Cites SCOTUS Decision About Paving Playground of Religious School to Declare Portions of Federal Law ‘Unconstitutional’
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has announced she will no longer enforce the provision of federal law that bans religious organizations from being funded with taxpayer dollars for secular projects.
DeVos is citing a 2017 Supreme Court decision that ruled a Missouri Lutheran church-run school could not be barred from having taxpayers pay for repaving its playground under a local ordinance that made it ineligible solely due to separation of church and state policies.
The Education Secretary, in an official notice to Congress, now appears to be turning that ruling on its head.
“The law calls for students in public and private schools to receive ‘equitable services,’ such as special education, tutoring or mentoring, and allows districts to hire contractors to deliver those services,” The New York Times explains.
The Washington Post adds, “school districts are now open to contract with religious organizations,” although “the services they provide must be ‘secular, neutral and non-ideological.'”
The education reporter for US News, a right-leaning news site, says, “DeVos blurs church-state boundaries” with her new rule.
Indeed, DeVos is claiming that the provisions of the federal laws she is now refusing to enforce are “discrimination against religious organizations.”
“The Trinity Lutheran decision reaffirmed the long-understood intent of the First Amendment to not restrict the free exercise of religion,” DeVos said. “Those seeking to provide high-quality educational services to students and teachers should not be discriminated against simply based on the religious character of their organization.”
Some are sounding the alarm.
“Just look at what happens when Christian ministries are brought in to teach public school sex education classes or host assemblies encouraging kids not to do drugs,” Friendly Atheist warns. “On paper, there’s nothing inappropriate happening, but there are countless stories about how misinformation is spread by Christian abstinence-only advocates and how secular daytime assemblies are used to advertise very religious nighttime assemblies.”
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Pompeo State Dept. Homepage Advocates ‘Being a Christian Leader’
Is separation of church and state dead?
The link on the State Dept. homepage goes to a video and the text of Pompeo’s speech to the American Association of Christian Counselors in Nashville, Tennessee on October 11.
Secretary Pompeo’s speech focuses on how he leads the Dept. of State as a devout Christian. He says he keeps a Bible open on his desk and refers to it during the day.
That in its self would not be exceptionally disturbing except that Pompeo, an evangelical Christian, has said the Bible “informs everything I do.”
He has said it’s “possible,” when asked if God made Trump president “to help save the Jewish people from the Iranian menace.”
And he has said the wars in the Middle East are a “never-ending struggle” until “the rapture.”
Here’s how The New York Times explained Pompeo’s biblical views just this past March:
Studies show that white evangelicals are much more likely than other Americans to believe that Israel fulfills a biblical prophecy. Known as Christian Zionists, they believe God promised the land to the Jews, and that the gathering of Jews in Israel is foretold in the prophecy of the rapture — the ascent of Christians into the kingdom of God.
Mr. Pompeo talks about the rapture. “We will continue to fight these battles,” he said at a “God and Country Rally” in 2015, because there is a “never-ending struggle” until “the rapture.”
An L.A. Times opinion piece, referring to those remarks, said Pompeo “has his eye on an End Times cleansing.”
The State Dept. advertised Pompeo’s speech and even broadcast it live on the State Dept.’s website:
On October 11, @SecPompeo addresses the 2019 American Association of Christian Counselors World Conference in Nashville. Watch live on https://t.co/58Uc9lIgDz or https://t.co/O2lYyHUIHa at 12:00 PM EDT/ 11:00 AM CDT. pic.twitter.com/Ns5e0TyBXa
— Department of State (@StateDept) October 11, 2019
A few responses via Twitter:
— The InfoAddict (@theinfoaddict) October 14, 2019
— Derek DelGaudio (@derek_del) October 14, 2019
Once again, anybody want to dispute my suggestion of an “evangelical caliphate?”https://t.co/hcdYOIZoHq
— I.M Hydrogen (@ChuckGore2) October 14, 2019
— James K. Yu (@jyu_pdx) October 14, 2019
— Juliana Aldous (@jaldous) October 14, 2019
What fresh hell is this?? I do not want religion in my government and I do not want the government in my religion. Separation of church and state protects both. https://t.co/FQdXxdfURW
— Carly B (@carly__bird) October 14, 2019
Franklin Graham: Rise in STDs Is Because of Hollywood and the Gays
Franklin Graham once again is attacking the LGBTQ community. The Christian evangelical minister who is closely tied to President Donald Trump took to Facebook this week to blame gay people for a nationwide rise in the rates of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
“God made us male and female and gave sex for us to enjoy inside a marriage relationship between a man and a woman—not two men, not two women. The Bible says that anyone who sins sexually, sins against their own body. How true,” Graham wrote.
