Nel's New Day

December 16, 2017

DDT: Week Forty-seven – Sexual Misconduct Stays in News

The biggest news against Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) was Roy Moore’s loss in the race for Alabama’s U.S. senator, making the second loss for DDT in the election after Luther Strange lost the primary. Roy Moore won’t concede the election after losing by 1.5 points, claiming that he’ll win with military and provisional votes. He’s asking for donations for an “election integrity fund,” but probably not because Alabama is one of the worst states in the nation for voter suppression. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is dragging his feet in seating Sen. Doug Jones while pushing the tax bill before Strange departs. Seven years ago, McConnell pushed the seating of Scott Brown, a new GOP senator, to vote for the Affordable Care Act.

DDT’s false claims about Russian not meddling in the U.S. presidential election has been declared the lie of the year. The House Judiciary Committee failed to get FBI Director Christopher Wray to denounce the FBI and then grilled Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein about whether he would fire special investigator Robert Mueller. Rosenstein said he would not without good cause, which he does not have at this time. DDT has never hosted a Cabinet meeting about Russian interference in the U.S. election, and White House staff are not allowed to speak about the subject.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced that he would talk diplomacy with North Korea “without precondition” for three days until he reversed his position to say that North Korea must “earn its way” by stopping its nuclear threats.

The week’s mystery is John Kelly’s ejection of former Apprentice star Omarosa Manigault Newman from the White House. The Secret Service denied that they escorted her off the premises, but she isn’t allowed to return before her last day on January 20, 2018. Steve Benen lists the major disappearances since January 20, 2017. Omarosa’s fame came from her statement that everyone “will have to bow down to President Trump. It is the ultimate revenge to become the most powerful man in the universe.”

Appointments:

The Senate has confirmed three lifetime appointments for the U.S. Circuit Courts and Court of Appeals:

  • Leonard Steven Grasz – Unanimously rated “not qualified by American Bar Association and supports the teaching of creationism and anti-LGBTQ policies;
  • Don Willett – Bases judicial decisions on personal anti-LGBTQ and anti-worker views;
  • James Ho – Wants to “abolish all restrictions on campaign finance,” defends torture, and opposes LGBTQ rights.  sides with teaching of creationism and anti-LGBTQ policies.

FEC Member Matthew Petersen has never tried any case, argued a case in state or federal court, and deposed anyone by himself. During a confirmation hearing, he could not define basic legal terms such as the Daubert standard, motion in limine, motion in limit, the Younger abstention doctrine, and the Pullman abstention doctrine. He claims to understand “the challenge” if he were named the U.S. District Court judgeship for the District of Columbia and thinks that he is qualified.

Michael Dourson backed out of the nomination for U.S. top regulator of toxic chemicals. He ran a consulting company that defended toxic chemicals on behalf of companies like Monsanto, Dow Chemical, and DuPont and advocates weaker chemical safety standards.

After Moore lost the Senate race in Alabama, Sen. Chuck Grassley pulled two of DDT’s judicial nominees from consideration. Jeff Mateer, DDT’s pick for the Eastern District of Texas, and Brett Talley, a choice for Alabama, both made comments supporting discriminatory groups or policies. Talley, whose wife works for White House counsel, had been considered “not qualified” by the American Bar Association and defended judicial discrimination, including against transgender people. Grassley pled ignorance about these problems despite wide media coverage about them.

Moving Forward:

DDT failed to kill “Obamacare” despite eliminating almost all funding for ads and assistance plus considerably shortening the signup time. This year’s enrollment is almost equal to that of last year. DDT has refused to extend the deadline even one day after December 15 although it has been extended to January 31 of the next year in the past.

Thanks to U.S. District Judge Wendy, Beetlestone, DDT’s rules of employers’ “religious or moral” exceptions to contraception which prevent its no-cost coverage are blocked nationwide during trials from lawsuits against them.

DDT thought that he would kill the nuclear deal with Iran, but because Congress failed to take action in 60 days, the agreement stays in force.

Thirteen U.S. scientists received “Make the Planet Great Again” grants from France’s President Emmanuel Macron, offered after DDT said that the U.S. was backing out of the Paris climate agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Grants were awarded to five other scientists in other parts of the world.

Assaulters of the week:

Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) won’t be seeking reelection. He’s joined by Ruben Kihuen (D-NV). That makes seven congressional members going or gone thus far because of sexual misconduct—four Republicans and three Democrats.

Chief Justice Sidney R. Thomas of the 9th Circuit Court has asked that one of his judges, Reagan appointee Alex Kozinski, be investigated by another court for complaints of sexual misconduct by at least 15 women have accused Kozinski of inappropriate sexual conduct or comments. Dahlia Lithwick wrote about her experience 20 years ago with Kozinski when she was clerking for then Chief Justice Judge Procter Hug of the 9th Circuit Court.

Accused of sexual crimes and misconduct including sexual assault of a teenager, Kentucky state GOP Rep. Dan Johnson killed himself. Four of his Republican colleagues have also been accused of sexual misconduct. The House Speaker has already resigned. Johnson’s enabler wife plans to replace Johnson in the legislature.

DDT Tweets:

About a senator’s statements call for investigating sexual misconduct allegations against DDT: “Lightweight Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a total flunky for Charles E. Schumer and someone who would come to my office ‘begging’ for campaign contributions not so long ago (and would do anything for them), is now in the ring fighting against Trump. Very disloyal to Bill & Crooked-USED!” Katty Kay, anchor for BBC World News America, called DDT’s tweet “clearly sexual” and “demeaning to women.” DDT has not responded to the same request from male Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT). Fifty-nine women congressional members have formally requested the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to investigate allegations of DDT’s sexual misconduct. From an editorial by the conservative USA Today:

“A president who would all but call Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand a whore is not fit to clean the toilets in the Barack Obama Presidential Library or to shine the shoes of George W. Bush.”

About women accusing DDT of sexual assault: “women who I don’t know and/or have never met.” Witnesses, videos, and photographs show that he is lying.

