Connect with us

News

Biden DOJ Promises to ‘Vigorously’ Defend Religious Schools ‘Right’ to Discriminate in Lawsuit from LGBTQ Students

Published

on

40 LGBTQ students are suing the U.S. Dept. of Education for allowing the faith-based colleges they attend to discriminate against them while receiving taxpayer funds and federal support. The Dept. of Justice, which generally defends the federal government and the laws of the United States, has promised it will “vigorously” defend the several dozen schools against the lawsuit.

If this were the Trump Justice Dept., many Americans would not be surprised. And while there is a wall between the White House and the DOJ, President Joe Biden has said passing the LGBTQ Equality Act is among his top priorities. (Majority Leader Schumer has indicated he will bring it to the floor for a vote this month.)

Add to all this that the U.S. Supreme Court in the coming days is expected to hand down its decision in a case filed by a Christian adoption agency that lost its contract with the City of Philadelphia for refusing to work with LGBTQ and same-sex couples.

The Washington Post reports the DOJ’s promise “it can ‘vigorously’ defend a religious exemption from federal civil rights law that allows federally funded religious schools to discriminate against LGBTQ students,” is “a move that surprised some LGBTQ advocates who said the wording went further than just an obligation to defend an existing law.”

During the Obama years the Dept. of Justice under Attorney General Eric Holder refused to defend in court a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act, declaring he and President Obama had decided it was unconstitutional. (The U.S. Supreme Court ultimately agreed.)

“In the filing,” the Post adds, “the Biden administration said it ‘shares the same ultimate objective’ as the conservative Christian schools named in the case.”

LGBTQ activists are displeased.

“What this means is that the government is now aligning itself with anti-LGBTQ hate in order to vigorously defend an exemption that everyone knows causes severe harm to LGBTQ students using taxpayer money,” said Paul Carlos Southwick, director of the Religious Exemption Accountability Project, which filed the case in March on behalf of dozens of current and past students at conservative religious colleges and universities. “It will make our case harder if the federal government plans to vigorously defend it like they have indicated.”

The lawsuit says the schools are “fueled by government funding,” and yet the Dept. of Education’s “inaction leaves students unprotected from the harms of conversion therapy, expulsion, denial of housing and healthcare, sexual and physical abuse and harassment, as well as the less visible, but no less damaging, consequences of institutionalized shame, fear, anxiety and loneliness.”

The Religious Exemption Accountability Project says its lawsuit “asserts the constitutional and basic human rights of LGBTQ+ students, seeking to end the sexual, physical and psychological abuses perpetrated under the religious exemption to Title IX at thousands of federally-funded schools, colleges and universities across America.”

The Constitution guarantees equal rights for all Americans, holding space for religious belief and practice, while ensuring that religion does not serve as a government-funded vehicle to harm racial, ethnic, gender, sexual, religious or other minorities. Government action that ignores this central principal, including the religious exemption to Title IX, is unconstitutional and must be remedied immediately. 

Several right wing groups are asking the courts to be included in the lawsuit to defend the religious exemption and their “right” to discriminate.

Among them, the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities, and the Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal firm that has won at the U.S. Supreme Court and appears on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of anti-LGBTQ hate groups.

On its website ADF describes the lawsuit as a demand the schools “renounce core religious beliefs,” which apparently includes discriminating against LGBTQ students.

Continue Reading
Click to comment
 
 

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.

News

President Biden Had Two Vulgar Words to Say When He First Encountered One of Trump’s ‘Toys’ in the White House

Published

on

According to the book “Peril,” as newly-inaugurated President Joe Biden first toured the White House after Donald Trump vacated it January 20, he encountered one room of the former president’s “toys,” and responded with a two-word vulgarity.

“Trump’s existence permeated the White House, even the residence,” Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa write in the new book, per an excerpt cited by ABC News, HuffPost reports. “One night, Biden wandered into a room where a huge video screen covered the wall. To relax, Trump used to upload programs to virtually play the world’s most famous golf courses.”

The new President had just two words to say about the golf “toy.”

“What a fucking asshole,” President Biden responded.

