Gun-toting nutballs at an Islamic Community Centre in Phoenix, AZ
On October 9 and 10, a group calling itself the Global Rally for Humanity plans anti-Islam rallies nationwide. It’s a stunning display of prejudice against Muslims.
Find the terrorists in the photo. Hint: They’re the only ones with guns.
Ban Gays, Ban Mormons, Ban Jews – leaders in Christian ideology, they say!
The DC summit, organized by the conservative Family Research Council Action, is headlined by no fewer than seven GOP presidential candidates. For many years, the Boy Scouts have had a place of honor at the event, presenting the American flag as the color guard. This year, though, the Scouts are nowhere to be found. In their place are boys from Trail Life USA, the outdoor adventure and character development group created last year as a Christian alternative to the Boy Scouts. Joining them were American Heritage Girls, the religious alternative to the Girl Scouts.
Trail Life was founded by a religious-right activist from Florida, associated with James Dobson’s Focus on the Family, who was active fighting the Boy Scout policy change. The group’s official policy on gays says:
We believe that homosexuality is sinful and immoral, as is any sexual activity outside of the sanctity of marriage between a Man and a Woman. Consistent with this belief, we have specific policies that address membership and sin in both youth and adult members.
The booting of the Boy Scouts from the event isn’t all that surprising. The Family Research Council, which sponsors the Values Voter Summit, has been an ardent opponent of the Boy Scouts’ acceptance of gays. Earlier this year, FRC head Tony Perkins lamented that the Boy Scouts were moving “away from their moral standard of being morally straight and clean and moving into open homosexuality.” He claimed that both the Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts “are done” as organizations because of their acceptance of gays.
A regular speaker at the event, Mat Staver, with the legal group Liberty Counsel, said last month that the change in policy at the Boy Scouts meant that “you are going to have all kinds of sexual molestation. This is a playground for pedophiles to go and have all these boys as objects of their lust. This is insane, and we need to literally abandon the Scouts because the Scouts, unfortunately, have abandoned us.”
The proto-fascists who have assigned themselves the mantle of American Conservativism can rest assured they haven’t been abandoned by the political hacks who really count on their votes, their money, their support: Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Lindsay Graham, Bobby Jindal, Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum, Donald Trump all showed up. They don’t have a problem with groups banning religions in the name of religious liberty.
Say it, again.
I’ve said it before. I’ll say it again. Republicans would have invented hypocrisy if religious nutballs didn’t beat them to it.
Some of the hundreds of protesters arriving at a Phoenix mosque on Friday evening to demonstrate their first amendment protections carried firearms, American flags and shouted expletives.
As the protesters arrived, they were met by hundreds of members of various religious and community groups, who had already gathered along the sidewalk opposite the entrance to the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix.
“I think this is the real story, not the bigotry,” said community center president Usama Shami, of those who offered support. “They’re standing against bigotry.”
Phoenix police had blocked off most streets in the residential area near the center, where the protest, its two sides separated by a two-way street lined with officers in riot gear, lasted nearly four hours…
“I understand the fears and I understand the hostility,” said pastor Bob Hake of the nearby Orangewood Nazarene Church, on Friday. “I think there’s a better way to resolve those fears than intimidation and weapons and fear.”
The hatred organizer, Jon Ritzheimer wore a bulletproof vest underneath a black T-shirt bearing the phrase “fuck Islam”…Hake said, Ritzheimer had chosen the wrong weapons when he encouraged his protesters to bring firearms on the event’s Facebook page.
“This is not a battlefield, this a neighborhood,” Hake said.
Yes, there also were the kind of Christians and non-Christians I wouldn’t mind as next-door neighbors. They came to stand up in opposition to bigotry.
Indiana passed a revised Religious Freedom Restoration Act last week, but some are saying the “fix” is not enough.
Several communities plan to pass their own anti-discrimination ordinances, while others are calling for a RFRA repeal. Lawmakers rushed the changes through after a statewide and national backlash after Gov. Mike Pence signed the original bill. The bill that the governor signed last Thursday that clarified that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act does not allow businesses to withhold services from LGBT people. However, that only extends to communities that have an anti-discrimination ordinance in place.
On Monday, Rep. Ed DeLaney (R-Indianapolis) said in a statement, “In the wake of the statements from both proponents of the bill and the Governor himself, it is clear what the intent of the bill was. It was intended to be used to discriminate. When asked several times on Thursday, Speaker Bosma would not agree to hold a hearing to add sexual orientation and gender identity to a ‘protected class’ in Indiana.
Throughout this whole debate, the Republicans have stated either with their words or actions that members of the LGBT community are second-class citizens who do not deserve legal protection under the law. I see only one remedy that needs to be taken. First, we need to repeal the current law-then we must reform our civil rights law to add sexual orientation and gender identity. Finally, we need to rewrite the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to actually mirror that of the Federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Only then will we be able to send a message to those living in the state and those watching that Indiana is open to all.”
