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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

Hundreds of Orgs, Political and Religious Leaders Demand Pompeo Abolish His Anti-LGBTQ ‘Commission on Unalienable Rights’

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‘Harmful to the Global Effort to Protect the Rights of All People and a Waste of Resources’

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday was sent letters signed by hundreds of human rights organizations, activists, and supporters, along with religious and political leaders demanding he abolish his newly-formed anti-LGBTQ and anti-women “Commission on Unalienable Rights.”

Pompeo claimed it was an effort to “provide fresh thinking” about the government’s role in the promotion and advocacy of “natural law and natural rights,” which is right-wing code for anti-LGBTQ and anti-choice. The Secretary chose to head his nascent organization an anti-LGBTQ anti-choice activist, Mary Ann Glendon (photo above, with Pompeo at the launch of the commission.)

The letters sent to Pompeo “accuse the State Department of sidelining rights for women and the LGBTQ community in favor of religious liberty,” NBC News reports.

One letter being sent Tuesday by more than 180 rights groups — including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Center for Disability Rights and the Anti-Defamation League — demands that the commission be abolished. The groups say the commission is being overseen by clergy and scholars “known for extreme positions opposing LGBTQI and reproductive rights,” including some who they say have defended “indefensible human rights violations.”

One of the three letters calls on the Secretary to “immediately disband” his Commission on Unalienable Rights.

Another of the letters, this one from Catholic theologians, was signed by more than 110 people, and calls for the “immediate dismantling of this commission,” NBC News says adding that the “letter adds concern that the commission will be used to downplay the needs of the poor, immigrants and refugees.”

One of the letters, organized by Human Rights First is respectful but scathing. It begins:

We, the undersigned U.S. foreign policy, human rights, civil liberties, social justice, and faith leaders, experts, scholars, and organizations, write to express our deep concern with the Department of State’s recently announced Commission on Unalienable Rights. We object to the Commission’s stated purpose, which we find harmful to the global effort to protect the rights of all people and a waste of resources; the Commission’s make-up, which lacks ideological diversity and appears to reflect a clear interest in limiting human rights, including the rights of women and LGBTQI individuals; and the process by which the Commission came into being and is being administered, which has sidelined human rights experts in the State Department’s own Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL).

UPDATE:

RELATED STORIES:

STATE DEPT. QUIETLY CREATES COMMISSION FOCUSED ON ‘FRESH THINKING’ ABOUT ‘NATURAL RIGHTS’ – CODE FOR ANTI-LGBT

RIGHTS ACTIVISTS ALARMED AS POMPEO INSTALLS ANTI-GAY ANTI-ABORTION ACTIVIST TO HEAD NEW COMMISSION ON ‘NATURAL LAW’

 

 

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

‘Love This Guy’: Franklin Graham Praises Mayor for Having ‘A Lot of Guts’ After He Attacked LGBT People

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Evangelical empire scion Franklin Graham has made attacking LGBTQ people a core principle of his self-styled “ministry,” aka Facebook. After New Jersey Mayor Alfonso Cirulli delivered an 11-minute anti-gay screed during a township committee meeting Graham took to social media to praise the Republican for calling the LGBTQ community “an affront to almighty God.”

“Love this guy—he’s got a lot of guts!” Graham told his nearly 8 million followers on Facebook.

Mayor Cirulli told elected town officials he opposes the state’s new law that requires schools to teach students about the contributions LGBTQ people have made to society.

“We’ve crossed over the line into absurdity,” Cirulli said. And he urged residents to vote state lawmakers out, saying, “no group has a right to force others to comply with their beliefs, deprive them of their First Amendment rights, and strip them of their parents of how to morally raise their children.”

Graham totally agreed.

Related: Franklin Graham’s Astonishing Ungodly Hypocrisy

“In the world we live in,” Graham wrote, “the truth of God’s Word many times isn’t received well. But that shouldn’t stop us from standing with God’s teachings from the Bible. Pray for Mayor Cirulli—and pray that this state mandate will be reversed.”