The funniest one comes from DDT’s namesake, Donald Jr.: “I would pay good money to see all those people complaining about Obama’s FCC chairman voting to repeal #NetNeutality actually explain it in detail. I’d also bet most hadn’t heard of it before this week. #outrage.” Ajit Pai is DDT’s FCC chairman, appointed in January, and millions of people know about net neutrality because they made public comments to stop its loss. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, joined by attorneys general from at least 18 states, plans a lawsuit to keep net neutrality. At least 83 percent of people oppose the commission’s decision; even three-fourths of Republicans don’t agree with losing net neutrality. The FCC net neutrality repeal cannot go into effect until it is approved by the Office of Management and Budget—which could take months.  The industry’s argument for Pai’s change of “freedom” of the net only allows corporations to control what people watch and overcharge customers.

Moving Backward:

DDT has erased rules that tried to prevent explosive train wrecks.

Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) has authored a huge higher education bill that guarantees colleges and universities can discriminate against LGBTQ students without danger of losing federal funds under the guise of religious freedom. The bill also removes protections for victims of campus sexual assault.

In the trial of six protesters on DDT’s inauguration day, the judge eliminated one of the eight charges and lowered the maximum penalty from 60 years. In its closing argument, DOJ admitted that it had no evidence that the people on trial had committed acts of violence or vandalism or planned the protest march, but they incited others by wearing black. The lawyer also accused two of the defendants who gave medical assistance as being “prepared for war … “to mend them and get them up on their way.” Deliberations are scheduled for late next week.

DDT socialist move will let restaurant owners make servers share their tips with untipped employees such as cooks and dishwashers means that the employers, who are not required to distribute the tips, can pocket $5.8 billion a year. Comments are due by February 5, 2018.

Four Trumps failed to successfully vote absentee in a New York mayoral election on November 7:

  • Melania didn’t sign her envelope.
  • Ivanka didn’t mail her ballot until Election Day—too late for counting.
  • Jared Kushner didn’t return his ballot.
  • DDT put his wrong date of birth on his application for an absentee ballot.

DDT’s continued approval rating of 32 percent is near the tipping point of leadership failure at 30 percent.

December 9, 2017

DDT: Week Forty-six – Make America Worse

The good news: Congress Republicans passed a funding bill to avoid a government shutdown yesterday. The bad news: it’s only for two weeks. Every day, 122 DACA recipients lose their protections. The total thus far since Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) issues his decree is over 11,000 of the 800,000 young people. CHIP, health care for children, also expired over two months ago.

Other questions of the week:

  • Will DDT fire his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson?
  • Can the two chambers of Congress combine their tax bill in time to give most people a lump of coal for the holidays?
  • Where will the courts go after the Supreme Court okayed DDT’s travel ban?
  • How many people will die or be injured because DDT tore up 70 years of U.S. policy and gave Jerusalem to Israel?
  • Who is the next to leave Congress because of sexual assault/harassment after the departures of Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), and Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ)?  (Clue: Reps. Ruben Kihuen (D-NV) and Blake Farenthold (R-TX) are on the chopping block, and as many as 40 congressional members–ten percent of the males–could be affected.)
  • And will the GOP elect pedophile Roy Moore for its senator from Alabama?

At the inauguration ceremony of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), Michael Flynn texted a former associate, promising that U.S. sanctions against Russia would be “ripped up” and plans to build nuclear interests in the Middle East with Russian interests was “good to go.” Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), who has a witness to these statements, asked Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), chair of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, to subpoena the White House for Flynn-related documents. Gowdy, who led a crusade against Hillary Clinton regarding Benghazi and the continuing focus on her emails as well as targeting former FBI director James Comey, responded, “Congress doesn’t investigate a crime.”

Special counsel Robert Mueller has asked a federal judge to deny Paul Manafort’s request to release him from house arrest because of an op-ed that Manafort edited for an associate “assessed to have ties” with Russian intelligence. That act was in violation of a court order.

Republicans are trying to destroy Mueller with the most recent attacks fueled by disparaging texts about DDT from Peter Strzok, who has been removed as top FBI agent on the investigation team. New FBI director Christopher Wray repeatedly defended the FBI when Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee bombarded him with questions about anti-DDT sentiment. Hillary Clinton’s name came up at 76 times, and Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) complained about no special counsel “addressing the Clinton administration.” On Fox, Gregg Jarrett accused the FBI of being “like the old KGB … a shadow government.”

Donald Trump Jr. talked to the House Intelligence Committee for eight hours behind closed doors with no released transcripts. He cited attorney-client privilege to refuse answering questions about his conversation with his father about the meeting between Jr. and others, including a Russian lawyer, on June 9, 2016. Neither DDT nor his son is a lawyer, but Jr. said one was in the room. Mueller also questioned Hope Hicks, DDT’s current Communications Director; the FBI had earlier warned her that Russian officials had tried to contact her during the presidential transition.

The Senate tax bill suffers a $300 billion glitch that may take more money from the less than wealthy. Hurried writers forgot to lower the alternative minimum tax (AMT) after putting it back into the legislation. Protests are accelerating as the two chambers try to reconcile their positions.

The decision allowing financial advisers to act in their own best interests for another 18 months will take $10.9 billion from their clients saving for retirement in the next three decades. Permanent implementation of the rule would be more devastating.

U.S. District Judge Peter Messitte ordered 23 DDT businesses including Mar-a-Lago to keep their records for a lawsuit against DDT regarding his violation of the emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution. In District of Columbia v. Trump, attorneys in Washington and Maryland claim that his business empire is profiting from foreign and domestic governments.

Project Veritas may lose its license to collect donations in New York because it failed to disclose the criminal record of founder James O’Keefe from a 2010 conviction.  DDT is one of the donors to the group that uses editing and lies in order to produce fraudulent videos, the most recent one by a woman who lied about Roy Moore impregnating her and getting an abortion for her. The group’s paperwork also failed to disclose that Utah and Mississippi had already removed its rights to raise money in their states. The DOJ is now using O’Keefe’s fake videos about Planned Parenthood to launch an investigation into the organization.

Fox is calling for the arrest of a president. Lou Dobbs wants Barack Obama arrested for saying that people should “think before you speak. Think before you tweet.”

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said the reason that DDT is taking almost two million acres from the public in the Bears Ears and the Grand Staircase-Escalante monuments is that “public lands are for public use and not for special interests.” Possibly Zinke’s “public use” comes from the fact that over three-fourths of the property that DDT took from public land sits on fossil fuel reserves. Five Utah tribes—Navajo, Ute Mountain Ute, Ute Indian, Hopi, and the Pueblo of Zini—plan to sue DDT to save approximately 100,000 cultural and ancestral sites, some dating back to 1300 AD. Navajo Nation Council Delegate Davis Filfred said:

“More than 150 years ago, the federal government removed our ancestors from Bears Ears at gunpoint and sent them on the Long Walk. But we came back.”

