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Well, won’t somebody tell me, answer if you can!
Won’t somebody tell me, just what is the soul of a man?

White Tennessee Residents In A Slave Trade Town Oppose Teaching Slavery History

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, September 23, 2021

In a small Tennessee town with a population of 83,454 — comparatively, Huntsville, AL has 100,000 more — where, in the public square, in front of the county courthouse, from which numerous lynchings occurred, on the site of a former slave trading market, stands a statue known by locals as “Chip,” so nicknamed for the chip in his hat.

“Chip” has been around since 1899, and, in a sense, could be thought of as a relative “newcomer” to the community, per se — which was founded 1799 — though an enduringly stalwart one, at that.

“Chip” is made of the finest Italian marble, and, according to the United States Geological Survey, which measured, calculated, and installed a marker upon its base in 1931, stands 648.82 linear feet above sea level. Nearby Nashville is only slightly more elevated at 1160 feet above sea level.

While “Chip’s” maker is largely unknown (though it is thought to be one of many such replicas installed), what is known about him is who commissioned him — the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

You see, “Chip” is homage to the Confederacy, and to Confederate soldiers.

Upon its base is enscribed the following: Read the rest of this entry »

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Research: Most Religious Americans Support Broad Cannabis Legalization

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, June 2, 2021

A Pew Research Center survey conducted April 5-11, 2021 among 5109 randomly sampled U.S. adults who were all members of Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel – a group of over 10,000 adults randomly selected from throughout all 50 states who regularly participate in Pew’s surveys – found that most religiously affiliated Americans favor broad cannabis legalization.

Compared with other religiously affiliated groups, at 44%, White Evangelicals were Read the rest of this entry »

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God Wanted Them Dead: TN Diet Guru/Christian Cult Leader Gwen Shamblin Lara’s Jet Crashed

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, May 30, 2021

N66BK is a 1982 Cessna Citation 501 2-turbofan engine private jet registered to: JL&GL Productions LP, 902 Franklin Road, Brentwood, Williamson County, Tennessee 37027-6535, United States. JL & GL are Joe Lara & Gwen Lara, Limited Partnership.

Diet guru / Christian cult leader Gwen Shamblin Lara, founder of the Remnant Fellowship Church and author/founder of “The Weigh Down Workshop,” her husband William J. “Joe” Lara who were residents of Nashville’s wealthy/ritzy Brentwood enclave, and 5 others are presumed dead after her Cessna C501 Citation private jet crashed into the waters of Percy Priest Lake near and southeast of Nashville, Saturday at 10:55 AM CDT shortly after takeoff from nearby Smyrna Rutherford County Airport.

Rutherford County spokesperson Ashley McDonald said the Cessna Citation 501 single pilot jet was bound for Palm Beach International Airport in Florida when it crashed into nearby Percy Priest Lake shortly after takeoff.

Federal Aviation Administration registry indicates that the private jet was registered to JL & GL Productions LP, located in Bradwell, Tennessee, while the Tennessee Secretary of State’s website indicated that JL & GL Productions LP was owned by Gwen Shamblin Lara.

The private jet, which was registered to their company JL&GL Productions LP, has not been found, though parts have been retrieved, along with human remains, and Rutherford County Fire Rescue Captain John Ingle said the debris field is about a half-mile wide.

On Sunday, officials said that dive teams have recovered several components of the Cessna Citation jet, along with human remains, from Percy Priest Lake. Recovery efforts will continue Monday, which is Memorial Day.

Tennessee Highway Patrol investigators said that a small aircraft had been seen descending into the lake, and that debris consistent with the jet had been found near a boat ramp.

Gwen Lara’s daughter, Elizabeth Hannah, sent a text message to church members stating that, in addition to her husband Brandon, her mother and father, all passengers had ties to the church, and that it was forced to make a “quick, controlled landing.” Authorities identified other passengers as David and Jennifer Martin, and Jonathan and Jessica Walters.

Elizabeth Hannah messaged further that “More information to come, but be in prayer—and be at peace. My brother and I are asking for immediate prayers right now, as we have just gotten word that Gwen and Joe Lara’s plane had to go down. GOD IS IN CONTROL, and we will not stop moving forward with WHAT GOD WANTS with this church.”

https://news.yahoo.com/plane-said-carry-christian-diet-232123416.html


Based exclusively upon daughter Elizabeth’s text message, clearly, god wanted them dead, since “GOD IS IN CONTROL” because that’s “WHAT GOD WANTS.”


The church’s website states that, “Gwen, her husband Joe Lara, and their children and grandchildren live within a few houses of each other.”

Based upon FAA registrations to JL&GL Productions LP, Read the rest of this entry »

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The “Gig” Economy is A Rigged Economy

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, May 13, 2021

“If I don’t have gas, I don’t work,” said Ronald Ross, 47, a DoorDash driver in Atlanta, as he fueled up his Chevy sedan.

Asked about government requests to avoid hoarding, he said:
“Forget that. It’s first come first serve. People have to look out for themselves. As long as they’re peaceful and all.”

https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/panicked-drivers-southeast-us-swarm-pumps-ignore-pleas-stop-hoarding-2021-05-12/


I ordered pizza recently from Little Caesars – they use DoorDash. They don’t have their own delivery driver employees like most other pizza companies do – even small ones. And unlike other standard traditional transactions in which one pays the vendor for their product, in the DoorDash model, you pay them EVERYTHING. The merchant does not bill.

DoorDash charged very handsomely for the service (various “fees” and such), and their total was about $10 – almost ½ the pizza price – most of which ($9) went to them.

There was a space for a tip. I purposely left it blank because Read the rest of this entry »

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Ravi Zacharias International Sexual Predator Evaded Detection for Years as Christian Minister

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, May 10, 2021

RZIM, Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, headquartered in the metro Atlanta, Georgia area, was stunned to learn that the ministry’s late founder and namesake, Ravi Zacharias, after intensive independent investigation, was confirmed to have been a long-term sexual predator who craftily and skillfully covered his tracks by using the ministry as a front for his sexual predatory and criminal behaviors on a global scale.

Zacharias, who for 40 years was previously held in high esteem in Christendom as an apologist – one who gives a reasoned, rational, and logical defense of the Gospel of Jesus Christ of Nazareth as the sinless resurrected son of God, miracle worker, etc. – died 19 May 2020 of a rare form of bone cancer located in his spine. It was an altogether ironically telling end to his life, that the foundation upon which he built his religious empire was a corrupted, and diseased fraud, just like the cancer in his spine.

Ravi Zacharias () was a liar, fraudster, international sexual predator, swindler, and all-around miserable scumbag who got away with his crimes by using a front as a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ of Nazareth

During his lifetime, there were unverified rumors – scuttlebutt – of things possibly amiss and awry, and some of his claims about his academic accomplishment and achievements were not merely questionable, but entirely fabricated, and fully false, as well as the existence of hushed rumors of possible sexual impropriety. But none of them were ever fully investigated because of his stature, until after his death at age 74.

Some skeptics who continued a vigilant watch over his ministry were the proverbial “voice of one crying in the wilderness,” albeit were largely – if not fully – discounted by the religious Christian community precisely because the claims and investigations were made by atheists.

