Controversial Evangelical leader Franklin Graham is traveling through California to drum up support for socially conservative candidates ahead of the state’s primary election on June 5. The message of his 3-bus caravan, 10-rally tour: “Progressive? That’s just another word for godless.”
“The church just has to be wakened,” Graham told the New York Times for a Sunday profile. “People say, what goes in California is the way the rest of the nation is going to go. So, if we want to see changes, it is going to have to be done here.” Churches need to “suck it up” and vote.
In his version of what Jesus would want, Graham said Californians must fight for President Trump’s immigration policies and against abortion, same-sex marriage, and LGBTQ-inclusive curricula in pubic schools.
“The gays and lesbians have their people run for politics and win,” Graham said. “Christians, we are just being stupid.”
As one of Trump’s most ardent defenders, Graham has also used his religious bully pulpit in advocating for the President’s travel ban targeting seven Muslim-majority countries—which ironically undermines the principle of “religious liberty”—and supports Trump’s cruel treatment of undocumented immigrants, including separating mothers and children. Other faith leaders and religious denominations have denounced Trump’s immigration policies as anathema to Biblical teachings.
Evangelicals, once the moral arbiters of “family values,” continue to support Trump despite widespread outrage over reports that nearly 1,500 immigrant children taken into custody at the southern border are now “missing.” Even Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman has been critical of the lack of accountability by U.S. Health and Human Services in the mishandling of immigrant children. In one case, federal officials reportedly handed over eight minors to human traffickers. Meanwhile, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has moved to destroy records related to the agency’s detention facilities, including reports and documentation of abuse.
Nonetheless, Evangelicals continue their solid support for Trump’s policies. In fact, new polls show he is now stronger than when he first assumed office. And Graham hopes to use those harsh immigration positions popular with Trump’s Evangelical base to elect candidates who will fight against California’s sanctuary cities that refuse to hand undocumented immigrants over to ICE for detention and deportation.
A May 24 report by Pew Research Center found white Evangelical Protestants, by more than two-to-one, believe “the U.S. does not have a responsibility to accept refugees.” Additionally, 68 percent of Republicans share that view, which marks a decline in both groups of support for accepting refugees into the United States since Pew’s last poll in Feb. 2017, just after President Trump took office.
Support for Trump’s performance among Evangelicals and among Republicans is often nearly twice the President’s approval rating with the general public. During the same time, Democrats moved in the opposite direction with their support for the U.S. accepting refugees climbing from 71 to 74 percent. Trump’s tenure in office appears, therefore, responsible for the drop in the total support for refugee acceptance from 56 to 51 percent.
Many faith leaders have pointed out the discrepancy between the Evangelicals position and Biblical tenets that encourage believers to “treat refugees the way you want to be treated.” The Washington Post contrasted the findings from the Pew survey with a Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) story that listed nine Biblical passages that each urge followers to welcome and love immigrants. The Post included a comment that represents the backlash CBN received from its conservative audience: “Shame on CBN for this very poorly written article full of political rhetoric. This is not a Biblical issue.”
Another critic wrote: “You have taken scripture and misapplied it to reference people who are bringing in false gods, who want to bomb and kill us, rape our children and change our laws to sharia law to accommodate themselves.”
Pew identified differences between older and younger Evangelicals on attitudes toward immigration more broadly. Only 13 percent of older Evangelical Protestants agreed with the proposition that the “growing immigrant population is a change for the better,” compared to 27 percent of Millennial evangelical Protestants. The poll also noted stark differences between white and black Protestants—a majority of the latter group, 63 percent, agreed the U.S. does have a responsibility to accept refugees, compared to only 25 percent of white Evangelical Protestants.
Some of the most interesting findings, though, concern the attitudes of American Catholics vis-a-vis Protestants.
In Pew’s survey, 62 percent of Catholic respondents opposed President Trump’s travel ban vs. 22 percent of white Evangelical Protestants). As NPR host David Greene explained, the two denominations were historically divided, politically-speaking, but came together under the banner of pro-life and traditional marriage movements. Now Trump’s presidency has divided Catholics and Evangelicals, especially in regards to immigration.
The immigration issue has become a priority concern among Catholics, particularly in California, which has become a battleground state over policies related to sanctuary cities. Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez told NPR: “Mystics and missionaries, martyrs and immigrants, refugees and exiles—they came from everywhere to share their gifts and make this country what she was meant to be.”
