A Florida pastor with ties to GOP Governor Ron DeSantis insists his recent remarks attacking U.S. Senator Ted Cruz should not be viewed as an endorsement of the biblical call for gay people to be executed. But he’s not saying he is opposed to it either.
As The Daily Beast first reported, Tom Ascol, the senior pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, Florida, blasted the Texas Republican Senator, who surprised many when he called Uganda’s new “Kill the Gays” law “horrific & wrong.”
“Any law criminalizing homosexuality or imposing the death penalty for ‘aggravated homosexuality’ is grotesque & an abomination. ALL civilized nations should join together in condemning this human rights abuse,” Cruz actually tweeted.
That would be the same Ted Cruz who in 2015 claimed gay people were waging a “jihad” against Christians.
Pastor Ascol, who delivered the invocation at Governor DeSantis’ second inauguration, has been called the man who could bring evangelicals from Donald Trump and deliver them to Ron DeSantis.
On Tuesday Ascol tweeted, “Tell it to God, Ted.”
He then quoted the Book of Leviticus, writing: “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.”
“Was this law God gave to His old covenant people ‘horrific and wrong’?” Ascol asked.
Ascol two hours later tweeted, “Amazing how many professing Christians, even self-designated ‘conservative’ ones, are embarrassed by God’s Word. Just quote some unpopular words of God & watch what happens. Many so-called Christians react the same way that unashamed unbelievers do. It’s a commentary.”
Cruz did not reply, but some others did.
David Smith, whose Twitter bio reads, “25 yrs trusting Jesus!” replied: “We no longer live under the Levitical laws @tomascol.”
“If so, we would have to apply the same standard to adultery. (Leviticus 20:10) I agree that all of these things are sin, but where does grace come in? Jesus was clearly in no hurry to condemn in John 8:1-11.”
Pastor Ascol apparently liked the reply from Steven Hasty, which reads: “Many of you are missing the point. If you’re understanding this Tweet to mean Pastor Tom thinks we should start executing homosexuals, you’re missing it. Instead, he’s challenging the standards of Cruz. Where does Cruz derive his standards?”
Apparently whether or not it’s acceptable to execute LGBTQ people isn’t an issue (except it is, since the entire “debate” its based on Uganda’s new “Kill the Gays” law.)
“Pastor Tom” told Hasty, “You are exactly right. Some people don’t read carefully. Others, evidently, don’t reason well. Thanks for clarifying & accurately expressing what I *actually* wrote. Keep pressing on.”
Ascol didn’t say whether or not he supports the execution of LGBTQ people, he’s merely debating, as Hasty put it, “standards.”
The Daily Beast also reports, “Ascol’s tweet…certainly seemed to suggest that the execution of gay people had a biblical blessing,” and notes that “even on careful reading, most reasonable people would assume Ascol was suggesting that Uganda’s anti-gay law is not intrinsically ‘horrific and wrong.'”
Ascol, The Beast adds, “has repeatedly called for homicide charges against any woman who has an abortion for whatever reason. He has compared choosing to terminate a pregnancy to retaining a killer for hire.”
“’It’s like saying if I don’t murder someone, but I just contracted a murderer to murder someone, I’m not culpable,’ Ascol said on a Christian radio show in 2022.”
The tweet posted to the top of Ascol’s Twitter page says, “If your commitment to the authority of Scripture is limited by cultural sensitivities then it’s not really Scripture’s authority to which you are committed.”
Supporting or opposing the execution of LGBTQ people isn’t about “cultural sensitivities.”
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DeSantis ‘Shuts Down’ Question of How He Would Handle His Kids Being LGBTQ: ‘We’ll Leave That Between My Wife and I’
Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, currently polling 40 points behind GOP 2024 presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, in a rare TIME magazine interview refused to answer a reporter’s question about what he would do if one of his three children were LGBTQ – but he did spend time promoting his parents’ rights platform.
“I think we were viewed, really from Day One, as the candidate that had the strong record on the issues important to parents,” the Florida Republican told TIME’s national political correspondent Molly Ball in a 30-minute interview at the Iowa State Fair published Wednesday,
“’It has been an issue, really, from the beginning,’ he says of the ‘parents’ rights’ agenda that has been central to his struggling presidential candidacy. ‘And so I do think we’ve tapped into that, and we’ll continue to do it.'”