One such investigator is a fellow named Steve Baughman who owns the website RaviWatch.com, is an attorney, and describes himself as a “part-time lawyer, part-time touring and teaching musician, part-time philosophy student, and full-time dilettante.”

On the “about me” page of the site, he wrote that “The Ravi Zacharias project fell into my lap most unexpectedly in 2015 when I was seeking the best and brightest defenders of the Christian religion. I began earnestly to look into his work and quickly found a scoundrel behind the smiling erudition.”

The front page of the RaviWatch.com website has a detailed narrative about the numerous extensive false claims made by Zacharias, and show a trend of changes to the RZIM website in response to the discovery of false claims made by Mr. Zacharias, most notably those being pertaining to educational achievement, and academic appointment at prestigious educational institutions such as Cambridge, Oxford, and others.

A video by Mr. Baughman published November 26, 2017 on the YouTube website, which link is posted below, gives significant detail about his findings of Ravi’s continued deliberate defrauding and lies about himself, and about his long-term online sexual relationship with “Lori Anne Thompson, a woman with whom he had maintained an online friendship for several years.”

“In April of 2017, Mr. Zacharias received a demand letter from Mark P. Bryant, of the Bryant Legal Center in Paducah, KY, who represented Lori Anne Thompson, which demanded $5 million in what can only be characterized as hush money. The letter accused Ravi of using Ms. Thompson for his sexual gratification, in violation of his duties as a minister.”

“The letter is not legally persuasive. But it makes an explosive claim. Mr. Bryant claims to have an email from Mr. Zacharias in which he threatened to commit suicide (“bid this world goodbye”) if Ms. Thompson told her husband about their relationship. (Mr. Zacharias does not deny this in his court filing but he remains free to do so as litigation proceeds. I am attempting to procure a copy of the email.)

“On July 31, 2017, Mr. Zacharias responded by filing a federal lawsuit against Ms. Thompson and her husband, Bradley Thompson, accusing them of carrying out an extortion scheme against him. The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.

“Looking only at the evidence presented by Mr. Zacharias we learn that he had indeed carried on an online relationship with Ms. Thompson, one that involved her sending him nude photos of herself. (There was no physical sexual contact between them.) After Bradley Thompson learned of this relationship, he emailed Mr. Zacharias and asked “why would you ask her to send you photos of herself?”

“Five days later, on January 21, 2017, Mr. Zacharias replied to Mr. Thompson. He denied soliciting such photos from Ms. Thompson but said that he did not want to risk “seeming to avoid the full force of the responsibility.” Mr. Zacharias admitted that “the blame is real and inescapable” and revealed that he had avoided meeting Ms. Thompson in person “so as not to continue what was wrong.”

“In his complaint Mr. Zacharias also reveals that when he learned that Ms. Thompson was coming to visit him from her home in Canada he deliberately left town to avoid meeting her.

“Curiously, while the complaint claims that at various times Mr. Zacharias attempted to block further messages from Ms. Thompson, it also says that he “remained amicable out of fear for his family’s safety and of potential damage to his professional reputation if he upset the Thompsons.”

“So it appears undisputed that, at very least, Mr. Zacharias continued for some time to receive sexual photos from Ms. Thompson even when he could have attempted to terminate contact with her, reported her behavior to his Board of Directors and gone about his business with no fear of reputational damage. It is also undisputed that something significant enough was going on between Ravi and Lori Anne that he deliberately left town when he knew she would be arriving.”

Mr. Baughman wrote that, “Ravi was a sexual predator, an academic fraud, and a man who led a double life. He made false claims on his book covers about his credentials, deceived tens of millions of Christians about his education, led trusting minds to believe there were simple answers to complex questions about God, operated two massage spas, and sexually abused massage therapists in the U.S. and across Asia. Ravi was also a vicious man who brutalized those who threatened to expose him. This is all confirmed now.”

On the RZIM website, there is posted an “Open Letter from the International Board of Directors of RZIM on the Investigation of Ravi Zacharias” which details in part the efforts the organization has undertaken to investigate the claims made by others about Ravi’s sexual predatory behavior. They wrote in part that, Read the rest of this entry »

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Telling Tall Tales: Shared Mythology in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, April 25, 2021

Today I happened upon a description of a beer made by Cigar City Brewing of Tampa, FL – Double Barrel-aged Hunahpu’s – which is a 2016 release of an Imperial Stout, aged in rum barrels & apple brandy barrels and blended together.

As rated and ranked by the crowd-sourced beer enthusiast’s website BeerAdvocate, where reviewers rate beers according to various measures of quality, not upon “popularity” based upon sales volume, per se, Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout was graded 100, which is a perfect score, and was ranked 2nd within the category of Imperial Stouts, had a 3rd overall weighted rank, while the website’s contributors gave it an overall rating of 4.78 out of 5 truncated mean for all beers on the site. Its flavor notes read “Stout aged on Peruvian cacao nibs, ancho and pasilla chiles, cinnamon and Madagascar vanilla beans aged in apple brandy and rum barrels before being blended together.”

After having read the review notes, I navigated over to the Cigar City Brewing site to see the brewery’s page for the brew, to see what they said about it, and read that they describe it as being:

“Extremely dark in color with a brown head with notes of big notes of chocolate and espresso, moderate notes of vanilla and cinnamon and mild notes of tobacco and chilis. Flavor opens with a big blast of chocolate and moderate espresso with notes of dark toffee and interjecting notes of vanilla with lingering hints of cinnamon and tobacco and chili notes with a mild Scoville heat in the finish. Extensive aging in both rum and apple brandy barrels adds candied apple, allspice, vanilla and oaky tannic qualities to this rare and complex stout.”

I also found the following about the beer’s curious name:

Did you know?

In Mayan mythology, Hun Hunahpu was the father of the Mayan hero twins Hunahpu and Xbalanque. Hun Hunahpu, along with his brother Vucub Hunahpu, was tricked by the Dark Lords of the underworld and slain. Hun Hunahpu’s corpse morphed into a cacao tree, his head becoming a cacao pod, which in typically awesome mythology fashion, spit upon the hand of a young maiden named Xquic who promptly became pregnant with the hero twins. The twins would ultimately grow up to avenge their father and uncle and defeat the Dark Lords and ascend the heavens to become the moon and sun.

That’s quite a tale, to be certain, and as I read it, the preposterous absurdity of it all was reminiscent of another well-known fairy tale told by observant Jews, Christians, and Muslims alike.

Artist’s depiction of the Hebrew exodus

That tall tale is of Moses, regarded as Read the rest of this entry »

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Happy Easter, er… Happy Fertility Day!

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, April 4, 2021

For Christians, today is Easter Sunday. It’s their annual high holy day which corresponds with the Spring Equinox in which they celebrate the alleged resurrection from the dead of their god, Jesus of Nazareth, whom they also call Jesus Christ, whom they believe to be God incarnate, and the “son of God,” even though in their story book, Jesus only referred to himself as “the son of man,” NEVER as “the son of God.” NEVER.

Of course, they’ll fight you tooth and nail in disagreement that Jesus of Nazareth is not their god all while saying “praise Jesus!” and making similar exclamations, but in the same breath, they’ll capitulate and confuse things by saying there’s a “trinity” of three separate divine beings whom they identify as “the Father,” “the Son,” and “the Holy Spirit” whom they claim are not separate, but are separate, and are “co-equal” yet distinct and unique.

