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Pence Doubles Down: Pete Buttigieg’s Belief God Made Him Gay Infringes on My First Amendment Religious Freedom



Vice President Mike Pence is accusing Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg of infringing on his First Amendment right of freedom of religion.

In an interview with CNN, the Vice President was asked about the South Bend, Indiana mayor saying that if Pence disagrees that people are born gay he has a “quarrel” with Buttigieg’s “creator,” and not with Buttigieg.

Vice President Pence for days now has been attacking “Mayor Pete,” wrongly claiming Buttigieg is attacking him and his Christian faith, which Buttigieg has not done.

On Thursday, in a just-aired interview, Pence doubled down and expanded his attack.

“I hope that Pete will offer more to the American people than attacks on my Christian faith, or attacks on the president, as he seeks the highest office in the land,” Pence, playing the victim, told CNN’s Dana Bash.

Related: Students at This Top Evangelical College Are Trying to Stop Mike Pence From Delivering the Commencement Address

“He argues,” Bash responded, “that your quarrel is with him as a gay man, and he says, ‘I was born this way, and this is the way God made me.’ That’s just not your belief?”

Pence would not answer the question directly.

“Well, I think Pete’s quarrel’s with [the] First Amendment,” Pence declared. “All of us in this country have the right to our religious beliefs,” he insisted, falsely suggesting that Buttigieg was somehow prohibiting him from holding his beliefs.

But the Vice President did not honor Buttigieg’s First Amendment rights – of religion or of free speech. He literally is attacking the Indiana mayor’s right to believe what his faith tells him, and to declare it out loud.

Watch (the CNN video appears to have some glitches):






Image: U.S. Customs and Border Protection Photo by Glenn Fawcett via Flickr

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Experts Slam Fox News for Wrongly Attacking VP Harris for ‘Repeatedly Failing to Salute Military’



Fox News is taking fire from military experts after the conservative media outlet and some of its strongest allies attacked Vice President Kamala Harris for not saluting members of the U.S. Military. As experts explained, Harris is not a member of the military nor in the chain of command, and it would be inappropriate for her to do so. It would also signal a weakening of civilian control.

“Vice President Kamala Harris is facing criticism for appearing to break with precedent and failing to salute the honor guard when boarding Air Force Two,” Fox News’ Evie Fordham wrote in an online article on Tuesday. “Video reviewed by Fox News showed that her predecessors, former Vice President Mike Pence and President Biden, regularly saluted the honor guard in the same situation.”

Tom Nichols, a professor at the U.S. Naval War College who formerly was a fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, slammed Fox News, saying it would be “incorrect” for her to salute, and they know they’re wrong.

Task & Purpose, a military news site reported on the “conflict” before Fox News did, concluding, “there is no requirement that the President or Vice President of the United States return a salute.”

But a veteran speaking to The Chicago Tribune back in 2015 went even further.

“In the military, saluting is a part of ceremony and it’s very prescriptive. If you’re not in uniform, you can’t salute,” Eric Potter, a 32-year veteran of the military said.

“Saluting soldiers is not a recommended way to honor current or former members of the Armed Forces,” the editorial team at Aircraft Compare wrote. “Even members of the Armed Forces do not salute when out of uniform. A salute is part of the official protocols that active soldiers follow. Outside official duties, the military salute is rarely displayed.”

Meanwhile, Fox News host Sean Hannity “reported” on the “scandal” on his own site:

Former NYC “top cop,” and convicted felon Bernie Kerik, who served in the U.S. Army and should know better, called not saluting “disgraceful.”

Jonathan Ladd, associate professor at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy and the Department of Government joined in noting Fox News is wrong:

As did congressional reporter Steve Beynon:




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Trump Political Appointee and Anti-LGBTQ Christian Right Activist Sues Biden After Refusing to Resign



Roger Severino

Roger Severino, a former Trump appointee at the Dept. of Health and Human Services who targeted LGBTQ Americans in his religious crusade as head of the Office of Civil Rights is suing the Biden administration for firing him from his appointment by the former president to an obscure but powerful federal government agency known as ACUS.

He is refusing to resign, despite being a political appointee.

“President Biden’s attempt to remove me contrary to law exposes his lofty promises of healing and uniting all Americans as nothing more than cynical manipulation,” Severino defiantly told Newsweek.

“Because I am not one to be bullied, not even by the President himself, I will not resign my duly commissioned post and look forward to seeing how President Biden tries to justify his vindictive actions in court.”

Severino’s lawsuit claims that “President Biden has no constitutional authority under Article II to terminate Mr. Severino’s appointment to the Council.”

“The Council” is the Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS), which holds sway over how U.S. government regulatory agencies operate.

Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern, who covers the courts and the law, writes on Twitter that “Severino’s substantive argument … seems to suggest that ACUS is part of no branch of government, but instead sits outside the executive branch on some heavenly plane.”

He calls the lawsuit “bonkers, BONKERS, just eye-melting galaxy-brain-level drivel.”

Severino spent his four years in the Trump administration working tirelessly to kill protections, many installed by the Obama administration, for LGBTQ patients, effectively promoting discrimination based on gender and sexual orientation. He also expanded opportunities for people of faith to claim anti-religion discrimination by creating the Conscience and Religious Freedom Division at HHS.

At HHS Severino called Obama-era protections for transgender patients “unnecessary.”

And in defending an anti-LGBTQ “religious freedom” regulation, Severino told reporters, “Patients want doctors who match their values.”

As NCRM has previously reported, Severino has been called a “radical” anti-LGBTQ religious right activist by the Human Rights Campaign. He once served as CEO and counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a religious right non-profit that opposes separation of church and state. He has also served as the Director of the DeVos family’s Center for Religion and Civil Society in the Institute for Family, Community, and Opportunity.

He is married to Carrie Severino, president of the Judicial Crisis Network, which spent millions to install President Donald Trump’s extremist judges, including reportedly tens of millions of dollars to help secure Trump’s three Supreme Court nominees.

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‘How Can You Have Unity if You’re Taking Away Everything We Like?’: Fox News Blasts Biden for Scrapping Trump Policies



Conservatives all over the country have been using President Joe Biden’s call for unity to attack him by criticizing the new president’s decision to implement policies different from his predecessor. Nowhere was that more prevalent than on “Fox & Friends” Thursday morning, which devoted several segments to the claim that Biden shouldn’t change anything Trump did if he really wants unity.

“Our country’s got to come together,” the Fox News morning show’s cohost Ainsley Earhardt told viewers, “and Joe Biden said yesterday, ‘I want unity.’ He talked about that in his speech, but the first thing he does, the first order of business is to walk in, sit down at the table, and he has 17 executive orders really wiping away much of what President Trump did. So, his supporters are saying, ‘How can we have unity if you’re taking away everything that we like?'”

Crooked Media’s editor in chief sums up Republicans’ false argument:



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