 

Image: Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz via Flickr

 

Continue Reading

News

Watch: Madison Cawthorn Challenger Accuses Him of Being ‘Radicalized’ in Devastating Ad That’s Going Viral

Published

on

One of U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn‘s Democratic challengers has just released an ad accusing the North Carolina Republican of appearing to have been “radicalized by extremists,” and it’s going viral, with more than 300,000 views in about ten hours.

“Like too many young people before him from around the world to right next door, Madison Cawthorn exhibits the signs of a young man who has been radicalized by extremists and is now dangerously radicalizing others,” Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, one of four Democrats and seven Republicans running to unseat Congressman Cawthorn, says in her new ad accusing him of “stoking insurrection.”

Jasmine Beach-Ferrara is a North Carolina county commissioner, ordained minister, and founder and executive director of the Campaign for Southern Equality. She announced her run for Congress in March.

Her campaign website says: “Jasmine attended public schools through high school and received her undergraduate degree from Brown University. She holds a Master of Fine Arts and completed her Master of Divinity degree at Harvard Divinity School. She served on the Biden Foundation’s Advisory Council for Advancing LGBTQ Equality.”

The ad is emblazoned with images of young Nazis in Hitler’s Germany, along with neo-Nazis and white supremacists from the Unite the Right “rally” in Charlotte, NC, along with white supremacist, neo-Nazi, and mass murderer Dylann Roof who slaughtered nine Black bible study group members, and alleged teenaged killer Kyle Rittenhouse who goes on trial in November.

The video says eight months after the January 6 insurrection, Cawthorn “calls these violent insurrectionists ‘hostages’ and can’t let go of the Big Lie.”

The ad also features images of Beach-Ferrara with her wife and children, as she says, “as a mom, an ordained minister and a county commissioner, I’m running to defeat Madison Cawthorn, not by confronting hate with more hate, but with love of neighbor, love of community, and love of country. Because violent extremism has no place in western North Carolina. This isn’t who we are. We need to be crystal clear about the difference between right and wrong.”

Beach-Ferrara calls Cawthorn “a danger to our democracy,” and says, “I’m asking for your help, not just to defeat him, but to come together to create the America our kids deserve.”

Watch:

 

 

Continue Reading

News

The ‘Rosetta Stone of the Far Right’ Just Got Hacked — and Its Secrets Are Being Exposed

Published

on

On Tuesday, The Washington Post reported on the hack of Epik, a domain hosting website that has become synonymous with far-right groups and causes.

“Online records show those sites have included 8chan, which was dropped by its providers after hosting the manifesto of a gunman who killed 51 Muslims in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 2019; Gab, which was dropped for hosting the antisemitic rants of a gunman who killed 11 people in a Pittsburgh synagogue in 2018; and Parler, which was dropped due to lax moderation related to the Jan. 6 Capitol attack,” reported Drew Harwell, Craig Timberg, and Hannah Allam.

Epik also briefly hosted the neo-Nazi Daily Stormer, and prolifewhistleblower.com, the website set up to facilitate bounty-hunting snitches for the new Texas abortion law.

According to the report, experts are combing through the data of the leak, which came courtesy of the hacker group Anonymous and includes everything from client names to home addresses to the account credential of far-right site administrators.

“Extremism researchers and political opponents have treated the leak as a Rosetta Stone to the far-right, helping them to decode who has been doing what with whom over several years,” said the report. “Initial revelations have spilled out steadily across Twitter since news of the hack broke last week, often under the hashtag #epikfail, but those studying the material say they will need months and perhaps years to dig through all of it.”

One of the revelations provided by the leak, said the report, was that Epik had weak security measures.

“Epik’s security protocols have been the target of ridicule among researchers, who’ve marveled at the site’s apparent failure to take basic security precautions, such as routine encryption that could have protected data about its customers from becoming public,” said the report. “Similar failings by other hacked companies have drawn scrutiny from the Federal Trade Commission, which has probed companies such as dating site Ashley Madison for failing to protect their customers’ private data from hackers. FTC investigations have resulted in settlements imposing financial penalties and more rigorous privacy standards.”

You can read more here.

 

Image by Kjetil Korslien via Flickr and a CC license

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2020 AlterNet Media.