A federal district court judge in Texas has ruled in favor of a longtime virulently anti-LGBTQ activist, deciding that for-profit businesses and religious entities like churches can discriminate against LGBTQ people in employment.
The ruling comes more than a year after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Bostock v. Clayton County, that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects LGBTQ workers.
U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor, appointed by President George W. Bush in 2007, ruled in favor of Dr. Steven Hotze (photo). In his ruling Judge O’Connor cited the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and the First Amendment, according to Bloomberg Law.
In April of 2015 Dr. Hotze, a GOP powerbroker, compared same-sex marriage to the Holocaust and gay people to murderers, defending his belief that Texas should ignore the impending Supreme Court ruling that found same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marriage.
Hotze filed the lawsuit in May on behalf of his Christian-based healthcare business, Braidwood Management Inc., and Bear Creek Bible Church, so they can “hire and fire in accordance with sincerely held religious beliefs and employment policies,” according to the 70-page ruling.
Dr. Hotze in not only a business owner and anti-LGBTQ activist. He is deeply involved in Texas state politics.
Last year Hotze demanded Gov. Greg Abbott order the National Guard to “shoot to kill” Black Lives Matter protestors marching against police brutality, especially the police shootings of unarmed Black men, according to the Texas Tribune.
“I want you to give a message to the governor,” Hotze told Abbott’s chief of staff, Luis Saenz, in a voicemail. “I want to make sure that he has National Guard down here and they have the order to shoot to kill if any of these son-of-a-bitch people start rioting like they have in Dallas, start tearing down businesses — shoot to kill the son of a bitches. That’s the only way you restore order. Kill ’em. Thank you.”
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Religious-Right Attorney Says Companies Offering to Provide Abortion Assistance Are Paying to ‘Kill Your Children’
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?’”
Radical religious-right activist Mat Staver accuses companies that will provide coverage to employees who may now need to travel out of state to obtain an abortion of treating their employees like “slave labor.” pic.twitter.com/MSLw9cYBsR
— Right Wing Watch (@RightWingWatch) June 30, 2022
This article was originally published by Right Wing Watch and is republished here by permission.
‘Lied’: Gorsuch Blasted After Photos Expose His Claims in High School Coach Praying Case Are a ‘Flat Out, Knowing Lie’
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.
This is what Gorsuch calls a “quiet personal prayer” at the 50-yard-line at the end of games. He uses the word “quiet” 14 times in his decision, as though the coach was merely whispering under his breath and not leading a religious service every player felt obligated to attend. pic.twitter.com/P1Ubar0oHT
— Paul Waldman (@paulwaldman1) June 27, 2022
“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:
Justice Gorsuch characterizes as “private prayer” a public high school football coach’s kneeling praise to God on the 50-yard line immediately after each game.
They aren’t even trying to use reason anymore. https://t.co/XLzG2d57Bm
— Barb McQuade (@BarbMcQuade) June 27, 2022
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.”
We know that Gorsuch’s characterization of the facts is inaccurate because we have photographic evidence. Here is a picture of the incident that Gorsuch described as a “short, private, personal prayer.” pic.twitter.com/kArxrbKLO4
— Ian Millhiser (@imillhiser) June 27, 2022
On Twitter Millhiser adds that Gorsuch’s own opinion debunks his own opinion:
— Ian Millhiser (@imillhiser) June 27, 2022
Don Moynihan, a professor at Georgetown’s McCourt School of Public Policy:
Generally, a person seeking a “short, private, personal prayer” as Gorsuch claimed does not go on national television and employ a lawyer to announce the whereabouts and timing of his next prayer session. (Via @imillhiser) https://t.co/ekp7UljaYQ pic.twitter.com/LFThwa99Sx
— Don Moynihan (@donmoyn) June 27, 2022
Here’s noted political scientist Norman Ornstein:
A flat out, knowing lie by Gorsuch. Joined by five others who also know it was a lie. Beyond shameful. Making a mockery of the Court. https://t.co/khiC6WC5rY
— Norman Ornstein (@NormOrnstein) June 27, 2022
Others also felt it necessary to correct the facts in the case:
Furthermore, let’s please call Gorsuch’s assertions what they were: demonstrably false. A lower court judge found the claimant’s case rested on factual distortions. And the photos in Sotomayor’s dissent further reveal the distortions upon which the Court’s decision rests. 2/2
— Rob Kirkpatrick (@wrappedupinboox) June 27, 2022
The biggest problem with the ruling is that Gorsuch repeatedly misstates the facts. He repeatedly calls it a “quiet & personal prayer.” It wasn’t. The coach didn’t pray alone. He invited others to join him. He was leading others in prayer. That’s not a “quiet & personal prayer.”
— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) June 27, 2022
Flatly false. Parents said that their children felt compelled.
Lying about the facts when they are there to read in the record does not help your case. Unless you are making it to proven liars like Alito and Gorsuch.
— (((DMCohen))) 🇺🇦 (@DMCohen4) June 27, 2022
One saving grace (no pun intended) from the praying football coach case is that, since Gorsuch just lied about the set of facts, it’ll be really easy to overturn* should any coach actually do what the coach did, instead of the fantasy coach Gorsuch ruled on.
— Elie Mystal (@ElieNYC) June 27, 2022
if a Muslim walked out to the fifty yard line and led a prayer service, Justice Gorsuch would shit his fucking pants
— Jeff Tiedrich (@itsJeffTiedrich) June 27, 2022
In the SCOTUS opinion released today, the majority based their decision on a pretend scenario it created rather than the facts of the situation that actually took place.
It matters that SCOTUS is literally making things up to justify its rulings. https://t.co/WMF4aBjl5d
— Leah McElrath 🏳️🌈 (@leahmcelrath) June 27, 2022
Watch: Full 11 Minute Documentary Video of Insurrection Shown by Jan. 6 Committee in Primetime Hearing
The House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack showed to America as part of its first primetime hearing an eleven-minute video from British documentary filmmaker Nick Quested.
Quested “was embedded with the Proud Boys for a significant period of time leading up to January 6 and is considered a firsthand fact witness because of the amount of time he spent with the group,” CNN has reported.
News organization The Recount posted Quisted’s documentary to YouTube (embedded below.) They call it “shocking footage from the Capitol insurrection,” and note the “final 20 seconds are chilling.”
Those final seconds, it’s important to note, include a shot of a Trump flag and a Christian flag (screenshot above). The insurrection, as Rolling Stone and other groups have stated, is tied to the far Christian right.
Final 20 seconds:
The final 20 seconds of the 1/6 Committee’s stunning video of violent insurrectionists at the Capitol:
“These were great people … The love in the air, I’ve never seen anything like it.” — Donald Trump pic.twitter.com/SxZ1crKby4
— The Recount (@therecount) June 10, 2022
The Committee posted the video to Twitter. This appears to be slightly shorter:
— January 6th Committee (@January6thCmte) June 10, 2022
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