Entire religions – actually, “denominations” – have been formed around the various interpretations of those blatantly absurdist claims. Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Church of Christ, Church of God, Church of God  in Christ, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists, Cumberland Presbyterian, are but a few, and that’s just here in the United States.

Abroad, there’s Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, Armenian Apostolic, Armenian Catholic, Armenian, Coptic Catholic, Coptic Orthodox, Anglican, Anglican Catholic, and on, and on, and on, and on. Some have said there are probably tens of thousands of different denominations and sects of Christianity, while others say there are but a few hundred. And yet, the odd thing is, that while they’re all “doing their own thing” they pray and seemingly ask for “unity” which they call ecumenism.

Bottom line? It’ll never happen. Not until they all give up their own private interpretations, traditions, and everything about their religion.

There’s a long-standing joke – there’s ALWAYS truth in humor, and it serves to remind us of the matter about which it takes light-heartedly, and even Read the rest of this entry »

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Cindy Hyde-Smith… a Mississippi joke of a U.S. Senator

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, March 25, 2021

Yesterday, Cindy Hyde-Smith, a White Banana Republican United States Senator from Mississippi made some genuinely STUPID remarks in a Senate Rules Committee hearing.

She’s the same Cindy Hyde-Smith who not too long ago infamously said “If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row,” in Tupelo, MS after Colin Hutchinson, cattle rancher, praised her on November 11, 2018.

I’ll let the Wonkette site headline speak for me… at least in part – on her current stupidism.

Cindy Hyde-Smith Is A Mississippi Goddamn Moron

by Evan Hurst
March 24, 2021; 4:20 PM

“In the Senate today, during the Rules Committee’s big hearing on HR1/S1, the “For The People” Act, which among other things would protect the right to vote for ALL eligible Americans, Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith, a Republican from Not Georgia, let us know why she thinks people shouldn’t be able to vote on Sundays, and definitely not in Mississippi.”

First of all, she’s a Banana Republican.

Secondly, she attended a segregated, Whites-only High School.

Thirdly, she’s from Mississippi.

Fourthly, she’s a Trump sycophant.

Need I continue?

But ANYONE can view her remarks in context in the links below. Also, her remarks are transcribed as follows.

The FULL Committee hearing may be viewed here:
https://www.rules.senate.gov/hearings/watch?hearingid=92E7CB0D-5056-A066-6054-8B48164806BF

The pertinent excerpt occurs here:
https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4954273/user-clip-ms-sen-cindy-hyde-smith-sunday-god

Her remarks begin at 2:46:10 as Committee Chair Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar acknowledges Mississippi Senator Hyde-Smith, who then states, “Before we start, I have a question for the Chair,” addressed to Chair Amy Klobuchar, which Chair Klobuchar acknowledges, and bids her to continue, which she does, as follows: Read the rest of this entry »

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Impeachment v2.0 Day 5: We’re through now. Verdict: Not guilty by reason of insanity or mental defect.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, February 14, 2021

The United States Senate voted largely along party lines Saturday, 13 February 2021 to NOT CONVICT the former President of the United States, Donald J. Trump of the charge of inciting insurrection.

Republican Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina joined Republican Senators Mitt Romney of Utah, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, and all 50 Democrats in voting GUILTY to convict. But, 57 votes was 10 shy of the 2/3 required by the Constitution in order to convict.

The Senate Minority Leader Moscow Mitch McConnell had the temerity, audacity and unmitigated gall to actually give a brief speech on the Senate floor following his “NOT GUILTY” vote for Donald J. “Loser” Trump, which follows at the conclusion of this entry.

Feb 13 59 (57-43) Not Guilty Guilty or Not Guilty H.Res. 24

The Roll Call vote by member may be found here:
https://www.cop.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=117&session=1&vote=00059

This

Valentine’s Day “We love you Donald” edition

is brought to you by:

Senate Minority Leader “Moscow Mitch” McConnell who wrote email to his Senate minions saying,

“Colleagues, as I have said for some time, today’s vote is a vote of conscience and I know we will all treat it as such. I have been asked directly by a number of you how I intend to vote, so thought it right to make that known prior to the final vote. While a close call, I am persuaded that impeachments are a tool primarily of removal and we therefore lack jurisdiction. The Constitution makes perfectly clear that Presidential criminal misconduct while in office can be prosecuted after the President has left office, which in my view alleviates the otherwise troubling ‘January exception’ argument raised by the House.

“Given these conclusions, I will vote to acquit.

“Mitch”

Yeah… that Kentucky heathen not only voted to acquit the POS45, aka Liar in Chief, leader of the Cult of Trump, but passed the buck.

Not guilty, not guilty 2x, guilty. Alcee Hastings was impeached and found guilty of on charges of perjury and conspiring to solicit a bribe, and was removed from office as a Federal judge in 1989. He’s been a United States Representative for Florida’s 20th Congressional District since 1993.

Here’s the thing, though: For a man who claims to have an interest in historicity for the purpose of the Senate, he is DEAD WRONG about his opinion that, as he writes, “I am persuaded that impeachments are a tool primarily of removal…”

  As a matter of history, there has been of late at least a moderate amount of discussion and news made about an historical matter involving circumstances very similar to this one (in which the impeached individual is no longer in office), insofar as the two individuals impeached had ALREADY been resigned from, or otherwise out of office when their impeachment occurred.

Concerning the historical record, the FIRST impeached Federal official was Read the rest of this entry »

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STOP THE ABUSE: Prime Examples Why ALL Churches & Religion Should Be TAXED

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, February 4, 2021

The Associated Press has reported today that Catholic parishes in dioceses throughout the nation have fallen at the feet of government for a pandemic bailout – all while sitting on massive piles of cash that GREW SIGNIFICANTLY during the pandemic – and without any government help.

(see: Sitting On Billions, Catholic Dioceses Amassed Taxpayer Aid)

That is at least TWO forms of fraudulent abuse of government:
1.) Asking for help when it’s NOT needed, and;
2.) Religion asking Government for help.

That the government has become involved in the promotion and promulgation of religion is a stench in the nostrils of our nation’s Founders, is a violation of our United States Constitution’s “Establishment clause” in the First Amendment, and a perverted corruption of Heaven – for those who believe religion is above the political fray.

For those who adhere to the Constitution, Thomas Jefferson had some STRONG words to the Danbury Baptists who sought assistance from him, shortly after he had become President in 1801. It was on January 1 the following year, that Jefferson replied to a letter sent to him by the Danbury Baptist Association in Connecticut.

While much is rightfully made of Jefferson’s reply, not much is ever said about what the Baptists had written to him. In a letter dated “[after 7 Oct. 1801],” the Danbury Baptist Association had composed a letter to Jefferson of much greater length than was Jefferson’s brief reply to them – 503 words versus 226 words.

Jefferson was newly President, having been inaugurated as the 3rd President, March 4, 1801, and served two consecutive terms – until March 3, 1809. A mere 7 months into his first term, the Danbury Baptist Association wrote to him, in part, that;

“… religion is consider’d as the first object of Legislation; & therefore what religious privileges we enjoy (as a minor part of the State) we enjoy as favors granted, and not as inalienable rights: and these favors we receive at the expence of such degrading acknowledgements as are inconsistant with the rights of freemen. It is not to be wondred at therefore; if those, who seek after power & gain under the pretence of goverment & Religion should reproach their fellow men—should reproach their chief Magistrate, as an enemy of religion Law & good order because he will not, dares not assume the prerogative of Jehovah and make Laws to govern the Kingdom of Christ.

