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 –
Trump's simultaneous event on constitutional prayer in Public Schools has been inexplicably delayed. https://t.co/0QdlUL7C0l
— Annie Karni (@anniekarni) January 16, 2020
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‘Doesn’t Get to Tell the County What They Can Read’: Lawmaker Blasts Christian in Viral Video Attacking LGBTQ Library Books
A Tennessee Democratic state lawmaker is responding to a viral video of a Christian woman in her home state railing against “perversion,” apparently upset with LGBTQ-themed books being in a local public library, while ranting about Satan and “revelation prophecies.”
Rep. Gloria Johnson, a retired special ed teacher, blasted the young woman who spoke in the video for about three minutes berating, lecturing, and preaching to her fellow Maury County, Tennessee residents about books she believes the public library should not have.
After introducing herself as “Stephanie” (her last name was not discernible), the young woman in the undated video declares, “I speak on behalf of God Almighty, my husband, the daughter in my womb and every law abiding God fearing taxpaying citizen here in Maury County.”
She admitted she is not from Maury County, but she did feel very comfortable telling Maury County locals what to do and think.
“We moved here from Indiana to start our family,” she said. “I will not raise kids in a county that has sexual oriented books on the counter,” she insisted, later stating, “My taxes pay [for] this place.”
“The kingdom of God is within reach,” Stephanie went on to preach. “It is within here and we live not for heaven but from heaven. What that means is when perversion permeates our county, that is when the devil gets our children. If you don’t see this you are blind. We must understand that there cannot be perversion in this county, in this country. Obviously revelation prophecies are occurring right before our eyes. But what you need to know first and foremost, that obviously the future generation is our children.”
By the end of her lengthy rant she decreed, “God sees everything and by the grace of God, we will rise above this, but I’m not gonna let my children be raised – I’m gonna homeschool, you better believe it. I will not let my children be raised in a county like this. If we’re having sexual oriented books. You can even ask the gay community, a lot of them say why would you want to bring kids to the bars? They already think of pedophilia, why would you want them to come to the bars?”
“Understand that you serve our country second. You serve our God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob first,” she concluded.
She also flew into a false screed straight out of recent Fox News reports.
Saying, “I speak on behalf of millennials my generation,” she claimed, “We already have so many illegal aliens here who are bringing fentanyl they are killing our children, our youth.”
A right-wing think tank, the Cato Institute states: “Fentanyl is primarily trafficked by U.S. citizens.”
Rep. Johnson, who served in the Tennessee state House from 2013-2015, and is again serving, since 2019, also served up strong criticism against the woman in the video.
“She is welcome to monitor the books her children read, but she doesn’t get to tell the rest of the county what they can read,” Johnson tweeted.
Johnson is apparently a strong supporter of public libraries. This was posted to her Facebook page just days ago:
Watch the viral video below or at this link.
A Christian woman in Maury County, Tennessee argues against LGBTQ-themed books at her library and tells everyone they’re going to hell pic.twitter.com/F6McXs8Gs4
— Marjorie Gaylor Queen 🏳️🌈 (@Tim_Tweeted) September 28, 2022
‘We Need to Go All the Way’: GOP Lawmaker Brags Her ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill ‘Goes Further’ Than Florida’s But Not Far Enough
A far right Republican state lawmaker in Pennsylvania who has worked to get prayer into schools is pushing a “Don’t Say Gay” bill and bragging that it goes even “further” than Florida’s, but wants it to be even broader.
Republican state Rep. Stephanie Borowicz denies her legislation is a “Don’t Say Gay” bill, but as PennLive reports it states public and charter schools “may not offer instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity to a student in kindergarten through fifth grade.”
Rep. Borowicz admits that although her bill expands on Florida’s which technically bans discussion of LGBTQ issues until after third grade, she wants it to be even more broad.
“It is patterned after the Florida bill, but mine goes further,” she said. “It really needs to be protected up through 12th grade, we need to go all the way.”
She does not state what “it” is.
PennLive reports Borowicz supports similar legislation, Senate Bill 1278, “which would allow schools to be sued for material that is ‘not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate’ at any grade level.”
The Pennsylvania Republican Party’s gubernatorial nominee, Christian nationalist Doug Mastriano, also supports the “Don’t Say Gay” bills.
Like other state’s bills, the language is intentionally broad and undefined, which experts say is intentional to create fear among teachers to steer clear away from any issue that might come near to the ban.
“Asked what sort of communication would constitute ‘instruction’ under the bill, Borowicz said, ‘I’m not going to get into the details of all that.'”
