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RELIGIOUS HYPOCRISY

Trump Demanded Churches Re-Open After Polls Found ‘Staggering Decline’ in Support From Christian Conservatives: Report

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President Donald Trump’s declaration that the federal government now deems churches “essential” and they must be allowed to re-open immediately was unexpected, and a stunning display of yet another presidential power grab.

Asked to respond to the President’s remarks moments after being announced, Rhode Island’s Democratic Governor Gina Raimondo replied, “It’s been a while since I’ve been in law school but I don’t know of any executive fiat that he would have to overrule a particular governor, so I’ll have to look into that.”

She was correct: Trump has zero authority to order governors to allow churches to re-open, and zero authority to personally allow them to re-open.

But his impromptu appearance at Friday’s White House press briefing, during which he made his declaration that appeared to be plucked out of thin air, served an important goal: getting his religious right base back.

Politico reports that internal and external “polls paint a bleak picture for Trump, who has counted on broadening his religious support by at least a few percentage points to compensate for weakened appeal with women and suburban populations.”

Declaring there is “alarm inside his campaign,” Politico cited a “person close to the campaign” who “described an April survey by the Public Religion Research Institute, which showed a double-digit decline in Trump’s favorability among white evangelicals (-11), white Catholics (-12) and white mainline protestants (-18) from the previous month, as ‘pretty concerning.'”

Double digit drops from the most dedicated members of Trump’s base must be alarming for the Trump re-election campaign and the President, and that led to his Friday demand to allow churches and other houses of worship to re-open.

It hasn’t gotten better.

Politico notes that the “Pew Research Center released new data last week that showed a 7-point increase from April to May in white Catholics who disapprove of Trump’s response to the Covid-19 crisis and a 6-point decline among white evangelicals who previously gave him positive marks.”

Related: McEnany Blasted for ‘Hideous and Inappropriate’ Claim Reporters ‘Desperately’ Don’t Want Churches to Re-Open

All these developments mean non-Trump supporters may be about to go through an even greater period of difficulty.

“Part of the strategy Trump allies have adopted to protect his relationship with conservative Christians is to frame the novel coronavirus — and church closures in response to social distancing restrictions — as a threat to religious freedom,” Politico notes. “The president’s religious supporters routinely cite religious liberty as one of their top priorities and an area in which they believe the Trump administration has been exceptionally receptive.”

 

 

 

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RELIGIOUS HYPOCRISY

Liberty University Student Unloads on Jerry Falwell Jr’s Hypocrisy After Bizarre Yacht Party Photos Emerge

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A photo recently posted then deleted by Jerry Falwell Jr. left people scratching their heads after a screen shot of the image started making the rounds on social media.

The photo shows the Liberty University president on a yacht with his pants unzipped and his shirt pulled up exposing his belly, with a woman he identified as a “friend” standing next to him with her pants similarly unzipped as Falwell has his hand around her waist, holding a glass containing some sort of dark liquid. According to Liberty student Alexandra Green, the photo shows Falwell to be even more of a hypocrite than people realize.

The photo “should actively anger you on behalf of the students who have faced significant consequences on campus for the *same* actions,” Green wrote in a series of tweets.

“Drinking? Smoking? Possession of cigarettes/alcohol? Against the rules regardless of age,” Green said, referring to Liberty’s rules for students. “Could result in a ‘$300 fine, 30 hours community service, and/or expulsion.’ Real people who could not afford the fines have been fined for this. Real people were kicked out for this.”

Green says that unbuttoning one’s pants could get someone “$150 and/or 15 hours or community service for being in ‘any state of undress with a member or the opposite sex.’”

As Relevant Magazine points out, a deleted video suggests that Falwell and guests were possibly attending a party that was themed after the TV show Trailer Park Boys.

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RELIGIOUS HYPOCRISY

Now-Deleted Photo Allegedly of Jerry Falwell Jr. With Unzipped Pants in the Company of ‘Good Friends’ Stuns Internet

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A Houston Chronicle reporter posted what appears to be a screenshot from Liberty University President Jerry Falwell, Jr’s Instagram account, and it’s going viral on social media. The unconfirmed photo appears to be of Falwell Jr., with his arm around a young woman, his pants unzipped with underwear showing. He is holding a glass.

“More vacation shots,” the caption reads. “Lots of good friends visited us on the yacht. I promised that’s only black water in my glass. It was a prop only.”

Robert Downen, whose bio says he reports on “All things faith/religion” for the Houston Chronicle, tweeted out the screenshot.

Downen says the post is “real,” citing three sources.

Relevant magazine, which says it is “the leading platform reaching Christian twenty- and thirtysomethings,” also called it “a bizarre Instagram post.”

Pulpit & Pen News, which says it is “is a media outreach of the Fellowship Baptist Church,” also reported on the photo, saying: “To say that this behavior is unbecoming and scandalous for a president of a Christian university is an understatement.”

They say Falwell Jr. also posted and then deleted a video of they describe as “Trailer Park Boys” on a yacht.

Some online responses:

 

 

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SCOTUS Turns a Blind Eye to Religious Workplace Discrimination in New Ruling

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Teachers at religious schools in the U.S. have been dealt a major blow today after the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) released a 7-2 ruling in their employers’ favor. Simply put: the ruling sides with court precedent that teachers at these institutions may not bring workplace discrimination complaints against their employers to court.

The two lawsuits were Our Lady of Guadalupe v. Morrissey-Berru and St. James School v. Biel. They will not move forward due to the “ministerial exception” and court precedent, which has held the First Amendment protects religious institutions from some workplace discrimination complaints.

Associate Justice Samuel Alito wrote the court’s majority opinion. Associate Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissented.

“The religious education and formation of students is the very reason for the existence of most private religious schools, and therefore the selection and supervision of the teachers upon whom the schools rely to do this work lie at the core of their mission,” Alito wrote. “Judicial review of the way in which religious schools discharge those responsibilities would undermine the independence of religious institutions in a way that the First Amendment does not tolerate.”

Sotomayor argued, “That simplistic approach has no basis in law and strips thousands of school teachers of their legal protections.”

Lambda Legal Senior Counsel and Law and Policy Director Jennifer C. Pizer said after the ruling, “Today, the Supreme Court opened a veritable Pandora’s Box that threatens the continued employment and financial security of thousands of teachers at religiously affiliated schools. While there is no serious dispute that top authorities at churches and religious schools are free to select those who lead worship services or teach the tenets of their faith, it stretches the term ‘minister’ beyond recognition to also include those whose jobs or duties have little to do with propagation of the faith.”

The question was whether the fired teachers performed enough religious duties to be considered “ministers” and could be exempt from federal discrimination laws.

Pizer added, “Teachers of secular subjects are not clergy by any reasonable understanding of the word. They should not be deemed clergy simply to shield their employers from liability for wrongful workplace practices. The ministerial exemption especially should not apply to strip protections from teachers with secular roles at large educational institutions that serve the entire general public, regardless of whether those institutions have some sort of religious ties.”

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