The U.S. Surgeon General says he and the entire Trump administration now fully support calling for everyone in America to wear face masks to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, but he will not support a federal mask mandate.
“This whole administration is now supportive of masks.” –U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, today, July 20th, 131 days into the pandemic pic.twitter.com/nnWiwHmK5j
— The Recount (@therecount) July 20, 2020
Saying he’s concerned Americans are “letting the politics and the policy get in the way,” Vice Admiral Jerome Adams says if President Trump were to require face coverings be worn, it would have to be enforced.
“You all were talking earlier about what’s going on in Portland, and the debate over whether or not to bring in federal troops to other parts of the United States,” Adams said, referring to the Dept. of Homeland Security sending in federal SWAT teams and abducting random demonstrators from the streets in Oregon.
“If you’re going to have a federal mandate you have to have a federal enforcement mechanism,” Adams said, suggesting that “mechanism” would be federal SWAT teams, which is false. Federal law and policy are enforced every day without having to send in SWAT teams. In fact, the Oregon Attorney General is suing the Dept. of Homeland Security over its occupation.
Adams added he would rather have state and local officials mandate masks than the federal government, and convince Americans why it’s important to wear them, instead of “sending in federal troops.”
On Fox & Friends, the Surgeon General advocates for mask wearing but stops short of calling for a federal mandate, because that would require a “federal enforcement mechanism” that could look like Portland, OR. pic.twitter.com/ktGHa6RmOf
— Bobby Lewis (@revrrlewis) July 20, 2020
Enjoy this piece?
… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.
NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.
Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.
MAGA Mega-Church Pastor: Secularists, Atheists and ‘Infidels’ Have Perverted Our ‘Christian’ Nation’s Constitution
Robert Jeffress, senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, insisted on recent episodes of his “Pathway to Victory” broadcast that “America is a Christian Nation.” Jeffress, who hosted Vice President Mike Pence for a “Celebrate Freedom Sunday” worship service on June 28, is a regular fixture on Fox News, where he relentlessly promotes President Donald Trump and denounces the president’s opponents. Pathway to Victory is aired daily on more than 900 radio stations in the U.S., according to First Baptist.
In the week between Pence’s appearance and the Fourth of July, Jeffress devoted two Pathways to Victory episodes to the theme “America at a Crossroads,” followed by episodes on July 1 and July 2 titled “America is a Christian Nation.” The overlapping content of those programs—which seem to recycle sermons Jeffress has delivered—pushed several themes:
- America was founded as a Christian nation.
- The First Amendment was designed to put all Christian denominations on equal footing, not to make Christianity “subservient” to other religions.
- Secularists and other infidels have perverted the meaning of the Constitution.
- Politics in the U.S. today is a battle between good and evil.
To buttress his case that America has always been a Christian nation, Jeffress took a page from oft-debunked religious-right pseudo-historian David Barton, cherry-picking quotes from the Founding Fathers and early court decisions. Jeffress cited an 1844 case about a wealthy man in Pennsylvania who left money in his will to start a school for orphans with the stipulation that no Christian minister could teach in the school. Some of the man’s heirs sued on various grounds; they argued in part that the prohibition on clergy teaching at the school discriminated against Christianity. The Supreme Court rejected that argument and upheld the will, saying that the prohibition on ministers as teachers did not violate the state constitution, impugn Christianity or prevent lay people from teaching the Bible. Jeffress quoted approvingly from a section of the ruling:
Likewise, the court had something to say about those who would say, ‘Well then, you’ve got to treat all religions the same.’ They said, ‘It is unnecessary for us, however, to consider what the legal effect of such a device in Pennsylvania for the establishment of a school or college for the propagation of Judaism or deism or any other form of infidelity. Such a case is not to be presumed to exist in a Christian country.”