Last week when announcing her new anti-LGBTQ bill, Rep. Borowicz called for the Pennsylvania Secretary of Education to resign, “because LGBTQ-inclusive curricula and other resources were featured on the Pennsylvania Department of Education site,” WITF reports.
“Everything from gender neutral days and classrooms, from 3rd to 12th grade to a tutorial on gender pronouns and instructions for teachers to ask before making false assumptions about someone’s gender identity,” Borowicz said.
Borowicz, who was first elected in 2018, she is the first woman and only the second Republican to hold that seat.
“The mission of keeping my word to the people of the 76th Legislative District starts immediately,” she said upon being sworn in.
Borowicz’s bio frequently mentions she was the “president of a nonprofit organization,” while rarely explaining what that nonprofit was.
In 2018 Borowicz “said it was for Make A Stand USA, an organization she and her sister created to get prayer gatherings at schools in 2010. She said it was her sister who paid for it and no money was made for the one event it sponsored. Two years later, she said, it was disbanded,” The Record Online reported.
Rep. Borowicz is a big fan of prayer, but the ways she has used it has caused outrage, even among her follow House colleagues.
Months after she was sworn in, an newly elected state representative, who is Muslim, was sworn in.
Borowicz delivered the House’s invocation that day, and by the time it was over she had mentioned “Jesus” thirteen times. She was accused of weaponizing pray and Islamophobia and antisemitism.
“God forgive us — Jesus — we’ve lost sight of you, we’ve forgotten you, God, in our country, and we’re asking you to forgive us, Jesus,”Borowicz said, as HuffPost reported.
“She also prayed for President Donald Trump and thanked the president for ‘unequivocally’ supporting Israel.”
“I claim all these things in the powerful, mighty name of Jesus, the one who, at the name of Jesus, every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess, Jesus, that you are Lord, in Jesus’ name,” she also proclaimed.
Think Biblically reports she also said, “thank you for this honor, Jesus. God, for those who came before us like George Washington at Valley Forge and Abraham Lincoln who sought after you at Gettysburg, Jesus, and the founding fathers in Independence Hall, Jesus, that sought after you and fasted and prayed for this nation to be founded on your principles and your words and your truths.”
“Jesus, I thank you for this privilege, Lord, of letting me pray, God, that I Jesus am your ambassador here today. Standing here, representing you — the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the Great I Am, the one who is coming back again, the one who came died and rose again on the third day,” she prayed.
Watch Rep. Borowicz’s prayer below or at this link.
Religious University Shutters All Student Clubs Rather Than Recognize One LGBTQ Group – Despite Supreme Court Order
From Accounting to Zoology, undergrads at New York City’s Yeshiva University can pick and choose from 87 student organizations to join and engage with fellow students. There’s the Alexander Hamilton Society, the College Diabetes Network, Engineering Club, Jewish Activism Club, Rubik’s Cube Club, Skiing + Snowboarding Club, College Democrats, and College Republicans, but there is not an LGBTQ club.
Nor will there be, if Yeshiva University has its way. And as of Friday at 12:24 PM, there are effectively no longer 87 other clubs, at least for now.
Rather than accept a U.S. Supreme Court decision that ordered the 136-year old private Orthodox Jewish university, chartered by the State of New York, to follow a state court’s ruling which directed it to recognize its LGBTQ students’ organization, Yeshiva University administrators via email announced to its students, “the university will hold off on all undergraduate club activities while it immediately takes steps to follow the roadmap provided by the US Supreme Court to protect YU’s religious freedom.”
In other words, all clubs are effectively shuttered, for now.
“Yeshiva University is putting all club activities on hold while it presses on w[ith] its quest for constitutional protection from recognizing the club,” reports The Economist’s Steven Mazie, who covers the U.S. Supreme Court.
“Yeshiva University suspends all clubs, which students pay for, as it tries to block its Pride club,” reports The Times of Israel editor Luke Tress.
Calling it “the latest escalation in the Orthodox Jewish school’s attempt to avoid recognizing an LGBTQ campus group,” The Forward reports, “Yeshiva University announced Friday it was suspending all student clubs.”
The email to students, The Forward adds, “did not state how long the suspension would last, though the holiday period generally referred to as the chaggim does not end this year until the middle of October.”
“The YU Commentator, the student newspaper of the YU boys’ campus, reported Friday that anonymous administration sources said university officials were considering dissolving all clubs and student organizations to avoid recognizing the YU Pride Alliance as an official campus club,” The Forward adds.
Yeshiva University argues recognizing the LGBTQ students’ group would violate it religious beliefs and Jewish law.
Legal experts suggest if Yeshiva again brings its case, this far-right Supreme Court will grant its request to not recognize its LGBTQ students’ club.
Image via Shutterstock
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