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.”
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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Catholic Bishops Spend Nearly $240,000 to Fight Michigan Group’s Goal of Expanding Protections for LGBTQ People
Catholic Bishops in Michigan have spent over $238,000 – nearly a quarter of a million dollars – to fight a civil rights group’s goal of expanding protections for the state’s LGBTQ people via a proposed 2022 ballot initiative.
“Campaign finance reports filed on Monday show the Lansing-based Michigan Catholic Conference, which bills itself as ‘the official voice of the Catholic Church in Michigan on matters of public policy,’ has made $238,874.80 in direct and in-kind contributions to Citizens for Equality, Fairness and Justice, an organization formed in April that has actively opposed the LGBTQ initiative,” MiBiz’s Andy Balaskovitz reports. “The MCC made up nearly all of the committee’s $204,175 in direct contributions this funding cycle.”
The ballot initiative is supported by many major businesses. According to the group that initiated the ballot drive, Fair and Equal Michigan, business leaders including Jim Fitterling, Chief Executive Officer, Dow; Tim Cook, Chief Executive Officer, Apple; Andi Owen, President and Chief Executive Officer, Herman Miller; and Ron Bieber, President of the Michigan AFL-CIO, support the initiative.
“The Catholic Church’s opposition to LGBTQ equal rights is unfortunate, but it was not unexpected,” Fair and Equal Michigan spokesperson Josh Hovey told the Michigan Advance. “It is well known that they have been out of touch with the majority of voters in Michigan and across the country on this issue, and that we are thankful that campaign finance disclosure laws make their anti-equality position known to all.”
“At the end of the day,” Hovey added, “what opponents to our initiative are asking for is to continue being able to use religion as a license to discriminate.”
Currently, the ballot initiative is stalled. The Michigan Board of State Canvassers says Fair and Equal Michigan has not secured enough valid signatures to get the issue on the ballot. The group plans to appeal.
Image: Fair and Equal Michigan/Facebook
‘Just the Worst. I’m Sorry but She Is’: Internet Slams Meghan McCain for Claiming Biden ‘Doing Grave Spiritual Harm’
Meghan McCain is attacking President Joe Biden with the sword of religion and the Internet is not having it. Having once presented herself as a moderate, McCain has increasingly moved to the far right, but her latest diatribe may be her most extreme yet.
“I believe that he is doing gave spiritual harm to himself and harm to this country,” McCain said of President Biden, over his support of a woman’s right to choose abortion.
McCain decided to side with the majority of U.S. Catholic Bishops, who themselves are violating a Vatican directive to not “weaponize” of politicize the most sacred rituals of the Roman Catholic Church.
“He’s going to have to ultimately talk to his creator when the time comes as we all do,” she added, “and reconcile his politics with his personal faith.”
Biden, who is 78, is a devout and practicing Catholic who attends church at least weekly. McCain is 36. Her spouse is Ben Domenech, co-founder and publisher of far right wing website The Federalist.
Many online were furious with McCain, who just four years ago said, “I love this Pope,” referring to Pope Francis, adding she had just read an article promoting the idea the the GOP should follow the Pope and “live in the real world.”
The Pope, or his officials, told U.S. Bishops to not go down the road they are going, trying to withhold communion from Biden and other Catholic lawmakers over their support of abortion.
I’m pro life. But where does Meghan McCain get off imposing her faith on another human being’s faith? Who is she to say what Joe Biden must say to his creator? None of us know the truth, so all of us should be humble enough to allow each of us to profess our own personal faith. https://t.co/42ZuH4VKqy
— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) June 21, 2021
The government must stay out of womens reproductive decisions!Religion is for those who believe in it.
Meghan McCain lashes out at faithful Joe Biden for doing ‘great spiritual damage to himself and harm to the country’ https://t.co/Z0qUwwrZGP
— A Zauberzeh (@zauberzeh) June 21, 2021
Utter nonsense by Meghan McCain. President Biden’s personal faith is just that personal. He can’t make American’s follow the tenets of his Catholic faith. He is the President of all Americans. I don’t really know why that is so hard for her to understand.
