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For Texas Governor Greg Abbott Protecting ‘Religious Liberty’ Appears to Apply Only to Anti-LGBTQ Hate

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Governor Greg Abbott is a strong proponent of religious liberty. The Texas Republican in May signed a bill protecting religious liberty, announcing, “I will always fight to preserve our religious liberty as Americans, and as Texans.”

Over the summer when the local government of San Antonio wanted to ban the Christian chicken chain Chick-fil-A from its airport food court over the company’s long history of supporting anti-LGBTQ charities, Gov. Abbott signed into law the “Save Chick-fil-A” bill. Twice.

“Texas protects religious liberty,” Gov. Abbott declared. “No business should be discriminated against simply because its owners donate to a church, the Salvation Army, or other religious organization.”

“The Save Chick-fil-A legislation that I’m about to sign is a victory for religious freedom in Texas,” he claimed.

But for Governor Abbott that religious liberty is effectively a one-way street.

On Monday Chick-fil-A announced it would narrow the number of recipients its charity donates to, to focus on hunger, homelessness, and education. As a result it will no longer donate to anti-LGBTQ non-profits including the Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Related: Mike Huckabee: It’s ‘Tragic’ Chick-fil-A Will Focus Its Charitable Giving on Causes That Aren’t Anti-LGBTQ – Like Hunger

Abbott isn’t having it, and made clear he apparently will boycott Chick-fil-A as a result.

Retweeting the news of Chick-fil-A’s decision to help reduce hunger and homelessness and help improve education, the Texas governor posted a tweet Monday night announcing he would be dining at a Texas barbecue restaurant Bill Miller’s,

Abbott was willing to go all out to support and protect Chick-fil-A when the company was supporting anti-LGBTQ hate. When they stopped, he pulled his support – in a very public way.

In other words, Abbott’s desire to protect “religious liberty” only applies if that “liberty” is being used to attack LGBTQ people.

RELATED STORIES:

Anti-LGBT Texas Governor Protects Sanctity of Biscuits and Bigotry by Signing ‘Save Chick-fil-A’ Bill Into Law

‘Save Chick-Fil-A’ Bill’s Author Was Lawyer for Anti-LGBT Hate Group and Named Most Homophobic Legislator

WATCH: Fox & Friends Celebrates Signing of New Texas Anti-LGBT Law by Eating and Defending Chick-fil-A

 

 

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COMMENTARY

Trump White House Already Scripting How Impeachment Trial Will Play Out? WH Counsel Just Walked Into McConnell’s Office

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Just how much control will the Trump White House have over the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump?

Consider this.

The White House Counsel, Pat Cipollone, just walked into Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office. Chances are good it wasn’t for a friendly game of checkers.

And Cipollone was accompanied by Eric Ueland, a former member of the Trump transition team who Trump tried to hand a top State Dept. job to but was forced to pull his nomination. A recent promotion has elevated him to now serving as the White House Director of Legislative Affairs, after spending years working for then-Senator Jeff Sessions.

One thing is clear: the Senate should not be working with the White House to pre-determine how the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump will be conducted or will play out.

Remember, it was just six says ago that Cipollone sent this angry letter to Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, effectively saying Trump and the White House would not participate in the House’s impeachment hearings.

Cipollone called the impeachment inquiry “baseless.” He insisted it was both a waste of time and should be done “fast” so Trump could win in the Senate.

Experts say Cipollone’s December 6 letter in conjunction with his repeated refusal to hand over any documents or comply with congressional subpoenas may have forced the House to add the obstruction charge to the Articles of Impeachment.

Which apparently is where we are today.

 

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COMMENTARY

Far-Right White Evangelicals — Despite Impeachment and Ukraine Scandal — Still See Trump as ‘The Chosen One’

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In the 1980s, the late Sen. Barry Goldwater — who was considered an arch-conservative in his day — famously asserted that the Republican Party was making a huge mistake by embracing the Christian Right, which he described as a “terrible damn problem” for the conservative movement. But President Donald Trump, on the other hand, enthusiastically welcomes the support of far-right white evangelicals — some of whom are declaring that the impeachment inquiry he is facing is against God’s will and that demonic forces are trying to remove the president from office.