Zinke hopes to shrink more national monuments, including Oregon’s Cascades-Siskiyou so that he can cut down its trees.

Last week, DDT destroyed a ceremony with the Navajo Code Talkers of World War II; this week he described the bombing of Pearl Harbor as a “pretty wild scene” during a ceremony.

DDT refused to take on-the-record questions on Air Force One during one his newsiest days. Ken Walsh, journalist covering six presidents, said, “The briefing has become a battleground, not a place for public education or enlightenment or even the discussion of basic information.”

The RNC gave $170,000 to Roy Moore for his campaign because DDT told them to give him money. Sexual assault isn’t Moore’s only problem; he also said to a black man that the last time the United States was great was when the nation had slavery. In the meantime, lawyers are working to preserve electronic images of all paper ballots cast in the December 12 election and ensure the electronic scanners will capture the digital ballot images. Different states have struggled with out-of-date computers and mysteriously destroyed records, most recently in Georgia. Elections have already shown through hand-counting that many votes are not detected by the optical-scan device.

In another move toward “Make America Alone Again,” DDT withdrew from UN attempts to develop compassionate global refugee policies. UN Ambassador Nikki Haley said that the U.S. will make decisions alone. The nomination for Haley’s fill-in if she is not available, white supremacist Patrick Murray, has passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Secretary of State Betsy DeVos’ brother, Blackwater founder Erik Prince, is proposing a private spy group to fight “deep state” political enemies in federal intelligence agencies and allow DDT to send spies for covert operations into “denied areas” such as North Korea and Iran. Prince also wants a global rendition force to capture terrorist suspects around the world and set up propaganda campaigns in the Middle East and Europe. The plan copies the old British East Indian Company private army that colonized the British empire in India. The group would be “off the books” with no government oversight: funding would come from picking off Afghanistan’s rich deposits of minerals such as lithium, uranium, and “rare earth elements.” Another actor in the plan is Oliver North, who set up the same type of network 30 years ago to wage war against the leftist government of Nicaragua after Congress refused funding for military intervention in Central America’s civil wars.

DDT’s lawyers have a new defense tactic: the president is above the law. The current DOJ said 18 years ago that no one—even the president—is above the law when the president was a Democrat.

Forget about price shopping for airline flights; DDT withdrew a proposed rule for transparency in baggage fees.

The 28 of 30 Jewish House members who are Democrats weren’t invited to DDT’s partisan Hanukah party, five days before the beginning of the celebration. The tiny menorah brought into the room only for the ceremony and lighted by DDT’s grandchildren was in the midst of four huge Christmas trees. Afterwards, the party moved to DDT’s International Hotel for the “Hanukkah Nightcap” party funded by Sheldon Adelson’s Republican Jewish Coalition.

Less than one year after his inauguration, DDT is welcome only at rallies with vetted audiences of Trumpettes. Early this week, neither DDT nor his wife attended Kennedy Center Honors, the first time the president was not in attendance or represented since its inception in 1978.  Today DDT did not attend the public opening of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum in Jackson because of protests, including by NAACP and Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) who had been injured and jailed during the 1960s civil rights protests. DeNeen L. Brown and Cleve R. Wootson Jr. describe the tragedies depicted in the museum.

After DDT may have admitted obstructing of justice in his tweet about Michael Flynn, White House staff is considering making rules for how messages are posted on social media.

The latest Pew Research puts the approval rating for DDT at 32 percent with 63 percent disapproving. At the same time for his first term, President Obama’s approval rating was 49 percent. DDT’s loss of evangelical voters may be painful; the approval rating among that group has fallen 17 points down to 72 percent.  Further drops for DDT: Adults 50 and older – from 47 percent to 38 percent; whites – 49 percent to 41 percent.

December 3, 2017

How Far Can Republicans Sink?

Filed under: Religion — trp2011 @ 10:35 PM
Tags: , , , ,

The reports of sexual assault have filled the news, and Democrats are going into the problem head on while the GOP (Grand Old Perverts) are running away. It’s the shiny object keeping people from paying attention to the disastrous tax bill passed by the Senate and headed back to the House while Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) continues his lies and alienates reasonable leaders in other countries with his bigotry—the past week a focus against Muslims. And Roy Moore is most likely headed toward Washington as the new senator from Alabama. The world will know after the special election on December 12, nine days away.

Last year’s presidential election changed the perspective in the United States toward leadership. Eighty percent of Christian evangelicals voted for an alleged pedophile, and the trend continues with Moore. A survey at end of November shows that 39 percent of registered evangelical Christian voters are more likely to support him after they hear that he may have sexually abused a 14-year-old girl, dated teenage girls when he was in his 30s, and groped women in his office. Only 28 percent says that his behavior makes them less like to vote for him. Sixty-four percent of evangelicals say that they support him over a Democrat. In Alabama, 35 percent of the state are white evangelical Protestants and 58 percent of the state GOP.

Moore is running a campaign rife with fraud. His wife Kayla published a letter supposedly from 50 pastors endorsing her husband. At least four of them said they wanted their names removed from the letter, and others didn’t live in Alabama. Dozens of other evangelical pastors have signed a letter that declares him “not fit for office.”

The stories go far beyond his sexual assault, dating teenage girls, and groping. People who lived in his town knew that he was banned from a mall and the YMCA because he harassed the girls there. An Alabama police officer was assigned to watch him at local high school football games. Her task was to keep him from harassing the cheerleaders.

The recent unabashed GOP support for candidates like Moore and DDT demonstrates the shift in evangelical approach. The party has long proudly supported “family values,” but they have lost their Christian approach toward goodness to vote for policies. Even in 2004, “values voters” who said they prioritized character embodying Christian values such as kindness, honesty, and forgiveness voted for George W. Bush’s policy positions. In a survey following the election, 23 percent referenced personal characteristics of candidates whereas 44 percent talked about their opposition to abortion and LGBTQ rights. That percentage increased to 58 percent among evangelicals by 2015 who held high priorities for social and cultural goals no matter the quality of the candidate. Those who want “religious freedom” also want to remove secularism and diversity from the nation. Seventy-two percent thought in 2015 that too many laws about moral standards have been removed and want to keep the United States a “Christian nation.” Last year almost half of white evangelical Protestants described Democrats as a serious threat to the nation.