Several California counties have joined Department of Justice efforts to overturn laws in sanctuary cities that the DOJ considers an affront to the Administration’s plans to increase border security. Evangelical leader Frank Graham told The Times, “You are beginning to see a groundswell of revolt out here. Orange County, San Diego County are beginning to take on Governor Brown. It’s good for Christians to capitalize on that. So yeah, we could help turn the tide.”
Marjorie Taylor Greene tweets homophobic attack on Sen. Wiener
“Greene is a toxic person & embodies why the MAGA movement is dangerous, a threat to our democracy & to the personal safety of LGBTQ people”
LOS ANGELES – Far-right Republican U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene attacked Calif. State Sen. Scott Wiener, (D-San Francisco) on Tuesday after Wiener made a point of calling out use of the word “groomer,” as the abusive reaction and fallout from right-wing sources regarding the mass-shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs, continues to ratchet up against the LGBTQ+ community.
“The word “groomer” is categorically an anti-LGBTQ hate word. It’s super homophobic/transphobic. It plays into the slander that LGBTQ people are pedophiles. It’s no different than calling someone a fagg*t. If you call someone groomer, you’re inciting violence against LGBTQ people,” Wiener stated in his tweet.
Quoting Wiener’s tweet the far-right MAGA Georgia congresswoman called the Senator a “communist” questioning Wiener’s loyalty and service to both the State of California and the U.S. she then went on to accuse Wiener of being a “groomer” implying that the Senator was a predator of minors for sexual purposes:
“Pass my Protect Children’s Innocence Act to stop communist groomers like this from using state government power to take children away from their parents to allow a for-profit medical industry to chop off these confused children’s genitals before they are even old enough to vote.”
In an emailed statement, Senator Wiener responded to the homophobic attack by the Georgia Republican:
“The same day Elon Musk reinstated QAnon extremist Marjorie Taylor Greene, she launched a vile homophobic attack on me because of my vocal advocacy in response to the Club Q slaughter. When Greene has attacked me in the past, threats against me have typically increased. She is a toxic person and embodies why the MAGA movement is so dangerous. Green is a threat to our democracy and to the personal safety of LGBTQ people.”
The term ‘groomer’ is considered highly offensive as it broadly brushstroke paints LGBTQ+ people as child molesters.
The definition according to the Urban online dictionary:
1 (the crime definition): An adult that builds a sense of trust with a minor to exploit and/or abuse them, typically (but not always) in a sexual manner. This is a crime, and it also causes harm to the minor.
2 (in US politics): What republican politicians and supporters refer to LGBTQIA+ people and their allies as, to manipulate their audience to pass anti-LGBTQIA+ legislation. This is targeting and harming LGBTQIA+ people and the people using the word in this manner typically are (or have connections with those who are) actual groomers.
National Public Radio, (NPR) reported this past May the Movement Advancement Project’s executive director, Ineke Mushovic, pointed out:
“What the far right often does is they engage people’s reptilian brains, the fight-or-flight instinct,” says Mushovic. “And so it behooves far-right conservatives to put people in a state of fear, because then they’re reactive. They don’t support change.”
The “grooming” narrative, Mushovic added, “taps into this primal sense of fear and this kind of parental protective instinct. But we know it’s a completely false narrative.”
The “grooming” narrative has been actively promoted by conservative activist Christopher Rufo, and Daily Wire pundit and transphobe Matt Walsh who have both attacked gender affirming care in their assaults on the LGBTQ+ community.
It took three days after the mass shooting at Club Q for the Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh to blame the victims for the massacre. pic.twitter.com/08kitTdpMt— Ari Drennen (@AriDrennen) November 22, 2022
Green’s H.R.8731 – Protect Children’s Innocence Act, was introduced this past August 19 and has forty-nine Republican members listed as co-sponsors. The language as introduced stated targets primarily Trans youth healthcare and targets colleges and universities from “offering instruction in gender affirming care:”
This bill places restrictions on the provision of gender affirming care. Gender affirming care includes performing surgery, administering medication, or performing other procedures for the purpose of changing the body of an individual to correspond to a sex that differs from the individual’s biological sex.
Specifically, the bill makes it a felony to perform any gender affirming care on a minor and it permits a minor on whom such care is performed to bring a civil action against each individual who provided the care.
