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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

Hate Group Head Tony Perkins Prays for ‘Conflict’ and ‘Gridlock’ to ‘Settle Upon’ DC if Biden Enacts His Agenda

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Family Research Council President Tony Perkins appeared on the Truth & Liberty Coalition’s livestream program Monday night, where he urged Christians to pray that God will prevent Senate Democrats from eliminating the filibuster and that President Joe Biden’s administration will be stymied by gridlock.

Perkins prayed that Biden’s administration will “be confused” and prevented from enacting its political agenda, which he recently said was “literally from the pit of hell,” taking aim at the administration’s efforts to offer protections for transgender individuals and funding for reproductive health.

“We just need to continue to pray,” Perkins said. “Pray that the Lord would prohibit them from [eliminating the filibuster]. Look, we need God. We need God to move on our behalf. We need to repent as a nation of the stuff that’s being pushed through. Just look at what the Biden administration has pushed through, and we’re not even talking to legislation yet, but the whole transgender agenda we mentioned a few moments ago, he’s put that onto the military, he’s put it onto elementary and secondary schools, he’s put it on our colleges. Look at the issue of abortion; not just the repeal, the overturning of the Mexico City policy that prohibits [reproductive health] funding in foreign policy, but even the Hyde Amendment that was eliminated in the coronavirus relief bill, the $2 trillion and all the money that’s going to flow to Planned Parenthood and abortion clinics. This is atrocious, and we need to be praying that God would move in our country.”

“I pray for God’s blessing on Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, [that] they yield themselves to him, praying that he would turn their hearts as he does the rivers of water,” Perkins added. “But if they refuse the truth and go against the truth, I pray that they would be confused, they would have conflict, and gridlock would settle upon Washington D.C.”

 

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

 

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

Montana GOP Lawmakers Pass Discriminatory Anti-LGBTQ ‘Religious Freedom’ Bill

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Lawmakers in the Montana House and Senate have passed a “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” bill that will allow any person or business to discriminate against anyone for any reason if not doing so would violate their religious beliefs.

House Democrats supported an amendment that would not allow the law to be used to discriminate but Republicans refused to support it.

“Do not make me NOT do what my God tells me I have to do,” Republican Rep. John Fuller, opposing the amendment, said during Thursday’s debate, the AP reports.

“The LGBTQ community opposes the bill, arguing it could lead to challenges against ordinances in several cities that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, religion, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression,” the AP adds. “The Montana Human Rights Act does not prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.”

The Human Rights Campaign says the bill is “similar” to the “religious freedom” bill then-Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed into law, causing nationwide outrage.

“This bill is so sweeping and so dangerous that under it, LGBTQ Montanans could be denied access to PREP and PEP and other life-saving medications by pharmacies,” HRC said via Twitter.

News outlets are falsely comparing the Montana legislation to the federal law of the same name. The federal law does not affix personhood status to corporations, organizations, or businesses, and does not directly support anti-LGBT discrimination – the Montana law does, stating:

“Person” means any individual, association, partnership, corporation, church, religious institution, estate, trust, foundation, or other legal entity.

Democrats tried to stop the bill’s passage but were unsuccessful.

“This bill would allow a family therapist to refuse to help an unwed mother. It would allow a pharmacist to refuse to prescribe HIV medications or oral contraceptive pills,” said state Democratic Rep. Laurie Bishop, Montana Free Press reports. “… I just ask you, that as you consider this legislation, that you’d not only think about that which you want to protect, I understand that, but rather, I ask you to consider how others might use this legislation in ways that you do not intend.”

Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte (photo) is expected to sign the bill into law.

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

Third Time’s the Charm? Anti-LGBTQ Lawmaker One Step Closer to Making the Bible the Official State Book of Tennessee

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The third time may be the charm for Tennessee Republican state Rep. Jerry Sexton, a former pastor who is one step closer to realizing his dream of making the Christian bible the official state book of Tennessee. On Monday the House voted 55-28 in favor of a resolution to do just that.

During debate, Sexton essentially said he does not believe in separation of church and state:

Rep. Sexton has been working since at least 2015 to accomplish his goal. Governor Bill Haslam, a Republican, vetoed the bill when it passed in 2016.

But now Sexton believes he may have found a way to convince his colleagues to support his bill.

“Nashville is the top publisher of Bibles in the nation, he says,” according to Tennessee Lookout, “and Tennessee’s culture is based largely on the Bible and the nation’s Judeo-Christian founding.”

Rep. Sexton is opposed to LGBTQ people. In 2019 he co-sponsored the “Tennessee Natural Marriage Defense Act,” which would have declared the Supreme Court case that found same-sex couples have a right to marry as “void.” It it had been signed into law it would have cost the state $8.5 billion.

That same year he co-sponsored an anti-LGBTQ “license to discriminate” bill. In 2017 he co-sponsored a bill allowing businesses to engage in anti-LGBTQ discrimination against their own employees and others.

Last year, in opposing the removal of a Confederate statue, Sexton told lawmakers, “It was not against the law to own slaves back then.”

“Who knows, maybe some of us will be slaves one of these days. Laws change.”

 

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