Moore fits the evangelical view of what the United States should be. He blames the 9/11 attacks on the legalization of abortion and LGBTQ rights, stating that the Supreme Court recognition of marriage equality is worse than the 1857 Dred Scott decision declaring that blacks were property and not citizens. In addition to rejecting LGBTQ rights and abortion, he denied the existence of evolution and opposes women voting and running for office. He wrote that it is a moral obligation to never vote for a woman to hold public office. It also criticizes a woman’s right to vote.

The evangelical philosophy of marrying young women is taught in homeschooling with the phrase “14-year-old girls courting adult men.” Part of Vaughn Ohlman’s career was speaking at home-school conventions about his retreat for families to arrange child marriages. Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson said that men should marry 15- and 16-year-old girls because 20-year-olds are too old to be molded. Another term for evangelical approach to a male selecting and grooming young girls is predation. Roy Moore represents a Christian fundamentalist problem.

Fundamentalist Christians leadership has a record of protecting GOP sexual predators. Family Research Council president, Tony Perkins, covered for Ohio state Rep. Wes Goodman (R) after his sexual encounters with other men, at least one of them allegedly not consensual. Documents indicate that he sexually assaulted a young man at the Ritz-Carlton in Washington, D.C. in 2015 while employed by the Council for National Policy (CNP), a somewhat-secretive umbrella organization for prominent conservative leaders from across the country. Goodman has since resigned after an “inappropriate interaction” in his legislative office that GOP Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger deemed consensual. The legislator’s position included virulent opposition to LGBTQ rights; Perkins promised the teenage boy’s stepfather that “this will not be ignored nor swept aside. It will be dealt with swiftly, but with prudence.” Two months later Goodman was running for office. Perkins did suspend his membership with CNP but isn’t answering questions.

Approximately 30 sources, mostly college-aged men, reported inappropriate advances such as unwanted sexting, photos of his body, and hot tub invitations. One news source reported that Goodman targeted “young men he met through conservative circles who were too intimidated to publicly complain.” They feared for their own careers if they reported his undesired sexual advances.

Although the future looks dark at this time of year, a column by conservative Ross Douthat gives a light at the end of the tunnel. According to sociologist Christian Smith, younger evangelicals will “invent evangelicalism anew” because they were “betrayed by older pastors who insisted on the importance of moral character and then abandoned these preachments for the sake of partisanship — revealing their own commitments as essentially idolatrous.” Baylor professor Alan Jacobs goes farther when he predicts that young people will stop identifying with evangelicalism and move on to less radical philosophies. An “evangelical crackup” may come from pitting anti-Trump Southern Baptist Russell Moore “against the nationalist evangelicalism of a Jerry Falwell Jr. or Robert Jeffress.”

A common question about Republicans is how low can they sink. The possibility seems bottomless. After saying that he believed the allegations against Moore, that he was unfit to serve in public office, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is now tacitly supporting him.

“The people of Alabama are going to decide a week from Tuesday who they want to send to the Senate. It’s really up to them. It’s been a pretty robust campaign with a lot of people weighing in. The president and I, of course, supported somebody different earlier in the process. But in the end, the voters of Alabama will make their choice.”

Despite McConnell’s call on Moore to drop out of the race, Moore continues to say that Democrats and the media are making all the women are lying about what he did to them. He claims that LGBTQ people are orchestrating a campaign against him, and conservative outlets are smearing the women. The polls have been up and down for Moore, but polls have proved to be sometimes unreliable since the advent of DDT. One poll gives Moore a six-point lead over his opponent, Doug Jones, whereas another one puts Jones three points ahead.

The Alabaman argument for supporting Moore is to stop abortion. Conservative Jonathan Last wrote that his election will “set back the pro-life cause of years.” It will be an “albatross” for the GOP, and Democrats can use him to take over both chambers in 2018. According to Last, “the chances of Moore hurting the broader GOP caucus in a catastrophic way next year outweigh the chances of that one vote being make-or-break for abortion during the next four years.” (The winner of the December 12 election will be up again in 2020 because he is finishing Jeff Sessions’ term.)

Voting for DDT already increased the rot in the GOP; voting for Moore would increase the decay. Last asks if there is any limit to what a GOP candidate would do to stop votes—and stop the putrefaction. He concludes:

“If you care about the actual impact of supporting Moore—rather than preening in public about how you want people to view you—you start by looking in the mirror and thinking about the next compromise you’ll be asked to make.”

Nine more days until Moore’s election date. We’ll see then whether people in Alabama continue the destruction of the GOP.

November 12, 2017

‘Family Values’ GOP Protects Sexual Predators

Filed under: Religion — trp2011 @ 8:40 PM
Tags: , ,

Alabama Supreme Court justice, Roy Moore terrorized the LGBTQ community for decades, breaking the law to persecute people based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. He compared homosexuality to bestiality and frequently called it a “crime against nature.” Moore used his religious belief to claim that “the transgenders don’t have rights” and the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize marriage equality was “even worse” than its declaration that blacks are property in the Dred Scott case (1857).

The accusation that he had sexually molested at least four teenage girls, one of them below the age of consent, was comparable to dropping a bomb. Massive numbers of women publicly accused their sexual assaulters this past fall, and Republicans have gloated because the predators have been part of the progressive party. Now one of their own is in the hot seat, and the GOP is not happy.

Moore is exactly one month away from the general election on December 12 to pick a U.S. senator, and he says he won’t quit. If he did, his name couldn’t be removed from the ballot. Moore took the primary from incumbent, Luther Strange, appointed to his position by former Gov. Robert Bentley after Jess Sessions became the U.S. AG. Strange was investigating Bentley for sexual relations with a close aide that led to his wife of over 50 years divorcing him. Bentley pled guilty to charges and resigned when the legislature began impeachment proceedings against him. The year before Bentley resigned, Alabama’s house speaker Mike Hubbard was convicted and imprisoned for felony violations of the state’s ethics laws.

Officials have asked the Gov. Kay Ivey (R) to postpone the election, but she has no plans to do this. Moore can’t be replaced because ballots have already been mailed, and state law requires that a replacement nominee be filed at least 76 days before an election. She had earlier changed the date for the election. Bentley said that Strange’s appointment was until 2018, but Ivey changed that to 2017, saying that “people should vote for a replacement U.S. Senator as soon as possible.”

