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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

Indicted Congressman Is ‘Longtime’ Member of Secretive Religious Org Tied to Uganda’s ‘Kill the Gays’ Bill: Report

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U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), indicted on federal charges on Tuesday for allegedly lying to the FBI about campaign finance issues, is a longtime member of the highly secretive, highly political, and largely evangelical Christian group known as The Family.

That organization was recently highlighted in a Netflix documentary inspired by Jeff Sharlet’s investigative book, “The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power.”

In addition to its highly secretive political work The Family also hosts the annual National Prayer Breakfast, which has been attended by every U.S. President since Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Many Americans became aware of the existence of The Family a decade ago when it was revealed the group had ties to the Uganda lawmaker pushing extreme legislation known as the “Kill the Gays” bill. The Family allegedly supported the bill. It provided the death penalty for homosexual acts, and after years of international outrage the text was watered down to become the “Jail the Gays” bill, imposing a life in prison sentence for LGBTQ people. It was signed into law in 2014, and later invalidated by the Ugandan Supreme Court.

On Wednesday The Young Turks exclusively reported Congressman Fortenberry’s membership in The Family. TYT notes the secretive organization has also “been tied to multiple political scandals in recent years,” although that report does not mention The Family’s connection to Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” bill.

“Fortenberry’s involvement with The Family has not been previously reported,” TYT adds. “However, his chief of staff, Andy Braner, is a fellow insider, who has spoken publicly about his attendance at the National Prayer Breakfast, dating back to 2014, and has ties to The Family dating back as early as 2006, according to his LinkedIn profile.”

Fortenberry has hosted highly anti-LGBTQ guests at the National Prayer Breakfast, including Timothy Broglio, the Archbishop for the Military Services, USA. Broglio, who recently came out against Pope Francis’ position on vaccines in order to publicly oppose them, supported then-President Donald Trump’s ban on transgender service members. He also opposed the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

TYT’s report also says that Congressman Fortenberry “has been invited to multiple events overseas connected to The Family, two of which he was apparently invited to attend on The Family’s dime. Congressional disclosure forms filed by Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL) list Fortenberry as having been invited on at least two of Aderholt’s trips sponsored by The Family.”

Also unknown to many is that, according to TYT, anti-LGBTQ evangelical activist Franklin Graham is the National Prayer Breakfast’s only financial donor.

You can read the entire report here.

 

 

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

Watch: Far Right Anti-Vaxx Pastor Just Can’t Understand Why There Are No ‘Big Democrats’ Who Have Died From COVID

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Far right wing pastor Kent Christmas, famous for his anti-LGBTQ remarks, is now seemingly embracing a conspiracy theory, telling parishioners no “big Democrats” have died from COVID and asking them, “Doesn’t that make you wonder?”

Christmas is a pro-Trump anti-vaxxer who back in August claimed Christians should not get vaccinated because “the law of God supersedes the law of men.”

Now he’s saying no “big Democrats” or billionaires have died of the coronavirus, and he’s correct – but for reasons that appear to escape him.

“I can’t think of one big Democrat that’s died from the Coronavirus,” he says in video posted by Friendly Atheist’s Hemant Mehta. “I can’t think of one billionaire that’s died of Coronavirus. Bill Gates is fine. George Soros is fine,” he adds, as an parishioner can be heard saying, “You’re right.”

“Biden’s fine. He’s 80 years old and half dead anyway,” the pastor added, to laughter and applause. “Rupert Murdoch’s fine. The CEOs of Vanguard and Berkshire Hathaway and State City and Mark Zuckerberg – they’re just fine.”

“Doesn’t that make you wonder?” he asks, as audience members agree.

Christmas has claimed gay people die by suicide at a high rate because they feel guilty about being gay, and blamed a “demonic spirit that comes after our seed” for the increase in people who identify as LGBTQ.

Here he is not comprehending the power of COVID vaccines:

 

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

A Christian Anti-LGBT Hate Group Designed Mississippi Abortion Ban to ‘Eradicate’ Roe – SCOTUS Is About to Hear the Case

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In January 2018, Right Wing Watch broke the story that lawyers for religious-right legal giant Alliance Defending Freedom bragged at an anti-choice conference that the 15-week abortion ban that had been introduced in Mississippi was based on ADF’s model language. ADF lawyers said the law was the next step in the group’s strategic plan to “eradicate” Roe v. Wade through the courts.

Now, nearly four years later, legal challenges to the ​Mississippi law have made their way to the Supreme Court, which will hear Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization on Wednesday, Dec. 1. Religious-right groups hope that the court’s right-wing justices will use the case to overturn Roe v. Wade and allow states to criminalize abortion outright. The ​Supreme Court could also make Roe “irrelevant” without formally reversing it.

ADF is using the hearing to raise money. In a fundraising Monday morning email, the group told supporters that ​the court could ​use Dobbs to overturn Roe. Last week, ADF sent a fundraising pitch that offered supporters a chance to download its “Generational Wins Prayer Guide” for the Dobbs case. (ADF also hopes to achieve a “generational win” that would overturn marriage equality for same-sex couples.)