Sir, we are sensible that the President of the united States, is not the national Legislator, & also sensible that the national goverment cannot destroy the Laws of each State; but our hopes are strong that the sentiments of our beloved President, which have had such genial Effect already, like the radiant beams of the Sun, will shine & prevail through all these States and all the world till Hierarchy and tyranny be destroyed from the Earth. …”

The style and use of language then, of course, is significantly different from style today, and is much more “flowery,” formal and ornamental. Today’s language is more straight-forward, and to-the-point… blunt, even. There are advantages and disadvantages to each style, of course, but the point is, for that reason, sometimes it can be difficult to “interpret” what the writer(s) are attempting to say, or what matter they’re trying to address. That can also be complicated by variants in spelling of words commonly used today, which are considered obsolete, and archaic. One such example or archaic spelling in their letter is the word “ancient” which they spell as “antient.”

But the the excerpts in the paragraphs above are the veritable “heart” of the matter in their letter. In essence, what the Danbury Baptist Association is asking Jefferson to do, is to “settle” a matter – in their favor – in a disagreement they had with a dissenting religious faction.

A bit of background knowledge is necessary for a more full understanding the matter which the Danbury Baptists’ letter addressed. The National Archives provides an excellently succinct backgrounder for the matter, as follows:

“At its October 1800 meeting, the association initiated a petition movement to redress the grievances of the dissenting minority against the Congregationalist majority in the region. Although disestablishment had not been an issue in the 1800 election in Connecticut, the movement was a call for the statewide repeal of all laws that could be understood as supporting an established religion. [Emphasis added. Ed.] In 1801, the petition movement tried to remain above partisan politics and cultivated support of some Congregationalists, Episcopalians, and other dissenters who might be sympathetic to their cause. On 8 Oct. 1801, the Danbury Baptist Association, meeting at Colebrook, Connecticut, voted that Elders Stephen Royce (of Stratfield), Daniel Wildman (of Wolcott and Bristol), Nehemiah Dodge (of Southington and Farmington), Stephen S. Nelson (of Hartford), and Deacons Jared Mills (of Simsbury) and Ephraim Robbins (of Hartford) “be a committee to prepare an address to the President of the United States, in behalf of this association.” The address and President Jefferson’s reply of 1 Jan. 1802 were reprinted in newspapers across the country, including Denniston and Cheetham’s American Citizen on 18 Jan. 1802 (Minutes of the Danbury Baptist Association, Holden at Colebrook, October 7 and 8, 1801; Together with Their Circular and Corresponding Letters [Hartford, 1801]; Shaw-Shoemaker, No. 109; McLoughlin, New England Dissent, 2:920, 985–8, 1004–5; Connecticut Courant, 25 May 1801).”

The letter by the Danbury Baptist Association dated October 7, 1801 was received by Jefferson on 30 December 1801, and is enumerated in Jefferson’s “Summary Journal of Letters.”

In essence, the Danbury Baptists were asking Jefferson to
rule in a semi-private matter
(a disagreement between Danbury Baptists,
and a differing Christian sect),
in which any hint of religion was going to be
eradicated from
the laws in Connecticut.
The Danbury Baptists opposed the measure.

Thus, it can easier be understood Jefferson’s reply to them. And while Jefferson’s letter is half the length of the one addressed to him by Danbury Baptists, it is much more succinct. In essence, Jefferson “shut them down” (at least quieted their clamor) by his reply, which in pertinent part read:

“Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.”

“A wall of separation between Church and State.” There could perhaps be no more clear example for a case of “laissez-faire” than in Jefferon’s letter of reply to the Danbury Baptists.

And now, we have a multi-billion dollar, tax-free corporation coming and begging for a taxpayer-funded handout.

Could there be anything more onerous?

Could there be any greater example of an violation of the First Amendment’s “Establishment clause” – that government should not endorse any religion, nor show deference to any religion by providing special support and succor to that religion?

No.

When the Catholic church – or any religion – lobbies the government for special consideration and gets $1.4 BILLION in taxpayer-funded handouts, what is there to be said?

You read that correctly.

On July 10, 2020, in a story headlined “AP: Catholic Church Lobbied For Taxpayer Funds, Got $1.4B,” the Associated Press reported that;

“The U.S. Roman Catholic Church used a special and unprecedented exemption from federal rules to amass at least $1.4 billion in taxpayer-backed coronavirus aid, with many millions going to dioceses that have paid huge settlements or sought bankruptcy protection because of clergy sexual abuse cover-ups.

“The church’s haul may have reached — or even exceeded — $3.5 billion, making a global religious institution with more than a billion followers among the biggest winners in the U.S. government’s pandemic relief efforts, an Associated Press analysis of federal data released this week found.”

How about THEM apples, eh?

Sexual predators in the Catholic church, most often as clergy who were long known to be habitually chronic sexual predators, were found out, and rather than ‘fessing up, apologizing, and offering some kind of universal class-action settlement with all affected individuals, and forever closing out their case, the Catholic church deliberately shuffled money around to hide it from any prospective legal action, and applied for, and was granted, special protection under bankruptcy laws to stash their cash away from the victims, and their lawyers, who were preparing to, or were already suing the church for allowing their sexual abuse to continue, in some cases, for well over 40, or 50 years, or even longer.

If that is not the picture of corruption, I do not know what it.

And to think… the QAnon folks ~could~ have sunk their teeth into that meat, but instead chose not to, and rather, fabricated some far-fetched bullshit story that has so little substance, that it’s laughable. And right-wingers believed them!

THERE IS MORE GLOBAL CHILD SEXUAL ABUSES RIGHT UNDER THEIR NOSES THAN THEY COULD EVER SHAKE STICK AT – INCLUDING ACCOMPANYING CRIMES AND CORRUPTION – AND QANON TYPES DELIBERATELY CHOSE TO IGNORE IT.

And, I can guarant-damn-tee it, that they’ll DO NOTHING ABOUT IT.

The United States Congress should pull the rug out from under the Catholic church’s feet – along with ALL other luxuriating religious criminal cabals – and:
1.) PERMANENTLY REVOKE ALL religious organizations’ tax-exempt status;
2.) MANDATE that they ALL pay taxes;
3.) ELIMINATE laws providing special treatment to ALL religious entities, including tax status, by changing tax code to reflect status change.

If churches and other religious organizations want taxpayer money, they ought to pay for it through taxes. That way as well, ALL churches would be free to their heart’s content to preach from the pulpit any kind of political tripe that they see fit, and not have to worry about losing their tax-free status… because it’d already be gone.

It is
LONG OVERDUE
for this
Government-supported
Criminal Clown Theater
TO STOP!

And the ONLY way to put an end to religious corruption and governmental support of religious corruption, is to REMOVE TAX FREE STATUS FOR RELIGION.

There is NOTHING in the Constitution that states, nor suggests, that religion should be tax-free.

NOTHING!