Republicans knew what they were getting with Moore. He was the only judge on the state Supreme Court to exonerate a 17-year-old day-care center worker who sodomized a four-year-old boy at Mama’s Place Christian Academy (Clay, AL).

Moore cited “no evidence in this case of an implied threat of serious physical injury.” People also knew he had been removed from the state Supreme Court twice for violating the U.S. Constitution, in 2003 for refusing to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the state judicial building and in 2016 for ordering judges to deny marriage licenses to same-gender couples. Now Republicans have heard that Moore promised to watch a 14-year-old girl while her mother attended a custody hearing and then took her to his home, gave her alcohol, took off her outer clothing, and tried to get her to feel his genitals. About the sexual assault, Leigh Corfman said, “I wanted it over with. Please just get this over with. Whatever this is, just get it over.”

GOP officials are already protecting Moore. The Republican National Committeeman from Alabama, Paul Reynolds, said that he trusts Vladimir Putin more than Moore’s accusers:

“My gosh, it’s The Washington Post. If I’ve got a choice of putting my welfare into the hands of Putin or The Washington Post, Putin wins every time. This is going to make Roy Moore supporters step up to the plate and give more, work more and pray more.”

Reynolds may be right: Moore is now using the publicity to raise funds. Yet he’s lost money from the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and Sen. Mike Lee (UT) has told him to remove his photo from Moore’s advertising.  Sens. Steve Daino (MT) and Bill Cassidy (LA) have pulled their endorsements. On a Sunday talk show, Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) called for Moore to step aside because allegations against him are stronger than his denials.

Justifications for Moore’s behavior have poured out of the party of “family values.” Alabama State Auditor Jim Zeigler said:

“Take Mary and Joseph. Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus. There’s just nothing immoral or illegal here. Maybe just a little bit unusual.”

According to the Bible, God was Jesus’s father, not Joseph, making him a stepfather. Zeigler’s comparison to Zachariah and Elizabeth didn’t hold water either because they were both old when John the Baptist was born. The next Zeigler excuse was that Moore married a younger woman; he was 38 and his wife was 24. Moore’s victim when he was 32 was 14 years old at the time.

More spins poured out from Republicans:

  • The rape wasn’t “forcible” enough to be a concern.
  • Victims should all be prosecuted for coming forward now.
  • Moore “didn’t really force himself” on the 14-year-old.
  • Fourteen-year-olds don’t make good decisions.
  • The relationship with the 14-year-old girl was “consensual.” (From Sean Hannity who denied he made that statement although it’s on tape and then lost advertisers.)
  • Moore didn’t have “sexual intercourse” with the girl he undressed and touched.
  • The victim is the age of consent now.
  • Only one of the sexual assaults could have been legally problematic because Moore was single. (From Breitbart editor Joel Pollack)
  • “There’s nothing wrong with a 30-year-old single male asking a 16-year-old on a date,” according to Alabama Marion County GOP chair David Hall.
  • “If it is true,” the people who let it continue are the guilty ones,
  • Norms were different back then (Ann Coulter).
  • The favorite one: Moore isn’t a Democrat.

Aside from his unconstitutional rulings and his illegal sexual behavior, Moore has other baggage. He and his family drew over $1 million from their “charity,” The Foundation for Moral Law. One of his sons Caleb, who also worked for the Foundation has been arrested at least nine times on charges including drug use and DUIs.

Roy Moore denies the sexual assault charges and defiantly continues his campaign like Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) did. And like the times when DDT was accused, Moore said he will sue. Republicans were delighted that Harvey Weinstein  was accused of sexual assault because he is a Democrat, but the ball is back in the GOP court with the allegations against Moore. When women accuse liberals of sexual assault and harassment, Republicans automatically believe them; women who accuse Republicans are smeared. Republicans are circling the wagon around their party members, many of them playing the “if it is true” game with the women’s allegations against Moore, missing when women accuse Democrats of sexual assault.

The Palm Beach County (FL) school district’s defense against sexually abused children demonstrates the dangers of publicizing sexual assault. It’s the victims’ fault, according to the school district. In past cases involving children as young as six and a seven-year-old boy with autism, the school’s defense has blamed the children for not reporting the abuse fast enough. One case involving the inappropriate touching of four third-grade students by the teacher dragged on for 12 years although the teacher pled guilty to two of the cases. The district finally settled for $3.6 million a few weeks ago after consistently maintaining that the girls were “old enough to appreciate the consequences of their actions” and “conducted themselves in a careless and negligent manner.” According to the district lawyer, this defense strategy can reduce the amount of damages that the district might be forced to pay. It can be used for a child as young as six years old. It’s just a litigation tactic, the lawyer said.

Women suffer as much as children from slurs against them. Oregon’s Sen. Jeff Kruse, one of many legislators across the country now accused of sexual assault and harassment, was stripped of all his committee appointments for his sexual assault of female colleagues. The Oregon Firearms Federation refuted the allegations because “touching Sara Gelser would only mean he needs an eye test.” Excuses for sexual assault include “boys will be boys,” they were just being friendly, and they don’t understand that times have changed.

And people wonder why girls and woman hesitate a long time about going public about being sexually assaulted.

[Update: The child described as “under 12-years-old” was a four-year-old boy at Mama’s Place Christian Academy in Clay, Alabama.]

 

October 1, 2017

Christian Nationalism Lacks Rational Thought, Decency

Various claims for Hillary Clinton’s loss are her not visiting Wisconsin and Michigan, not articulating her economic program, and relying on “identity politics.” Nobody addresses her faith in the voters to be, as David Masciotra wrote, “sufficiently thoughtful and moral to reject the prospect of a historically illiterate con man who routinely makes racist remarks and once boasted of committing sexual assault, acting as President of the United States.” Almost 63 million people used the excuse of Clinton’s private email server to all an impulsive man displaying a serious case of ADHD to be in control of the nation’s nuclear weapons. Progressives lose at the ballot and across the culture because they consistently overestimate the intelligence and decency of the American people. She assumed that the majority of Americans operate according to rationality and compassion.

