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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

Watch Live: Trump to Announce ‘Big Action’ to Promote Public School Prayer

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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 –

 

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

‘Kill the Gays’ Pastor Suggests Climate Activist Greta Thunberg Is Demonically Possessed and ‘Needs Jesus’

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Radical right-wing pastor Kevin Swanson declared on his radio program yesterday that Time magazine’s decision to name climate change activist Greta Thunberg as 2019’s Person of the Year is a sign of “the unraveling of the Western world.”

Swanson, who normally uses his radio program to declare that the proper biblical punishment for homosexuality is death, seized on the fact that Thunberg has Asperger’s syndrome, and suggested that she is demonically possessed and in need of Jesus.

“She’s psychologically disturbed,” Swanson said, likening her to the young boy in Mark 9 who was healed by Jesus after being possessed by a demonic spirit.

“I have to say there is something very disturbing about the appearance of and the presentation of this Greta Thunberg,” Swanson commented. “The other demonic spirits are using her to lead the world wherever it’s going.”

“Friends, if this isn’t a quintessential demonstration of the death of the West, or what an entire empire, what multiple empires, look like at the verge of collapsing, this is it,” he added. “It’s ridiculous. On the one hand, we want to be compassionate with Greta. I truly believe that Greta needs Jesus and short of her coming to Christ, I don’t know what is going to happen to this young lady. It is sad to see her in the condition that she is in.”

RELATED STORIES:

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US Senate Candidate Repeatedly Appears With Pastor Who Says Gays Are ‘Worthy of Death’

GOP Lawmaker Withdraws From ‘Kill the Gays’ Pastor’s Conference After NCRM Inquiry

 

This article was originally published at Right Wing Watch and is republished here by permission

 

 

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

GOP Governor Is Relying on Citizen’s Prayers to Stop School Shootings and End Opioid Epidemic

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Bill Lee is fond of rolling up his sleeves but in a unique move the Tennessee Republican governor has just made his job much easier. Gov. Lee says it’s up to citizens to end school shootings and the opioid epidemic, and to improve results in the state’s schools, by praying.

“If thousands of people offer similar prayers, he believes God will impart his favor on Tennessee,” the AP reports. “The governor’s remarks came during a luncheon at the Southern Baptist Convention’s Nashville headquarters.”

The 60-year old governor who took office in January apparently does not believe enough people in “The Volunteer State” are praying for health care. He has rejected legislation that would expand the state’s Medicare program, but believes that Tennesseans will become more physically active now that he has signed a bill repealing the state’s tax on gyms and health clubs.

Lee also believes that passing a virtual total ban on abortion will help his state’s citizens.

Meanwhile, Friendly Atheist notes that Gov. Lee “held a literal ‘worship’ service on the day of his inauguration,” and “announced that October 10 would be an official day of prayer and fasting across the state.”

 

 

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