On November 21, evangelist Franklin Graham (son of the late Rev. Billy Graham and a strident Trump supporter) discussed impeachment when he appeared on fellow wingnut Eric Metaxas’ radio show. Graham told Metaxas that it’s “almost a demonic power that is trying” to remove Trump from office — to which Metaxas responded, “I would disagree. It’s not almost demonic. You know and I know, at the heart, it’s a spiritual battle.”

When far-right evangelicals speak of a “spiritual battle,” they typically mean one between God and Satan — and clearly, Graham and Metaxas believe that Trump is working for God, while his political opponents are working for Satan.

Republican Rick Perry, secretary of energy in the Trump Administration and former governor of Texas, has also claimed that Trump is on a mission from God. Perry, during a recent appearance on Fox News, described Trump as “the chosen one” and claimed he has been “sent by God to do great things.”

Many of Trump’s critics have had a hard time understanding why he is so popular with the Christian Right, which wanted to see President Bill Clinton impeached in the late 1990s for having an extramarital affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Trump, according to his former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, had extramarital affairs with a porn star (Stormy Daniels) and a Playboy model (Karen McDougal) and paid them hush money to keep quiet. But the Christian Right is extremist tribalist in its thinking; so, even though Trump has never been especially religious (he’s a non-practicing Presbyterian) and former President Barack Obama has a long history of going to church, far-right white evangelicals view Trump as an ally and Obama as an enemy.

Related: Franklin Graham: Chick-fil-A CEO ‘Assured Me’ They Aren’t Changing Their Anti-LGBTQ Ways

Similarly, white Christian fundamentalists detest South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, a churchgoing Episcopalian and Democratic presidential candidate who often talks about his faith. Buttigieg is obviously more religious than Trump, but he is a non-fundamentalist Mainline Protestant — and the Christian Right doesn’t see him as part of their tribe. In fact, the Christian Right view Obama and Buttigieg as infidels, not unlike Islamic fundamentalists who view non-jihadist Muslims as infidels.

Journalist Chris Hedges, a non-fundamentalist Christian who has written a lot about the role that faith can play in left-wing politics, uses the term “Christian fascists” to describe the Christian Right. Hedges considers the Christian Right a dangerous authoritarian movement, often stressing that Trump appeals to the Christian Right’s authoritarian tendencies.

Such tendencies were evident in October after the death of Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, who chaired the House Oversight Committee. Cummings was quite religious: his association with the New Psalmist Baptist Church in Baltimore spanned at least 40 years, and the Maryland Democrat would sing the Christian hymn “This Little Light of Mine” at civil rights marches. Yet some far-right evangelicals celebrated his death, insisting that God struck him down for opposing Trump.

Christian fundamentalist Stacey Shiflett, for example, said of Cummings, “Everything that he’s done has been nothing but trying to take this president out. I believe that God had had enough, and God moved.”

Hanna Selinger, in a November 26 article for The Independent, delves into the Christian Right’s unwavering adoration of Trump and explains why white Christian fundamentalists hold him in such high regard despite his not-so-Christian behavior.

“For evangelicals,” Selinger explains, “Donald Trump offers deliverables. The conservatives who follow the letter of the law when it comes to the Bible count among their most important issues ‘family values’: abortion, gay marriage, and so on. On these issues, Trump has offered a far-right tack. Despite who he actually is as a person, he checks the boxes — enabling evangelicals to look the other way and toward a perceived ‘greater good.’”

Christian Right voters, Selinger observes, “are willing to separate morals in a president from morals in a country. These voters will pull the lever for a man who prevaricates daily, who has had multiple wives and even more affairs. That’s because they believe that those characteristics outweigh the things they want done in Washington.”