During a pre-election debate, DDT blamed Clinton for not reforming the tax code while she was a senator; she had to explain to him how a bill becomes a law. But 37 percent of people cannot identify one freedom in the First Amendment, and 25 percent can’t correctly name all three branches of government. Sixty-four percent of people want NFL to force players to stand during the performance of “The Star Spangled Banner” at a commercial event. They have forgotten that the first man who “took a knee” at an NFL performance was protesting the police killings of unarmed black men without any penalty. Colin Kaepernick took this action instead of sitting during the national anthem because Army veteran Nate Boyer made that suggestion. Boyer’s letter to Kaepernick stated in part:

“I’m not judging you for standing up for what you believe in. It’s your inalienable right. What you are doing takes a lot of courage, and I’d be lying if I said I knew what it was like to walk around in your shoes. I’ve never had to deal with prejudice because of the color of my skin, and for me to say I can relate to what you’ve gone through is as ignorant as someone who’s never been in a combat zone telling me they understand what it’s like to go to war.”

Three-fourths of white people in the United States are claiming great respect for the flag but not for people with dark skin.

Ignorance of geography also leads to people looking at “others” as subhuman. The more accurately that people could identify North Korea, the less likely they were to support military action against the country, an action that comes from DDT’s incitement. In 2015, 30 percent of Republicans and 19 percent of Democrats wanted the United States to bomb Agrabah—the fictional setting for Disney’s animated feature film for children Alladin.

Only 54 percent of people in the U.S. knew that Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens before the recent publicity. Of those who know they are citizens, 81 percent wanted strong support; of those unaware of their citizenship, only 44 percent supported assistance.

In an example of current Republican philosophy, Alabama selected far right-wing evangelical, Roy Moore, for their standard bearer in the Senate. As their candidate, he goes against Democrat Doug Moore on December 12, 2017 to replace Luther Strange who was appointed to replace Jeff Sessions.

Moore twice lost his elected office as Supreme Court justice because he refused to follow the law. The first time (2003) he kept a two-ton monument to the Ten Commandments in the central rotunda of the Alabama Judicial Building afer being told to remove it, and the second time (2016) he was suspended for telling probate judges to ignore the Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges legalizing marriage equality. His position was that Alabama didn’t have to follow federal law.

Supported by Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) and sidekick Mike Pence, Moore could reinforce his positions in the U.S. Senate:

Homosexuality: “Homosexual conduct … is defined by the law as detestable…. When we become one nation under god again, when liberty and justice for all reigns across our land, we will be truly good again.”

9/11: The attack by 19 terrorists was divine retribution because of Isiah 30:25 – “There should be up on every high mountain and upon every hill, rivers and streams of water in the day of the great slaughter when the towers will fall.'”

People of Color: “Now we have blacks and whites fighting, reds and yellows fighting, Democrats and Republicans fighting, men and women fighting. What’s going to unite us? What’s going to bring us back together? A president? A Congress? No. It’s going to be god.” He defends his slurs on Native and Asian American communities with lyrics from the song “Jesus Loves the Little Children”: “all the children of the world—red, brown, yellow, black and white.”

Vladimir Putin: “Maybe Putin is right” in “protecting Russian young people against homosexual propaganda.”

Same-Gender Marriage: The ruling for marriage equality is “even worse” than 1896’s Plessy v. Ferguson, establishing racial desegregation, “the words are not there [in the U.S. Constitution,] we’ve never had it in our history.”

Sharia Law: Muslim law is in the United States, especially in places in Illinois and Indiana—or maybe not. “I was informed that there were. But if they’re not, it doesn’t matter. Sharia law incorporates Muslim law into the law. That’s not what we do. We do not punish people according to the Christian precepts of our faith — so there’s a difference. I’ll just say this: I don’t know if there are. I understand that there are some.” [He missed the point about Christianity actually punishing people by eliminating LGBTQ and women’s rights.]

Rep. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim member of Congress: “Enough evidence exists for Congress to question Ellison’s qualifications to be a member of Congress as well as his commitment to the Constitution in view of his apparent determination to embrace the Quran and an Islamic philosophy directly contrary to the principles of the Constitution. In 1943, we would never have allowed a member of Congress to take their oath on Mein Kampf, or someone in the 1950s to swear allegiance to the Communist Manifesto.”

Right to Work and DACA: “Right to work?” Moore asked a questioner at an American Principles Project in April. “Explain…a little bit.” The response to a question about the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals: “Pardon? The Dreamers program? Why don’t you… quit beating around and tell me what it is.”

Barack Obama: “My opinion is that there is a big question about [Barack Obama’s place of birth]. My personal belief is that he isn’t [a U.S. citizen], but that’s probably over and done in a few days, unless we get something else to come along,”

Last fall’s general election pitted a rational, intelligent, compassionate, decent woman against Christian nationalism’s champion, DDT. George W. Bush coalesced evangelical power, creating a time when conservative politicians are forced to declare the U.S. as a “Christian nation” to be successful. That belief forces them to be Islamophobic and anti-immigrant. The force of Christian nationalism is so strong that DDT couldn’t even get a candidate elected by claiming that “[Luther Strange] knows the true source of America’s strength — it’s God, it’s family and its country.”

DDT was up against a candidate who out-Christianed DDT and Strange—and up against his former chief political strategist, white supremacist Steve Bannon, who campaigned for Moore. For another man, Moore’s win would weaken political power, but DDT believes he can control anyone. He may have trouble, however, with a man who seems afraid of nothing because his god is on his side.

Christian nationalism has been around for over a half century, but it accelerated with DDT’s rise.  Their reverence for the American “founders” is not only unusual in industrialized countries but also skewed from reality as is their perception rights provided by of the U.S. Constitution. The Christian nationalists’ rejection of science, education, and government is also antithetical to the beliefs of the founders.

Although less common in U.S. history, there are ample examples of DDT-style Christian nationalism in other parts of the world. Like Russia and China, U.S. controlling religious groups want to impose their beliefs on others. Christian nationalists in Germany were largely responsible for the rise of Adolf Hitler in the 1930s. The Nazi sense of “family values,” disturbed by the shift in gender roles after women joined the workplace in World War I, also contributed to increasing popularity.

A study among 11,000 randomly selected people in the nation found that the Christian nationalist narrative, more about country than faith, united religious groups and those with sexist, Islamophobic, and anti-refugee beliefs in a perfect storm of symbiosis. As shown by the firestorm over people not standing for the national anthem, DDT’s form of patriotism is the new piety of intolerance. The chief author of the report, sociologist Andrew Whitehead of Clemson University, said,  “The legacy of white Christian America is going to live on.”