Additionally, the bill prohibits the use of federal funds for gender affirming care or for health insurance that covers such care. Such care may not be provided in a federal health care facility or by a federal employee. The bill also prohibits qualified health plans from including coverage for gender affirming care. Further, plans that include coverage for such care are not eligible for federal subsidies. […]
Out AG candidate wins, Rollins concedes congressional race
‘Fixing our system of disagreement matters. Integrity matters. Truth matters. Democracy matters, elections matter’
PHOENIX – The closest statewide competition in the Grand Canyon State was the race for Arizona attorney general. On Monday Maricopa County released its final election results that had openly Out candidate Kris Mayes beating her Republican opponent Abe Hamadeh by only 510 votes.
“Kris’ victory is a win for all Arizonans. Voters chose a champion of equality who believes in democracy over a cynic who spread election disinformation for his own perceived political gain. In a state with bans on abortion and same-sex marriage still on the books, the symbolism of voters choosing an out LGBTQ Attorney General cannot be overstated,” Mayor Annise Parker, President & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund, said in a statement. “Kris has a long track record of taking on big fights and winning on behalf of her community and will be a powerful pro-equality, pro-choice force in Arizona. Today’s results are a resounding rebuke to the hate and intolerance sweeping our country. Voters made their voices heard loud and clear: enough is enough. It’s time for change, it’s time for courage.”
There are currently just two out LGBTQ state Attorneys General in the United States, according to LGBTQ Victory Institute: Dana Nessel in Michigan and Maura Healey in Massachusetts. In case of Massachusetts, Healy is now the governor-elect of Massachusetts, having won the 2022 election.
According to Phoenix NBC News affiliate KPNX 12, the state’s unofficial final results have placed Mayes only 510 votes ahead of Hamadeh to become the state’s next attorney general. The results will likely spur an automatic recount after state election numbers are certified on Dec. 5.
RIVERSIDE, Calif. – In the race to represent California’s 41st Congressional District in the House of Representatives, openly gay Democratic candidate and former federal prosecutor Will Rollins congratulated his GOP opponent Ken Calvert and conceded the race.
In a statement released Monday afternoon, Rollins said: “I have called Representative Calvert to offer my congratulations. I had hoped for a different result, but I respect our democratic system and am sure that our fine election workers did their jobs honestly and responsibly, and I accept the count. Thank you to the hundreds of thousands of you who voted.”
“So, what’s next? What’s next for our communities, and what’s next for our country? The truth is that we are in a moment of uncertainty, because America is divided. And there are a lot of people out there who benefit – financially, militarily, politically – when Americans turn against one another.
“But this campaign proves that ordinary Americans have the power to reject those who try to divide us. That is how we built this country, and that is how we built this campaign. We are a community of Democrats, Republicans, and independents who came together to restore compromise, civility, and progress in the United States.”
Rollins also noted:
“This community is growing. Ordinary Americans of good faith uniting to elect leaders who know that this country is about more than one person, more than one president, more than one party, and more than one congressman. We may not always agree on how to solve the country’s problems, but the point of this campaign has always been that the way we disagree matters. Fixing our system of disagreement matters. Integrity matters. Truth matters. Democracy matters.”
Kelly cites white supremacy after losing House race in Tennessee
A 2022 report by The Sentencing Project shows that 21% of Black voters in Tennessee are permanently barred from voting
NASHVILLE – Odessa Kelly was on track to become the first openly gay Black woman elected to represent Tennessee in the U.S. House. On election night, as votes were counted, Kelly watched that dream slip out of reach.
“The loss didn’t come because I’m an openly gay Black woman in the South, the loss came because of racism,” Kelly said in an interview with the Blade.
Kelly, who ran to represent Tennessee’s 7th Congressional District against incumbent Mark Green (R), lost the election by more than 20 points. Kelly blames white supremacy, gerrymandering, and voter suppression for her loss.
“I just lost a congressional race due to White Supremacy, Gerrymandering, Racist (GOP), Undercover Racist BlueDog Dems, and Voter Suppression,” Kelly tweeted post-election.
Mornin Good Ppl I appreciate the love, msgs, calls, popups.— Odessa Kelly (@OdessaKellyTN) November 9, 2022
I just lost a congressional race due to White Supremacy, Gerrymandering, Racist (GOP), Undercover Racist BlueDog Dems, and Voter Suppression, not cus @repmarkgreen was better.