Selinger adds, “Rick Perry is no different. He too is willing to overlook gross misconduct, of which he was part, simply because he likes the president’s policies.”

If a Democratic president had asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate a political revival and made that investigation a condition of military aid, far-right theocrats like Graham, Perry, Metaxas and Liberty University’s Jerry Falwell, Jr. would be demanding his impeachment. But because Trump become an honorary member of the Christian Right, he gets a pass.

The Christian Right, Selinger asserts, is unlikely to turn against Trump.

“This is the problem with Trump and his allies, and it begins with religion: what it means to follow God has been lost in a political game that places legislative wins over moral losses,” Selinger writes. “Will evangelicals ever see the light? As Rick Perry demonstrates in his ruthless sycophancy, the odds are slim.”

 

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COMMENTARY

Tomi Lahren Furious Students Treated Melania Trump the Way She Treats Michelle Obama

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Tomi Lahren is furious students disrespectfully voiced their disapproval of First Lady Melania Trump – despite having solid reasons to do so – while she has spent years disrespectfully attacking First Lady Michelle Obama.

Lahren is once again peddling her unique brand of trumped-up outrage served with a side of lack of self awareness. The Fox News conservative commentator blasted students who attended a Tuesday youth summit in Baltimore focused on raising awareness of opioid abuse.

First Lady Melania Trump was a guest speaker. As she was introduced and walked onto the stage waving her hand, students offered up a chorus of loud boos.

Lahren was furious, as Media Matters noted.

“This is an epidemic in this country, not just of people not liking anyone with the last name of Trump, but just with young people being completely disrespectful,” Lahren fumed on Wednesday’s “Fox & Friends.”

“Can you imagine if this were Michelle Obama, or can you imagine if Melania Trump was a Democrat or married to a Democratic president?” she asked.

“She is an immigrant and she is a woman. The first thing she would say if an immigrant woman was booed on stage is that is racist, that is sexist, that is anti-immigrant, that is bigotry, that is intolerance. Because it’s Melania Trump, people feel as though they get a pass. And it’s absolutely wrong, it’s despicable. Young people need to learn a lesson in this country, you just respect people.”

“Tt’s absolutely wrong, it’s despicable. Young people need to learn a lesson in this country, you just respect people.”

Tomi knows a great deal about respecting First Ladies – when their name is Trump. Ironically, it’s when their name is Obama that Lahren sings a different tune. In fact, she was furious students treated Melania Trump the way she has treated Michelle Obama, for years. The difference: the students had every right to boo the First lady, given her support of her husband’s policies and platform – including his birtherism.

Here’s Lahren earlier this year calling now-former First Lady Michelle Obama “incredibly tasteless.”

Last year Lahren actually told Michelle Obama to “sit down.”

The former First Lady, urging Democrats to vote in the 2018 elections, told them that thanks to their efforts, Brack Obama was elected president. She added that voting is not something you can do just once – it has to be every time.

Lahren was furious, because Obama called her husband a “great president.”

“Michelle Obama said we ‘had’ a great president. By what measure?” Lahren tweeted. “Not in economic growth. Not in border enforcement. Not in strength on the world stage. Sit down, Michelle.”

Telling a former First lady to “sit down” is incredibly disrespectful.

Here are a few more examples of Lahren attacking Obama:

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Multi-Millionaire Tomi Lahren: Homelessness Is a ‘Choice’

Tomi Lahren Dragged for Latest ‘Blatant Lie’ – That ‘The Left Says We Must Be Tolerant of Sharia’ and Stoning Gays

Anti-LGBT NRA Supporting Tomi Lahren Delivers Insane New Claim: Gun Rights Are Gay Rights

Tomi Lahren Warns Americans Will ‘Be Armed and Ready’ in Case They Need to Shoot Immigrants: ‘Who Knows Who’s Coming In?’

 

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