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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

Marco Rubio Lashes Out Against Passage of Same-Sex Marriage Bill After His Attempt to Create Special Religious Rights Fails

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U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) lashed out with a Bible verse Wednesday morning, after the Senate passed legislation protecting same-sex and interracial marriage, while rejecting his attempt to infuse special religious rights through an amendment that even some Republicans refused to support.

The Respect for Marriage Act, which passed in a 61-36 vote Tuesday evening, will return to the House for a final vote before heading to President Joe Biden, who promised to sign it into law. Not included in the bill the Senate passed is Senator Rubio’s amendment, which he claimed was necessary despite the clear religious protections included in the legislation.

The bill goes to great lengths to state it will have no impact on current religious liberty protections. Section 6 is actually titled, “No Impact on Religious Liberty and Conscience.”

READ MORE: Republican Attempts to Create Special Religious Rights Fail as Bipartisan Historic Same-Sex Marriage Bill Passes Senate

It states: “Nothing in this Act, or any amendment made by this Act, shall be construed to diminish or abrogate a religious liberty or conscience protection otherwise available to an individual or organization under the Constitution of the United States or Federal law.”

It goes even further.

“Consistent with the First Amendment to the Constitution, nonprofit religious organizations, including churches, mosques, synagogues, temples, nondenominational ministries, interdenominational and ecumenical organizations, mission organizations, faith-based social agencies, religious educational institutions, and nonprofit entities whose principal purpose is the study, practice, or advancement of religion, and any employee of such an organization, shall not be required to provide services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges for the solemnization or celebration of a marriage,” it reads. “Any refusal under this subsection to provide such services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges shall not create any civil claim or cause of action.”

READ MORE: Marco Rubio Recorded an ‘Emergency Video’ After Pete Buttigieg Responded to His Anti-LGBTQ Attack. It Didn’t Go Well.

Senator Rubio has been actively opposed to the bill from the start. In July he called it a “stupid waste of time,” suggesting he does not think the U.S. Supreme Court will overturn the 2015 Obergefell ruling that made same-sex marriage bans unconstitutional – despite actively calling for the court to do so.

In addition to the video above, Florida Democrats this summer tweeted a video of a local news report showing Rubio preaching to campaign supporters that same-sex marriage is “sinful.”

Last week in a press release Sen. Rubio called the bill “the insanity,” and falsely claimed the Respect for Marriage Act does not have religious protections.

“This bill does not protect religious liberty,” Rubio said in a statement last week. “Nuns running orphanages will find themselves in court if it becomes law. That’s outrageous. No faith-based organization will be immune from the insanity. Christian. Jewish. Muslim. Everyone. Removing this private right of action is the only way to truly protect people and organizations of faith.”

His amendment to create additional, special religious protections failed Tuesday evening, as did amendments from Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), and Senator James Lankford (R-OK).

READ MORE: ‘Punditry, Not Leadership’: McConnell Slammed for Refusing to Say if He Would Support Trump in 2024

Sen. Rubio, a frequently vocal opponent of LGBTQ people and their civil rights, has attacked people who opposed Florida Governor DeSantis’ “Don’t Say Gay” legislation as “ridiculous.”

During his failed 2016 White House run Sen. Rubio repeatedly promised he would not run for re-election. He used the Pulse Massacre, one of the worst and deadliest anti-LGBTQ hate crimes, to declare that the LGBTQ community needed him and launched a re-election campaign on the back of those massacred LGBTQ people.

Rubio, who is known for posting passages from the Bible on many mornings, on Wednesday used Christian verse to lash out at the Respect for Marriage Act.

“The law of the LORD is perfect,refreshing the soul. The decree of the LORD is trustworthy,giving wisdom to the simple,” he tweeted.

His tweet did not go over well. While some responded with a simple, “Amen,” others explained to the Senator who took an oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States” that the Christian Bible is not the law of the land.

“The ‘law of the lord’ was deliberately excluded from the US Constitution,” wrote one social media user. “There is only one law in the US and it’s not the law of the lord, it’s the law of the people.”

READ MORE: RNC Taps Right Wing Extremists to Head Group Designed to Expand GOP Appeal in Wake of Midterm Losses

History professor and author Douglas M. Charles noted Rubio’s tweet had a small typo, and accused him of having a staffer do his work.

“More empty-suitness from the epitome of empty suit senators,” Charles wrote. “These copy-paste BS tweets of his always have a spacing typo, which is how you know a staffer copy-pasted it rather than his being serious about it.”