So I need a couple days to process ✊🏾💯
Republican-led gerrymandering parceled predominantly Democratic Davidson County, which includes Nashville, into three separate congressional districts. This gerrymandering obliterated representation for Nashville residents at the state and federal level.
“We have zero representation in the largest, most populated city in Tennessee,” Kelly said.
Gerrymandering often intentionally marginalizes minority communities’ voices and votes by relocating them to conservative districts. East Nashville, the minority ruled and politically Democratic district where Kelly grew up, was moved to the conservative and predominantly white district of Cookeville. But Nashville residents aren’t the only Tennesseans affected by gerrymandering in the state.
Statewide, Tennessean voters of color were disproportionately split up and relocated to districts where they are outnumbered and their voices are drowned out. This leaves communities of color at the mercy of Jim Crow and racist political tactics that suppress their voices and their votes because they no longer hold a majority vote in any of these new districts.
“White supremacy showed up in our state legislature and in me losing this race,” Kelly said.
The systemic disenfranchisement of Black voters in Tennessee also played a major role in Kelly’s loss. A 2022 report by The Sentencing Project shows that 21% of Black voters in Tennessee are permanently barred from voting, while only 8% of adult voters are barred statewide.
And a Tennessee Advisory Committee Report shows that Tennessee is one of 11 states that permanently disenfranchises voters. With some of the toughest laws and requirements for voting, the state makes it hard for Tennesseans to earn the right to vote again.
“I assume that the majority of those individuals who can’t vote would probably vote for me because they’re looking for relief and pathways out of poverty,” Kelly said. “And those are the things that I’m fighting for.”
As for what’s next, Kelly says she is determined to keep fighting for a country and political system where those forgotten by the status quo are represented. .
“I will not stop. I will not give up. I will keep fighting because the issues don’t change.”
Lindsey Horvath elected to LA County Board of Supervisors
Horvath extended her appreciation to outcoming Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, who had endorsed and backed her in the campaign to succeed her
LOS ANGELES – West Hollywood City Councilmember Lindsey Horvath won slightly more than a plurality of the vote gaining a seat on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors representing District Three after State Senator Bob Hertzberg conceded Thursday afternoon.
In a statement released Hertzberg wrote; “I want to offer my sincere congratulations to Sup-Elect Horvath. The challenges LA faces are extraordinary and it’ll take someone with her work ethic to be successful. Thank you to everyone who has supported me- my family, friends, elected leaders, & residents across SD3.”
Here’s my full statement: https://t.co/bvppIXOVLW— Bob Hertzberg (@hertzieLA) November 18, 2022
“I am humbled and honored that the voters have chosen me to serve as their next Supervisor. Their confidence and support fueled our people-powered campaign across the finish line, and I could not be more grateful for the opportunity to represent the people of District 3,” Horvath told supporters and county residents in a statement Thursday evening.
“I want to thank Senator Bob Hertzberg for his incredibly generous and kind phone call, for his commitment to public service, and for engaging in this hard fought campaign to make Los Angeles a better place. I welcome his supporters into the work we will all need to do together. Regardless of who you voted for, I will always work my heart out to represent you and the best interests of our communities,” she said.
She also extended her appreciation to outcoming Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, who had endorsed and backed her in the campaign to succeed her in the seat.
SUPERVISOR 3RD DISTRICT
|LINDSEY HORVATH (N)||227,561||52.24%|
|BOB HERTZBERG (N)||208,019||47.76%|
Cicilline joins clergy rallying support of Respect for Marriage Act
The legislation presents a rare area on which the deeply divided Congress has struck an agreement to pass a significant bipartisan bill
WASHINGTON – Rhode Island Congressman David Cicilline, chair of the Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus and member of the House Judiciary and Foreign Affairs Committees, joined multi-faith clergy for a rally on Thursday at the Lower Senate Park in support of the Respect for Marriage Act.
Cicilline, a Rhode Island Democrat who co-sponsored the U.S. House of Representative’s version of the legislation, which the lower chamber passed this summer, celebrated the U.S. Senate’s expected vote today to send the bill to President Joe Biden’s desk.
The congressman said that while faith has sometimes been misused as a cudgel to argue against same-sex marriage, “many people support marriage equality not despite their religious beliefs but rather because of them.”
