In case of downtime/other tech emergencies, you can relatively quickly get in touch with Asmodean Prime by email.
Started by Recusant, April 14, 2019, 02:50:51 AM
QuoteOn April 3, USA Today published an array of stories under the banner, "Copy, Paste, Legislate," exploring the political impact of model bills on state-level legislation — more than 10,000 bills from 2010 to 2018 — based on a two-year joint investigation with the Arizona Republic and the Center for Public Integrity. The lead story headline said it all: "You elected them to write new laws. They're letting corporations do it instead." OK, it wasn't quite all. While corporate influence was the strongest, figures revealed that conservative groups weren't far behind: There were 4,301 bills from industry and 4,012 from conservative groups, far more than the 1,602 from liberal groups or the 248 classified as "other." The hidden origins of these bills often hides their true intent. The most notorious such group, the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, for instance combines business interests with movement conservatives.But within the fold of "conservative groups" there's a whole other story to be told about the organizing of extremist religious conservatives, whose political mobilization, as I've noted in the past, played a crucial role in electing Donald Trump. Indeed, just the day before "Copy, Past, Legislate" was published, the Texas Senate passed SB-17, a bill that would protect anti-LGBTQ discrimination by all licensed professionals who claim to act on a "sincerely held religious belief.""It's time for Americans to wake up to the harsh reality that the religious right, fueled by their fear of loss of power from the changing demographics in our country and their support from the Trump administration, is emboldened and aggressively pursuing all means possible to maintain white Christian power in America," Rachel Laser, the president of Americans United For Separation of Church and State, told Salon. "Project Blitz, for example, has already introduced over 50 bills in at least 23 states this year alone," she added.One spin-off story published in the Nashville Tennessean dealt specifically with an anti-LGTBQ adoption model bill. (Simultaneously, NBC reported such bills were "'snowballing' in state legislatures.") The Tennessee bill came from Project Blitz, which was described as "a legislative effort with the stated aim to 'bring back God to America.'" But as Salon has reported in the past, Project Blitz is much more sinister than that.[Continues . . .]
Quote from: Bluenose on April 14, 2019, 03:48:19 AMYou know, I'm getting pretty tired of hearing "sincerely held religious beliefs" being used as a justification for discriminating against other people. A person is entitled to believe whatever they want, whether sincerely or not (I'm a Pastafarian, after all...) But once they attempt to use that belief to influence or deny service to or otherwise disenfranchise other people because they don't follow that belief, then the person has crossed a bright line that should never be crossed. The religious right, quite rightly, recognise that their time of controlling society is coming to an end. They don't like it. Well, boohoo, sucks to be them. I have precisely zero sympathy for these people and will fight their attempts to continue their milieu with all my being. It is well time humankind woke up to the reality of life and cast away its childish preoccupation with imaginary spirit beings, none of which exist in the real world.
QuoteThe U.S. Constitution protects the separation of church and state—but evidently not church and State Department, which came under fire for promoting a "Being a Christian Leader" speech Monday on its website.The speech, delivered by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at a meeting of American Association of Christian Counselors on Friday, saw Pompeo discuss the influence of his faith on his work as a U.S. official. On Monday, the State Department shared the speech at the top of its website, ahead of more pressing department issues, like U.S. involvement in Turkey's invasion of Syria. The speech and the State Department's promotion of the video breached the divide between church and state, leaders from secular and atheist communities say."Secretary Pompeo's speech was pure proselytization," Sarah Levin, director of governmental affairs at the Secular Coalition for America told The Daily Beast. [Continues . . .]
QuoteThe Ohio state House of Representatives has passed the Student Religious Liberties Act, which prevents teachers from penalizing students for giving incorrect answers on tests or other schoolwork if those facts would conflict with their religious beliefs.The relevant section reads "No school district board of education (...) shall prohibit a student from engaging in religious expression in the completion of homework, artwork, or other written or oral assignments. Assignment grades and scores shall be calculated using ordinary academic standards of substance and relevance, including any legitimate pedagogical concerns, and shall not penalize or reward a student based on the religious content of a student's work."In practice, this means that the extremely broadly-defined "religious expression" can be present in the content of an essay, test or other assignment and the teacher cannot grade down or otherwise correct the student for it.[. . .]The bill's sponsor, Republican representative and ordained minister Timothy Ginter, has a history of attempting to write his religious beliefs into legislation.[Continues . . .]