James A. Garfield, a Republican, who later became President, had something to say about the matter. And, at the time when he made the following remarks – Monday, June 22, 1874 – was a Member of Congress in the House of Representatives from Ohio’s 19th Congressional District.

Mr. GARFIELD. I desire in a very few words, not to argue the merits of this case but to give the ground on which the Committee on Appropriations made their recommendation. Having stated that ground, I shall leave the question to the discretion of the House.

James Abram Garfield (November 19, 1831–September 19, 1881) was a Republican, and 20th President of the United States from March 4, 1881 until his assassination September 19, 1881. Before being elected POTUS, he was Member of Ohio State Senate, 1859-61; Member of U.S. House of Representatives, 1863-80, and; Elected to United States Senate, 1880. He was a member of the Disciples of Christ denomination, graduated college Phi Beta Kappa salutatorian from Williams College where he first worked as janitor, later becoming a teacher there, United States Army Veteran of the Civil War rising to the rank of Brigadier General, teacher, lawyer, and public official.

I agree with everything that the gentleman from Massachusetts [Mr. E. R. Hoar] has said about the worthy charitable work of this organization known as the Little Sisters of the Poor. I agree that they distribute their charity without the slightest regard to denominational belief. The only ground on which I make a distinction (and it is a distinction I wish the House to understand) is this: Here is an organization composed exclusively of people of one religious denomination. Under its charter the members are wholly and only of one religious sect, and of one society within that religious sect. I take it that no woman in America, not a Catholic, could be one of the corporators in this home. At any rate I take it for granted that the members would not act in conjunction with any corporation not of that sect as a joint controller of the institution.

Now, I make the point – and the Committee on Appropriations made the point – that we ought never to commit ourselves to the aid of an exclusively sectarian institution. I would say the same were this institution under the control of a Protestant church, even if it were a church to which I myself belonged. The divorce between the church and the state ought to be absolute. It ought to be so absolute that no church property anywhere in any State or in the nation should be exempted from equal taxation; for if you exempt the property of any church organization, to that extent you impose a church tax upon the whole community. [emphasis added]

If the House deems this a point that ought not to be considered, I shall be very glad to see these Little Sisters of the Poor helped. If the fifty-sixth amendment, making an appropriation for the work for the Women’s Christian Association were in favor of any one sect, I should vote very quickly to strike it out.”

–– James A. Garfield, Republican, then Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Ohio’s 19th Congressional District, Congressional Record, 43rd Congress, Monday, June 22, 1874, Volume 2, Part 6, p5384

The United States Federal Government has also FAILED The People by FAILING to initiate a RICO case against the Roman Catholic Church. RICO is Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization, and if any organization was ever corrupt, it is the Roman Catholic Church, for their DELIBERATE NEGLECT of known child sexual predators in their ranks, predominately in the clergy.

TAX ALL CHURCHES!

When the coronavirus forced churches to close their doors and give up Sunday collections, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte turned to the federal government’s signature small business relief program for more than $8 million.

The diocese’s headquarters, churches and schools landed the help even though they had roughly $100 million of their own cash and short-term investments available last spring, financial records show. When the cash catastrophe church leaders feared didn’t materialize, those assets topped $110 million by the summer.

As the pandemic began to unfold, scores of Catholic dioceses across the U.S. received aid through the Paycheck Protection Program while sitting on well over $10 billion in cash, short-term investments or other available funds, an Associated Press investigation has found. And despite the broad economic downturn, these assets have grown in many dioceses.

Yet even with that financial safety net, the 112 dioceses that shared their financial statements, along with the churches and schools they oversee, collected at least $1.5 billion in taxpayer-backed aid. A majority of these dioceses reported enough money on hand to cover at least six months of operating expenses, even without any new income.

The financial resources of several dioceses rivaled or exceeded those available to publicly traded companies like Shake Shack and Ruth’s Chris Steak House, whose early participation in the program triggered outrage. Federal officials responded by emphasizing the money was intended for those who lacked the cushion that cash and other liquidity provide. Many corporations returned the funds.

Overall, the nation’s nearly 200 dioceses, where bishops and cardinals govern, and other Catholic institutions received at least $3 billion. That makes the Roman Catholic Church perhaps the biggest beneficiary of the paycheck program, according to AP’s analysis of data the U.S. Small Business Administration released following a public-records lawsuit by news organizations. The agency for months had shared only partial information, making a more precise analysis impossible.

Already one of the largest federal aid efforts ever, the SBA reopened the Paycheck Protection Program last month with a new infusion of nearly $300 billion. In making the announcement, the agency’s administrator at the time, Jovita Carranza, hailed the program for serving “as an economic lifeline to millions of small businesses.”

Church officials have said their employees were as worthy of help as workers at Main Street businesses, and that without it they would have had to slash jobs and curtail their charitable mission as demand for food pantries and social services spiked. They point out the program’s rules didn’t require them to exhaust their stores of cash and other funds before applying.

But new financial statements several dozen dioceses have posted for 2020 show that their available resources remained robust or improved during the pandemic’s hard, early months. The pattern held whether a diocese was big or small, urban or rural, East or West, North or South.

In Kentucky, funds available to the Archdiocese of Louisville, its parishes and other organizations grew from at least $153 million to $157 million during the fiscal year that ended in June, AP found. Those same offices and organizations received at least $17 million in paycheck money. “The Archdiocese’s operations have not been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak,” according to its financial statement. [emphasis added]

In Illinois, the Archdiocese of Chicago had more than $1 billion in cash and investments in its headquarters and cemetery division as of May, while the faithful continued to donate “more than expected,” according to a review by the independent ratings agency Moody’s Investors Service. Chicago’s parishes, schools and ministries accumulated at least $77 million in paycheck protection funds.

Up the interstate from Charlotte in North Carolina, the Raleigh Diocese collected at least $11 million in aid. Yet during the fiscal year that ended in June, overall offerings were down just 5% and the assets available to the diocese, its parishes and schools increased by about $21 million to more than $170 million, AP found. In another measure of fiscal health, the diocese didn’t make an emergency draw on its $10 million line of credit.

Catholic leaders in dioceses including Charlotte, Chicago, Louisville and Raleigh said their parishes and schools, like many other businesses and nonprofits, suffered financially when they closed to slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

Some dioceses reported that their hardest-hit churches saw income drop by 40% or more before donations began to rebound months later, and schools took hits when fundraisers were canceled and families had trouble paying tuition. As revenues fell, dioceses said, wage cuts and a few dozen layoffs were necessary in some offices.

Catholic researchers at Georgetown University who surveyed the nation’s bishops last summer found such measures weren’t frequent. In comparison, a survey by the investment bank Goldman Sachs found 42% of small business owners had cut staff or salaries, and that 33% had spent their personal savings to stay open.

Church leaders have questioned why AP focused on their faith following a story last July, when New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan wrote that reporters “invented a story when none existed and sought to bash the Church.”

By using a special exemption that the church lobbied to include in the paycheck program, Catholic entities amassed at least $3 billion — roughly the same as the combined total of recipients from the other faiths that rounded out the top five, AP found. Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist and Jewish faith-based recipients also totaled at least $3 billion. Catholics account for about a fifth of the U.S. religious population while members of Protestant and Jewish denominations are nearly half, according to the Pew Research Center.