“As a proud Jew, it’s part of my religious community and tradition,” Cicilline said. “We’re taught to heal the world and repair the broken world. I’m proud as a member of Congress and chair of the LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus to follow our Biblical command to pursue justice.”
Cicilline’s message about the personal significance of the protections offered by the Respect for Marriage Act was echoed by, among other speakers, Revs. Nicole Garcia, faith work director of the National LGBTQ Task Force, and Paul Raushenbush, president of the Interfaith Alliance.
Yesterday, a dozen Senate Republicans joined their 50 Democratic colleagues to support a procedural cloture vote, which advanced the Respect for Marriage Act to a floor vote by the full chamber.
Biden and a chorus of LGBTQ, civil rights, and legal advocacy organizations celebrated the GOP members’ support of the bill, which leadership in the House and Senate have made a major priority for Congress’s lame duck session.
The Respect for Marriage Act presents a rare area on which the deeply divided legislature has struck an agreement to pass a significant bipartisan bill.
The impetus behind the legislation was the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which saw a concurring opinion from Justice Clarence Thomas in which he pledged to revisit the high court’s precedent-making rulings on other matters, including same-sex marriage.
Pelosi announces end of her tenure as House Speaker
Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) also announced he will step down from leadership to pave the way for “a new generation of leaders”
WASHINGTON – On Thursday afternoon, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca.) announced her decision to pass the leadership torch to the younger generation of Democratic members in the lower chamber, stepping down after decades of service in that role.
“I will continue to speak from the people of San Francisco as a member of the House,” she said, but “I will not seek reelection to democratic leadership in the next caucus.”
Republicans secured a narrower-than-expected seven-seat majority in the 2022 midterm elections, with Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Ca.) poised to become the next House Speaker when the new Congress is seated in January.
Pelosi, whose decision to step down comes weeks after her husband was brutally attacked in the couple’s San Francisco home, reached an agreement with fellow Democratic members in 2018 that she would resign from her position in leadership by the end of this year.
While she did not address the question of who might succeed her as Democratic leader of the House, the website Puck reported on Thursday that Pelosi plans to throw her support behind Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-Ny.).
“Never did I think I would go from homemaker to House Speaker,” Pelosi said from the floor of the House. Reflecting on her 35 years of service in the chamber, the congresswoman celebrated the work that she and the Democratic caucus have accomplished.
This included passage of transformative legislation under the administrations of three presidents, she said: George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Joe Biden. Pelosi, who became the first woman Speaker of the House in 2007, also held that role under former President Donald Trump’s tenure.
“When I think of Nancy Pelosi, I think of dignity,” opens a statement from President Joe Biden on the Speaker’s announcement:
“History will note she is the most consequential Speaker of the House of Representatives in our history. There are countless examples of how she embodies the obligation of elected officials to uphold their oath to God and country to ensure our democracy delivers and remains a beacon to the world. In everything she does, she reflects a dignity in her actions and a dignity she sees in the lives of the people of this nation.”
Democratic Senator Alex Padilla of California also released a statement, which read in part: “Speaker Pelosi’s perseverance and commitment to unity has served as a source of strength both at home and abroad in the face of extremist attempts to harm our democracy, our nation’s Capitol, and even her own family.”
California Governor Gavin Newsom issued a statement in which he said, in part: “Her career in Congress, and as Speaker, has been a masterclass in powerful, empathetic leadership, guided by her strong moral compass and unmatched political skill.”
The LGBTQ Victory Institute hailed the Speaker’s record on matters of consequence to the community. Pelosi, the group wrote, “is the most pro-LGBTQ Speaker in American history – constantly championing our rights and causes – and the relief and pride that came with having a fierce defender in that position cannot be understated.”
“From her first floor speech in 1987 to today’s, Speaker Pelosi has been an indefatigable champion for LGBTQ+ civil rights, reproductive freedom and the health and well-being of all Americans,” Equality California Executive Director Tony Hoang said in a statement. “She is, without question, the most effective Speaker in history, and we are eternally grateful for her service.”
Also on Thursday, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) announced in a letter to his Democratic colleagues that he would not seek another term in leadership.
Having served in leadership positions for 36 of his 42 years in the House, Hoyer wrote, “I have been honored to serve alongside Nancy Pelosi, whose tenure as Speaker was both historic and extraordinarily productive.”
Hoyer announced his endorsement of Jeffries to replace him as the House’s Democratic Leader.
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