He points to CNN’s reporting, which notes that for “the fifth consecutive year, combined cases of gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis have risen in the United States, according to a Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance Report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published on Tuesday.”
Graham notes, “An incredible 2.4 million cases of sexually transmitted diseases were diagnosed across the U.S. just last year alone. Hollywood is busy promoting promiscuity to the world—almost every movie, every television show is focused on sex. The saying goes, ‘sex sells.’ Well, the statistics in the CNN article verify that there’s a price to pay, and it is a very heavy price.”
In addition to blaming gay people and Hollywood, Graham manages to lay blame at the feet of the Democratic Party, calling the rise in STDs “a topic that probably won’t be mentioned in the upcoming Democratic debate.”
Young people aged 15-24, CNN notes, are experiencing the largest rise in STDs. But rather than call for an increase in fact-based sex-ed classes, Graham is silent. He also neglects to mention that President Donald Trump’s budget slashes sex education classes. while funneling $75 million to abstinence-only and “personal responsibility” sex-education programs, which have been proven to not only not work, but cause harm to teens.
The CDC report attributes the rise in STD rates to “multiple factors,” including:
- Drug use, poverty, stigma, and unstable housing, which can reduce access to STD prevention and care
- Decreased condom use among vulnerable groups, including young people and gay and bisexual men
- Cuts to STD programs at the state and local level – in recent years, more than half of local programs have experienced budget cuts, resulting in clinic closures, reduced screening, staff loss, and reduced patient follow-up and linkage to care services
Trump’s Top Religion Advisor: Democrats Do Not Worship Jesus They Worship Demon God ‘Moloch’ (Video)
President Donald Trump’s top religion advisor Dr. Robert Jeffress has some news for the millions of Democratic voters who happen to be Christians: You are not.
Dr. Jeffress, who sits on President Trump’s Evangelical Advisory Board and even led a private pre-inauguration sermon for the Trump and Pence families hours before the president was sworn in, was not shy about his feelings on Christian Democrats.
On Monday, as Right Wing Watch reports, Jeffress declared that the god Democrats actually “worship is the pagan god of the Old Testament, Moloch.”
Jeffress, who came under fire over the weekend after President Trump quoted him saying if Democrats impeach the president there will be “Civil War,” spoke with fellow right wing Christian extremist Todd Starnes of Fox News.
Calling President Trump “the most pro-life, pro-religious liberty, pro-Israel, pro-conservative judiciary president we have ever had,” Jeffress warned, “if the left ever regains control of this country again, our nation is finished.”
“Look, I believe that,” Starnes responded. “Based on some of the legislation they’re trying to shove down the throats of the good people of California. And then with this Equality Act,” Starnes, a vehemently anti-LGBTQ activist, added, “that Nancy Pelosi and her cronies are after, I have no doubt that they want to go after and target Christians.”
“I believe that if the left ever gets in control again,” Jeffress told Starnes, “they are going to come after conservatives with a vengeance.”
Jeffress is the senior pastor of a 13,000 member Dallas megachurch and a Fox News contributor.
He then mockingly attacked “sanctimonious Nancy Pelosi” for encouraging Americans to pray for President Trump, as she repeatedly has said she does.
Jeffress continued his attacks, saying the Speaker of the House “reminds me of an arsonist, a pyromaniac with a match in his hand about to set a building on fire, saying, ‘Now pray with me that the destruction I’m about to cause isn’t too severe.’”
“If Nancy Pelosi is sincere about bringing this nation together, she will drop this impeachment effort,” he said, ignoring polls that find a strong majority of Americans favor impeaching President Trump.
“Apparently,” Jeffress continued, “the god they worship is the pagan god of the Old Testament, Moloch, who allowed for child sacrifice.”
“The God of the Bible doesn’t sanction the killing of millions and millions of children in the womb. I think the god they are worshiping is the god of their own imagination.”
Jeffress has condemned Judaism, Catholicism, Islam, and various forms of Christianity including Mormonism as not “true” religions.
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