Catholic institutions also received many times more than other major nonprofits with charitable missions and national reach, such as the United Way, Goodwill Industries and Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Overall, Catholic recipients got roughly twice as much as 40 of the largest, most well-known charities in America combined, AP found.

The complete picture is certainly even more lopsided. So many Catholic entities received help that reporters could not identify them all, even after spending hundreds of hours hand-checking tens of thousands of records in federal data.

The Vatican referred questions about the paycheck program to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, which said it does not speak on behalf of dioceses.

Presented with AP’s findings, bishops conference spokeswoman Chieko Noguchi responded with a broad statement that the Paycheck Protection Program was “designed to protect the jobs of Americans from all walks of life, regardless of whether they work for for-profit or nonprofit employers, faith-based or secular.”

INTERNAL SKEPTICISM

The AP’s assessment of church finances is among the most comprehensive to date. It draws largely from audited financial statements posted online by the central offices of 112 of the country’s nearly 200 dioceses.

The church isn’t required to share its financials. As a result, the analysis doesn’t include cash, short-term assets and lines of credit held by some of the largest dioceses, including those serving New York City and other major metropolitan areas.

The analysis focused on available assets because federal officials cited those metrics when clarifying eligibility for the paycheck program. Therefore, the $10 billion AP identified doesn’t count important financial pillars of the U.S. church. Among those are its thousands of real estate properties and most of the funds that parishes and schools hold. Also excluded is the money — estimated at $9.5 billion in a 2019 study by the Delaware-based wealth management firm Wilmington Trust — held by charitable foundations created to help dioceses oversee donations.

In addition, dioceses can rely on a well-funded support system that includes help from wealthier dioceses, the bishops conference and other Catholic organizations. Canon law, the legal code the Vatican uses to govern the global church, notes that richer dioceses may assist poorer ones, and the AP found instances where they did.

In their financial statements, the 112 dioceses acknowledged having at least $4.5 billion in liquid or otherwise available assets. To reach its $10 billion total, AP also included funding that dioceses had opted to designate for special projects instead of general expenses; excess cash that parishes and their affiliates deposit with their diocese’s savings and loan; and lines of credit dioceses typically have with outside banks.

Some church officials said AP was misreading their financial books and therefore overstating available assets. They insisted that money their bishop or his advisers had set aside for special projects couldn’t be repurposed during an emergency, although financial statements posted by multiple dioceses stated the opposite.

For its analysis, AP consulted experts in church finance and church law. One was the Rev. James Connell, an accountant for 15 years before joining the priesthood and becoming an administrator in the Milwaukee Archdiocese. Connell, also a canon lawyer who is now retired from his position with the archdiocese, said AP’s findings convinced him that Catholic entities did not need government aid — especially when thousands of small businesses were permanently closing.

“Was it want or need?” Connell asked. “Need must be present, not simply the want. Justice and love of neighbor must include the common good.”

Connell was not alone among the faithful concerned by the church’s pursuit of taxpayer money. Parishioners in several cities have questioned church leaders who received government money for Catholic schools they then closed.

Elsewhere, a pastor in a Western state told AP that he refused to apply even after diocesan officials repeatedly pressed him. He spoke on condition of anonymity because of his diocese’s policy against talking to reporters and concerns about possible retaliation.

The pastor had been saving, much like leaders of other parishes. When the pandemic hit, he used that money, trimmed expenses and told his diocese’s central finance office that he had no plans to seek the aid. Administrators followed up several times, the pastor said, with one high-ranking official questioning why he was “leaving free money on the table.”

The pastor said he felt a “sound moral conviction” that the money was meant more for shops and restaurants that, without it, might close forever.

As the weeks passed last spring, the pastor said his church managed just fine. Parishioners were so happy with new online Masses and his other outreach initiatives, he said, they boosted their contributions beyond 2019 levels.

“We didn’t need it,” the pastor said, “and intentionally wanted to leave the money for those small business owners who did.”

WEATHERING A DOWNTURN

Months after the pandemic first walloped the economy, the 112 dioceses that release financial statements began sharing updates. Among the 47 dioceses that have thus far, the pandemic’s impact was far from crippling.

The 47 dioceses that have posted financials for the fiscal year that ended in June had a median 6% increase in the amount of cash, short-term investments and other funds that they and their affiliates could use for unanticipated or general expenses, AP found. In all, 38 dioceses grew those resources, while nine reported declines.

Finances in Raleigh and 10 other dioceses that took government assistance were stable enough that they did not have to dip into millions they had available through outside lines of credit.

“This crisis has tested us,” Russell Elmayan, Raleigh’s chief financial officer, told the diocese’s magazine website in July, “but we are hopeful that the business acumen of our staff and lay counselors, together with the strategic financial reserves built over time, will help our parishes and schools continue to weather this unprecedented event.” Raleigh officials did not answer direct questions from AP.

The 47 dioceses acknowledged a smaller amount of readily available assets than AP counted, though by their own accounting that grew as well.

The improving financial outlook is due primarily to parishioners who found ways to continue donating and U.S. stock markets that were rebounding to new highs. But when the markets were first plunging, officials in several dioceses said, they had to stretch available assets because few experts were forecasting a rapid recovery.

In Louisville, Charlotte and other dioceses, church leaders said they offered loans or grants to needy parishes and schools, or offset the monthly charges they assess their parishes. In Raleigh, for example, the headquarters used $3 million it had set aside for liability insurance and also tapped its internal deposit and loan fund.

Church officials added that the pandemic’s full toll will probably be seen in a year or two, because some key sources of revenue are calculated based on income that parishes and schools generate.

“We believe that we will not know all of the long-term negative impacts on parish, school and archdiocesan finances for some time,” Louisville Archdiocese spokeswoman Cecelia Price wrote in response to questions.

At the nine dioceses that recorded declines in liquid or other short-term assets, the drops typically were less than 10%, and not always clearly tied to the pandemic.

The financial wherewithal of some larger dioceses is underscored by the fact that, like publicly traded companies, they can raise capital by selling bonds to investors.

One was Chicago, where analysts with the Moody’s ratings agency calculated that the $1 billion in cash and investments held by the archdiocese headquarters and cemeteries division could cover about 631 days of operating expenses.

Church officials in Chicago asserted that those dollars were needed to cover substantial expenses while parishioner donations slumped. Without paycheck support, “parishes and schools would have been forced to cut many jobs, as the archdiocese, given its liabilities, could not have closed such a funding gap,” spokeswoman Paula Waters wrote.

Moody’s noted in its May report that while giving was down, federal aid had compensated for that and helped leave the archdiocese “well positioned to weather this revenue loss over the next several months.” Among the reasons for the optimism: “a unique credit strength” that under church law allows the archbishop to tax parish revenue virtually at will.

In a separate Moody’s report on New Orleans, which filed for bankruptcy in May while facing multiple clergy abuse lawsuits, the ratings agency wrote in July that the archdiocese did so while having “significant financial reserves, with spendable cash and investments of over $160 million.”

Moody’s said the archdiocese’s “very good” liquid assets would let it operate 336 days without additional income. Those assets prompted clergy abuse victims to ask a federal judge to dismiss the bankruptcy filing, arguing the archdiocese’s primary reason for seeking the legal protection was to minimize payouts to them.

The archdiocese, along with its parishes and schools, collected more than $26 million in paycheck money. New Orleans Archdiocesan officials didn’t respond to written questions.