Graham has been preaching his version of the anti-gay gospel for years, but in recent times many have grown sick and tired of his ministry of hate.

After telling Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg to “repent” or suffer “eternal damnation” for marrying his husband, Graham’s hometown newspaper’s editorial board made clear where it stands.

“It’s been a little while since Franklin Graham offered up a shovel of moral manure,” The Charlotte Observer’s editorial board wrote in “The gloriously growing irrelevance of Franklin Graham.”

They called his attack on Buttigieg “a typically ripe bite of bigotry from Graham,” and said his “perspective on homosexuality has been pushed to the fringe.”

 

 

 

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

‘Broadest Protection of Religious Exercise’: Trump’s New Labor Rule Would Allow Massive Discrimination by For-Profit Companies

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President Donald Trump’s Labor Department on Wednesday announced a new rule that not only would codify the “right” to discriminate into practice, but would help corporations do so. The new rule applies to federal contractors, who employ up to one quarter of all employees. As NCRM reported earlier, it would allow any company, corporation, or organization with a federal contract that claims it is either religious or faith-based or follows any sort of belief system – so-called “religion-exercising organizations” – to discriminate based on those beliefs.

The word “religion” appears 241 times in the 46-page draft document.

The draft rule says “religious employers can condition employment on acceptance of or adherence
to religious tenets,” and “should be construed to provide the broadest protection of religious exercise permitted by the Constitution and other laws.”

The ACLU calls it ” taxpayer-funded discrimination in the name of religion. Period.”

Buzzfeed calls it “Trump’s latest move to let religious people sidestep civil rights policies,” and says it allows federal contractors to “cite religious objections as a valid reason to discriminate against their workers on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sex, LGBTQ status, and other characteristics.”

The new rule would not apply only to, say, churches, Catholic hospitals, or even a privately-held company like Hobby Lobby – if Hobby Lobby were a federal contractor. It would allow discrimination at literally any federal contractor that can show it has a “religious purpose,” but makes clear: “This need not be the contractor’s only purpose.”

The National Center for Transgender Equality says the new rule “would allow federal contractors to apply for broad exemptions to civil rights law after engaging in discriminatory behavior, including firing or refusing to hire someone because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. It could also lead to federal contractors refusing to hire women or unmarried workers who are pregnant or parents, or even discrimination on the basis of race.”

 

 

 

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

Here’s the Truth About the Shadowy Group Behind the National Prayer Breakfast

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The National Prayer Breakfast is a relatively uncontroversial affair these days. Presidents from both parties make a habit of attending it, and giving simple speeches about what their faith means to them, and leaders from around the world join them.

But a new Netflix documentary miniseries, “The Family”, explores the shadowy group known as the Fellowship, which originally set it up in 1935.

The Fellowship began as a secretive fraternity of evangelical men, first organized under the leadership of a man named Abraham Veride, who was attempting to gather business leaders to thwart union drives. It evolved into what Rolling Stone described as a “secret theocracy” used by powerful Christian men to influence politics worldwide. Its members include Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Jim Inhofe (R-OK), and Vice President Mike Pence is also reported to have ties to it.

The group has stringent rules against sex and dating, and there is an undercurrent of homophobia — but also simultaneously homoeroticism. “[There’s] a lot of that uneasy joking about masculinity and the potential for it and, at the same time, this desire for intimacy that becomes really challenging for people who have a theological and ideological opposition to that,” said Jeff Sharlet, an author who has written extensively on the Fellowship.

They also have had ties to current and former authoritarians around the world who have committed atrocities in their home countries, for the sake of advancing a conservative religious agenda — including the late former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

“In the face of all these dictators, they don’t say anything at all,” Sharlet said. “They don’t ask any accountability.”

Yet despite this group’s broad reach in world affairs, it has attracted little public scrutiny, because it operates with scrupulous secrecy. A secrecy that the Netflix series seeks to dissipate.

You can read more here.

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