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.”
“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.
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Mike Pence: Americans Have No Right to ‘Freedom From Religion’
Former Vice President Mike Pence claimed during a Wednesday appearance on Fox Business that the First Amendment to the United States Constitution does not protect Americans from having other people’s faiths forced upon them.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances,” it states.
In fact, there are no references to a supreme being anywhere in the Constitution, because the Founding Fathers were adamantly opposed to centralized religious power as well as requiring individuals to subscribe to any particular denomination.
The concept of separation of church and state was sacrosanct to men like President Thomas Jefferson, who wrote in his 1776 Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom that “setting up their own opinions and modes of thinking as the only true and infallible, and as such endeavoring to impose them on others, hath established and maintained false religions over the greatest part of the world and through all time” and that “to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical.”
Jefferson’s condemnation of forced faith in the document was unambiguous, further affirming that “no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer, on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.”
President James Madison, in whose hand the Constitution was penned, concurred with Jefferson.
“The settled opinion here is that religion is essentially distinct from Civil Government, and exempt from its cognizance; that a connexion between them is injurious to both; that there are causes in the human breast, which ensure the perpetuity of religion without the aid of the law,” Madison explained in an 1819 letter, noting that “a legal establishment of religion without a toleration could not be thought of, and with toleration, is no security for public quiet and harmony, but rather a source itself of discord and animosity.”
Benjamin Franklin took it one step further, arguing in 1780 that any religion that seeks to impose itself is simply “bad.”
Yet Pence and host Larry Kudlow share an interpretation that strays wildly from what Jefferson, Franklin, and Madison clearly spelled out more than two centuries ago.
“These lefties want to scrap religion, Mike Pence, and I think it’s a terrible mistake,” Kudlow griped.
“Well, the radical left believes that the freedom of religion is the freedom from religion. But it’s nothing the American founders ever thought of or generations of Americans fought to defend,” Pence said.
As mentioned, that statement is completely false. Jefferson even concluded in his treatise that “such act will be an infringement of natural right.”
But Pence was not finished. He also suggested that the Supreme Court’s right-wing supermajority has a duty to side with one faith over another. Today, that means the GOP’s embrace of Christian nationalism.
“You know, I said today here in Houston that the source of our nation’s greatness has always been our faith in God, our freedom, and our vast natural resources. And the good news is, that after four years of the Trump-Pence administration, I’m confident that we have a pro-religious freedom majority on the Supreme Court of the United States. And I’m confident that come Election Day, November the 8th, you’re gonna see that freedom majority around the country turn out and vote pro-freedom majorities in the House, and in the Senate, and in statehouses around the country,” Pence said. “So stay tuned, Larry. Help is on the way.”
Watch below or at this link.
Fox Business' Larry Kudlow: "These lefties want to scrap religion."
Former Vice President Mike Pence: "The good news is, that after four years of the Trump-Pence administration, I'm confident that we have a pro-religious freedom majority on the Supreme Court." pic.twitter.com/GO1uW6FdPP
— The Recount (@therecount) October 26, 2022
Florida Father Sues School for ‘Proselytizing’ in Favor of ‘Homosexual Lifestyles’ Under DeSantis Don’t Say Gay Law
A West Palm Beach dad is suing his son’s public school district under Florida Governor Ron DeSantis‘ “Don’t Say Gay” law, claiming a teacher posted two rainbow pride flags and “proselytized” in favor of “homosexual lifestyles,” which he claims are against his religious beliefs.
“Dr. Francisco Deliu’s 12-year-old son is in seventh grade at Emerald Cove Middle School,” which is part of the Palm Beach County School District, WPTV reports. He is suing the school district, the school board, the school, its principal, and the teacher.
The lawsuit claims the father’s “substantive human rights” and “due process rights” were violated. It says he learned from his son “that his school is expressly and/or implicitly advocating for homosexuality as an alternative way of life. He disagrees and complains. The school dismisses his concerns without reasons. He takes the matter to the superior authorities. They ignore his grievances entirely. Meanwhile, his boy’s education suffers.”