PURSUING AID

Without special treatment, the Catholic Church would not have received nearly so much under the Paycheck Protection Program.

After Congress let nonprofits and religious organizations participate in the first place, Catholic officials lobbied the Trump Administration for a second break. Religious organizations were freed from the so-called affiliation rule that typically disqualifies applicants with more than 500 workers.

Without that break, many dioceses would have missed out because — between their head offices, parishes, schools and other affiliates — their employee count would exceed the limit.

Among those lobbying, federal records show, was the Los Angeles Archdiocese. Parishes, schools and ministries there collected at least $80 million in paycheck aid, at a time when the headquarters reported $658 million in available funds heading into the fiscal year when the coronavirus arrived.

Catholic officials in the U.S. needed the special exception for at least two reasons.

Church law says dioceses, parishes and schools are affiliated, something the Los Angeles Archdiocese acknowledged “proved to be an obstacle” to receiving funds because its parishes operate “under the authority of the diocesan bishop.” Dioceses, parishes, schools and other Catholic entities also routinely assert to the Internal Revenue Service that they are affiliated so they can maintain their federal income tax exemption.

Estimates of the total subsidies enjoyed by religious groups did not take into account the amounts received from subsidies such as the sales tax subsidies, local sales and income tax subsidies, volunteer labor subsidy, and donor-tax exemptions.
Researchers at the Institute claimed that the tax subsidies which were unaccounted for could also amount to billions in tax savings.
Further, the Institute claimed that the subsidies should be cut for religious groups, or at least restricted to being applied solely to the charitable works of the marginalization.
Religious organizations also enjoyed approximately $6.1 billion in state income tax subsidies, along with $1.2 billion of parsonage, and $2.2 billion in the faith-based initiatives subsidy.
Churches in the USA receive approximately $71 billion in tax credits and tax breaks each year, according to the results of new research released on October 16th by the Secular Policy Institute.

While some Catholic officials insisted their affiliates are separate and financially independent, AP found many instances of borrowing and spending among them when dioceses were faced with prior cash crunches. In Philadelphia, for example, the archdiocese received at least $18 million from three affiliates, including a seminary, to fund a compensation program for clergy sex abuse survivors, according to 2019 financial statements.

Cardinals and bishops have broad authority over parishes and the pastors who run them. Church law requires parishes to submit annual financial reports and bishops may require parishes to deposit surplus money with internal banks administered by the diocese.

“The parishioners cannot hire or fire the pastor; that is for the bishop to do,” said Connell, the priest, former accountant and canon lawyer. “Each parish functions as a wholly owned subsidiary or division of a larger corporation, the diocese.”

Bishops acknowledged a concerted effort to tap paycheck funds in a survey by Catholic researchers at Georgetown University. When asked what they had done to address the pandemic’s financial fallout, 95% said their central offices helped parishes apply for paycheck and other aid — the leading response. That topped encouraging parishioners to donate electronically.

After Congress approved the paycheck program, three high-ranking officials in New Hampshire’s Manchester Diocese sent an urgent memo to parishes, schools and affiliated organizations urging them to refrain from layoffs or furloughs until completing their applications. “We are all in this together,” the memo read, adding that diocesan officials were working expeditiously to provide “step by step instructions.”

Paycheck Protection Program funds came through low-interest bank loans, worth up to $10 million each, that the federal government would forgive so long as recipients used the money to cover about two months of wages and operating expenses.

After an initial $659 billion last spring, Congress added another $284 billion in December. With the renewal came new requirements intended to ensure that funds go to businesses that lost money due to the pandemic. Lawmakers also downsized the headcount for applicants to 300 or fewer employees.

A QUESTION OF NEED

In other federal small business loan programs, government help is treated as a last resort.

Applicants must show they couldn’t get credit elsewhere. And those with enough available funds must pay more of their own way to reduce taxpayer subsidies.

Congress didn’t include these tests in the Paycheck Protection Program. To speed approvals, lenders weren’t required to do their usual screening and instead relied on applicants’ self-certifications of need.

The looser standards helped create a run on the first $349 billion in paycheck funding. Small business owners complained that they were shut out, yet dozens of companies healthy enough to be traded on stock exchanges scored quick approval.

As blowback built in April, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin warned at a news briefing that there would be “severe consequences” for applicants who improperly tapped the program.

“We want to make sure this money is available to small businesses that need it, people who have invested their entire life savings,” Mnuchin said. Program guidelines evolved to stress that participants with access to significant cash probably could not get the assistance “in good faith.”

Mnuchin’s Treasury Department said it would audit loans exceeding $2 million, although federal officials have not said whether they would hold religious organizations and other nonprofits to the same standard of need as businesses.

The headquarters and major departments for more than 40 dioceses received more than $2 million. Every diocese that responded to questions said it would seek to have the government cover the loans, rather than repay the funds.

One diocese receiving a loan over $2 million was Boston. According to the archdiocese’s website, its central ministries office received about $3 million, while its parishes and schools collected about $32 million more.

The archdiocese — along with its parishes, schools and cemeteries — had roughly $200 million in available funds in June 2019, according to its audited financial report. When that fiscal year ended several months into the pandemic, available funds had increased to roughly $233 million.

Nevertheless, spokesman Terrence Donilon cited “ongoing economic pressure” in saying the archdiocese will seek forgiveness for last year’s loans and will apply for additional, new funds during the current round.

Beyond its growing available funds, the archdiocese and its affiliates benefit from other sources of funding. The archdiocese’s “Inspiring Hope” campaign, announced in January, has raised at least $150 million.

And one of its supporting charities — the Catholic Schools Foundation, where Cardinal Sean O’Malley is board chairman — counted more than $33 million in cash and other funds that could be “used for general operations” as of the beginning of the 2020 fiscal year, according to its financial statement.

Despite these resources, the archdiocese closed a half-dozen schools in May and June, often citing revenue losses due to the pandemic. Paycheck protection data show four of those schools collectively were approved for more than $700,000.

The shuttered schools included St. Francis of Assisi in Braintree, a middle-class enclave 10 miles south of Boston, which received $210,000. Parents said they felt blindsided by the closure, announced in June as classes ended.

“It’s like a punch to the gut because that was such a home for so many people for so long,” said Kate Nedelman Herbst, the mother of two children who attended the elementary school.

Along with more than 2,000 other school supporters, Herbst signed a written protest to O’Malley that noted the archdiocese’s robust finances. After O’Malley didn’t reply, parents appealed to the Vatican, this time underscoring the collection of Paycheck Protection Program money.

“It is very hard to reconcile the large sums of money raised by the archdiocese in recent years with this wholesale destruction of the church’s educational infrastructure,” parents wrote.

In December, the Vatican turned down their request to overrule O’Malley. Spokesman Donilon said the decision to close the school “is not being reconsidered.”

Today, the three children of Michael Waterman and his wife, Jeanine, are learning at home. And they still can’t understand why the archdiocese didn’t shift money to help save a school beloved by the faithful.

“What angers us,” Michael Waterman said, “is that we feel like, given the amount of money that the Catholic Church has, they absolutely could have remained open.”

___

Contact AP’s global investigative team at Investigative@ap.org.