 

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

Watch: Kevin McCarthy Leads Over a Dozen Republicans in Prayer at Event Co-Sponsored by Five Anti-LGBTQ Hate Groups

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Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy joined hands with more than a dozen House Republicans, leading them in prayer at Wednesday’s National Gathering for Prayer and Repentance, an event co-sponsored by several far-right Christian organizations, at least five of which appear on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of anti-LGBTQ hate groups.

The California Republican specifically mentioned his upcoming meeting later Wednesday with President Joe Biden, when the two will discuss the debt ceiling, which Republicans want to leverage to massively cut federal spending on programs critical to keeping many Americans alive, including Social Security and Medicare – or shut down the federal government if Democrats do not agree to their terms.

“Father, I want to lift up those who are not here today. I want you to open their hearts,” McCarthy prayed. “Father, I want to lift up the president. Father, you know I will meet with him today. Father, I ask. I asked that you open both of our hearts that you put our meaning, our meaning that seeks your truth. And the help for this nation. Father, we know as we struggle, is we come up short and again but continue to seek your guidance. We ask that you give us the patience of Job. We ask that you give us the intellect the leadership that you gave David we ask that you give us the boldness.”

The event was held at the Museum of the Bible, a non-profit founded by right-wing evangelical activist David Green and the Green family. Green is the founder of Hobby Lobby, the privately-held chain store that won a Supreme Court case enshrining into U.S. jurisprudence the concept that for-profit corporations can and do have religious beliefs.

READ MORE: Principal Ordered Librarian to Take Down Holocaust Survivor’s Famous Quote Just Days Before Holocaust Remembrance Day

The five groups sponsoring the event which also appear on the SPLC’s list of anti-LGBTQ hate groups include the American Family Association (AFA), the Family Research Council (FRC), the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), Liberty Counsel, and the Pacific Justice Institute.

Other attendees included anti-LGBTQ activists, like “right-wing pastor Andrew Brunson, who blasted the United States as ‘the primary corrupter of the world’ because ‘our government and corporations increasingly march under the rainbow flag,'” he said, as Right Wing Watch reported.

Also, two “ex-gay” activists.

Later, the Republicans, including McCarthy, were prayed over by Tony Perkins, the longtime head of the anti-LGBTQ hate group Family Research Council. Perkins has also served as chair and vice chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), an independent federal government commission.

Far-right House Republican U.S. Rep. Randy Weber of Texas descended into an anti-abortion, anti-LGBTQ tirade during which he invoked “the blood of the lamb” to telegraph to McCarthy his concerns about U.S. debt.

Weber is an original co-sponsor of the federal “Don’t Say Gay” bill. He once compared then-President Barack Obama to Hitler.

Right Wing Watch reports some of the Members of Congress who attended include Reps. Mary Miller, Diana Harshbarger, Steve Scalise, Rick Allen, Brian Babin, Michael Cloud, Robert Aderholt, Tracey Mann, Burgess Owens, Gary Palmer, Michelle Steel, Warren Davidson, Brandon Williams, Dan Bishop, Nathaniel Moran, and Mike Johnson.

Watch the videos above or at this link.

READ MORE: Trump Vows to Use DOJ and Congress to Make Being Transgender Illegal While Promoting the ‘Nuclear Family’

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

Trump-Aligned Christian Nationalist Group ‘Taps Into Unholy Well’ That Threatens Democracy

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A well-funded and powerfully connected extremist group is raising alarms about its activities ahead of the 2024 election.

ReAwaken America, a project organized by Oklahoma businessman Clay Clark and funded by Donald Trump ally Patrick Byrne, has blended conspiracy theories about COVID-19 and the 2020 election to promote a Christian nationalist political message at rallies and other events, reported The Guardian.

“Christian nationalism has deep roots in American history and has gained traction at different points,” said Amanda Tyler, the executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty. “The ReAwaken America Tour taps into the unholy well of Christian nationalism to sow doubt about the U.S. election system and the safety of COVID-19 vaccines while equating allegiance to Trumpism with allegiance to God.”

“Clay Clark and others who run this tour are using the name of Jesus, Holy Scripture, and worship music to promote a partisan political agenda and personal business interests,” she added.

READ MORE: Bill Barr’s ‘hollow and self-serving’ image rehabilitation tour shredded in scathing NYT editorial

Michael Flynn, the Trump-pardoned former national security adviser, and convicted Capitol rioter Dr. Simone Gold have each made multiple appearances at ReAwaken America events, and a recent gathering hosted at the Tennessee church of right-wing pastor Greg Locke drew My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell, Eric Trump, Roger Stone and Kash Patel.

