In an order that undercuts federal protections for LGBT people, Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a sweeping directive to agencies Friday to do as much as possible to accommodate those who claim their religious freedoms are being violated.
The guidance, an attempt to deliver on President Donald Trump’s pledge to his evangelical supporters that he would protect religious liberties, effectively lifts a burden from religious objectors to prove that their beliefs about marriage or other topics are sincerely held.
Under the new policy, a claim of a violation of religious freedom would be enough to override many anti-discrimination protections for LGBT people, women and others. The guidelines are so sweeping that experts on religious liberty are calling them a legal powder-keg that could prompt wide-ranging lawsuits against the government.
“This is putting the world on notice: You better take these claims seriously,” said Robin Fretwell Wilson, a law professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “This is a signal to the rest of these agencies to rethink the protections they have put in place on sexual orientation and gender identity.”
If you ever had any doubt that this administration was out to destroy the LGBT community then this should be a wake up call to you and everyone else
Right Wing Watch reports that speaking yesterday at a presidential candidate forum in Iowa, Ted Cruz pulled out some extreme rhetoric when he warned those in attendance of a gay “jihad” against marriage and religious liberty.
It takes real talent for Tony Perkins, President of the nationally recognized Family Research Council hate group to link LGBT activists to ISIS and other anti-christian movements in the Arab world where they cut off your motherfucking head. Because all eyes in Syria are on Indiana.
Tony’s bullshit us utterly breathtaking. (And NOT in a good way.)
The American Family Association is going after Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly of all people because she had the nerve to suggest that if LGBT Americans were simply added to state anti-discrimination laws this whole RFRA – Right To Discriminate debacle would be over.
Wrote Walker Wildmon, son of AFA president Tim Wildmon to Kelly:
With all due respect Megyn Kelly, you are wrong. Homosexuals do not need to be a protected class along with blacks. In fact, you do African Americans and civil rights leaders an injustice by comparing homosexuals to blacks that weren’t allowed to vote and were deprived of certain God given rights prior and during the civil rights era. By classifying homosexuals as a “protected class” you are condoning the behavior that the World Health Organization concluded “men who have sex with men are 19 times more likely to have HIV than the general population”. So Megyn, with all due respect, do you still think homosexuals should be a protected class? I would hope not.
Windom ends his disgusting piece with the following:
I do not hate anyone. In fact, I am showing genuine compassion by reaching out to expose the facts of this lifestyle. May God bring repentance to all who do not know Jesus as their Savior and redeemer. After all “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). God bless.
Now that we have NASCAR, WALMART, and even a FOX News commentators siding with us the bigots are going insane and showing their TRUE black hearts for all the world to see..
“Porno” Peter LaBarbera, in a press release published today by Christian Newswire. (Because no self-respecting news outlet would publish it)
“Homosexual activists and their sycophants in the media (e.g., CNN’s homosexual anchor – activist Don Lemon) are cunningly building upon their distortions of the RFRA to demand a pro-homosexual special-rights law in the Hoosier State. It would be the cruelest of ironies if the media-driven backlash against Indiana’s religious freedom law were used to push through a statewide ‘gay rights’ law in Indiana. Such pro-homosexual laws and corporate policies have been the engine driving PRO-LGBT DISCRIMINATION against people of faith for decades – all in the sweet-sounding name of ‘equality.’ Politically speaking, it seems bigotry is OK as long as it advances the ‘progressive’ agenda to impose mandatory acceptance of homosexuality and gender confusion on everyone.”
Family Research Council President and KKK Mascot Tony Perkins on FAUX News:
“What the governor did today, and Mike’s been a longtime friend of mine, but what he did is I think he emboldened his enemies and he enraged his friends. And there are people that are deeply concerned about the growing intolerance towards religious freedom in this country and they were very disappointed. There’s no question about it. However this language, this fix, we’ve still not seen it yet and there’s still an opportunity, I think, to salvage the heart and soul of what this religious freedom restoration act was intended to do.“
Rick Santorum, speaking to some not-so impressed students at George Washington University.
“The only sensitivity training we need is to respect every person. Tolerance is the most misused word in the English language. Tolerance means you can say really horrible nasty things that I hate and offend me. That’s how we get along. You have a right to be mean — a right to be nasty to people. That’s how this country works, because we have thick skins and we aren’t offended. Should a gay or lesbian-owned printshop have to print signs for the Westboro Baptists that say ‘God hates fags’? Should a Jewish printshop have to make signs for the KKK? Should a kosher deli have to serve non-kosher food? It’s a two-way street. Tolerance is a two-way street. If you’re saying that ‘your religious liberties are not as important as my — fill in the blank,’ then I’ve got a problem with that.”
Pardon me, has anyone seen my sycophants? I seem to have misplaced them. Oh wait! There they are!
From Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council hate group via email blast:
Dear XXXX,We can’t take for granted our freedom of religion; the freedom to believe and to live according to those beliefs. Given to us by God, and recognized by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, religious freedom is crucial to the life of our democracy. If the government punishes people for living their faith, there are no limits to what government can control.
If religious freedom falls in one state, it is endangered everywhere. Where states and leaders advance religious liberty, we need to encourage them to stand. Please read the following petition in support of Indiana Governor Mike Pence, and if you agree, please join me in signing it. Those who stand for freedom need others to stand with them.
