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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

Right-Wing Religious Prayer Pleas Make Hurricane Victims Worse Off — Here’s How

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Right-wing evangelical leaders often make grand displays of piety and sympathy for those in the path of deadly weather events like Hurricane Dorian. But as Rewire.News’ Tony Keddie noted in an opinion column, those who preach the so-called “Prosperity Gospel” are in fact bringing further harm to these victims.

“In between advertising her own books and promoting her rock star husband’s albums, Trump’s Prosperity Gospel confidant, Paula White-Cain, took a moment to acknowledge those affected by Hurricane Dorian,” wrote Keddie. “White-Cain tweeted a link to the evangelical pastor Greg Laurie’s Fox News article defending ‘prayer’ as a legitimate response to mass shootings and hurricanes … This is surprising because Laurie has criticized Prosperity Gospel preachers like White-Cain for glorifying the human will more than the divine will and prayer can often be a point of contention in these debates.”

“Whereas Laurie stresses ‘the power of the one we are praying to,’ White-Cain stresses the power of the one who is praying,” wrote Keddie. “This is a subtle theological distinction that enables Prosperity Gospel preachers to insist that believers should bootstrap their way to physical and financial prosperity. Shortly after tweeting out Laurie’s article, White-Cain used a Prosperity Gospel keyword, ‘favor’: ‘I pray open doors that no man can shut, favor, promotion, divine opportunities and connections for you to fulfill the purpose of God in the name of Jesus!’”

The upshot, Keddie wrote, is that evangelists like White-Cain are preaching that God wills people to be self-sufficient and individualistic — and that they, like Republican political ideology generally, oppose government intervention to help the destitute. Another example of this, he wrote, is Joel Osteen, the Houston megachurch pastor who did not open his doors to Hurricane Harvey victims until considerable public backlash.

“Laurie and White-Cain present two prevalent views of free will that are often used to support Republican opposition to what they call ‘Big Government,’” wrote Keddie. “Whether believers are supposed to rely more on God or themselves as a hurricane destroys their homes, they are not supposed to rely on the government. Sure, Christian relief organizations like Samaritan’s Purse and Convoy of Hope might offer some aid, but their role in disbursing federal funds is also an indictment against government institutions of relief, as Inderpal Grewal observes in Saving the Security State, and they often come with strings attached.”

“When we hear conservatives using the language of ‘prayers’ and ‘favor’ as a disaster strikes, it’s important to recognize that this pious rhetoric conceals neoliberal politics that impede the work of government institutions of disaster management,” concluded Keddie.

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

Amy Coney Barrett Puts Reversal of Marriage Equality ‘Clearly Within Sight’ Says National Organization for Marriage

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While many Republicans and right-wing activists are pretending that they have no idea how Amy Coney Barrett will rule on major issues, anti-equality activists like National Organization for Marriage President Brian Brown aren’t being so coy.

In an email to supporters Wednesday, Brown said his group’s goal of overturning the U.S. Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling in Obergefell is now “clearly within sight.”

When the US Supreme Court illegitimately redefined marriage in 2015 with their anti-constitutional ruling in the Obergefell case, NOM vowed to work every day to overturn that decision. People said we were crazy to think that was possible. We were mocked and ridiculed by LGBT activists for even suggesting that the Supreme Court would ever reverse their ruling imposing gay ‘marriage.’ Regardless, NOM pressed on and now the supposedly unthinkable is clearly within sight.

They don’t think we’re crazy any longer.

Brown was gleeful that Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., mentioned NOM during his questioning of Barrett, calling it evidence that “leading politicians from both parties see NOM as a powerful force for marriage and all the issues we care so deeply about.”

Brown continued, “We may already have the five votes we need on the US Supreme Court to overturn the Obergefell decision that redefined marriage, but there is no question that the addition of Amy Coney Barrett to the Court significantly strengthens our hand.”

 

This article was originally published on Right Wing Watch and is reprinted here by permission.

Image of Brian Brown via Facebook

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

‘I Won’t Do That’: Amy Coney Barrett Refuses to Reveal Her Legal Position on Same-Sex Marriage Law Obergefell

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Judge Amy Coney Barrett is refusing to say if Obergefell, the law that found same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry was properly decided. Amid questioning from Connecticut Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal, Barrett held fast, claiming she has an obligation to not share her legal beliefs.

“I’m asking your legal position judge,” Senator Blumenthal told Judge Barrett. “Not your moral position, not a policy position, not a religious faith position, a legal position. Correctly decided? Obergefell v. Hodges.”

“Senator Blumenthal, every time you asked me a question about whether a case was correctly decided or not, I cannot answer that question because I cannot suggest agreement or disagreement with precedents of the Supreme Court,” Barrett insisted. “All of those precedents bind me now as a Seventh Circuit Judge, and were I to be confirmed, I would be responsible for applying the law of stare decisis to all of them.”

Two conservative Supreme Court justices, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, on the first day of this year’s Supreme Court term, had no problem revealing their legal opinions on Obergefell, announcing they believe it was wrongly decided. They called legalizing marriage for same-sex couples “a problem” that only the Court can “fix.”

“But your honor,” Blumenthal continued, “think of how you would feel as a gay or lesbian American to hear that you can’t answer whether the government can make it a crime for them to have that relationship. Whether the government can enable people who are happily married to continue that relationship. Think of how you would feel?”

“Well Senator you’re implying that I’m poised to say that I want to cast a vote to overrule Obergefell and I assure you, I don’t have any agenda and I don’t, I’m not even expressing a view and disagreement of Obergefell, you’re pushing me to try to violate the judicial canons of ethics and to offer advisory opinions and I won’t do that.

Senator Cory Booker chastised Barrett on Tuesday over similar refusals.

“You seem to honor the precedents that are enough to protect discrimination against African Americans [and] interracial couples, but you stop on saying that unequivocally about … religious discrimination.”

 

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

Busted: Amy Coney Barrett ‘Lied’ to Dem Senator Over Her Ties to Anti-LGBTQ Hate Group Says Top Political Scientist

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Judge Amy Coney Barrett is being accused of lying to a top Democratic Senator in an apparent attempt to hide her ties to and awareness of an anti-LGBTQ hate group that advocates for the re-criminalization of homosexuality and sterilization of transgender people.

Judge Barrett has been paid by and given speeches to the Alliance Defending Freedom, a law firm that appears on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of anti-LGBTQ hate groups. ADF advances its agenda by finding and litigating cases involving Christians who say they are being discriminated against for their faith by LGBTQ people, often same-sex couples.

The head of the Alliance Defending Freedom attended the announcement of Amy Coney Barrett’s #SCOTUS nomination in the Rose Garden,” former US Senator Al Franken  tweeted Wednesday. 

He posted a devastating video (below) of him questioning Barrett in her 2017 judicial confirmation hearing. The video then cuts to this week’s confirmation hearing, with Senator Pat Leahy (D-VT) asking her about the Alliance Defending Freedom.

“Were you aware of ADF’s decades-long efforts to re-criminalize homosexuality?” Leahy asked Barrett on Tuesday.

“I am not aware of those efforts, no,” Barrett firmly responded.

Franken adds, “I questioned her about this in 2017. She spoke to them 5 times, took money from them, and is very, very, very aware of what they do.”

Norman Orenstein, a top political scientist and a resident scholar at the conservative think tank American Enterprise Institute (AEI), says Barrett “lied.”

 

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