“The religious nature of these events is a pretext for a rally by people who are united by feeling victimized and outraged,” said Samuel Perry, a sociologist at the University of Oklahoma. “This is incredibly corrosive for democracy because you have a group of political leaders and their followers who not only feel victimized by the culture, but they feel like the very political system is against them. That’s how you get populist coup attempts.”

Trump National Doral will host a ReAwaken America gathering in May, which could give the impression that Trump still has strong support from evangelical voters, but mainstream religious leaders are concerned about the convergence of conspiracy theories about Trump’s election loss and COVID-19 could have a corrosive effect on democracy.

“White evangelicals are among the least educated of Americans,” said David Hollinger, a history professor emeritus at Berkeley. “The Republican Party’s increasing reliance upon them marks an unprecedented stage in American history: for the first time, one of the major political parties displays contempt for learning. Not even the Democratic party of Andrew Jackson was so dependent for its success on anti-intellectual postures.”

 

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

Christian Anti-LGBTQ Book Banning Activist Says Gay ‘Lifestyles’ Shouldn’t Be ‘Forced Down Throats of Families’

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Leigh Wambsganss, Patriot Mobile’s Vice President of Government and Public Affairs and Executive Director of Patriot Mobile Action, the far-right wing political action committee of the Christian conservative mobile phone service provider, has spent decades in the conservative media echo chamber, and now she’s getting even more attention, from The New York Times.

Wambsganss was included in a Times article Monday on anti-LGBTQ book banning. The paper, soft-pedaling the extremism presented by Wambsganss, notes “11 school board candidates backed by Patriot Mobile Action, the political action committee formed by the cellphone company, won in four districts this year.”

“The committee’s aim is to eliminate ‘critical race theory’ and ‘L.G.B.T.Q. indoctrination’ from schools, Leigh Wambsganss, its executive director, said on Steve Bannon’s show, ‘War Room.'”

READ MORE: ‘ChristoFascism in a Nutshell’: DeSantis Mocked for Banning Nearly Half of All Math Books Claiming CRT Indoctrination

The Times does report that for extremists like Wambsganss, “Even books without sexual content can be problematic if they include L.G.B.T.Q. characters, because they are ‘sexualizing children,’ she said: ‘It is normalizing a lifestyle that is a sexual choice.'”

“’Those kinds of lifestyles,’ she added, shouldn’t ‘be forced down the throats of families who don’t agree.’”

Being LGBTQ is not a “lifestyle” nor is it a “sexual choice,” nor is having an LGBTQ character in a book “sexualizing children,” nor did The Times push back against or fact-check Wambsganss’ statements.

Wambsganss’ employer, Patriot Mobile Action, has a list of 10 “We Believe” statements, including “In supporting candidates that stand for Christian conservative values,” “Our United States Constitution was founded on Judeo Christian principles” and “Critical Race Theory and Marxist policies have no place in schools or government.”

Not a word about LGBTQ issues, people, or equality or civil rights, despite that clearly being a major focus for Patriot Mobile Action.

READ MORE: GOP Lawmaker Pushes Bill to Ban Books ‘Normalizing’ LGBTQ ‘Lifestyles’ From Schools to Not Offend Christians

“Leigh has been featured on Fox News, John Solomons ‘Just the News’ talk radio, Mark Davis 660AM, The Christian Perspective podcast, in the National Review, the Texas Values Report, a speaker at Turning Point USA and the Center for National Policy and quoted in multiple news media stories,” her bio at Patriot Mobile Action reads. “Leigh is a speaker and trainer on how to identify and defeat socialist Marxism in schools and government.”

Patriot Mobile, NBC News reported in August, gave Patriot Mobil Action $600,000 to spend on school board races in Ft. Worth, Texas.

Some parents are not happy. One, Rachel Wall, told NBC News that Patriot Mobile Action “bought four school boards, and now they’re pulling the strings.”

Wall is “the mother of a Grapevine-Colleyville student and vice president of the Texas Bipartisan Alliance, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting school board candidates who do not have partisan agendas.”

“I’m a Christian by faith,” she said, “but if I wanted my son to be in a religious school, I would pay for him to go to a private school.”

Wambsganss and Patriot Mobile Action appear to have a different idea.

In June, at an event hosted by far right wing activist group Turning Point USA, she introduced herself to the audience by saying, “I’m Leigh Wambsganss and my pronouns are bible believer, Jesus lover, gun carrier, and Momma Bear.”

Watch the video below or at this link.

 

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