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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

NFL Star Dismisses Outrage Over His Support of Infamous Anti-LGBT Group: ‘I Do Not Support Any Groups That Discriminate’

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Focus On The Family is one of the most well-funded anti-LGBTQ organizations in the country

Star New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees is angrily dismissing outrage from fans, including many supporters of the LGBTQ community, over his involvement with an infamous anti-LGBT organization, Focus on the Family. The 42-year old group, one of the best-funded anti-gay organizations in the world, promotes and advocates for the harmful and destructive pseudo-science of “conversion therapy.” LGBTQ people who have experienced it have likened it to torture.

Brees says all he did was record a short video for kids for “Bring Your Bible to School Day,” a nationwide effort to use kids to indoctrinate and convert their classmates into Christianity, which is disturbing enough.

But to make matters worse, “Bring Your Bible to School Day” is a program of Focus On The Family, which also actively opposes civil rights for LGBTQ people, including marriage and adoption.

In a videotaped statement Brees defends making the video, and blasts those criticizing him for it.

And in an astonishing act of ignorance, Brees concludes his videotaped statement by saying: “I do not support any groups that discriminate or that have their own agendas that are trying to promote inequality. So, hopefully that will set the record straight.”

It might be written off as a wrong move by a football player who didn’t bother to consider what he was doing, but as  Big Easy Magazine, which first reported on Brees’ “Bring Your Bible to School Day” video notes, he has been involved with Focus On The Family for nearly a decade.

On Thursday Brees continued to defend his actions, telling reporters, “I was not aware of any of the things [Focus On The Family] said about them lobbying for anti-gay, any type of messaging for inequality of any type of hate-type related stuff. I was not aware of that at all.”

Brees apparently doesn’t understand he cannot separate his support for tiny portion of a group’s actions from that group’s principles.

And he has yet to denounce Focus On The Family or conversion therapy, nor has he promised to sever his partnership with the anti-LGBTQ group.

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

‘We Will Stand for the Freedom of Religion’: Pence Brags Trump to Allow Adoption Agencies ‘Right’ to Ban LGBTQ Parents

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Vice President Mike Pence this week attended a federal government event during which he bragged about the Trump administration’s latest attack on LGBTQ people. The vice president (video below) heralded a fast-tracked proposed policy from the Dept. of Health and Human Services that would reverse an Obama-era rule barring discrimination by adoption and foster care agencies against LGBTQ people and same-sex couples.

The proposed rollback of that rule is expected to go into effect in just a few weeks, granting government protection to religious, faith-based, or any other adoption organization that wishes to claim a moral opposition to LGBTQ people from facing a loss of federal funding.

“We will stand for the freedom of religion and we will stand with faith-based organizations to support adoption,” Vice President Pence told supporters at an HHS event Tuesday, as he pounded his fists on the podium, to cheers.

“I couldn’t be more proud that at President Trump’s direction and with the strong support of leaders across foster care, adoption, and our faith communities, we’ve taken decisive action,” Pence bragged.

That “decisive action” literally reduces the pool of prospective parents for large numbers of children who don’t have parents or homes.

“More than 100,000 foster children are awaiting adoption, according to government data, but a constellation of religious agencies refuse to consider same-sex parents when placing these children,” NBC News reports. “Shortly before the end of his second term, President Barack Obama changed nondiscrimination rules governing adoption agencies to expand the definition of groups protected against discrimination to include LGBTQ people. Trump’s proposed rule change will undo that.”

In fact, same-sex couples have far higher rates of adopting and fostering children than their different-sex couple peers.

A 2018 report from the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law found that 1 in 5 of the estimated 114,000 same-sex couples raising children in the United States are raising adopted or foster children — significantly higher than the 3 percent of heterosexual couples doing so.”

The latest discriminatory HHS rule Vice President Pence bragged about comes from Roger Severino, HHS’s Director of the Office of Civil Rights. Severino is known as a “radical” anti-LGBTQ religious right activist who previously 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 also once served as the Director of the DeVos family’s Center for Religion and Civil Society in the Institute for Family, Community, and Opportunity.