Jeffress also cited a 1799 decision by the Maryland Supreme Court that included the assertion, “By our form of government, the Christian religion is the established religion” of the United States. Jeffress adds:
Now think about it. Seven years after the ratification of the First Amendment, this court says we have an established religion. It is the Christian religion. They understood exactly what the founders had in mind. They understood that yes, this is a Christian nation, but no one denomination is to be elevated [over] another. ‘Cause look at the second phrase. Yes, the Christian religion is the established religion, ‘and all sects and denominations of Christians are placed upon the same equal footing and are equally entitled to protection in their religious liberty.’
It seems less likely that Jeffress or his religious-right allies would embrace the rest of the holding in that case, which inserted the court into a dispute over a congregation’s effort to dismiss and replace its minister.
Jeffress did discuss the letter by Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists, in which Jefferson praised the First Amendment for having built “a wall of separation between Church & State.” But, Jeffress claimed, “The context of this was the elevation of one Christian denomination over another Christian denomination. Never in their wildest imaginations did Thomas Jefferson or the Founding Fathers ever believe that that First Amendment would be perverted in such a way as to try to separate our country from its Christian heritage.”
In fact, Jefferson was extremely proud of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom—widely considered a precursor to the First Amendment—and the legislative battle that prevented “Jesus Christ” from being inserted into its preamble, which made clear, in Jefferson’s words, that the law was “meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mahometan, the Hindoo and infidel of every denomination.”
In his broadcasts, Jeffress cited a litany of commonly voiced religious-right complaints about Supreme Court rulings, beginning with a series of 20th Century rulings that strengthened church-state separation and put an end to official prayer and devotional Bible readings in public schools. Contrasting them with the language used by 19th Century courts and politicians. Jeffress asked:
And here’s the question: What has changed? What has changed? In these 150 years, has the Constitution changed and nobody told us? Is that what happened? Of course not. What has happened is we have allowed the secularists, the humanists, the atheists, the infidels, to pervert our Constitution into something our Founding Fathers never intended. And it is time for Americans to stand up and say ‘Enough! We’re not going to allow this in our Christian country anymore.’ It is time to put an end to this.
Jeffress used two metaphors for describing the court rulings he claims perverted the Constitution. In one telling, each case was a stone building the wall of separation ever higher. In another, each case was like an explosion set in a building’s foundation to bring it down in an implosion. Roe v. Wade and the marriage equality decision in Obergefell v. Hodges were other “explosions,” he said, claiming that the country is living in that moment between the explosions and the building’s collapse: “No nation that outlaws the mention of God in the public square, that celebrates the murder of its own children, that destroys the most basic unit of society—the family—no nation is going to survive that.”
But Jeffress doesn’t want his audience to despair. “No, this is not depressing as long as you understand our purpose as Christians. If you understand our purpose as Christians, there’s never been a better time to be alive and living in America than right now.” Christians, he said, are meant to push back against evil. And since God designed government to be a “restrainer of evil,” he said, “when we elect government officials, we are determining the moral and spiritual direction of our country.”
Jeffress is not subtle. Citing the candidates’ different positions on abortion, he portrayed the 2016 election between Trump and Hillary Clinton as a battle “between good and evil.” And he said that’s true of politics in the U.S. today. “If you don’t hear another word I say this morning, hear this: what we’re facing in this country is not a battle between Republicans and Democrats. It is a battle between good and evil, between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan,” he said. “That’s exactly what is at stake in this country.”
On the recent broadcasts, Jeffress talked about his church’s $135 million, six-block campus in downtown Dallas, which he said is debt-free. He repeatedly asked people to contribute money to a $575,000 matching campaign to “replenish the arsenal” and expand his program’s reach before a July 5 deadline. First Baptist received between $2 million and $5 million in federal coronavirus relief funds, according to records released recently by the Trump administration. Jeffress also promoted his most recent book, “Praying for America,” which urges people to vote for “God-honoring candidates.”
The Christian-nation version of the U.S. founding promoted by Jeffress and Barton has been widely challenged by historians, including evangelical Christians like John Fea, author of “Was America Founded as a Christian Nation?”