WPTV reports that “Deliu’s lawsuit claimed Emerald Cove Middle School is trying to ‘mold his child’s mind without his consent,’ adding that ‘there is no lawful authority that permits the Teacher, Principal, School, District and/or Board to teach, discuss or otherwise educate the students, including Dr. Deliu’s son, about gay pride, homosexuality or the like but especially not in a computer science course.'”
“Deliu claimed the teacher’s actions are a violation of Florida’s ‘Parents’ Bill of Rights ‘law, which was passed and went into effect in 2021.”
The lawsuit describes him as a “a married man who was baptized in, throughout his lifetime held and currently holds Christian-Orthodox religious beliefs. He is originally from Romania and was given refugee status in the United States of America in 1980 on the grounds of religious and political persecution by the Communist Ceaușescu regime.”
“Dr Deliu and his son are both born, baptized and practicing Orthodox Christians. Their religion considers homosexuality a sin. Their sincere and genuine beliefs are that homosexuality is not in accordance with their Bible. Dr Deliu is a libertarian who lives by a ‘live and let live creed. He respects the rights of others, but also demands they not encroach upon his rights. He is against government intrusion upon his rights, especially in terms of how to raise his son,” the lawsuit reads.
“Dr Deliu’s son was born in New Zealand and exclusively went to various private schools in New Zealand and Romania until the family returned to the United States of America in 2020 because of breaches of their human rights in Romania due to the Covid-19 lockdowns, mask, social distancing and vaccine mandates.”
The lawsuit even laments that although his son “was a straight-A student in the 4th quarter…the school failed to give out any honor roll awards.”
Image via Shutterstock
Watch: A Man Said LGBTQ People ‘Deserve Death’ at a School Board Meeting – No One Stopped Him
A man addressed the Conway, Arkansas school board Tuesday night, launching into a Christian Bible-based diatribe that included his claim that LGBTQ people “deserve death.” There were LGBTQ people, including students, in the audience. There were also police officers.
No one, not the school board member, not the police, interrupted him, told him his remarks were inappropriate, violent, or even asked him to stop speaking.
And it appears no one stood up for the LGBTQ students forced to hear a man with a microphone saying they “deserve death.”
In fact, as the video below shows, the school board president thanked him when he was done.
“God gave them over to a depraved mind so that they do what they should not be doing,” the unidentified man can be heard saying. “They invent ways of doing evil. But let me remind you that those who do such things deserve death.”
“The LGBT community, not only continues to do these very things, but also approves of those who practice them,” he adds.
A speaker at a school board meeting in Conway, Arkansas told a crowd of students last night their queer classmates “deserve death.” The speaker was in support of a sweeping rollback of trans rights in the district and followed a trans student speaking against it. pic.twitter.com/iU66PDXtLa
— Gillian Branstetter (@GBBranstetter) October 12, 2022
On social media a woman who says she filmed the man’s biblical call for death writes, “I was actually the one videoing. There were cops in all areas of the room ready to remove anyone. The person who spoke after this man was a 10th grade student who is transgender. Many of us wanted to cause a scene but felt our presence was needed for the upcoming speakers.”
Dr. Anne J. Goldberg, a professor, posted video (below) showing the man who said LGBTQ people “deserve death.” In her video he also says God loves everyone “even” LGBTQ people.
“Tonight,” she writes, “I watched my school board ban two books about trans kids (against a committee recommendation) and enact two discriminatory policies against trans kids. I heard a member of my community say that LGBTQ folks ‘deserved death’ for their actions. No one on the board objected.”
Here is video of the speaker who said LGBTQ folks deserve death. Hear the audience clap and the board president say thank you. pic.twitter.com/aLEgxWPGS7
— Dr. Anne J. Goldberg (@entrtaininganth) October 12, 2022
“Ultimately,” The Arkansas Times reports, “the board did exactly what everyone expected: It unanimously approved a bathroom ban that could effectively out transgender students, and then voted to remove two books — both about transgender youths — from a school library, despite a committee’s recommendation otherwise.”
The Daily Beast adds that Arkansas GOP state Sen. Jason Rapert “made an appearance and spoke in favor of the bans.”
Rapert has compared LGBTQ activists to “Nazis.”
Watch the videos above or at this link.
Image via Shutterstock
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