On Thanksgiving, Intercessors for America, a network of right-wing pastors and religious-right activists, called Dobbs “the most crucial Supreme Court case in 45 years.” On Thursday and again on Friday, it urged its supporters to sign its “emergency pro-lie amicus brief” as a “citizen co-sponsor.” IFA wrote, “Let the Supreme Court know that while abortion may be the law of the land now, but with the power of prayer we can overcome!”

The Heritage Foundation​, a right-wing think tank, called the Dobbs case a “chance at redemption” for the court in a Monday email​.

ADF’s Monday email bragged about the record number of legal briefs that were filed in support of the Mississippi abortion ban. The Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission and the National Association of Evangelicals are among the many religious-right groups signing amicus briefs urging the Court to overturn Roe and allow states to criminalize abortion. Joining them is the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The Family Research Council hosted and streamed a two-hour event from a Jackson, Mississippi, church Sunday night that was emceed by FRC President Tony Perkins and featured an array of anti-choice religious and political leaders praying that the Court would overturn Roe. ADF President Mike Farris and Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser joined the broadcast from the steps of the Supreme Court, where Farris prayed that the justices would not ask Mississippi’s lawyers any questions they had not prepared for. Anti-choice activist Tina Whittington prayed about the importance of young people “engaging with our government to see Heaven’s values on life rule in our land.”

Among the other speakers was California-based pastor Jack Hibbs, an associate of Christian nationalist political operative David Lane and an ardent Trump supporter. This summer, Hibbs preached that President Joe Biden should be court-martialed and removed from office; a month earlier he asked God to forgive Californians for electing “people with antichrist” worldviews “like Nancy Pelosi and Kamala Harris.” Hibbs said on Sunday night that Dobbs case “will define whether God remains in this nation or not.”

Also joining the FRC broadcast were anti-abortion extremist Flip Benham and his grandson, anti-choice activist Alveda King, and former Rep. Michele Bachmann, dean of the school of government at Pat Robertson’s Regent University and chair of FRC’s board of directors. Speaking of the Supreme Court, Bachmann said, “But Father, these men are but dust. One day these justices, men and women, their knees will bow, their tongues will confess that you are Lord.”

Some religious-right activists believe that Justice Amy Coney Barrett, confirmed by Senate Republicans just days before voters rejected Donald Trump, was anointed by God to lead the Supreme Court in overturning Roe. Among them was dominionist Lou Engle, who wrote this month that he believes that “God is looking for the Church to respond at this moment, standing with Him in the court of heaven to release a decision in favor of His saints. The ekklesia on earth must agree with the Divine Counsel of Heaven.”

Engle celebrated that the three justices nominated by Trump have created an anti-choice majority on the court, but he warned that those justices are coming under spiritual attack by “demonic forces.” Engle called on his supporters to wage spiritual warfare to “bind these five conservative judges into a coalition of conscience from which they cannot get free.”

Before joining the high court, Barrett was paid at least five times to speak at conferences for recipients of ADF’s Blackstone Legal Fellowship. Right Wing Watch noted in May, when the Supreme Court agreed to hear Dobbs: 

During the Trump administration, religious-right leaders and activists repeatedly prayed for God to “remove” Supreme Court justices to give Trump the ability to name justices to the court who would overturn Roe v. Wade.

Last year, Frank Amedia, founder of the dominionist pro-Trump network POTUS Shieldcelebrated Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death as a “move of God” that would allow Trump to fulfill prophecies that he would be given three Supreme Court nominations to fill.

When Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant signed the 15-week ban, he said that he wanted his state to be the “safest place in America for an unborn child.”  In the Family Research Council broadcast Sunday night, current Gov. Tate Reeves echoed that sentiment, saying that when he was running for governor, he made a commitment to God “that I would do everything in my power to make our state the safest state in the nation for an unborn child.” And he told the audience, “We’re gonna fight together to make this nation the safest place in the world for an unborn child.”

As I noted at the time, when Bryant signed the law, Mississippi was by many measures the least safe state in America for women, infants, and children:

 

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

Image by Do512 via Flickr and a CC license

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

Pastor Tells Congregation ‘The Best Person to Rape Is Your Wife’

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A Seventh-day Adventist pastor told his Bronx, New York congregation that wives belong to their husbands, as property, and they must “submit” themselves to their husbands, even if that means being raped by them.

“Wives, you must submit to your husbands,” Pastor Burnett Robinson said, as shown in the video below.

“I would say to you gentlemen, the best person to rape is your wife,” he added in his November 13 sermon, as Religion News Service reports.

“In this matter of submission, I want you to know upfront ladies, that once you get married, you are no longer your own. You are your husband’s. You understand what I’m saying? I emphasize that because I saw in court the other day on TV where a lady sued her husband for rape. And I would say to you gentlemen, the best person to rape is your wife. But then it has become legalized.”

RNS notes that “Robinson was apparently preaching from a passage from the New Testament’s Letter to the Ephesians, in which the Apostle Paul says, ‘Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.'”

A Change.org petition with over 1100 signatures is calling for Robinson’s resignation.

The Grand Concourse Seventh-day Adventist church has apologized and placed the pastor on leave, according to its website. Robinson has led that church as senior pastor since 2013.

NCRM will not post the video directly, but it can be seen here.

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