The U.S. Supreme Court has announced it will hear a case that could determine if taxpayer-funded religious organizations, including adoption and foster care agencies, can legally discriminate against LGBTQ people. Monday morning the conservative-majority court agreed to hear Fulton v. Philadelphia, which is being litigated by the far right wing Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.
Catholic Social Services is claiming it has a First Amendment right to discriminate against same-sex couples and LGBTQ people, – including refusing to allow them to adopt or foster children – while still accepting taxpayer funds.
The City of Philadelphia stopped using Catholic Social Services because its policies violated the rights of LGBTQ people.
The agency “argued that its right to free exercise of religion and free speech entitled it to reject qualified same-sex couples because they were same-sex couples, rather than for any reason related to their qualifications to care for children,” the ACLU wrote in 2018.
The Third Circuit Court of Appeals had decided in favor of Philadelphia, ruling that the city “was neutrally enforcing a nondiscrimination policy that applies to everyone. The city hadn’t targeted the nonprofit group based on hostility to its religious beliefs, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit said,” according to Bloomberg Law.
Catholic Social Services is claiming they have been “targeted” by the city and its officials, who are attempting to “coerce” them into changing their “religious practices.”
The Trump administration has not only changed the face of the nation’s top court into one that is decidedly of the far right, but it has made promises and advanced polices to ensure religious adoption and foster care agencies will be allowed to discriminate against LGBTQ people.
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ICE Deports Decorated Iraq War Combat Vet Who Suffered a Brain Injury
“At some point, he was the American hero. But then he became a guy from El Salvador. At what point did he lose his label?”
He served five years – two tours – in Iraq. He is a decorated Marine Corps combat veteran. He has a large tattoo of the Statue of Liberty spread across the left side of his body, and another tattoo memorializing his service to the U.S. Marines, according to The Orange County Register.
He was honorably discharged in 2004, one year after suffering a brain injury.
And President Donald Trump’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) just deported him – reportedly without warning – to El Salvador, a country he has not lived in since he was three years old.
His name is Jose Segovia-Benitez. He is 38-years old.
“ICE kept his deportation a secret” attorney Roy Petty told the Phoenix New Times. “They kept it a secret from him, me, his other attorney, and they kept it a secret from his mother. It’s not common practice.”
“Generally, what ICE will do is they will notify the person so the person can make arrangements.,” Petty said. Instead, they “woke him up and put him on a plane.”
Petty says his client does not speak fluent Spanish.
“Gangs target former U.S. military,” he told the Phoenix New Times. “They’ll kidnap a person, they may hold a person for ransom, they may torture an individual.”
Segovia-Benitez was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder in 2011, seven years after he was discharged. And reportedly there were some issues.
The Hill reports “after he was discharged from the military, Segovia-Benitez began to self-medicate with alcohol, his family said, which led to trouble with authorities. He ended up having to serve time in prison for a variety of crimes, including assault with a deadly weapon and injuring a spouse, for which he received an 8-year prison sentence.”
His family believes the federal government did not properly care for the decorated combat vet with a brain injury.
“If Jose had died over there,” in Iraq, Brandee Dudzic, the head of Repatriate our Patriots, told The Orange County Register, “we would all be talking about Jose the American soldier who was willing to give his life for his country. He didn’t die. He just got hurt.”
“At some point, he was the American hero. But then he became a guy from El Salvador,” Dudzic said. “At what point did he lose his label?
“We dressed him up in our flag,” Dudzic continued. “At what point does that go away? I think it’s because he’s no longer useful. I think that’s the story of all deported vets. And then we can throw them away like garbage.”
Harvard Freshman Deported After Immigration Searched His Phone and Found Anti-US posts by His Friends
Immigration Officer ‘Started Screaming at Me’ Student Says
A 17-year old incoming Harvard University freshman was deported eight hours after arriving at Boston’s Logan International Airport following a roughly five-hour interrogation by an immigration official. According to the Harvard Crimson, Ismail B. Ajjawi had his computer and phone taken and searched by U.S. authorities who “continued to question him about his religion and religious practices in Lebanon” after other students were allowed to leave.
“When I asked every time to have my phone back so I could tell [my friends] about the situation, the officer refused and told me to sit back in [my] position and not move at all,” Ajjawi wrote. “After the 5 hours ended, [the immigration officer] called me into a room , and she started screaming at me. She said that she found people posting political points of view that oppose the US on my friend[s] list.”
Ajjawi says he told U.S. authorities he had not made any anti-American postings, nor had he even shared or commented on the posts by his friends, and should not be held responsible for their views.
Authorities were unswayed.
His visa was canceled and he was forced to return to Tyre, Lebanon, just hours after arriving.
Making matters worse is U. S. Customs and Border Protection spokesperson Michael S. McCarthy, who told the Crimson that the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol deemed Ajjaw “inadmissible.”
While CBP would not discuss any specific case, McCarthy offered this statement:
“Applicants must demonstrate they are admissible into the U.S. by overcoming ALL grounds of inadmissibility including health-related grounds, criminality, security reasons, public charge, labor certification, illegal entrants and immigration violations, documentation requirements, and miscellaneous grounds,” McCarthy wrote. “This individual was deemed inadmissible to the United States based on information discovered during the CBP inspection.”
Based on Ajjawi’s words, CBP appears to be allowing “miscellaneous grounds” to give them cover to boot out the Palestinian student.
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US State Dept. Official Is a White Nationalist Activist and Wants ‘A Country of Our Own With Nukes’: Report
A current U.S. State Dept. official is a self-avowed white nationalist and wants a nuclear-armed country just for white people, according to a just-released report from the Southern Poverty Law Center.
“The official, Matthew Q. Gebert, works as a foreign affairs officer assigned to the Bureau of Energy Resources, a State Department spokesperson told Hatewatch. Online,” the SPLC’s news outlet, “and in private correspondences with other white nationalists, Gebert uses ‘Coach Finstock’ as a pseudonym. Through that alias, he expressed a desire to build a country for whites only.”
White people “need a country of our own with nukes, and we will retake this thing lickety split,” “Coach Finstock” said in a a white nationalist podcast called “The Fatherland.”
“That’s all that we need. We need a country founded for white people with a nuclear deterrent. And you watch how the world trembles.”
“There are bigger things than a career and a paycheck, and I don’t want to lose mine,” Gebert said as “Coach Finstock” on an episode of “The Fatherland” recorded in August 2017, referring to his commitment to white nationalism. “I am prepared to lose mine. Because this is the most important thing to me in my life … in tandem with my family, of course.”
The SPLC’s online report is nearly 6000 words long and offers many more chilling details. You can read it here.
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