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

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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.

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‘You Falsely Smeared My Wife and She’s Getting Death Threats’: Eric Swalwell Posts Angry Texts With Tucker Carlson

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On Friday, The Daily Beast reported that Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) posted screenshots of an angry argument between him and Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who wanted to get him on the phone for a call.

“Tucker, I’m hesitant to do that. You falsely smeared my wife on Tuesday and she’s getting death threats,” said Swalwell, referring to a retracted Fox News story alleging that Swalwell’s campaign funneled money to a business employing his wife. “That’s way out of bounds. She’s a pregnant mom of a 4-year-old and a 2-year-old. Hit me all you like. But to go after her. That’s just wrong.”

“Carlson responded by calling the Democrat a ‘coward’ and then apparently phoning him a few minutes later,” reported Blake Montgomery. “Swalwell tweeted, ‘I’m just not that into you.'”

Swalwell, the second-highest ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, has long been a target of rage for conservatives. Carlson has also accused Swalwell of aiding a Chinese spy — although experts have made clear that Swalwell in fact properly worked with the FBI to help upon learning the spy had tried to get information from him.

 

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WATCH: Biden Leaves Conservative Reporter Speechless After Bringing Up the GOP’s QAnon Problem

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A blunt-talking President Joe Biden shut down a conservative reporter on Thursday night who asked if Democrats are defunding police departments — firing back with a question about a QAnon claim that left the reporter grasping for an answer.

As Biden walked across the South Lawn, he engaged with Shelby Talcott from the conservative Daily Caller following his town hall event in Cincinnati. The exchange went like this, according to White House transcripts:

“Mr. President, can you clarify what you said about no — that there’s no — no one in the Democratic Party is anti-police”‘ Talcott asked.

“I didn’t say that,” Biden replied before adding, ” I said that that — that is not the Democratic Party’s position. I’m the Democratic Party; I am President. So is the Speaker of the House and so is the –- the Majority Leader. We are not defunding the police.”

“Okay,” she replied before asking, “And are there people who — in the Democratic Party, who want to defund the police?”

“Are there people in the Republican Party who think we’re sucking the blood out of kids?” Biden shot back. His response left Talcott fumbling as Biden stared then turned on his heel and walked away.

Biden’s comments has since infuriated conservatives — a sampling of which can be seen below:

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Sanders Promises She ‘Will Not’ Take Basic Steps to Fight COVID if Elected, Blasts Biden for Not Praising Trump

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GOP candidate for Arkansas governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Friday offered a list of promises of what she would not do to help end the coronavirus pandemic if elected. She did criticize President Joe Biden, saying he should praise his predecessor for “helping get this vaccine created safely, quickly and effectively.”

Sanders, who served as President Donald Trump’s White House press secretary, told Fox News, “If I’m elected governor here in Arkansas, we will not have mask mandates, we will not have mandates on the vaccine, we will not shut down churches and schools and other large gatherings because we believe in personal freedom and responsibility. It’s one of the key cornerstones frankly of our country.”

She did not offer any examples of what she would do to combat the deadly virus that is once again spiking across the country.

Arkansas is the country’s eighth-worst state in getting its population vaccinated. Just 44.7% of adults 18 and over have been fully inoculated.

Sanders then questioned President Biden’s and Vice President Kamala Harris’ level of seriousness “about helping save lives through the vaccine,” insisting “they should admit they were wrong when they cast doubt on Operation Warp Speed at the very beginning, and give President Trump and his administration the credit they are due for helping get this vaccine created safely, quickly and effectively, and into the hands of Americans.”

Many Americans believed President Trump would force the FDA to certify any vaccine to push it out too quickly in a desperate attempt to get re-elected. He repeatedly claimed the vaccine was coming far sooner than it did, and his own Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, in September claimed the coronavirus vaccine would be available by the end of that month.

“I think that would make a huge difference,” Sanders claimed, “and I think they should really take some responsibility and step up and fix the mistake that they made by casting so much doubt at the very beginning of this process.”

She also appeared to blame, falsely, the Biden administration for “politicization” of the vaccine.

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