A Kentucky teen who sued the Northern Kentucky health department for religious discrimination for banning him from his private Catholic high school amid an outbreak of chickenpox has just contracted chickenpox.
Jerome Kunkel, 18, a student at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Assumption Academy, said he has deeply-held beliefs against being inoculated with the chickenpox vaccine, NBC News reports. He sued the health department in March, and lost.
“The fact that I can’t finish my senior year in basketball, like, our last couple of games, it’s pretty devastating,” Kunkel said at the time.
“I don’t believe in that vaccine at all and they are trying to push it on us,” Kunkel’s father, Bill Kunkel said. He noted the vaccine was created from the tissue of two aborted fetuses.
“As Christians we’re against abortion,” he added.
He also bragged that as children, “we used to go to chickenpox parties.”
Chickenpox parties have been called dangerous by experts.
In mid-March Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Assumption Academy had 32 documented cases of chickenpox, a highly-contagious disease which can cause brain swelling and even death.
“These are deeply held religious beliefs, they’re sincerely held beliefs,” Kunkel’s family attorney Christopher Wiest said. “From their perspective, they always recognized they were running the risk of getting it, and they were OK with it.”
Wiest did not mention that by getting chickenpox Kunkel could then spread it. He did, however, call the health dept.’s ban “stupid.”
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Franklin Graham Cries ‘Discrimination’ as UK Venues Ban Him Over His ‘Divisive’ Anti-LGBTQ Extremism
Franklin Graham‘s planned tour of the UK has run in to a snag: It appears few in the UK want him there. The far right evangelical Christian leader with strong ties to President Donald Trump had announced a UK tour starting in June, but as word spread venues started canceling on him, or pulled out of negotiations. At issue: Graham’s anti-LGBTQ extremism.
ACC Liverpool, a convention center adjacent to the John Lennon Peace Monument has blocked Graham, calling him “divisive” and saying he is “incompatible” with their values.
“Over the past few days we have been made aware of a number of statements which we consider to be incompatible with our values,” the ACC Liverpool said in a statement, as The Guardian reports. “In light of this we can no longer reconcile the balance between freedom of speech and the divisive impact this event is having in our city. We have informed the organizers of the event that the booking will no longer be fulfilled.”
The mayor of Liverpool supports the decision:
Our City is a diverse City and proud of our LGBTQ+ community and always will be. We can not allow hatred and intolerance to go unchallenged by anyone including by religious groups or sects. It’s right we have banned from the M&S Arena Franklin Graham.#Love conquers hatred always
— Joe Anderson (@mayor_anderson) January 26, 2020
A London venue has also backed out of negotiations in the wake of “an All Out petition calling on The O2 to refuse to host Graham, with the petition gaining more than 8,500 signatures by early Tuesday morning,” Newsweek reports.
Graham is accusing his UK opponents of discrimination – while falsely suggesting all Christians support him and his beliefs.
“We feel that we are being discriminated against because of our religious beliefs,” Graham said. “Cancelling venue contracts based on the demands of one very vocal group, without consideration for the views and rights of the Christians who contracted for the venue, including the views of thousands of other Christians who support it and who would be negatively impacted, does far more to harm and divide society than simply letting the events go on as planned.”
He also called it “wrong for venue managers and local officials to make a decision that disadvantages Christians,” as if all LGBTQ people are not Christian.
“The rub, I think, comes in whether God defines homosexuality as sin. The answer is yes,” he told his 8 million Facebook followers. “But God goes even further than that, to say that we are all sinners—myself included. The Bible says that every human being is guilty of sin and in need of forgiveness and cleansing. The penalty of sin is spiritual death—separation from God for eternity.”
“I invite everyone in the LGBTQ community to come and hear for yourselves the Gospel messages that I will be bringing from God’s Word, the Bible. You are absolutely welcome,” he claimed.
Trump Expected to Give Anti-Abortion Extremists Huge Gift When He Addresses ‘March for Life’ Attendees in Person
As Trump Becomes First President to Address Anti-Abortion Extremists He Launches Threat Against California Over Abortion Coverage
As his impeachment trial is successfully moving forward President Donald Trump is working hard to please those most supportive of him: evangelical Christians. On Friday, they will receive two tremendous gifts from the president they, more than any other group, support.
President Trump on Friday will become the first U.S. president to address – in person – the annual March for Life rally at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The March for Life is a group of anti-abortion extremists who have ties to radical anti-LGBTQ hate groups, and who advocate not only to make abortion illegal but promote the false claim that birth control is abortion. Abortion is not only legal but has been affirmed as constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Trump is not only showing up to speak at the March for Life but he is expected to use his appearance to announce his administration today is planning “to announce action against California over its requirement insurers cover abortions,” The Wall Street Journal reports.
The new attack comes from the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights, which is headed by Roger Severino.
Severino is a religious and anti-LGBTQ extremist who previously served as CEO and counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a far right legal group that, among other cases, successfully advised in the anti-abortion Hobby Lobby Supreme Court case. It has been called “God’s Rottweilers.”
Under Severino, the Trump administration will attack California for its “requirement that private health insurance policies include abortion coverage,” the Journal explains, even though the State won that right in court.
The Dept. of Health and Human Services will go after California, threaten to withhold federal funds under the guise that California is engaging in discrimination, and President Trump likely will make that announcement today to his supporters at the March for Life rally.
Watch Live: Trump to Announce ‘Big Action’ to Promote Public School Prayer
President Donald Trump is promising “big action” that will promote school prayer, at a 2 PM White House event Thursday, “Guidance on Constitutional Prayer in Public Schools.” Thursday is also Religious Freedom Day.
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that praying in school is legal, but promotion of prayer or religion in public schools is illegal. The administration has not released details of its plan, but has a long track record now of instituting unconstitutional or illegal policies and then fighting lawsuits in court. Trump’s Muslim travel ban, and co-opting of Defense Dept. funds to build his border wall are just two examples.
“We think this is going to be another Christian nationalist attempt to redefine – really, weaponize – religious liberty,” Elizabeth Cavell, Freedom From Religion Foundation’s associate counsel, says.
Just three days into the new year President Trump made the inflammatory “big action” promise to Christians evangelical supporters at a Florida megachurch.
“We will not allow faithful Americans to be bullied by the hard left,” Trump said, as Time reported. “Very soon, I’ll be taking action to safeguard students’ and teachers’ First Amendment rights to pray in our schools. We’re doing a big action, Attorney General Bill Barr.”
“They want to take that right, can you believe it?” Trump told the attendees at the El Rey Jesus Church in Miami.
In fact, no one is trying to “take that right,” but the Supreme Court has been crystal clear on what is, and is not, constitutional when it comes to prayer in schools.
Some may try to use whatever support for school prayer the President and Attorney General Bill Barr offer as an opportunity to attack LGBTQ students or even teachers or administration officials.
Trump is known for making big promises, including to the conservative evangelical community, and getting them to believe his claims, however false. He spent years attacking the Johnson Amendment, which bans faith-based entities from supporting political candidates. He claimed, “I’ve gotten rid of the Johnson Amendment.” That’s false.
Instead, he signed an executive order directing the IRS to exercise maximum discretion in enforcing tax laws for religious organizations, including churches, under the Johnson Amendment.
But evangelicals believed his falsehoods.
You can watch Trump’s 2 PM event at C-SPAN.
NCRM will embed the White House live video feed when it become available.
UPDATE: 2:25 PM –
Trump's simultaneous event on constitutional prayer in Public Schools has been inexplicably delayed. https://t.co/0QdlUL7C0l
— Annie Karni (@anniekarni) January 16, 2020
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