Parents’ rights is the latest conservative code word for “family values,” as TIME’s national political correspondent Molly Ball notes.
But it really was really a platform the Florida governor grabbed after it proved to be a winning issue for Virginia Republican Glenn Youngkin in what had been a “long-shot” gubernatorial battle. Democrat Terry McAuliffe’s infamous gaffe on parents’ rights gave new life to the Republican political novice’s campaign in September of 2021, just weeks before the election and just weeks after DeSantis announced he would run for re-election.
“As governor of Florida, DeSantis says, education policy is part of his purview, but it’s also personal,” Ball writes in her TIME interview.
DeSantis told her, “I also just see it through the lens of a dad of a six, five and three-year-old.”
“We understand some of the things that parents are concerned about and that parents are going through. And that impacts how we view these policies, particularly when it goes to things like parents’ rights to be involved in the education.”
Ball writes, “Framing it all a crusade for ‘parents’ rights’ is a neat trick politically, highlighting a throwback, traditionalist view of what used to be termed ‘family values,’ but with a very 2023 culture-war spin.”
“Kids should be kids—there shouldn’t be an agenda,” DeSantis told Ball. “I didn’t feel like there was an agenda when I was growing up.”
Ball reports, “I ask DeSantis about the rights of parents of trans children, who are being prevented by the state from accessing the medical care they may believe is in their kids’ best interest. He points to the ongoing debate over transgender treatment in Europe, where some experts have recently been moving away from a purely affirmative approach, arguing that the state has an interest in preventing ‘sterilizing children at age 13 or 14′ or performing sex-change surgery on minors.”
DeSantis’ remarks do not appear to be representative of heath care options for minors in the U.S., based on a May report from The Annenberg Public Policy Center’s Factcheck.org.
DeSantis continued his remarks against appropriate medical support of transgender youth.
“As a parent right now, I can’t take my six-year-old daughter and get her a tattoo, even if I want to do that,” he told Ball. “You don’t have the right to do things that are going to be destructive to kids. I think that some of these parents are being told by physicians who are making a lot of money off this that you have to do this, otherwise your kid can end up doing something like commit suicide. I think that they get bullied into thinking this is the right decision.”
LGBTQ youth suffer far higher rates of suicide ideation and suicide attempts than their non-LGBTQ counterparts.
A May, 2022 NPR report titled, “Nearly half of LGBTQ youth seriously considered suicide, survey finds,” specifically mentions DeSantis’ “Don’t Say Gay” legislation.
Ball also reports DeSantis shut down her question about the possibility of his children being LGBTQ and what he would do.
She writes, “when I ask how he’ll respond if one of his children turns out to be gay or trans, his eyes flash momentarily, and he swiftly shuts down the question. ‘Well, my children are my children,’ DeSantis says. ‘We’ll leave that—we’ll leave that between my wife and I.'”
‘Straight Up Communism’: Nikki Haley, Marjorie Taylor Greene Increasingly Share Similar Rhetoric to Attack Democrats
Fifth-place Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley is ramping up her rhetoric ahead of next week’s first GOP presidential debate, sharpening her spear to target Democrats and President Joe Biden with charges of communism, just as top Trump supporter U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) has been doing.
Haley, the former Trump UN Ambassador, attempted to paint herself as a reasonable Republican when she was the governor of South Carolina, but is now rated a “Hard Core Conservative” by OnTheIssues. Over the past few years she has positioned herself as tough on China, gradually but increasingly weaving remarks attacking “Communist China,” and the “Chinese Communist Party” into issues here at home.
“The Chinese Communist Party is building missiles and we’re arguing over gender pronouns. China is laughing at us,” Haley declared in June.
Despite her false suggestion that somehow the Chinese military is stronger than the American military, and despite her clear attack on transgender people, Haley earned an “Amen” from Caitlyn Jenner, but rancor from many others.
“I was just in Beijing,” wrote New York Times diplomatic correspondent Edward Wong. “I can tell you I didn’t have a single conversation with anyone about the use of pronouns in the US or about any American ‘culture war’ issues.”
On Wednesday, Haley moved from attacking Communist China and the CCP to accusing the President of the United States of signing into law a “communist manifesto.”
