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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

DeVos Promotes Plan to Hand Over Billions in Federal Tax Credits for Private, Religious, and Home Schooling

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Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has been touring the country to promote her plan to hand over billion of dollars in federal tax credits to dramatically expand the number of students attending private schools, religious schools, or even being homeschool. The program, part of a bill in Congress, would be funded through private donations in exchange for tax credits. In other words, tax dollars would effectively be paying for the program, as those dollars will have to be made up by taxpayers.

Secretary DeVos’ “Education Freedom Scholarships” program would continue the Trump administration’s blurring of the lines between church and state. Just last week Sec. DeVos announced the Dept. of Education will no longer ban religious organizations from being funded with taxpayer dollars for secular projects.

The Dept. of Education claims up to $5 billion annually could be allocated, but Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), who spoke at an event with DeVos to roll out his bill to support the program (video below), said it would be $10 billion.

The reception in Sec. DeVos’ stop in Iowa appeared less than enthusiastic.

“Pitching her proposal to fund scholarships for private school and home-schooled students, federal education secretary Betsy DeVos met behind closed doors Friday with Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and other state leaders and lobbyists,” Iowa’s Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports.

The paper notes that Waterloo Community Schools’ Superintendent Jane Lindaman was “the lone public education representative invited to participate,” and described her as being “concerned.”

“I was surprised by the imbalance of people at this meeting today,” Lindaman told The Courier. “Out of 14 people, I was the only public school advocate. I quickly realized the responsibility and, quite honestly, the burden of speaking for the hundreds of thousands of kids who are in public education in Iowa.”

Here’s a local news report from Alabama last month that features Sec. DeVos and Senator Ted Cruz, a big home schooling advocate, promoting his bill and the Secretary’s program. Cruz endorses the federal government effectively paying for private and religious education, calling it a “civil rights issue.”

In 2015 Sen. Cruz spoke with homeschooling parents, telling them LGBT people are waging “jihad” on Christianity.

 

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

Feuds Erupt Among Trump-Loving ‘Prophets’ Over Whether God Will Put Him Back in the White House Next Month

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Former President Donald Trump has been out of the White House for nearly a month, but some Christian “prophets” believe God has a plan to reinstall him in the White House next month.

As Politico reports, self-proclaimed prophets such as Kat Kerr, Johnny Enlow, and Greg Locke are still insisting that Trump will be president again in 2021, despite the fact that President Joe Biden was sworn into office last month.

In fact, Enlow believes that the Trump family is set to become something of a God-appointed royal dynasty ruling over the country.

“There’s not going to be just Trump coming back,” Enlow said in a recent video. “There’s going to be at least two more Trumps that will be in office in some way.”

However, not all Trump-backing “prophets” are on board with these predictions.

Jeremiah Johnson, a charismatic Christian prophet, admitted after the 2020 election that his own prediction of Trump’s victory was wrong, and he’s urging his fellow prophets to be humble and admit errors.

“I believe that this election cycle has revealed how desperately we need reformation in the prophetic movement,” Johnson said in a February 8 video. “I have serious concerns for the charismatic-prophetic world that if we do not wake up, if we do not humble ourselves, there is greater judgment to come.”

Michael Brown, another longtime charismatic revivalist, similarly told Politico that it’s time for his movement to cool it on Trump-related prophecies.

“As a full-blooded charismatic, I’ll say we’ve earned the world’s mockery for our foolishness,” he said.

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

Trump Guts Protections for LGBTQ Workers and Expands Religious Orgs’ Ability to Discriminate in Final Weeks

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As time speeds to the end of the Donald Trump presidency the administration is moving fast to expand the ability of faith-based institutions to discriminate against LGBTQ people. The Dept. of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs has just finalized a rule gutting protections for LGBTQ people who work for federal contractors, including allowing religious institutions to discriminate against LGBTQ people, as The Washington Blade reports.

President Barack Obama codified the protections via a set of executive orders in 2014.

The Dept. of Labor is headed by Eugene Scalia (photo), who has a long record of attacking the civil rights of American workers. He is the son of the infamously anti-LGBTQ Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia.

“It is hard to overstate the harm that the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs is visiting on LGBTQ people, women, religious minorities, and others with the sledgehammer it is taking to federal nondiscrimination protections,” Lambda Legal Director of Law and Policy Jennifer Pizer said in a statement. “For nearly 80 years, it has been a core American principle that seeking and receiving federal tax dollars to do work for the American people means promising not to discriminate against one’s own workers with those funds.  This new rule uses religion to create an essentially limitless exemption allowing taxpayer-funded contractors to impose their religious beliefs on their employees without regard to the resulting harms, such as unfair job terms, invasive proselytizing and other harassment that make job settings unbearable for workers targeted on religious grounds.”

Nearly 4 million American workers are employed by federal contractors.

“Within its final weeks, the Trump-Pence administration has chosen to prioritize gutting existing protections for LGBTQ people, women and religious minorities,” Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David also said in a statement. “This lame-duck action by the administration is blatantly offensive, unnecessary and simply unacceptable. Since taking office, the administration has worked around the clock to dehumanize and demean LGBTQ people all while misrepresenting the law to justify creating a license to discriminate against people including  on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation.”

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

‘I’m Doing the Right Thing for God’: Jenna Ellis Says Jesus Christ Wants Her to Overturn the Election

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Jenna Ellis, an attorney for President Donald Trump, on Monday explained that she had religious reasons for trying to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

During an interview on Fox Business, Ellis was asked how she maintains a positive attitude amid setbacks in court and Rudy Giuliani’s COVID-19 diagnosis.

“You know, my life is in service and honor to the Lord Jesus Christ,” Ellis said. “And so whatever anybody else says really doesn’t bother me. I hope that I can be a light and inspiration to everyone else that no matter what anyone else says about you, it’s all about just who you are as a person and made in the image of God and in Christ.”

“And that’s ultimately at the end of the day, as long as I know that I’m pursuing truth and I’m doing the right thing for God and my country, that’s all that matters,” she added. “So that’s what gives me my optimism and my hope.”

Watch the video below from Fox Business.

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