The City Council in New Albany will consider a resolution Monday calling for the law to be repealed. The mayor has called for more changes to the RFRA. He says elected officials have a duty to create a welcoming environment for everyone.
In Lafayette, the Family Equality Council is partnering with “Citizens for Civil Rights” and “Indiana Equality Action” to host a town hall meeting. They hope to discuss the impact of the RFRA on gay, lesbian and transgender families. The meeting starts at 6 pm at the Columbia ballroom in Lafayette.
In Muncie, the City Council is expected to vote Monday night on a new human rights ordinance. Mayor Dennis Tyler says the resolution will make the city’s stance against the RFRA very clear and that the city does not want to discourage anyone from living or working in Muncie.
Look at the history of gerrymandering in the United States and once you get past racial bigotry, religious cultural bigotry stands next in line in opposition to democratic progress. The same motivation makes its unfortunate presence known in distorted laws like Indiana’s RFRA.
Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff says he has canceled all his company’s events in the state of Indiana after its governor signed into law a bill that makes it legal for individuals to use religious grounds as a defense when they are sued by people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
And in an interview with Re/code, Benioff threatened the state with a “slow rolling of economic sanctions” if the law is not thrown out.
“We’ve made significant investments in Indiana. We run major marketing events and conferences there. We’re a major source of income and revenue to the state of Indiana, but we simply cannot support this kind of legislation,” Benioff said…
Gov. Mike Pence signed the bill, called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act today, and said blah, blah, blah, God’s Will, blah, blah, screw civil rights, blah, blah, and the US Constitution!
Benioff said that Salesforce employs between 2,000 and 3,000 people in the state, owing largely to its 2013 acquisition of ExactTarget, an email marketing company based in Indianapolis. Salesforce paid $2.5 billion for it, and Benioff later described the acquisition as a “perfect fit.”
Since 2007, ExactTarget has hosted its most important customer event, called Connections, in Indianapolis. Last year it drew 10,000 people and about $8 million in spending to Indianapolis. Salesforce announced it would move the event to New York in September. Benioff says there are other events that will be canceled as well. “We can’t bring our customers or our employees into a situation where they might be discriminated against,” he said. “We have a large number of employees and customers who would be impacted dramatically by this legislation. … I’m really just advocating on their behalf.”
Bigots courting votes from idjits have no place in a democracy that recognizes the civil rights of all citizens.
After three months of working at Lam’s Seafood Market for $7.65 an hour as a cashier, Noemi Romero had finally saved the $465 it would take to apply for President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, an initiative launched to shield from deportation young immigrants brought to the United States as children.
That was before the hard-line immigration policies of Maricopa County — made infamous in 2010 for its hostile attitude toward undocumented immigrants — torpedoed her dream of legalizing her status.
Romero, brought to the state by her parents when she was 3, did not even realize she was undocumented until she was 16, when her friends began getting driver’s licenses. Her parents told her she couldn’t. “You’re not from here,” they explained.
After graduating from high school, she found herself in limbo. She couldn’t afford to attend college in Arizona, one of a handful of states that explicitly bar undocumented students from receiving financial aid and paying in-state tuition rates. And without a Social Security number, she couldn’t work. She spent her days helping her mother babysit…
On Jan. 17, 2013, Romero was working the cash register at Lam’s Seafood Market, planning to take off from work the next week so she could meet with an immigration lawyer. She saw a man in a black collared shirt and dress pants walk in and present a badge to the manager.
Moments later, Romero and 21 others were rounded up, herded to the front of the store, searched, interrogated about their papers and handcuffed — swept up in one of Maricopa County’s trademark workplace raids, engineered by Sheriff Joe Arpaio to catch undocumented immigrants using fraudulent identities to work in the United States…
The prospects for undocumented immigrants in Maricopa County remain fragile, as Romero’s situation illustrates. But the crackdown in Arizona has not quite worked as intended. Even as the undocumented population in Arizona plummeted by 40 percent from 2009 to 2012, according to the Pew Hispanic Research Center, the efforts to drive out the immigrant community have prompted a backlash, inspiring a new attitude of defiance, according to immigrants interviewed this month in Phoenix…
Romero, now 23, is part of a class action lawsuit, led by civil rights group Puente Arizona, against the sheriff’s office, that has won an injunction to halt the workplace raids. If she and her fellow plaintiffs win their case, it’s possible that their criminal records will be expunged.
“There have been a lot of positive things that have occurred in Arizona that have pushed back against the passage of the bill,” said James Garcia, a Hispanic-American playwright and communications consultant in Phoenix.
He noted the recall of state Sen. Russell Pearce, the architect of the legislation, and the way in which the business and arts communities have worked to repair Arizona’s tarnished reputation.
RTFA for many individual stories of a dream deferred. Deferred by bigotry, the usual story in this land of liberty.
Business and arts communities working to repair Arizona’s tarnished reputation have decades to go. There are many reasons for Arizona being called the Mississippi of the west. Good will to all ain’t part of it.