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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

Conservative Christian Running for Wisconsin Supreme Court Thinks Homosexuality Is Just Like Bestiality

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“The idea that homosexual behavior is different than bestiality as a constitutional matter is unjustifiable,” says Judge Brian Hagedorn.

In 37 states across America state supreme court judges are elected, or appointed and then later have to run to keep their jobs. Either way, the voters get to choose, which many legal experts believe is a very bad idea, because it is.

However, in Wisconsin, hopefully it will be a good idea, just once, come April, when voters can either elect a progressive jurist or a partisan hack who authored former Governor Scott Walker’s highly controversial Budget Repair Bill of 2011. You’ll remember that’s when Walker falsely claimed a state emergency to bust up public sector unions.

Governor Walker turned to his chief legal counsel, Brian Hagedorn, to write that union-busting bill. Hagedorn graduated from an evangelical Christian liberal arts college in 2000 and later went to Northwestern University for his law degree.

In an interview published by his alma mater, Trinity International University, Hagedorn spoke fondly of his “great spiritual growth” at the evangelical college.

“It was a great time spiritually,” Hagedorn said. “There were lots of long prayer walks, lots of time meditating in the chapel, and great relationships built around prayer and accountability.”

When he chose to study law, Hagedorn “decided to pursue this passion at the Northwestern University School of Law, where, working from a Christian worldview, he found himself seeing the legal system through a lens that was different from most of his classmates.”

“The big distinction was that I understood that there was truth, and I knew where it was found,” Hagedorn said. “So I learned to apply the things I had learned at Trinity and engage and challenge my classmates with truth.”

“In 2004, he was awarded a Blackstone Fellowship, which allowed him to study at the Alliance Defense Fund in Phoenix, Arizona, before interning with Americans United for Life in Chicago. He also served as the president of the school’s Federalist Society chapter before graduating in 2006.”

Although Trinity University doesn’t mention it, the Alliance Defending Freedom is an anti-gay hate group, and recently behind many of the court battles in which it is hoping to gain legal protections for Christian bakers and florists so they don’t have to bake cakes or arrange flowers for same-sex couples or LGBT people.

The year before he graduated from Northwestern, Hagedorn kept a blog in which he shared his legal and religious views.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that “Hagedorn twice wrote that a landmark gay rights ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court striking down a Texas anti-sodomy law could lead to the legalization of bestiality, sex with animals, in America.”

“‘The idea that homosexual behavior is different than bestiality as a constitutional matter is unjustifiable,’ he wrote in October 2005.”

“There is no right in our Constitution to have sex with whoever or whatever you want in the privacy of your own home (or barn),” he added.

Yes, Brian Hagedorn’s view is that the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Lawrence v. Texas, which made sex between two people of the same sex legal, was a “travesty.”

He also shared his view that constitutionally, there’s no difference between, for example, a same-sex couple making love, and a man raping a horse.

Take a look:

Fast forward to today. Brian Hagedorn is now state appeals court Judge Brian Hagedorn.

And Judge Hagedorn’s campaign advisor says voters should elect him to the state supreme court and shouldn’t worry about Hagedorn’s past anti-gay hate, because, “When he put on the robe, Judge Hagedorn took an oath to be impartial and apply the law on every case, and he will always be faithful to that oath and to the people he serves.”

Really? Hagedorn believes that same-sex couples having sex are constitutionally the same as a man or woman engaging in bestiality.

Hagedorn in that 2014 interview, when he was Governor Walker’s chief legal counsel, also made these concerning remarks.

“My faith impacts everything I do in the workplace,” Hagedorn said, “but in that role, one of the difficult things is that I have to say ‘no’ to people, and that’s not always easy.”

Finally, especially if you’re a Wisconsin voter, consider these two last points. First,  this from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Hagedorn has called Planned Parenthood “a ‘wicked organization’ that was more devoted ‘to killing babies than to helping women.’ He said his litmus test for voting in an election was a candidate’s position on abortion.”

Hagedorn said he had committed himself to praying and lobbying to stop abortion. He went on to say his convictions on this issue and others were given to him by God.

“The Lord has laid three fundamental passions on my heart: 1) Protecting the dignity and sanctity of human life, 2) Defending and preserving the institution of marriage, and 3) Promoting racial reconciliation in the church and culture,” he wrote in November 2005.

Second, Hagedorn is running on his religion. On Facebook just two weeks ago he published a post for Religious Freedom Day:

“At its core, religious freedom assumes that all people have the right to hold convictions about the world, and to live those convictions out. Indeed, what could be more important, more essential, more foundational to human freedom, than recognizing each person’s pre-existing natural right to live in light of the purpose of our existence as each person understands it? And what, then, could be more tyrannical than a government that says you cannot?”

“As your Justice on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, I will stand up for our first freedom,” he concludes.

 

Image via Facebook
Hat tip: Joe.My.God.

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

Evangelical Christian Conservatives Are Giving Americans an ‘Allergic Reaction’ to Religion: Researchers

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The number of Americans identifying as atheists is increasing — and recent social science research suggests that the Christian Right is playing a key role in making that happen.

As reported by Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight, new research has found that distaste for Trump-loving Christian conservatism has not just turned some Americans off from individual churches but from religion altogether.

“As recently as the early 1990s, less than 10 percent of Americans lacked a formal religious affiliation, and liberals weren’t all that much likelier to be nonreligious than the public overall,” FiveThirtyEight notes. “Today, however, nearly one in four Americans are religiously unaffiliated. That includes almost 40 percent of liberals — up from 12 percent in 1990, according to the 2018 General Social Survey.”