This article was first published at Right Wing Watch and is republished here by permission.
‘Groucho? Harpo? Chico?’: Matt Schlapp Mocked for Claim This May Be Final 4th of July Before ‘Marxists’ Take Over US
Far right wing lobbyist, Fox News contributor, Trump campaign surrogate, and provocateur Matt Schlapp is being mocked after claiming Marxists are taking over the country and warning that as a result, Saturday may be America’s final Fourth of July.
Schlapp apparently was forced to use a photo of umbrella-holding protestors fleeing what looks like tear gas, with one particularly patriotic young man donning an American flag face mask while holding up a rather large American flag.
“This Saturday, if the Marxist leaders have their way, we will celebrate #IndependenceDay for the last time as a free people,” Schlapp tweeted. “Now is the time to stand up for your country. And even more importantly, pray that the Great American Experiment survives their assault.”
This Saturday, if the Marxist leaders have their way, we will celebrate #IndependenceDay for the last time as a free people. Now is the time to stand up for your country. And even more importantly, pray that the Great American Experiment survives their assault. pic.twitter.com/NExTIh6q0u
— Matt Schlapp (@mschlapp) July 2, 2020
At first glance, perhaps, some likely would assume the image is of Black Lives Matter activists at a George Floyd racial justice protest.
But as Vox co-founder Matt Yglesias pointed out, the photo is of protestors in Hong Kong, a region currently engaged in its own fight for freedom.
This is a photograph of Hong Kong https://t.co/Vd69LF4KLr
— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) July 3, 2020
(The photo is from the Associated Press, and can be seen in this Voice of America article)
Schlapp, whose wife is a Trump campaign advisor, was double mocked – for the photo, and for the “American” protestors.
(The right recently has been labeling Black Lives Matter as “Marxist,” citing the reported beliefs of one of its co-founders, intentionally ignoring that the millions who are marching against police killings and for racial justice are not.)
Schlapp, by the way, is the chairman of the American Conservative Union, the company that hosts the annual right wing Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). Several companies have recently dropped Schlapp over his comments about the George Floyd protests. Among them, these:
Statues of Jesus are next. It won’t end. Pray for the USA
— Matt Schlapp (@mschlapp) June 22, 2020
Mark BLM shut down DC because they refuse to hold the dem elected officials in MN to account for Floyd’s murder. It is easier to blame Trump. Keep it going and you’ll reelect him. All lives matter including the dozen or so killed due to fanning these flames for political “gain” https://t.co/z7kn5Bjkle
— Matt Schlapp (@mschlapp) June 6, 2020
Growing list of companies giving to Black Lives Matter Coalition which is hostile to families, capitalism, cops, unborn life and gender. How can a company give to a network of groups that want to outlaw corporations? Because many corporate boards are infected w leftists.
— Matt Schlapp (@mschlapp) June 11, 2020
Here’s how some are responding to Schlapp:
Who, pray tell, are the Marxist leaders? Groucho? Harpo? Chico? Those are the “Marxists” most popular in the US.
The tweet has the stench of fear. Trump’s authoritarian allies are running scared. https://t.co/iSF0JmmVnt
— Michael R. Bromwich (@mrbromwich) July 3, 2020
guys like this take an almost sexual joy in dreaming up completely crack-brained imaginary new ways they are being oppressed https://t.co/2DPfpXnj3a
— ryan cooper (@ryanlcooper) July 3, 2020
— Rep. Eric Swalwell (@RepSwalwell) July 3, 2020
“The Great American Experiment” is a weird way to say “my grift to make millions of dollars because I’m married to a senior adviser of Trump” but you do you, Matt.
