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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

US Secretary of State Denounces Uganda’s New ‘Kill the Gays’ Bill

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U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is publicly denouncing Uganda’s latest Anti-Homosexuality legislation, which is being called a “Kill the Gays” bill for its capital punishment penalty for “aggravated homosexuality.”

The legislation passed in a nearly-unanimous vote and now heads to Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni‘s desk.

“The Anti-Homosexuality Act passed by the Ugandan Parliament yesterday would undermine fundamental human rights of all Ugandans and could reverse gains in the fight against HIV/AIDS. We urge the Ugandan Government to strongly reconsider the implementation of this legislation,” Secretary Blinken said via Twitter Wednesday morning.

Uganda, a far-right religious country has a long history of targeting and marginalizing its LGBTQ citizens, including passing a modified “Kill the Gays” bill that was signed into law in 2014, only to be overturned in court on a technicality. That law was drafted and promoted with the aid of American far-right evangelicals.

READ MORE: Florida GOP Lawmaker Who Wrote ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill Facing Up to 35 Years After Pleading Guilty in COVID Fraud Case

Ugandan lawmakers on Tuesday passed legislation that makes being LGBTQ illegal, proscribes the death penalty for certain same-sex acts, and decades or life in prison for identifying as LGBTQ. It also requires anyone with knowledge of another person being LGBTQ or engaging in same-sex acts to be reported to the government.

“All but two of the 389 legislators voted late on Tuesday for the hardline anti-homosexuality bill, which introduces capital and life imprisonment sentences for gay sex and ‘recruitment, promotion and funding’ of same-sex ‘activities’,” The Guardian reports.

“A person who commits the offence of aggravated homosexuality and is liable, on conviction to suffer death,” the bill states.

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, in a statement warned: “If the bill is signed into law, it will render LGBTIQ+ people in Uganda criminals simply for existing, for being who they are. It could provide carte blanche for the systematic violation of nearly all of their human rights and serve to incite people against each other.”

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One of the two Ugandan Members of Parliament who voted against the bill, Fox Odoi-Oywelowo, calls it “ill-conceived,” and says parts are “unconstitutional.”

He says it “reverses the gains registered in the fight against gender-based violence and criminalises individuals instead of conduct that contravenes all known legal norms.”

President Museveni, who signed into law a modified version of the 2014 “Kill the Gays” bill, will now have to decide if he wants to sign this version as well.

 

Image: Alexandros Michailidis / Shutterstock

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

Christian Nationalist Former Lawmaker Wants Right-Wing Evangelicals to ‘Take Authority’ Over All Levels of Government

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Jason Rapert, a former Arkansas state senator and founder of the National Association of Christian Lawmakers, appeared on the “Give Me Liberty” program late last year and laid out his vision for a nation in which every congressional seat is occupied by Christian conservatives.

“Give Me Liberty” is produced by Liberty University’s Standing for Freedom Center, which was originally named the Falkirk Center in honor of its founders, former Liberty president Jerry Falwell Jr. and right-wing youth activist Charlie Kirk. The organization changed its name in 2021 after Falwell resigned in disgrace and Liberty decided to  part ways with Kirk.

Despite the departure of Kirk and Falwell, the center’s “Give Me Liberty” podcast appears to have kept its Christian nationalist bent.

A longtime religious-right activist and ardent Christian nationalist, Rapert declared on the December 17, 2022 episode of the “Give Me Liberty” show that right-wing Christians must rise up and “take authority” over everything from their local school boards to the federal government.

“When people quote the Bible and say, ‘Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord’—Psalm 33:12—how in the world do you expect to ever have that if you are not electing somebody that would adhere to that worldview?” Rapert asked. “You can’t have a nation whose God is the Lord when you’re electing people that are holding up Sodom and Gomorrah as a goal to be achieved rather than a sin to be shunned.”

“What we need is a revival of spirit that will change individual hearts, and then once that happens, then we need to have men and women that say, ‘We need to take authority so that in our school boards, our city councils, our state legislatures, and in Congress, that we’ve got people that love God and want to do what is right in the sight of God and man,’” Rapert added. “I’ll tell you, there’s over 330 million people in this nation in the last census; I think we could find 535 more people to serve in the Senate and in the House. Are you telling me that the evangelical community can’t muster 535 men and women qualified to run for office that would stand up for God and country? Oh, yeah, we can.”

“There’s only 7,383 state legislators,” Rapert continued, “You’ve got more students at Liberty than serve in our state capitals. What if one crop of the Liberty classes all went home and ran for office? You’d make a difference, you’d change the community, and you just might save the nation.”

Christian nationalists like Rapert believe that the country was founded as an explicitly Christian nation and that right-wing Christians must keep it that way. Via the National Association for Christian Lawmakers, Rapert is putting this talk into action, advancing so-called “biblical” legislation in statehouses throughout the country that would roll back abortion rights and the rights of LGBTQ Americans. As Rolling Stone reported last month, the group’s advisory board includes politicians like Mike Huckabee and Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick as well as influential religious-right activists like Tony Perkins of Family Research Council and Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel.

 

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

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

‘Bait and Switch’: Minister Slams Hobby Lobby Founder’s ‘He Gets Us’ Ads

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The mysterious “He Gets Us” ads airing around major sporting events have been traced back to groups tied to the billionaire conservative founder of the Hobby Lobby craft store chain, David Green, who is using the spot as an effort to “rebrand Jesus” and bring religion more prominently into the public square.

But his effort is just a “bait and switch,” argues Rev. Darrell Goodwin of the Southern New England Conference of the United Church of Christ, in an opinion for the CT Mirror.

The Super Bowl ads, which highlighted Jesus as a “refugee” who “confronted racism with love,” first appeared to be “a breath of fresh air,” wrote Goodwin, a progressive, Black, and openly queer minister who preaches in Bloomfield, Connecticut. “However, the funders of this invitation are the same folks who promote anti-LGBT legislation, a denial of women’s rights to their own bodies, the campaigns of clear white supremacists, and the evangelical church.”

“This approach to sharing faith can lead folks to feel violated, abused, and most of all can cause irreparable harm and even death,” Goodwin warned. “Instead, I would rather these ads promote a gospel of radical inclusion, a path that says no matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey you are welcome here.”

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This comes as all around the country, progressive Black ministers have sought to push a more inclusive and justice-focused Christianity, from Sen. Raphael Warnock of Georgia, who preaches at the baptist church that was once home to Martin Luther King, to Everett Mitchell, an activist pastor turned reformer judge now running for the Supreme Court of Wisconsin.

In contrast to what he claims is the contradiction of the “He Gets Us” campaign, Goodwin promoted a site his own conference is launching, known as “Find Hope Now.”

“It may not be a flashy ad on the Super Bowl but it’s an invitation that isn’t funded by right-wing propaganda or a false attempt to love,” wrote Goodwin, saying that his effort is funded by small contributions throughout Southern New England “so that there will be hope centers all over New England awaiting you with open arms.”

 

Image: Romolo Tavani/Shutterstock

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