Quote from: Icarus on April 15, 2019, 01:54:28 AM^
Quote[A]t least since Mr. Barr's infamous speech at the University of Notre Dame Law School, in which he blamed "secularists" for "moral chaos" and "immense suffering, wreckage and misery," it has become clear that no understanding of William Barr can be complete without taking into account his views on the role of religion in society. For that, it is illuminating to review how Mr. Barr has directed his Justice Department on matters concerning the First Amendment clause forbidding the establishment of a state religion.In Maryland, the department rushed to defend taxpayer funding for a religious school that says same-sex marriage is wrong. In Maine, it is defending parents suing over a state law that bans religious schools from obtaining taxpayer funding to promote their own sectarian doctrines. At his Department of Justice, Mr. Barr told law students at Notre Dame, "We keep an eye out for cases or events around the country where states are misapplying the establishment clause in a way that discriminates against people of faith."In these and other cases, Mr. Barr has embraced wholesale the "religious liberty" rhetoric of today's Christian nationalist movement. When religious nationalists invoke "religious freedom," it is typically code for religious privilege. The freedom they have in mind is the freedom of people of certain conservative and authoritarian varieties of religion to discriminate against those of whom they disapprove or over whom they wish to exert power.This form of "religious liberty" seeks to foment the sense of persecution and paranoia of a collection of conservative religious groups that see themselves as on the cusp of losing their rightful position of dominance over American culture. It always singles out groups that can be blamed for society's ills, and that may be subject to state-sanctioned discrimination and belittlement — L.G.B.T. Americans, secularists and Muslims are the favored targets, but others are available. The purpose of this "religious liberty" rhetoric is not just to secure a place of privilege, but also to justify public funding for the right kind of religion.Mr. Barr has a long history of supporting just this type of "religious liberty."[. . .]The great evildoers in the Notre Dame speech are nonbelievers who are apparently out on the streets ransacking everything that is good and holy. The solutions to society's ills, Mr. Barr declared, come from faith. "Judeo-Christian moral standards are the ultimate utilitarian rules for human conduct," he said. "Religion helps frame moral culture within society that instills and reinforces moral discipline." He added, "The fact is that no secular creed has emerged capable of performing the role of religion."Within this ideological framework, the ends justify the means. In this light, Mr. Barr's hyperpartisanship is the symptom, not the malady. At Christian nationalist gatherings and strategy meetings, the Democratic Party and its supporters are routinely described as "demonic" and associated with "rulers of the darkness." If you know that society is under dire existential threat from secularists, and you know that they have all found a home in the other party, every conceivable compromise with principles, every ethical breach, every back-room deal is not only justifiable but imperative. And as the vicious reaction to Christianity Today's anti-Trump editorial demonstrates, any break with this partisan alignment will be instantly denounced as heresy.[. . .]Mr. Barr's constitutional interpretation is simply window dressing on his commitment to religious authoritarianism. And that, really, gets to the heart of the matter. If you know anything about America's founders, you know they were passionately opposed to the idea of a religious monarchy. And this is the key to understanding the question, "What does Bill Barr want?"The answer is that America's conservative movement, having morphed into a religious nationalist movement, is on a collision course with the American constitutional system. Though conservatives have long claimed to be the true champions of the Constitution — remember all that chatter during previous Republican administrations about "originalism" and "judicial restraint" — the movement that now controls the Republican Party is committed to a suite of ideas that are fundamentally incompatible with the Constitution and the Republic that the founders created under its auspices.[Continues . . .]
QuoteChristianity is white supremacy: Christian activist Sandy Rios claims that when the left criticizes white supremacy, they attack Christianity. Rios, the American Family Association's Director of Governmental Affairs and a popular defender of extreme conservative Christian values, suggested that criticism of white supremacy is criticism of Christianity while speaking on her radio program, "Sandy Rios in the Morning" on American Family Radio. On her program Rios said:QuoteIt's not about your skin color and when they go further and compare President Trump to Nazis and their white racism, it's really silly because, remember, the Nazis killed thousands, hundreds of thousands, of people, but guess what? They were white. The Nazis were Aryan supremacists. They had a certain superhuman race they wanted to develop and most white people did not qualify.Rios continued:QuoteSo when the left is talking about white supremacism, they're talking about the roots of this country. They're talking about Christianity. They're talking about hard work, about capitalism and free-market values. They're talking about everything that has made America what it is. That's what they mean.[Continues . . .]
QuoteIt's not about your skin color and when they go further and compare President Trump to Nazis and their white racism, it's really silly because, remember, the Nazis killed thousands, hundreds of thousands, of people, but guess what? They were white. The Nazis were Aryan supremacists. They had a certain superhuman race they wanted to develop and most white people did not qualify.
QuoteSo when the left is talking about white supremacism, they're talking about the roots of this country. They're talking about Christianity. They're talking about hard work, about capitalism and free-market values. They're talking about everything that has made America what it is. That's what they mean.
Quote from: billy rubin link=topic=16150.msg395664#msg395664very odd