— Pé (@4everNeverTrump) July 3, 2020
do you have any idea just how ridiculous you sound
— Jeff Tiedrich (@itsJeffTiedrich) July 3, 2020
Fear. It’s all these Trump-era grifters have. Fear. https://t.co/kJs9a2Jnqg
— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) July 3, 2020
Marxist leaders? Seriously? Who’s that? How did you end up so troubled and scared? https://t.co/8wdYXn1Na3
— John Sipher (@john_sipher) July 3, 2020
It’s chaos with these Marxists! pic.twitter.com/XkoqvdP6aR
— BillMemphis (@BillMemphis) July 3, 2020
Yes. Nothing says America is failing like a protester in Hong Kong waving the stars and bars. You’re not even a good propagandist. We will get our country back in January and all of your con artists and grifters can go back to your old crimes.
— Fred Wellman (@FPWellman) July 3, 2020
When you’re desperate to add to the chandelier collection in the $3 million Alexandria home and “30-acre idyll in the Blue Ridge Mountains” that Koch Industries and the NRA bought you https://t.co/dVmLPtxL5h
— Adam Weinstein (@AdamWeinstein) July 3, 2020
So two things:
1) That’s a photo of Hong Kong;
2) Dude, you need to seriously up your meds. https://t.co/5xPdu5TxgZ
— Daniel W. Drezner (@dandrezner) July 3, 2020
The ONLY thing #MAGA Republicans know how to do well is to make up a fake enemy (Muslims, Immigrants, ANTIFA, etc.) make you afraid, and then say THEY are the only ones who can fix it. This fuktard, @mschlapp and his wife @mercedesschlapp are two of those people. https://t.co/CNZ7tHkEZz
— 🖕🏻Aunt Crabby calls Bullshit 🖕🏻 (@DearAuntCrabby) July 3, 2020
Lenin and Trotsky coming over for a 4th of July BBQ? Maybe you should ease off the absinthe.
— Andrew C Laufer, Esq (@lauferlaw) July 3, 2020
It’s just a lie. More gaslighting from the racist right. https://t.co/4qZuhPxs8B
— Beki Knott (@lotsofuss) July 3, 2020
Americans Should ‘Get Over’ White Privilege and Recognize It as ‘White Blessing’ Says Megachurch Pastor – To Outrage
Atlanta megachurch pastor Louie Giglio in under fire for advocating that Americans should “get over” the negative concept of “white privilege” and recognize it as “white blessings.”
Hosting what he called “an honest conversation about race and the Church” on Sunday with Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy and Christian hip-hop recording artist and music executive Lecrae, Giglio advocated for changing the term “white privilege” to make it less offensive to white Americans who “don’t want somebody telling them to check their privilege” (video below.)
Giglio suggested, “let’s get over the phrase” of “white privilege.”
“I think maybe a great thing for me is to call it ‘white blessing,'” Giglio declared. “That I’m living in the blessing of the curse that happened generationally that allowed me to grow up in Atlanta.”
“I feel like on the inside of the church we’re fighting this historical context,” Giglio told Lecrae and Cathy. “In other words, we love the blessing of the cross, but we don’t love to sit in it and realize this is what God’s asking me to do, to die to myself, and to live for him, whatever context that’s going to look like for me.”
“I want to flip that upside down because I think the other side of it is true with our nation’s history,” he continued. “We understand the curse that was slavery, white people do, and we say ‘that was bad,’ but we miss the blessing of slavery that it actually built up the framework for the world that white people live in and lived in.”
Giglio is no stranger to controversy. In 2013 he was forced to pull out of delivering President Barack Obama’s second inaugural benediction after a homophobic sermon he had delivered years earlier was discovered. In it he proclaimed that “homosexuals” will not go to heaven unless they are “cured” of homosexuality by accepting Jesus.
Pastor Louie Giglio, rapper Lecrae and Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy “had an honest conversation about race and the Church” on June 14.
Here’s an example of why words and their meanings matter.
“White Privilege” vs. “White Blessings” pic.twitter.com/VkSP6RP0t1
— Nicola A. Menzie (@namenzie) June 16, 2020
Lecrae responded by saying “the idea that you have the ability to dismiss” white privilege “is a privilege. You have the ability to not think about it. I cannot change my skin tone.”