“The so-called ‘Inflation Reduction Act’ is a communist manifesto filled with tax hikes and green subsidies that benefit China and make America more dependent on Beijing. While Joe Biden cozies up to Xi Jinping, American families are footing the bill for all this spending,” Haley claimed.
Her rhetoric increasingly mirrors that of far-right Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene.
“It’s an old Republican trope,” Rolling Stone reported earlier this month, “to claim everything Democrats do is communism. But Marjorie Taylor Greene took it to the extreme, as she is wont to do, claiming that with the indictments of Donald Trump, ‘Americans are actually seeing what communism really looks like.'”
“The more times they indict Trump, the more people realize that the Biden administration is a communist regime,” Greene had told Fox News.
And on Tuesday, while again defending Trump, Greene combined his four criminal indictments totaling 91 charges, calling the prosecutions “straight-up communism.”
Marjorie Taylor Greene claims that Jack Smith, Merrick Garland, Fani Willis, Alvin Bragg, and Democrats are guilty of a criminal conspiracy to keep Trump from winning the election pic.twitter.com/JFANZaAkEE
— Acyn (@Acyn) August 15, 2023
Watch the video above or at this link.
Images via Shutterstock
Trump Next Week: ‘Major’ News Conference, GOP Debate, Arraignment on 13 Felony Charges Including RICO
If Donald Trump decides to appear on stage at next week’s first Republican 2024 presidential debate, he will be standing center-stage, in the middle of about a half-dozen other candidates, none of whom have been indicted on 91 felony charges in four different jurisdictions for alleged crimes including racketeering, conspiracy, and obstruction.
Trump has yet to declare if he will participate in next week’s GOP debate on Wednesday, which comes just two days after what he claims will be a “major” news conference during which he will present a “Large, Complex, Detailed but Irrefutable REPORT on the Presidential Election Fraud which took place in Georgia.”
“Based on the results of this CONCLUSIVE Report, all charges should be dropped against me & others,” Trump claimed on his Truth Social website Tuesday morning. “There will be a complete EXONERATION! They never went after those that Rigged the Election. They only went after those that fought to find the RIGGERS!”
Politico senior legal affairs reporter Kyle Cheney notes, “Trump’s attempt to do a version of this in a Sept. 2021 letter to Brad Raffensperger is literally a charge in the indictment.”
Trump’s attempt to do a version of this in a Sept. 2021 letter to Brad Raffensperger is literally a charge in the indictment. pic.twitter.com/fmrvBvETx3
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) August 15, 2023
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ sweeping 41-count indictment of Donald Trump and 18 of his allies alleges the defendants “constituted a criminal organization whose members and associates engaged in various related criminal activities including, but not limited to, false statements and writings, impersonating a public officer, forgery, filing false documents, influencing witnesses, computer theft, computer trespass, computer invasion of privacy, conspiracy to defraud the state, acts involving theft, and perjury.”
Trump has yet to confirm his plans for the Wednesday GOP debate, although he has suggested he may not participate. If he agrees to, he will have to sign a document agreeing to support whoever GOP primary voters decide will be the party’s nominee. Currently that appears to be Trump, who is leading second-place Ron DeSantis by nearly 40 points, according to the current Real Clear Politics average.
But that could change, as Trump, by Friday of next week, will have to present himself in Fulton County to be arraigned on the 13 felony charges he faces for his alleged attempts to overturn the election in Georgia. This will be his fourth indictment (fifth, technically, counting the Florida superseding indictment,)
Separately, Trump has also been indicted by a grand jury in Washington. D.C., also for his alleged attempts to overturn the election. He has been indicted by a grand jury in Miami under the Espionage Act for alleged removal of classified and other documents from the White House, refusal to return them, and obstruction of justice, among other charges. Trump also faces an indictment in New York for alleged falsification of business records in the case surrounding his alleged hush money payoffs to a porn star.
Up until Monday, Trump was facing 78 felony charges. Now, in total, the Republican ex-president has been indicted on 91 felony counts in total: 4 felony counts in Washington, D.C., 34 felony counts in New York, 40 felony counts in Florida, and the latest set of 13 felony counts in Georgia.
This time, he is expected to be fingerprinted and there will be a mug shot, according to the Fulton County Sheriff.
See the social media post above or at this link.
Image via Shutterstock
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