April 2, 2017

Conservatives Use Religion to Control

The Christians have a biblical reason that poor and starving people, including children, should not receive help. Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-Tex.) has repeated the tired excuse from 2 Thessalonians 3-10 to keep people from Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), otherwise called food stamps, with the statement that “if a man will not work, he shall not eat.” As usual, Arrington insinuates that anyone needing help to get food is a freeloader and unwilling to work.

First, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that “nearly two-thirds of SNAP recipients are children, seniors and people with disabilities.” Almost all of the rest are employed. Among those who receive SNAP benefits, 86 percent work 30 hours or more each week. The remainder includes teenagers aging out of the foster system, homeless, and recently released convicts. Many of those on SNAP “want to work,” but “effectively can’t.” There’s also context for the New Testament quotation. The passage refers to those who stopped working because they believe that the Second Coming is imminent. They just sat around waiting for the apocalypse.

Ronald Reagan’s “welfare queens” are actually found among corporations, bankers, and politicians who abuse government welfare. The best example at this time is the way the DDT is making a fortune from people paying him through his businesses.

Other religion news:

After 72 people filed sex abuse claims, a second Montana Catholic diocese is filing for bankruptcy protection. If they are successful, insurance will compensate the more than 400 people involved in the lawsuits. Church officials feel bad about what happened. It is the 15th diocesan bankruptcy in the U.S. concerning sex abuse.

In Alabama the veil between church and state may become so transparent as to become nonexistent with a bill allowing a Birmingham megachurch to create their own police force—a God squad, if you will. If the bill passes, the church would be “invested with all of the powers of law enforcement officers in this state.” According to the ACLU, this act would violate the Establishment Clause especially after a 1982 Supreme Court ruled that states could not give churches any official authority to grant and deny liquor licenses. The church already has permission to hire its own security guards but this would give the church control over police officers invested with state powers.  They could possibly enforce religious beliefs of the church for whom they work. The church already puts out a podcast defending Donald Trump and opposing secularism. The bill has isolated just one church without giving the same rights to other religious organizations.

Sarah Posner addresses the way that Dictator Donald Trump (DDT)—three times married sexual predator—took over the religious right. Roy Moore, a Baptist leader who could represent the “new” religious right, is fighting for the soul of the religious right, to protect it from white supremacists, but DDT won the religious right because of his white “nationalism.” Richard Spencer said, “The GOP is a white person’s populist party.” He claims that these evangelicals see racial differences (aka white superiority) as “a reaffirmation of traditional historical Christianity” as proved by the Christian bible.

Moore may be losing his battle. He could lose his job because of backlash from Trump supporters in his flock who are angry that he criticized the president. Religion reporter Sarah Pulliam Bailey reports:

“Any such move could be explosive for the nation’s largest Protestant denomination, which has been divided over politics, theology and, perhaps most starkly, race. Since he was elected in 2013, Moore, 45, has been praised by younger evangelicals for challenging the political approach of an older generation. He is also very popular among many evangelicals of color, who have welcomed Moore’s promotion of racial justice, including his vigorous opposition to public displays of the Confederate flag. [But] more than 100 of the denomination’s 46,000 churches have threatened to cut off financial support for the SBC’s umbrella fund … [Now], the committee is studying whether the churches are acting out of displeasure with Moore.”

Conservatives use Christians to push through their far-right agenda. For example, in his attempt to push through a transphobic bill, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has called on two Christian organizations, Family Research Council and Vision America. Rick Scarborough, founder of the latter,  has said that HIV/AIDS is God’s “judgement” for the “homosexual disease.” FRC argues that being trans requires counseling because it displays “grief, discomfort, and anger,” and Tony Perkins claims that allowing children near a transgender person is “child abuse.

The future may destroy white Christian evangelicals. Data from the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) shows that most people in the U.S. are secular in their political views. As the white evangelicals realize they are losing their dominance, they angrily exacerbate their struggles to maintain power and continue to cause the existing polarization in the nation. Perspective in which evangelicals are in the minority include LGBT rights, including marriage equality. DDT won the evangelical vote because of his claim that he sees them as a privileged category and will give them all the advantages that they want. White conservatives confuse their loss of cultural dominance as literal oppression. His promise to turn back the clock won him millions of votes.

Over two-thirds of people think that employers should be required to provide contraception to employees with health care plans at no cost. Only half of the Republicans are opposed. The younger the population, the more they believe in offering contraception. Churches should not be permitted to endorse political candidates, according to 71 percent of the people. Even a majority of Republicans, even evangelicals, agree with this position.

One advantage of the push from the religious right is that progressive religious activism is emerging. Pope Francis has been pushing it for some time, and the Catholic Archdiocese of Mexico has said that Mexicans who help build DDT’s wall are traitors. That includes any companies investing in the work, including shareholders and owners. In the past progressive religious groups have fought slavery and promoted civil right. Now they are offering help to immigrants, urging GOP politicians to keep the Affordable Care Act, and working to preserve federal spending on humanitarian efforts. In 45 of the 50 states, the number of churches giving sanctuary to asylum seekers doubled from 400 to 800. About 300 members of the progressive policy group Leaders of Faith in Public Life from as far away as Ohio rallied at Capitol Hill to block Jeff Sessions’ confirmation as attorney general because of his racist views. Donations to the Christian activist group Sojourners have increased by 30 percent since DDT’s election.

Launched in 2013, the “Moral Mondays” movement helped defeat GOP Gov. Pat McCrory for re-election. New alliances among churches, synagogues, and mosques are protesting the recent increase in hate crimes, including those against mosques and Jewish community centers. The Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom, an alliance between Muslim and Jewish women, has rippled the number of its U.S. chapters to 170 since the November election. Over 1,000 people have already signed up for the annual meeting of Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism at the end of the month.

Newton’s Third Law of Motion: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. It applies to Karma as well as to physics.

April 27, 2014

Is Religion Becoming More Reasonable?

The question surrounding some of this week’s religion news is whether the idea of separation of church and state is getting through to a few people. For example, a proposal in Louisiana have the Christian Bible as the state book has been dropped. State Rep. Thomas Carmody said that the bill had become a distraction. (I wonder if he actually meant “embarrassment.”)

State Rep. Wesley Bishop had earlier warned Carmody about potential difficulties: “You cannot separate Christianity from the Bible. If you adopt the Bible as the official state book, you also adopt Christianity as the state religion…. We are going to open ourselves up to a lawsuit.”

