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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

North Carolina Lt. Gov. Proclaims America Is ‘A Christian Nation,’ Says School Shootings Will Stop When Kids Learn About Jesus

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North Carolina’s Republican Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson was among members of Congress, state legislators, various candidates for office, and radical religious-right activists who gathered at Temple Baptist Church in Mount Airy, North Carolina, last weekend for the North Carolina Faith & Freedom Coalition’s “Salt & Light Conference.”

Robinson, who closed out the event on Saturday, is a regular participant in “pastor gatherings” organized by the American Renewal Project, an organization run by Christian nationalist political operative David Lane. As Lane recently explained, “the aim and purpose” of such gatherings “to recruit pastors and spiritual leaders to run for local office—city council, school board, county commissioner, parks and recreation, etc.—in 2022, 2024, 2026 and thereafter, in an attempt to neutralize and overcome the assault by cultural Marxism.”

Based on the speech Robinson delivered at the Salt & Light Conference, it is easy to see why he has been a featured speaker at so many of Lane’s events. The ardent strain of Christian nationalism that fueled his remarks would have been extreme coming from a radical right-wing pastor; it was even more alarming coming from a high-ranking elected official.

Robinson opened his remarks by declaring that the United States has been, is, and always will be a “Christian nation” and that anyone who doesn’t like it is free to leave:

As always, we thank our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. … It is because of my religion that I stand here today. It is because of Jesus Christ that I stand here today. If I lose my zeal for God, I will no longer stand in the place that he put me. You can’t continue to stand where God puts you without the God that puts you there. And so, we’re going to continue to mention him. As for this not being a Christian nation, yes, it is! If you don’t like it, I’ll buy your plane, train, or automobile ticket right up out of here.

As long as there is a remnant of his people in this place that continue to pray to him and for his wisdom, this will always be a Christian nation. It was established by him. When the founders said those words, when they wrote them down and declared them to the world and told them to a king that, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed”—by who? Their creator. Not the Congress, not the Senate, not the king, but by their creator—”with certain inalienable rights,” God Almighty heard that and said, “There’s a nation I can get behind.” So, this is still a Christian nation, and we still give him thanks because he is still worthy and always will be.”

Later in his speech, Robinson proclaimed that the solution to stopping school shootings is to have public schools teach that Jesus is the only way to salvation:

I’m tired of turning on my TV after a school shooting and watching folks come together on school grounds, where they done told me I can’t pray, I can’t bring my Bible, can’t mention my God, can’t say nothing about Jesus Christ, but as soon as there’s a school shooting, everybody’s down at the schoolyard praying. Now you done run him off your property, but as soon as there’s trouble, here you come, “We’re gonna have a prayer vigil down at the school because we had a shooting.” You know, it seems quite easy to me, sir, if you had had that prayer vigil before that shooting, if you had let God come in that building before that shooting, if you had told those students, ‘Jesus Christ is the way and the light and only through him can you receive salvation,’ there wouldn’t have been no school shooting.

It’s too late now. Your little half-hearted attempts at soothing Jesus Christ, it’s not gonna work. You done kicked God out of your school. Children don’t know whether they men or women, they’re murdering each other with impunity, and can’t read on a grade level, all because you done turned your back on the wisdom of the man that built that schoolhouse you in.

Robinson closed out his remarks by attacking Democratic North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper and strongly hinting that he intends to run against him, telling the crowd that the state needs a governor “with the courage of John the Baptist” and making it very clear that he believes himself to be just such a person.

This article was originally published by Right Wing Watch and is republished here by permission. 

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

Christian Right Facing ‘Credibility’ Issues — Just as They Try to Force Their Will on Everyone Else: Analyst

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On Tuesday, writing for MSNBC’s ReidOutBlog, Ja’han Jones outlined how the Christian Right is facing renewed moral scrutiny and a crisis of “credibility” — at exactly the moment they have captured the Supreme Court and have begun striking down rights and protections they have long declared to be counter to moral society.

Specifically, he argued, the latest rash of sex abuse allegations against conservative Christian institutions puts their moral authority on the line.

The Catholic Church has long faced criticism for overlooking and shielding priests accused of molesting children — but now, noted Jones, other denominations are coming under scrutiny for similar alleged misconduct.

“First, there’s the scandal still unfolding at Agapè Boarding School, a Christian facility for young men in Missouri that’s facing a slew of child abuse allegations. Agapè pitches guardians on its ability to ‘biblically teach your child the importance of submission to authority and the joys of being an obedient law-abiding citizen,'” wrote Jones. “The Missouri State Highway Patrol has been investigating Agapè for systemic child abuse for more than a year now. On Monday, The Daily Beast reported new details about several students who have filed lawsuits alleging they were sexually abused and beaten by workers at the school.”