Indiana Governor Mike Pence recently signed into law a Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) that protects people who live their daily lives according to their faith against government discrimination. This law reflects polling that shows 81% of Americans support the freedom to live out one’s beliefs. The Indiana law is like the federal RFRA that was signed by President Bill Clinton in 1993, and RFRAs in 19 other states.
Now, a leftist-driven movement has spread misinformation about the law, threatened boycotts and fomented false rhetoric in the media and online. Even in our day, the price of freedom is steep, and Governor Pence is standing strong for freedom despite the cost. Efforts are about to pressure Governor Pence to support changing or amending the law to weaken it. All Americans who live according to their religious beliefs should be free from fear of government punishment. I stand with Governor Pence in his support of religious freedom as stated in the Indiana RFRA, and urge him to oppose all efforts to change the law.
Just before he challenged Indiana Governor Mike Pence (R) to come on the show and defend his bill, New Day host Chris Cuomo battled it out with Peter Sprigg of the right-wing Media Research Council over Indiana’s new “religious liberty” bill, which both supporters and detractors say would allow businesses to claim a religious exemption to deny service to gays and lesbians.
“There is a picture that’s circulating around of the governor as he signed [the bill],” Cuomo said. “Several of the people in the picture are outspoken critics of gay existence. Now, that’s not a coincidence. It’s not a coincidence why you’re against it. Let me ask you, why do so many Christians these days believe that the exercise of their faith requires exclusion and judgment of others?”
“Some people have a sincere, conscientious belief that marriage is defined as the union between a man and a woman,” Sprigg replied. “In fact the majority of Americans believe that.”
“Popularity is not the ultimate arbiter of what is right and wrong if protecting rights under the Constitution,” Cuomo said. “The question then goes to: why do you need this? What is it about someone being gay or someone wanting to marry someone of the same sex — what is there in that that is keeping you from being the Christian you want to be?…If I said, Mr. Sprigg, you must go marry a man right now, you can say, no, that’s a violation of my faith. Maybe that, you would be able clear this burden. But how is wanting to judge others somehow stopping you from practicing your faith?”
A specially called meeting of the House Judiciary Committee set for Monday was cancelled, leaving the future of the ‘religious liberty’ bill in doubt. The committee was to meet at 10 a.m., to likely decide the fate of a controversial bill for this year. But a member of the committee, who asked not to be identified for fear of angering leadership, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution the meeting was off. The committee member did not know if it would be rescheduled, but with lawmakers only meeting in session Tuesday and Thursday before ending their 2015 session, time is rapidly expiring on Senate Bill 129.
In Georgia this past Thursday, in a surprise 9-8 vote, the Judiciary Committee voted to amend Senate Bill 129 to add language making clear the bill could not be used to discriminate against anyone already protected by any local, state or federal law. It was quickly tabled by supporters who said adding anti-discrimination language “gutted” the bill. The amendment was sponsored by Rep. Mike Jacobs, R-Brookhaven, and the deciding vote cast by Rep. Beth Beskin, R-Atlanta. Beskin, just a day before in subcommittee, had voted the other way — to deny the same protections against discrimination. Jacobs and Beskin, along with Rep. Jay Powell, R-Camilla, the other Republican to vote for Jacobs’ amendment, were vilified by conservatives.
” It was quickly tabled by supporters who said adding anti-discrimination language “gutted” the bill.”
Between that and the massive backlash against Indiana I think that is pretty much all anyone needs to know about it.
Governor Pence continues to deceive the public about this deeply flawed law. Let’s clarify a few things.
Gov. Pence myth: SB 101 is just like Illinois law that then-State Senator Obama voted to support.
Truth: Gov. Pence fails to point out that Illinois has robust nondiscrimination clauses in its state Human Rights Act that specifically protect LGBT people. Indiana does not. This matters because those seeking to discriminate in Indiana may claim that the lack of a statewide law barring sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination means that there is no compelling state interest in enforcing local ordinances providing such protections.
Gov. Pence myth: This law only reinforces established law in Indiana.
Truth: The language in SB 101 is so broadly written that someone can sue even without their religious beliefs having actually been burdened simply by claiming that is ‘likely’ to happen.
Gov. Pence myth: SB101 is just like federal law that President Clinton signed 20 years ago.
Truth: SB 101 is substantially broader than the federal law. The federal RFRA can only be invoked against government action. SB 101 goes much further, inviting discrimination by allowing religious beliefs to be raised as a defense in lawsuits and administrative proceedings brought by workers, tenants and customers who have suffered discrimination. In addition, SB 101 makes it easier to claim a burden on religious freedom than the federal RFRA by defining the ‘exercise of religion’ as ‘any exercise of religion, whether or not compelled by, or central to, a system of religious belief.’
“If Governor Pence meant it when he said that SB101 isn’t intended to allow discrimination against LGBT people, then why were amendments designed to make that explicit repeatedly rejected during the legislative process? If he truly means what he says, then he and the legislature should work together to add this language: ‘This chapter does not establish or eliminate a defense to a claim under any federal, state or local law protecting civil rights or preventing discrimination.’ And the Indiana government should include gay and transgender people within Indiana’s protections from discrimination.”
One other very important point is that almost all of those state laws were enacted before gay marriage became legal in a majority of the states. The Indiana law is a direct result of bigotry and opposition to gay marriage.
Too bad this all won’t fit on a bilboard.
BRAVO to Lambda Legal for a job well done. (Chad Griffin and HRC please take note.)