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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

Trump Uses National Prayer Breakfast Speech to Undermine Civil Rights of LGBT People

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President Donald Trump delivered his third speech at the annual National Prayer Breakfast, and used the opportunity to attack LGBT people’s civil rights and show support for those who wish to discriminate.

After promising attendees at the event hosted by a secretive Christian fundamentalist evangelical organization that he will “never let you down,” President Trump applauded Second Lady Karen Pence for choosing to return to teaching at a private Christian school. The President did not mention that the school bans all LGBT people, including teachers and students. It even bans students who have LGBT family members.

President Trump also praised a Michigan Catholic adoption agency, then lamented that they are now in court after being sued for discriminating against same-sex parents.

“We will always protect our country’s long and proud tradition of faith-based adoption,” Trump promised attendees, adding that faith-based adoption agencies should be able to follow their “deeply held beliefs.”

What the President also failed to tell attendees is that that adoption agency is being used to funnel some of the thousands of migrant children his administration has separated at the border, and it has ties to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

Watch: Bill Barr Meets, Prays With Radical Right-Wing Activist Who Wonders if Vaccines Make Kids Gay

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Attorney General Bill Barr has been conspicuously missing from public view over the past few months but over the weekend he came outside of his home to meet with a far right wing religious extremist, and to pray with him.

“On Friday and Saturday, a small group of right-wing activists,” Right Wing Watch reports, “led by radical religious-right bigot Dave Daubenmire, carried out a series of protests outside the home of Joe Biden in Delaware, as well as the home of former president Barack Obama in Washington, D.C., demanding that the Democratic presidential nominee and the president for whom he worked as vice president be arrested, tried, and executed for treason.”

On Saturday afternoon, Daubenmire and crew took their protest to the home of Attorney General Bill Barr, who personally came out to meet the group, pray with them, and take photos with them.

Barr is an uber-conservative Catholic who supports dominionism. Last year Joan Walsh at The Nation called him “a paranoid right-wing Catholic ideologue who won’t respect the separation of church and state.”

Daubenmire, who is also a Christian minister, last month called for Hillary Clinton to be publicly executed.

Here’s video of the meeting, which shows Daubenmire and other activists with Attorney General Barr, praying. Some of the men wore shirts emblazoned with political statements, including “Crooked Hillary for Prison,” and “Lock’er Up.” Several were using Trump 2020 banners as blankets. One had a tee-shirt with “InfoWars,” a far right wing conspiracy website printed on the back.

Here Barr posing for a photo with Daubenmire.

Right Wing Watch calls Daubenmire “a deeply bigoted, anti-Semitic, anti-choice, anti-LGBTQ, right-wing conspiracy theorist—the sort who proudly declares that women become lesbians because they are so ugly that no man could ever love them, asserts that Barack Obama was ‘a quasi-Muslim freak’ and ‘an emissary from Hell,‘ warns that Oprah Winfrey was planning to run for president in order to carry out a white genocide, complains that he is not allowed to say the ‘N-word,’ gripes that the marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle was a ‘psy-op’ intended to promote ‘the blending of the races,’ and calls interracial marriage ‘spiritual AIDS.'”

He has also wondered if vaccines make kids gay.

“Who knows what was injected into some of these deviant sex people as children. When they say they were born that way, maybe they were vaccinated that way.”

It’s unclear why the Attorney General is meeting with far right wing extremists.

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

SCOTUS to Hear Major LGBTQ Case, With Barrett – Designed to Give Christians Special Rights to Discriminate

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Just one day after 2020’s historic Election Day, the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday will hear a landmark case seeking to revoke non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people, along with minority religious groups like Jews and Muslims. The case could hand Christians special rights to discriminate. It relies on overturning a 30-year precedent, something Justice Amy Coney Barrett has said she is not opposed to doing.

The case, Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, involves Catholic Social Services (CSS) of Philadelphia, which lost in a unanimous Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling, but appealed to the Supreme Court.

The City of Philadelphia notified Catholic Social Services in 2018 that it would no longer send children to them to be fostered or adopted because of the religious group’s refusal to place children in homes headed by same-sex couples or LGBTQ people.

With the loss of placements comes a loss of taxpayer funds. CSS isn’t banned from continuing to adhere to its policies or religious beliefs, it just won’t be able to use children the City of Philadelphia was sending them as tools to continue its discriminatory practices.

“In court papers, the group has argued that Philadelphia’s moves unlawfully targeted its right to exercise its religion, which is protected under the First Amendment,” CNBC reports. “Philadelphia, on the other hand, has said it is entitled to enforce anti-discrimination policies in order to protect LGBT residents. The city says it is not hostile to religion, noting that its policies apply evenly to religious and secular government contractors.”

Circuit Judge Thomas Ambro, writing for the court, said CSS failed to show that the city was motivated by anything other than “sincere opposition to discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.”

Should the heavily-conservative majority Supreme Court overturn the Third Circuit Court’s unanimous ruling, it likely would also need to overturn precedent from a 1990 SCOTUS case, Employment Division v. Smith, which CSS is asking the Court to do.

CSS is represented by The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a multi-million dollar non-profit.

The Becket Fund calls discriminating against same-sex families and LGBTQ people, “Making room for diversity.”

The group has had success at the Supreme Court before, notably in the infamous 2014 Hobby Lobby anti-abortion case.

Image: Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks via Flickr 

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

NOM Co-Founder Posts Smiling Photo of Himself With Justice Amy Coney Barrett – Calls Her ‘My Favorite Handmaiden’

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National Organization For Marriage co-founder Robert P. George just posted a photo of himself with the nation’s newest Supreme Court Justice, Amy Coney Barrett, calling her “my favorite Handmaiden of the Law.” NOM is the anti-LGBTQ anti-marriage equality organization that conservatives had poured millions into in the hope it would stanch the spread of same-sex marriage.

George’s remarks are apparently meant to mock Americans’ deep and dire fears and concerns about Justice Barrett, a far right religious extremist who vehemently opposes abortion, same-sex marriage, equality for LGBTQ people, and ObamaCare. She is seen as the most far-right jurist on the Supreme Court, even more extreme than Justice Clarence Thomas.

The “Handmaiden” reference is to Margaret Atwood’s 1985 dystopian novel “The Handmaid’s Tale,” which is set in what was once New England, now part the fictional totalitarian, Christian nation of Gilead, created after an overthrow of the United States. In the novel, which is also a film and a television series, women are not allowed to read or participate in much of society, and are forced to serve men much in the way the Bible commands. Rape is institutionalized and homosexuality is punishable by death.

George is a Princeton University professor. He is also the co-founder and a senior fellow at the Witherspoon Institute, a conservative think tank that focuses its efforts on opposing same-sex marriage, abortion, and stem cell research.

Barrett was forced through the confirmation process in near-record time, as conservatives praised the far right wing anti-LGBTQ, anti-equality, pro-religious extremism jurist. She was confirmed by Republican Senators Monday night, and barely hours later sworn in at the White House.

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