Watch Vice President Pence (video may be slow to load):

RELATED STORIES:

Texas Teams Up With Far Right Religious Law Firm to Sue for ‘Right’ to Use Foster Agencies That Discriminate Against Gays

Federally-Funded Catholic Adoption Agency Blocks Same-Sex Couple From Fostering Migrant Children, Because Jesus

HHS Being Sued Over Policy Giving Special Religious Rights to Healthcare Professionals Over LGBT People and Women

 

Hat tip: Towleroad
Video via Washington Blade/Facebook

 

 

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

Religious Right Activist Ralph Reed: If Christians Don’t Get Trump Re-Elected ‘It Will Be Open Season’ on Churches

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Religious right activist Ralph Reed appeared on Stephen Strang’s podcast yesterday, where he warned that if Christians don’t come out in record numbers to ensure the reelection of President Donald Trump in 2020, they will face wholesale persecution from Democrats and they will deserve it.

Strang claimed that “life as we know it as Christians” would be forever changed if Trump does not win.

“It’s going to be bad news, and Christians have to realize that they cannot be complacent,” he said. “[Trump] is our champion and he has come through on his promises again and again, and we’ve got to get him back into a second term to finish what he’s started and also to stop the other side.”

Reed readily agreed, saying that Trump deserves the support of Christians because of what he has done regarding Israel and the judiciary.

“If the Christian community doesn’t rise up like it never has in modern political history and if we allow, through our inaction, the left to remove this man from the Oval Office, then we will deserve everything that we get,” Reed said. “If they get the White House back, it will be open season on Christian ministries, on churches, the IRS will be able to persecute those faith-based organizations again. They will, under Obamacare, be able to force them to pay for abortion again. They will be able to sue the Little Sisters of the Poor and drag God-fearing nuns into federal court again to make them pay for abortion. That’s what will happen, and if we don’t turn out and vote in the biggest numbers ever, then we deserve it to happen.”

 

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

Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and a CC license

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

New Regulation Would Strip Federal Protections for LGBTQ People from All HHS Programs in Favor of ‘Religious Freedom’

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A proposed new regulation would strip all protections for LGBTQ people from all programs administered by the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, and give special rights to entities or programs that are religious or “faith-based.” HHS, under the direction of Secretary Alex Azar, has a budget of $1.2 trillion affecting the health and well-being, directly or indirectly, of nearly every person in the country.

Lambda Legal says the proposed rule “would invite HHS grantees receiving taxpayer funds to discriminate based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or religion.”

While reportedly drafted to focus on adoption and foster care organizations, the Human Rights Campaign also says the proposed rule would extend far beyond those entities to all programs that receive funding from HHS.

“The Trump-Pence White House has proposed a horrific federal regulation that would permit discrimination across the entire spectrum of HHS programs receiving federal funding,” said HRC President Alphonso David. “This would permit discrimination against LGBTQ people, religious minorities, and women in programs related to foster care, adoption, HIV and STI prevention, youth homelessness, refugee resettlement, elder care programs and more. It is unconscionable that the Trump-Pence administration would prioritize advancing discrimination over the wellbeing of vulnerable people and expect taxpayers to foot the bill for their discriminatory policies. The Trump-Pence White House is relying on the same flawed legal reasoning they’ve used in the past to justify discrimination against LGBTQ people and other communities.”

The Washington Blade, noting the  proposed regulation “will have far-reaching implications,” reports the proposal would “undo an Obama-era policy prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation among federal grantees.”

Earlier: Texas Teams Up With Far Right Religious Law Firm to Sue for ‘Right’ to Use Foster Agencies That Discriminate Against Gays

According to  the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) the Blade says “the rule will allow anti-trans discrimination in HIV and STI prevention programs, opioid programs, youth homelessness services, health professional training, substance-use recovery programs and other life-saving services.”

“The proposal seeks to gut an Obama-era rule that barred entities receiving money under federal contracts, including adoption agencies, from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation.”

HHS is reportedly granting only 30 days for public comment and review.

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This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change. This story will be updated, and NCRM will likely publish follow-up stories on this news. Stay tuned and refresh for updates.

 

 

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