 Barr was also a Director for the far right wing Ethics and Public Policy Center. Its founder was rejected for a State Dept. position after being nominated by President Ronald Reagan. Its current president is the attorney who very publicly on social media tried to allege, by name and photo, who – instead of Brett Kavanaugh – attempted to rape Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.

Barr has also worked or volunteered with The Federalist Society, an ultra-conservative non-profit that advocates for a “textualist” interpretation of the U.S. Constitution – meaning the Constitution is not a living document, but must be read literally, as it was written, based on the beliefs of the time.

The Federalist Society has hand-picked many if not most of President Trump’s judicial nominees, including Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch.

RELATED: TRUMP ANNOUNCES NEW ATTORNEY GENERAL NOMINEE WHO IS CRITICAL OF MUELLER AND WANTS CLINTON TO BE INVESTIGATED

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

‘I Have Stood Against Same-Sex Marriage’: Roy Moore Is Running for the US Senate on a Platform of God, Guns, and Gays

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Roy Moore, the former Alabama chief justice who lost his 2017 bid for the U.S. Senate, is back on the ballot, and he’s urging Republican primary voters to keep in mind that “I have stood … against the removal of God from society—and the Ten Commandments—and I have stood against same-sex marriage and for traditional marriage.”

That statement came near the end of a 40-minute interview Moore gave to Birmingham’s WTVM-TV, a broadcast affiliate of NBC, which posted the video on Monday. While the interviewer questioned Moore on a wide range of policy areas, Moore’s answers repeatedly pointed back to the nation’s “moral problem.” And the answer to the nation’s moral problem, he said, is having the country and its schools turn back to God. The interview included echoes of a speech he made last fall to the Huntsville Republican Men’s Group, when he said America needed to return to the days when abortion and sodomy were illegal and public schools had morning “devotionals.”

In response to a question about gun violence, Moore argued that “gun violence is not a proper term” because people, not guns, are responsible for violence. And stricter gun laws, he said, are not the solution to the nation’s moral problem.

“Congress has never been good on moral problems, if you will, and solving those moral problems is very simple,” Moore said. “You turn back to the God and the basis of religion upon which this nation was founded.” In answering a question about safety and security in the nation’s schools, he said, “Well, one thing they should do is teach the laws of God.”

Moore also emphasized his states’ rights view of the Constitution, saying it is not the business of the federal government to make schools secure or oversee the elimination of discrimination in schools in areas like discipline and hiring. “I think the segregation issues have been addressed,” he declared.

On environmental protection, Moore said clean air and water are being taken care of “privately” and by the states. “Environmental protection is just another way for the big government to interfere,” he added.

Moore also said that state trial judges’ interpretation of federal constitutional issues is just as authoritative as rulings of federal appeals courts.

Moore, who has argued that faithful Muslims are not fit to serve in Congress, blamed divisiveness on the country’s lack of acknowledgment of God:

Divisiveness is a big problem in our society. We need to go back to the recognition that we’re one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. We forget when we forget God and exclude God from the conversation, you take away, and you create divisiveness. Hatred, divisiveness, that comes from a lack of realization that you’re created by an Almighty God.

When we’re a nation that thinks we can’t acknowledge God, we forget what we’re founded upon. We forget the meaning of the First Amendment. And certainly we need to go back to that.

When asked by the interviewer the things on which he would not compromise, Moore said, “I will not compromise on the acknowledgment of God. I think the courts started making law. This same-sex marriage is not a law made by our Constitution or by our legislature. It was made by courts. And courts have no business making law.”

At times, it sounded as if Moore envisioned himself in an even higher office than the U.S. Senate. In talking about his military experience, Moore said, “you need somebody with military experience in command—or in charge of the Senate. You need somebody that’s gone through these things.” The other candidates in the Senate race have not served in a war, Moore said. “I’ve been trained as a military leader – a highly regarded military leader. And that’s one of the chief jobs as the president.”

Moore is clearly still angry about his 2017 loss, which he attributed to a “disinformation campaign” that he said amounted to federal government interference in his race. He likened sexual misconduct allegations against him to those made against Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh, a comparison he has made before. He called on the New York Times and Washington Post to release their copies of an “after-action report” on “Project Birmingham”—a group that reportedly spread misinformation in the 2017 Alabama Senate election—repeating a call he made last April.

Moore also appears to be bitter about his treatment at the hands of Republican leaders who distanced themselves from his 2017 campaign, portraying their refusal to back him as stealing the election:

I can win. They know I can win. In fact, I did win, until Richard Shelby came out and put out that people should not go to the polls and vote or should vote for another candidate. Over 22,000 voted for another candidate besides the Democrat, and I lost by less than 21,000. So it was ridiculous. They stole the election then, and they’re still trying to steal the election by keeping me out of Washington. I have opposed the establishment, and they do not like it. And they have vowed to keep me out.

Regarding election security in general, he said the biggest threat to voters is “letting illegals have drivers’ licenses.”

Moore said he opposed the impeachment of President Donald Trump, and he treaded lightly when asked about Trump tweeting last year that Moore probably couldn’t win the Senate race. He suggested that Trump was being pressured by Washington insiders. “They’re driving the president because they have the power in the Senate to remove him,” Moore said.  (It was one of a couple indicators that the interview was conducted before the Senate impeachment trial.) “And he’s subject to forces up there in Washington, and with all deference to the president, I can win.”