Other studies have similarly concluded that the marriage of evangelical Christianity with the Republican Party has led more Americans to spurn religion all together.

“It’s like an allergic reaction to the mixture of Republican politics and religion,” David Campbell, a political scientist at Notre Dame University, explains to FiveThirtyEight.

Read the whole report here.

Image by Mor via Flickr and a CC license

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

Christian Ministry Tells Teachers and Students They Must Support School’s Anti-Gay Beliefs – Some Are Quitting

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Jacinta Tegman, the new head CRISTA, a massive $100 million Christian ministry in the state of Washington, has been pushing an anti-LGBTQ agenda since taking over in January. She told the organization’s members that “sexual intimacy” must be “confined within the marriage of one man and woman.” Over the summer the head of the organization’s K-12 King’s schools, Eric Rasmussen, sent families and faculty an email “to reaffirm the school’s core values, and repeated Tegman’s line that sexual expression only occurs within a heterosexual marriage,” the Seattle Times reports.

The school now has a textbook that calls homosexuality “unnatural,” and “a result of the failure to worship God.” Both claims are false.

At least five teachers and two students have quit the school as a result of these attacks on LGBTQ people.

And while families may be upset at the loss of the teachers and students, Tegman apparently is not.

“This may not be the place for everybody,” Tegman told the Seattle Times. “So if it’s not, we just want to make that clear so people can make a good decision whether they want to stay.”

Some teachers questioned the email that was sent over the summer. In response, the head of King’s schools responded.

“You can continue to work at King’s if you are a Christian, confirm understanding and alignment with our doctrinal statement and willingly conduct your personal life and professional role of educating our students in a manner that is not in disunity with King’s theological beliefs,” he wrote.

One teacher, Megan Troutman, called working at the school “an amazing experience,” but resigned, saying, “I cannot, in good faith or conscience, teach in a place that creates policies that negatively impact an entire section of the student population.”

“I could not be complicit in a policy that could harm or ostracize any student.”

One student spoke out after deciding to leave.

“Colby Crispeno, 17, agreed” with Troutman. “He attended King’s since preschool, but eventually decided to leave at the end of his sophomore year after coming out to his family as gay.”

“Even as he struggled with depression and anxiety at King’s, he found solace in a family friend who taught there. She too left the school over the summer,” the Times notes.

“You don’t have to accept me or the LGBTQ+ community, but when you’re the head of the school and this decision brings some youth closer to suicide, you lose my respect,” Crispeno said.

CRISTA “runs private schools, retirement communities and radio stations in addition to its international relief work. The schools serve more than 1,300 students, from preschool to high-school,” the Times reports.

KIRO published this video report:

 

Image by Joe Mabel via Wikimedia
Hat tip: Towleroad

 

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

Right-Wing Religious Prayer Pleas Make Hurricane Victims Worse Off — Here’s How

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Right-wing evangelical leaders often make grand displays of piety and sympathy for those in the path of deadly weather events like Hurricane Dorian. But as Rewire.News’ Tony Keddie noted in an opinion column, those who preach the so-called “Prosperity Gospel” are in fact bringing further harm to these victims.

“In between advertising her own books and promoting her rock star husband’s albums, Trump’s Prosperity Gospel confidant, Paula White-Cain, took a moment to acknowledge those affected by Hurricane Dorian,” wrote Keddie. “White-Cain tweeted a link to the evangelical pastor Greg Laurie’s Fox News article defending ‘prayer’ as a legitimate response to mass shootings and hurricanes … This is surprising because Laurie has criticized Prosperity Gospel preachers like White-Cain for glorifying the human will more than the divine will and prayer can often be a point of contention in these debates.”

“Whereas Laurie stresses ‘the power of the one we are praying to,’ White-Cain stresses the power of the one who is praying,” wrote Keddie. “This is a subtle theological distinction that enables Prosperity Gospel preachers to insist that believers should bootstrap their way to physical and financial prosperity. Shortly after tweeting out Laurie’s article, White-Cain used a Prosperity Gospel keyword, ‘favor’: ‘I pray open doors that no man can shut, favor, promotion, divine opportunities and connections for you to fulfill the purpose of God in the name of Jesus!’”

The upshot, Keddie wrote, is that evangelists like White-Cain are preaching that God wills people to be self-sufficient and individualistic — and that they, like Republican political ideology generally, oppose government intervention to help the destitute. Another example of this, he wrote, is Joel Osteen, the Houston megachurch pastor who did not open his doors to Hurricane Harvey victims until considerable public backlash.

“Laurie and White-Cain present two prevalent views of free will that are often used to support Republican opposition to what they call ‘Big Government,’” wrote Keddie. “Whether believers are supposed to rely more on God or themselves as a hurricane destroys their homes, they are not supposed to rely on the government. Sure, Christian relief organizations like Samaritan’s Purse and Convoy of Hope might offer some aid, but their role in disbursing federal funds is also an indictment against government institutions of relief, as Inderpal Grewal observes in Saving the Security State, and they often come with strings attached.”

“When we hear conservatives using the language of ‘prayers’ and ‘favor’ as a disaster strikes, it’s important to recognize that this pious rhetoric conceals neoliberal politics that impede the work of government institutions of disaster management,” concluded Keddie.

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