IN OTHER NEWS: ‘Striking’ how close Georgia election investigation is getting to Trump: legal expert

“That alleged culture of abuse sounds similar to the one victims say was fostered by the Southern Baptist Convention, an ultraconservative denomination of Christian nationalists,” wrote Jones. “In May, church leaders released a report showing hundreds of pastors and church workers have been accused of sexual abuse. The SBC, which is in ideological lockstep with the conservative movement, has since released the names of pastors it says were accused between 2000 and 2019. When the news dropped, SBC President Ed Litton said in a statement there ‘are not adequate words to express my sorrow at the things revealed in this report,’ and that Southern Baptists ‘must resolve to change our culture and implement desperately needed reforms.'”

All of this, he noted, comes as many right-wing Christian organizations are claiming that their hate speech and discrimination against LGBTQ people is in the name of “defending children.” And this is “an impossible sell when the worlds they operate appear even more broken than the one they want to ‘fix.'”

You can read more here.

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

Religious-Right Attorney Says Companies Offering to Provide Abortion Assistance Are Paying to ‘Kill Your Children’

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In the wake of the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade and reversing 50 years of precedent by eliminating the constitutional right to abortion, dozens of companies announced that they could provide coverage or reimbursements to employees who may now need to travel out of state to obtain an abortion.

Appearing on VCY America’s “Crosstalk” program Tuesday, religious-right legal activist Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel likened those companies to those who cooperated with the Nazis in Germany during World War II and accused them of treating their employees like “slave labor.”

“These employers say they will give money to the mothers in order for the mothers to kill their children so you won’t miss any time off from work rather than give you time off from work, which is what’s required by federal law,” Staver said. “They don’t want to give you the time to be a mother. They don’t want you to be away from the place of work. They would rather kill your children—pay you to do so—so you could jump back into the workplace and you can go through their eight-hour day or however long they’re going put you at the at the wheel so that they can make a profit.”

“That’s the despicable nature of what’s happening,” he continued. “Women and others across the country ought to just really cry out and say, ‘You despicable companies!  You’re paying to kill the children of these mothers so that you can continue their slave labor and continue your profits off of them.”

“These companies and the states that go down this road, they will not be blessed,” Staver warned. “They will ultimately be complicit with the shedding of innocent blood, and we’ll look back on those companies just like we look back on some of the things that happened during Nazi Germany and say, ‘Shame on you. How in the world did this ever happen?’”

This article was originally published by Right Wing Watch and is republished here by permission.

 

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

‘Lied’: Gorsuch Blasted After Photos Expose His Claims in High School Coach Praying Case Are a ‘Flat Out, Knowing Lie’

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Many people from legal experts to court watchers to journalists to ordinary Americans on social media are criticizing Justice Neil Gorsuch for his majority opinion in a decision siding with a former high school football coach. That coach sued after the school district ordered him to stop praying after every game at the 50-yard line. Justice Gorsuch’s opinion, as many are noticing, appears to be based on facts that are false. Several are accusing Gorsuch of just plain lying.

Justice Gorsuch claimed the coach’s First Amendment rights were violated, and that he was merely engaging in “quiet personal prayer” as he knelt.

Gorsuch uses the word “quiet” 14 times, as The Washington Post’s Paul Waldman notes.

“Joseph Kennedy lost his job as a high school football coach because he knelt at midfield after games to offer a quiet prayer of thanks,” Justice Gorsuch writes as he begins his majority opinion. “Mr. Kennedy prayed during a period when school employees were free to speak with a friend, call for a reservation at a restaurant, check email, or attend to other personal matters. He offered his prayers quietly while his students were otherwise occupied. Still, the Bremerton School District disciplined him anyway. It did so because it thought anything less could lead a reasonable observer to conclude (mistakenly) that it endorsed Mr. Kennedy’s religious beliefs. That reasoning was misguided.”

“The contested exercise here does not involve leading prayers with the team,” Gorsuch continues (despite photos that appear to suggest otherwise), “the District disciplined Mr. Kennedy only for his decision to persist in praying quietly without his students after three games in October 2015.”

These are the photos of Coach Kennedy that Justice Sonia Sotomayor included in her dissent:

“They aren’t even trying to use reason anymore,” former U.S. Attorney Barb McQuade laments:

And Vox’s Ian Millhiser makes clear what just happened: “The Supreme Court hands the religious right a big victory by lying about the facts of a case.”

Calling the decision “a big victory for the religious right,” Millhiser writes that’s “only because Gorsuch misrepresents the facts of the case.”

On Twitter Millhiser adds that Gorsuch’s own opinion debunks his own opinion:

Don Moynihan, a professor at Georgetown’s McCourt School of Public Policy:

Here’s noted political scientist Norman Ornstein:

Others also felt it necessary to correct the facts in the case:

 

 

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