It’s worth remembering that while much of the Republican establishment wanted nothing to do with Moore, religious-right groups and right-wing activists rallied around his 2017 campaignpouring money into last-minute ads and traveling to Alabama to hold a press conference backing Moore and attacking his critics. After Moore lost the 2017 race, Trump-promoting “prophet” Lance Wallnau criticized Christian voters for “giving the devil a free pass” by not supporting Moore and warned Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, “You’re going down.”

Right Wing Watch noted in November:

For the record, it was Moore’s unorthodox view of the Constitution—notably his refusal as a state judge to abide by federal court rulings on church-state issues and marriage equality—that got him ousted twice as the state’s chief justice. Moore has been supported by Christian nationalists and embraced by some of the country’s most extreme anti-abortion activists.

One of the primary funders of Moore’s political career has been Michael Peroutka, a Christian Reconstructionist and neo-Confederate activist. Peroutka has also been a backer of Moore protégé and current Alabama Chief Justice Tom Parker, who has called on state courts to actively push the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade and the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling.

Recent polling puts Moore far back in the crowded primary race, in which former senator and attorney general Jeff Sessions is favored to win the opportunity to challenge incumbent Democratic Sen. Doug Jones. The primary will be held on March 3.

This article was originally published by Right Wing Watch and is republished here by permission.

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

Fox News Pastor Defends Trump for Ignoring Jesus’ ‘Love Your Enemies’ Plea and Attacking Pelosi at Prayer Breakfast

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Texas megachurch pastor Robert Jeffress is defending President Donald Trump for ignoring a plea from a conservative Christian speaking directly to the president, to “love your enemies” as Jesus preached. Trump refused to observe the request, made to him Thursday at the National Prayer Breakfast, where instead he attacked and threatened Speaker Nancy Pelosi, sitting mere feet away from him.

“This president absolutely hates phoniness, he can smell it a mile away, and the president thinks there’s something inherently phony in saying that you’re praying for him while you’re working 24/7 to destroy him,” Jeffress, a Fox News contributor, said on the right wing cable channel Friday morning (video below).

“By the way, the Bible supports his skepticism,” Jeffress claimed, using a passage from Scripture to overrule the Sermon on the Mount.

He also suggested the left hates Trump and is trying to “destroy him” because he speaks “truth” about “the sanctity of life and religious liberty.”

Jeffress, who sits on Trump’s Evangelical Advisory Board and is a member of the president’s White House Faith Initiative, has been a top defender of Trump since the 2016 election. He has stated that Jews, Catholics, Mormons, Muslims, and Hindus are going to hell for worshiping a “false god.” He has said President Barack Obama was “paving the way” for the anti-Christ. Jeffress’ 2008 sermon, “Gay is Not OK” has been widely criticized.

 

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

Franklin Graham Cries ‘Discrimination’ as UK Venues Ban Him Over His ‘Divisive’ Anti-LGBTQ Extremism

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Franklin Graham‘s planned tour of the UK has run in to a snag: It appears few in the UK want him there. The far right evangelical Christian leader with strong ties to President Donald Trump had announced a UK tour starting in June, but as word spread venues started canceling on him, or pulled out of negotiations. At issue: Graham’s anti-LGBTQ extremism.

ACC Liverpool, a convention center adjacent to the John Lennon Peace Monument has blocked Graham, calling him “divisive” and saying he is “incompatible” with their values.

“Over the past few days we have been made aware of a number of statements which we consider to be incompatible with our values,” the ACC Liverpool said in a statement, as The Guardian reports. “In light of this we can no longer reconcile the balance between freedom of speech and the divisive impact this event is having in our city. We have informed the organizers of the event that the booking will no longer be fulfilled.”

The mayor of Liverpool supports the decision:

A London venue has also backed out of negotiations in the wake of “an All Out petition calling on The O2 to refuse to host Graham, with the petition gaining more than 8,500 signatures by early Tuesday morning,” Newsweek reports.

Graham is accusing his UK opponents of discrimination – while falsely suggesting all Christians support him and his beliefs.

“We feel that we are being discriminated against because of our religious beliefs,” Graham said. “Cancelling venue contracts based on the demands of one very vocal group, without consideration for the views and rights of the Christians who contracted for the venue, including the views of thousands of other Christians who support it and who would be negatively impacted, does far more to harm and divide society than simply letting the events go on as planned.”

He also called it “wrong for venue managers and local officials to make a decision that disadvantages Christians,” as if all LGBTQ people are not Christian.

Graham, who says Satan is behind LGBTQ advocacy, had more strong words in response to the lockout, in an open “letter to the LGBTQ community in the UK.”

“The rub, I think, comes in whether God defines homosexuality as sin. The answer is yes,” he told his 8 million Facebook followers. “But God goes even further than that, to say that we are all sinners—myself included. The Bible says that every human being is guilty of sin and in need of forgiveness and cleansing. The penalty of sin is spiritual death—separation from God for eternity.”

“I invite everyone in the LGBTQ community to come and hear for yourselves the Gospel messages that I will be bringing from God’s Word, the Bible. You are absolutely welcome,” he claimed.

 

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