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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

Christian Right Activist Heading Civil Rights Office at HHS Moves Closer to Killing Protections for LGBTQ Patients

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Move Comes During Height of First Wave of Pandemic

Roger Severino, a Christian right activist who heads the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services’s Office for Civil Rights is one step closer to his own personal goal of removing protections for LGBTQ patients, a move that would allow discrimination based on gender and sexual orientation.

Under Severino’s leadership the Trump administration has been moving quickly toward the final stages of dismantling critical protections for LGBTQ patients, Politico reports. The Dept. of Health and Human Services has sent a draft of its rewrite of an Obama-era policy to the Dept. of Justice for review, a sign it could soon announce the rollback of hard-fought regulations protecting some of the nation’s most vulnerable people.

HHS has been working on re-interpreting and re-writing the nondiscrimination provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The agency’s website currently says Section 1557 of the ACA “prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in certain health programs or activities.”

“Advocates fear that it would allow hospitals and health workers to more easily discriminate against patients based on their gender or sexual orientation,” Politico reports, noting the provision “also offered specific protections for transgender patients for the first time and extended protections for women who had abortions.”

Severino has been called a “radical” anti-LGBTQ religious right activist. He 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.

Late last year a federal judge voided a rule Severino had implemented allowing medical providers to cite their personal religious or moral beliefs as a reason to refuse to provide care to certain individuals or to perform certain procedures. It would have allowed doctors and other health care professionals to refuse to perform or participate in abortions, prescribe or deliver contraception, or provide care to and LGBTQ person.

Severino is also tied to the Trump administration’s efforts to ban same-sex couples and LGBTQ people from adoption services.

Severino has long sought to gut ObamaCare’s LGBTQ protections. Before coming to the Trump administration Severino co-authored a Heritage Foundation report claiming new proposed ObamaCare nondiscrimination provisions “threaten the religious liberty, freedom of conscience, and independent medical judgment of health care professionals.”

 

 

 

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

‘We Have the 2nd Amendment’: Wisconsin GOP Candidate for Governor Says ‘Good Christians Patriots’ Must ‘Take Over’

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Jonathan Wichmann, a small business owner who is seeking the Republican nomination for governor in Wisconsin, spoke at a “Faith and Freedom Rally” in the state last month, where he explained that he decided to run for office because “we need good Christian patriots to take over.”

“I’m not a politician. I’m a patriot. I want to make that very clear,” Wichmann said. “I got in the fight last year because I saw [something] really evil coming across this land, especially in Wisconsin—the lockdowns. I’ve been following politics for 13 years. I volunteered for Ron Paul’s campaign when he ran, for his presidential bid, and what I noticed is that everything kept deteriorating. No matter if we had a Democrat or Republican in office, it didn’t seem to quite matter up until Donald Trump. Thank God for President Trump, who is still the president, by the way. We all know that.”

“Looking at the political scene, I knew we were in trouble,” he continued. “There are no truth tellers anymore in this country at the political level. We need to change that. We need good Christian patriots to take over and run for office, and that’s what I intend to do.”

Following his remarks, Wichmann took a question from the audience regarding a bill passed by the Republican controlled state legislature that would ban businesses or government entities in the state from requiring people to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccinations. Wichmann said he supported the bill and urged the audience to refuse to comply with any law that they believe violates their conscience, declaring that “if they try to press their luck, we have the Second Amendment.”

“If something goes against your conscience; if you know because God told you—we’re all created by God in his image, and God gave us certain rights that no man can trample on—if you know in your heart that something is wrong, that [what] someone is telling you to do is wrong, do not comply,” Wichmann said, “It doesn’t matter if there’s a law on the table or not. Do not go along with that. That’s your responsibility. If everyone does that, it all ends today. And if they try to press their luck, we have the Second Amendment.”

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

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

Trump-Loving Televangelist Concocts Crazed Claim That ‘Evolutionists’ Have to Be Against Same-Sex Marriage

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Right-wing pastor Jack Hibbs told congregants at his Calvary Chapel church in California last Sunday that anyone who believes in evolution must oppose marriage equality and that homosexuality “proves the existence of God.”

“When two people of the same sex get together, it’s out of sheer wanton lust and pleasure only for self,” Hibbs said during his sermon. “Nothing comes of it. No life can come from it. No family can come from it.”

“If you’re an evolutionist, you have to be against same-sex unions,” he continued. “If you’re an evolutionist, what is one of the statements? It’s the survival of the fittest, right? And in evolutionary theory, the survival of the fittest has to procreate. … But if evolution is true, then there would be no such thing as homosexuality, because over the last 400 trillion, billion, zillion, quadbillion, zillion, nillion, years, evolution would have washed that out. Homosexuality—LGBTQ actions—prove the existence of God, because God’s word says this would be some of the outcome and actions of the Last Days.”

 

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

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

‘Pray for the Christians’: Graham Urges School Boards to Fight the ‘Godless Socialist Agenda’ of CRT

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Evangelical and anti-LGBTQ activist Franklin Graham is urging Americans to “pray for the Christians” who are fighting what he calls a “godless socialist agenda,” an agenda he says now includes critical race theory and “concerning transgender policies.”

Pointing to an article about Loudon County, Virginia, currently a hotbed of controversy over transgender students’ rights and the teaching of critical race theory (which is not actually being taught in public schools, only in colleges and universities,) Graham patted himself on the back for traveling to all 50 states in 2016 to urge Christians to run for office, especially school boards.

He says those local boards’ decisions “impact our children and our grandchildren’s lives, and they impact the future of our country, so it is vitally important. I’m thankful for the parents in Loudoun County, Virginia, who are speaking up and working to keep things like critical race theory and concerning transgender policies out of their schools.”

“We have to stand up against the godless socialist agenda trying to divide us and take over this country,” he claimed.

“Pray for the Christians in Loudoun County, that they would stand strong and speak the truth in love. And pray about how you can get involved in your city and make a real difference. Will you?” Graham urged.

Conservatives have been infiltrating local school boards, where they have the opportunity to indoctrinate children at a young age into far right wing extremism, the pro-Trump MAGA movement, white nationalism and white supremacism, and an anti-science agenda.

In April TIME reported, “QAnon Candidates Are Winning Local Elections,” and asked, “Can They Be Stopped?”

And earlier this month the National Education Association (NEA) asked: “Is QAnon Radicalizing Your School Board?

“Proponents of QAnon allege that Satan-worshipping pedophiles are secretly running the country, and they also have spread false information about COVID-19, Black Lives Matter, the recent election and more,” the NEA article revealed. “When they get elected to local offices, they endanger citizens because their potential decisions—around budget, safety, school curriculum and more—aren’t grounded in reality.”

And in 2017 Media Matters reported on “How The Hate Group Alliance Defending Freedom Is Infiltrating Public Schools.”

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