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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

State Supreme Court Candidate’s ‘Work’ Includes Paid Speeches to Anti-LGBT Hate Group, Founding Anti-Gay School

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Conservative state appeals court judge who likens homosexuality to bestiality was paid thousands by anti-gay hate group that wants to criminalize homosexuality

A conservative candidate running for a seat on the bench of the Wisconsin State Supreme Court has been exposed for his anti-LGBT activism that spans more than a decade.

Brian Hagedorn is a state appeals court judge who was appointed by then-governor Scott Walker. Last month it was revealed he had kept a blog during his law school years in which he “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 Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported.

“‘The idea that homosexual behavior is different than bestiality as a constitutional matter is unjustifiable,” Hagedorn falsely 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).”

Now Hagedorn is under fire after it was revealed that one year after he became a judge on the state Appeals Court, he founded a Christian prep school that bans same-sex relationships.

Augustine Academy’s “statement of faith says the school community believes that ‘Adam and Eve were made to complement each other in a one-flesh union that establishes the only normative pattern of sexual relations for men and women, such that marriage ultimately serves as a type of the union between Christ and his church,'” the Journal-Sentinel reports.

Students and teachers who are in same-sex relationships can be expelled, as can students whose parents are in same-sex relationships.

That’s not the only aspect of Hagedorn’s anti-LGBT activism.

Hagedorn for several years has been paid thousands of dollars to give speeches to an anti-LGBT legal organization that appears on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of active anti-LGBT hate groups.

RELATED: CONSERVATIVE CHRISTIAN RUNNING FOR WISCONSIN SUPREME COURT THINKS HOMOSEXUALITY IS JUST LIKE BESTIALITY

The hate group, Alliance Defending Freedom, wants to criminalize homosexuality, likens homosexuality to pedophilia, and has worked to have transgender people sterilized, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.

ADF has a portfolio of Christian cake bakers and florists who are claiming a right to refuse service to marrying same-sex couples. Among them is Jack Phillips, who won a very narrow ruling at the U.S. Supreme Court last year.

The Wisconsin State Journal also reveals that Hagedorn’s college blog posts “contended that gay pride month at his workplace was ‘homosexual propaganda’ that created ‘a hostile work environment for Christians.'”

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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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