I’m actually okay with @lecrae response to the white blessing comments
He said even trying to switch the words is apart of white folks privilege pic.twitter.com/vJxCY6Zno2
— Black Soulutions (@MrRoscoes) June 16, 2020
On Facebook Giglio responded to the criticism.
“Not a great choice of words. I failed. Trying to help my demographic move forward. But failed.”
Meanwhile, on social media many expressed anger at Giglio, with some noting that to call white privilege “white blessings” falsely suggests that white privilege is ordained or blessed by God.
Using the term “white blessing” instead of “white privilege” erases reality. “White blessing” implies that white advantages in society are ordained by God and allows white people to absolve themselves of responsibility for their own creation and perpetuation of white supremacy. https://t.co/uCzsnRKVIV
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) June 16, 2020
I did not have trying to rebrand ⚪ privilege as white blessing on my “honest conversation about race” bingo card. It’s not a blessing to be the beneficiaries/perpetuators of a ⚪ supremacist society. That suggests it’s serendipitous when our country is designed that way. https://t.co/0JqiDKkWi4
— BlackWomenViews (@blackwomenviews) June 16, 2020
That white man said he lived in the blessings of slavery. I would’ve flipped all that shit over.
— Karlous Miller (@KarlousM) June 16, 2020
The idea that we should stop calling the reality “white privilege” by that name b/c it offends some white people and should instead call it “white blessing” as Giglio suggests is so deeply frustrating & exhausting that it literally makes my soul ache.pic.twitter.com/WFgHLizmTR
— Kyle J. Howard (@KyleJamesHoward) June 16, 2020
White privilege is wanting to rebrand something as white blessing because white fragility makes white people not want to hear about white privilege. Yeah, the concept is supposed to make you uncomfortable because the reality is uncomfortable.
— BethEBanana🍌 (@hithisisbanana) June 16, 2020
PS- It’s incredibly dangerous to normalize white privilege as white blessing. It makes something that inflicts results in systemic abuse and oppression of others sound almost delightful; that perpetuates ⚪ supremacy even further. Stop prioritizing your comfort over our survival.
— BlackWomenViews (@blackwomenviews) June 16, 2020
Changing white privilege to white blessing is white privilege. God is not in it. I say this w/ grace but in truth. Slavery was so painful that this generation is still patching up the wounds from the sin of white supremacy, past & present. The exact opposite of “white blessing”
— Katherine M White (@kwhitewrites) June 16, 2020
- 'CAN'T WE END THIS ALREADY?'2 days ago
Trump wasted half a billion on 10,000 ventilators that won’t arrive until September 2022
- YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK3 days ago
Busted: Emails Reveal Trump ‘Personally Approved’ Campaign-Style Government Mailer Sent to 130 Million American Homes
- 'DANGEROUS FOOLS'2 days ago
Anti-mask anti-lockdown right-wing Texas lawmaker nearly dies of coronavirus
- News3 days ago
Trump Says He Will Ban TikTok as Soon as Saturday – Experts Say He Can’t
- 'DANGEROUS FOOLS'2 days ago
Racist, anti-abortion group plans in-person “straight pride” event in a U.S. COVID-19 hotspot
- TALK ABOUT PRIVILEGE1 day ago
Mega MAGA Multi-Millionaire Steve Mnuchin Whines Americans Are Being ‘Overpaid’ on Unemployment: ‘There’s No Question’
- AMERICAN IDIOT6 hours ago
Trump Attacks Pelosi for Criticizing Birx – Then Attacks Birx for Telling the Truth Pandemic Is ‘Extraordinarily Widespread’
- AMERICA'S FASCIST PRESIDENT7 hours ago
Expert on Authoritarian Regimes Explains How Trump Is Creating a Crisis to ‘Cling to Power’