People in the U.S. military who don’t want to be classified as atheist but maintain reason over faith can now be classified as “humanist.”  In the military, 3.6 percent of members consider themselves humanists.

kamalaMarvel Comics has gone beyond acceptance of gender and sexual orientation diversity by introducing a Muslim teenager from New Jersey as the newest superhero. Kamala Khan’s shapeshifting superpowers are written to explore ideas not only of identity and coming of age but also of faith. Although not the first comic book to feature a Muslim superhero, the new Ms. Marvel is the first to headline her own comic book.

For the first time, a pope has taken responsibility for the ‘‘evil’’ of priests who raped and molested children. Pope Francis asked forgiveness from the victims and promised that the church would be even bolder in protecting youth. Last month he named four women and an abuse survivor to a sex abuse advisory panel to address the sanctioning of bishops who cover for pedophiles. Pope John Paul II denounced children-abusing priests, and Pope Benedict XVI said he was regretful when he met with victims. Neither one took personal responsibility for these crimes or asked for forgiveness.

After the Boy Scouts of America revoked the troop charter of Seattle-area Rainier Beach United Methodist Church because the scoutmaster is gay, Pastor Monica Corsaro published a statement in Time, explaining why they are supporting Geoff McGrath. Earlier this week, the Boy Scouts of America revoked the troop charter of a Seattle-area United Methodist Church because the church would not boot the scoutmaster Geoff McGrath, a married, gay Eagle Scout. Monica Corsaro, the pastor of the church, explains why:

“Putting him in the leadership of this troop would reflect and live out the values of our congregation, and that we would not have a troop at Rainier Beach UMC unless it was fully inclusive, because that is who we are.”

Corsaro’s entire column is well-worth reading.

homeless statueIn a wealthy Davidson (NC) community, a statue of a homeless Jesus lies on a park bench outside St. Alban’s Episcopal Church, an installation that has resulted in great controversy. From the woman who called the police because she thought it was actually a homeless person to the Rev. David Buck who said that “it gives authenticity to the church,” the responses show how people perceive their relationship to the god that they worship. Just the NPR article got over 1,000 responses, some of them very angry. One end result is that more churches plan to install replicas of this statue. Buck is a brave man.

Although a Supreme Court ruling in Alabama is horrible, the blatantly unconstitutional statements from Chief Justice Roy Moore may overturn the ruling. The issue of Hicks v. Alabama is whether women who use drugs during pregnancy can be charged with child endangerment. Hicks argued that the word “child” in the chemical-endangerment statute did not apply to an unborn child, but eight of the nine justices disagreed with that position.

Moore not only used biblical references in his arguments but also continued the myth that United States law is based on religion: “I write separately to emphasize that the inalienable right to life is a gift of God that civil government must secure for all persons—born and unborn…. When it was signed by our Founding Fathers in 1776, the Declaration returned to first principles of God, His law, and human rights and government.” He also claimed that Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration with Sir William Blackstone’s legal treatise in mind,“that God’s law was superior to all other laws.”

Like other fundamentalist Christians, Moore is trying to rewrite history: Jefferson’s reference in the Declaration of Independence is to a deistic “Creator.” Moore’s belief that the right to life is divine and should be enforced by government is made moot by the First Amendment. His references to the Nazi officials tried for crimes against humanity in Nuremberg, Germany, after World War II compared them to others, like the pregnant woman, who should be found guilty of crimes although they have not broken any laws. To Moore, divine law should receive preference over secular law.

Roy Moore is well known for his disdain toward the First Amendment. After he refused to remove a two-ton Ten Commandments from the state judicial building in the 1990s, he was sued. Despite losing, he kept the monument and defended himself by saying, “Actually, the organic law of our country establishes God as the basis for our justice system.” An ethics panel unanimously found that he had “willfully and publicly” disobeyed the law and removed him as Chief Justice, but he was re-elected in 2012.

American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer has determined that “there are consequences” for those making “foolish declarations.” He referred to the boycott of the Christian rock band Jars of Clay after lead singer, Dan Haseltine, supported for marriage equality. Maybe Fischer will understand the consequences for Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty for his anti-LGBT, anti-black comments instead of seeing this as the “persecution” of the Religious Right.

Logic, however, is not the strong suit of fundamental Christians. Thirteen states still have anti-sodomy laws on the books despite the Lawrence v. Texas ruling legalizing sodomy throughout the United States. To clean out meaningless laws from the state books, a Louisiana legislator introduced a bill to remove the anti-sodomy law. The House voted to keep the law 67-27 with 11 members abstaining.

sodomy necropheliaLouisiana’s legislative illogic comes in with their legalization of necrophilia. It is one of four states that does not explicitly ban the practice of having sex with dead bodies. [map] Three other states—Nebraska, New Mexico, and Vermont—also have not banned necrophilia, but these states have no anti-sodomy laws.

Some states think that necrophilia is banned under prevention of “crimes against nature” or classify it as a sexual assault against a person who can’t give consent. That premise didn’t work in Wisconsin. Three young men arrested for trying to exhume a corpse for sex were charged with attempted sexual assault for intent to have sex with an unwilling party. An appeals court threw out their conviction with the position that state law doesn’t recognize a corpse as a person, removing consent as an issue. The Supreme Court did reinstate the conviction on shaky grounds with a 5-2 vote.

Being Christian can be dangerous. Marco Gusmini, 21, was crushed and died when a giant crucifix in the Italian Alpine village of Cevo fell on him. Dedicated to Pope John Paul II in 1998, the 98-foot-high cross crashed down during a ceremony three days before today’s historic canonization for the late pope and his predecessor, Pope John XXIII.

crucifix

Sainthood for John XXIII was fast-tracked as Francis did away with the traditional requirement of two vetted and verified miracles in exchange for a nun reporting in 1966 that he allegedly cured her of gastrointestinal hemorrhaging after she appealed to “the Good Pope.” Francis has already elevated saints with not one confirmed miracle. Some Catholics see saints as good PR, especially when the Vatican wants to build its membership in Africa and Asia. Polish Monsignor Slawomir Oder said that the proclamation of saints “helps strengthen the faith of the people.”

Meanwhile, there was evidently no indication of Marco Gusmini’s death during today’s ceremony. Maybe his village will remember him.

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