— Lynn Clark (@sage4sam) June 21, 2021
@MeghanMcCain Biden doesn’t agree with abortion personally but as POTUS he understands it’s not his place to push his religion upon others. Once again, you fail to understand separation of church and state, Ms. McCain. Read about it: Article VI of the U.S. Constitution.
— Ruby Darcy (@RubyDarcy2015) June 21, 2021
She is just the worst. I’m sorry but she is. I mean my god. https://t.co/0dRoVk8Pbh
— Molly Jong-Fast (@MollyJongFast) June 21, 2021
Meghan McCain is a talentless, hypocritical, vapid hack, who has traded on her name for far too long.
She gets to use a massive platform to spew utter nonsense and inconsistent blabber.
Because of her dad.
That’s the single reason she gets to be on television.
— Jo (@JoJoFromJerz) June 21, 2021
Joe Biden’s “politics” is to not force his personal beliefs on the rest of us, which is a position I wish more elected officials held.
— Nicole David 💛🐝 (@obbiecole) June 21, 2021
Just curious. When they talk to their creator, are her and her husband going to have to explain them being bankrolled by white supremacists?
What exactly gets you through the pearly gates? https://t.co/lh4rfcuZEx
— Eamon Paton-Usry (@Eamon2Please) June 21, 2021
Meghan McCain: “Abortion is murder.”
Also Meghan McCain: “The AR-15 is by far the most popular gun in America. I’m not living without guns …if you’re talking about taking people’s guns, there’s going to be a lot of violence.” https://t.co/XgdL08n7Kr
— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) June 21, 2021
I would tag Ms. McCain but she blocked me. Please see Article VI of the U.S. Constitution: “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” Also see the First Amendment. Thanks. Bye. https://t.co/owwiTH1BES
— Jennifer Taub (@jentaub) June 21, 2021
When @MeghanMcCain first started grifting off her father’s name, she was loudly pro marriage equality, pro marijuana legalization, and “nuanced” on abortion.
Now she uses her father’s name to trash his old friends and make a buck. https://t.co/MOSbeY6Rmy
— Tío Sam (@TioSamSays) June 21, 2021
Scandalous Scion Jerry Falwell Jr. Sued for $10 Million by Liberty University
Jerry Falwell, Jr. is being sued by the school his father founded. Liberty University has filed a $10 million complaint against its former president.
“The new suit, which alleges breach of contract and fiduciary duty, claims that Mr. Falwell withheld scandalous and potentially damaging information from Liberty’s board of trustees, while negotiating a generous new contract for himself in 2019 under false pretenses. Mr. Falwell also failed to disclose and address ‘his personal impairment by alcohol,’ the suit alleges, according to The New York Times.
But according to Talking Points Memo, which published the entire complaint, the lawsuit is far more scandalous.
“The evangelical institution claims in the suit, filed in Lynchburg Circuit Court in Virginia, that Falwell concealed his relationship with Giancarlo Granda from the university.”
“Had Liberty’s Executive Committee known in 2018 and 2019 that Granda was attempting to extort Falwell Jr. and thus planning to damage Liberty, and had it known the full circumstances of Granda’s extortion of Falwell Jr., then the Executive Committee would have refrained from entering into the 2019 Employment Agreement,” the suit states.
“The actions of Falwell Jr. and Granda have injured Liberty’s enrollment, impacted its donor base, disrupted its faculty, enabled the 2019 Employment Agreement that proved detrimental to Liberty’s interests, and damaged Liberty’s reputation,” the suit reads.
The suit also adds that “Granda had plenty of information that could have been deeply damaging to Falwell Jr. in the eyes of the evangelical community.”
Falwell, Jr.’s social media posts are infamous, and some are included in the lawsuit.
In August of 2020 before leaving Liberty, Falwell said his wife had had a “fatal attraction” extramarital relationship with the man identified as Giancarlo Granda.
“Becki had an inappropriate personal relationship with this person, something in which I was not involved – it was nonetheless very upsetting to learn about,” Falwell claimed.
But Granda responded by accusing Falwell of being involved in that relationship.
“Jerry enjoyed watching,” Granda alleged.
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