Contact the reporters at https://twitter.com/reesedunklin and https://twitter.com/mikerezendes.

___

Contributing to this report were Justin Myers, Randy Herschaft, Rodrique Ngowi, Holbrook Mohr, Jason Dearen and James LaPorta.

https://apnews.com/article/catholic-church-get-aid-investigation-39a404f55c82fea84902cd16f04e37b2

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Oklahoma Religious School Expels Second-Grader

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, February 1, 2021

No honey… God does not love you.

Neither do His people.

Public tax dollars should NOT go to religious or private K-12 schools.

Period.


Second-Grader Expelled Over ‘Crush’ On Girl At Owasso Private School, Thankful For Community Support

By: Tanya Modersitzki, FOX23 News
Updated: January 27, 2021 – 7:07 AM

OWASSO, Okla. — Delanie Shelton said her 8-year-old daughter, Chloe was kicked out of Rejoice Christian School in Owasso because Chloe told another girl she had a crush on her.

“[Chloe] said the vice principal sat her down and says the Bible says you can only marry a man and have children with a man,” Shelton said. “My daughter was crying saying ‘Does God still love me?’”

Chloe Shelton, a 2nd grader at Rejoice Schools in Owasso, Oklahoma (a private, so-called “Christian” school system), was expelled for saying that she had a girl crush on another little girl.

Rejoice Christian Schools told Shelton they don’t condone boyfriend/girlfriend relationships on campus, but in the student handbook it doesn’t say it’s grounds for expulsion.

“The vice principal asked me how do I feel like girls liking girls and I said if we’re being honest, I think it’s okay for girls to like girls and she looked shocked and appalled,” Shelton said.

Shelton said she is raising her family to not judge and love whomever you want.

Rejoice initially cited the school’s student handbook and policy, before releasing the following statement:

“Due to privacy and other factors, it is the school’s policy to refrain from public comments regarding any particular student or family.”
– Rejoice Christian School Superintendent Joel Pepin

“They ripped my kids out of the only school they’ve ever really known away from their teachers and friends they’ve had over the past four years over something my daughter probably doesn’t know or fully understand,” Shelton said.

FOX23′s Tanya Modersitzki talked to Chloe after she’d received an outpouring of support from the community following the telling of her story.

“I feel so loved and supported, thank you so much to everyone who helped me feel better for being who I am,” Chloe said.

She says Read the rest of this entry »

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Radicalized Religion Has Come Home To Roost In America

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, January 25, 2021

There’s a saying, that one becomes like the object their hatred.

In which case, many Evangelical and other sects of Christendom have become like the radical Muslims that they so despised and feared.

Haters are not isolationists, they seek to join groups of others, which for them, provides strength, and anonymity, with diminished, or absent accountability or responsibility.

Dr. John R. “Jack” Schafer, Ph.D. is a retired FBI Special Agent, now Professor at Western Illinois University in the Law Enforcement and Justice Administration (LEJA) Department. While with the FBI, he served as behavioral analyst assigned to the FBI’s National Security Behavioral Analysis Program. Dr. Schafer earned his Ph.D. in psychology at Fielding Graduate University, Santa Barbara, California, has authored numerous articles and books, conducted research, is a consultant, and lectures domestically, and internationally.

Through his behavioral research, that found that, among other things, that “Hate masks personal insecurities. Not all insecure people are haters, but all haters are insecure people. Hate elevates the hater above the hated. Haters cannot stop hating without exposing their personal insecurities. Haters can only stop hating when they face their insecurities.”

His 7-stage model of hate is:

Stage 1: The Haters Gather
Stage 2: The Hate Group Defines Itself
Stage 3: The Hate Group Disparages the Target
Stage 4: The Hate Group Taunts the Target
Stage 5: The Hate Group Attacks the Target Without Weapons
Stage 6: The Hate Group Attacks the Target With Weapons
Stage 7: The Hate Group Destroys the Target

Dr. Edward Ludwig “Ed” Glaeser, Ph.D., is the Fred and Eleanor Glimp Professor of Economics in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University Kennedy School of Government, where he has taught since 1992. In 2004, he authored a paper entitled “The Political Economy of Hatred,” which stated in part that, “People say that they hate because the object of their hatred is evil. Hatred relies on people accepting, rather than investigating, hate-creating stories. Hatred declines when there is private incentive to learn the truth.”


theconversation.com

How Self-Proclaimed “Prophets” From A Growing Christian Movement Provided Religious Motivation For The Events January 6 At The U.S. Capitol

by Dr. Brad Christerson, PhD
January 12, 2021 – 8:24am EST


In addition to symbols of white supremacy, many of the rioters at the Capitol on January 6 carried signs bearing religious messages, such as “Jesus Saves” and “In God We Trust” while others chanted “Jesus is my savior and Trump is my president.” In a video interview, one of those who breached the Senate floor describes holding a prayer to “consecrate it to Jesus” soon after entering.

Many white evangelical leaders have provided religious justification and undying support for Trump’s presidency, including his most racially incendiary rhetoric and policies. But as a scholar of religion, I argue that a particular segment of white evangelicalism that my colleague Richard Flory and I call Independent Network Charismatic, or INC, has played a unique role in providing a spiritual justification for the movement to overturn the election which resulted in the storming of the Capitol.

INC Christianity is a group of high-profile independent leaders who are detached from any formal denomination and cooperate with one another in loose networks.

Prayer Marches

In the days and hours leading up to the storming of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 the group Jericho March organized marches around the Capitol and Supreme Court building praying for God to defeat the “dark and corrupt” forces that they claimed, without evidence, had stolen the election from God’s anointed president – Donald Trump.

Jericho March is a loose coalition of Christian nationalists formed after the 2020 presidential election with the goal of overturning its results. Leading up to and following the Capitol violence, their website stated: “We are proud of the American system of governance established by our Founding Fathers and we will not let Read the rest of this entry »

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Who Cares What Jesus Would Do? What Would Trump Do?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, January 24, 2021

Dear Judas,
(A Letter to the Evangelical Church)

NOVEMBER 20, 2020
by JOHN PAVLOVITZ

Dear Evangelicals,

I thought of you today.

I was reading the Bible. (You may remember the Bible from a sitting president’s recent upside-down, tear-gassed, church steps photo op.)

I came across Matthew’s story of Judas’ final moments here on the planet: overwhelmed with guilt, in a searing, sweaty panic — realizing that he had betrayed his beloved Jesus and sent him to an unthinkably violent death, all for thirty cold pieces of silver that now felt worthless in his hands.

He’d kissed him and he’d killed him, just to gain a quick windfall that he suddenly realized was fool’s gold.

He died knowing he’d forfeited his soul and couldn’t get a refund.

President Donald Trump poses with a Bible outside St. John’s Church across Lafayette Park from the White House Monday, June 1, 2020, in Washington, D.C. Part of the church was set on fire during protests on Sunday night. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

I wonder if you will ever have such a last-minute awakening: a similarly sickening moment of clarity-come-too-late, when you look around and see all that you’ve destroyed and how many people you’ve grievously wounded — and if you too will realize that you’re now permanently in the red because you have abandoned your namesake for another name that adorns very different kinds of buildings.

Take a moment and survey the coins in your hand, now, friends.

Roll them around your fingers.

Feel the weight of them.

Your thirty pieces of silver were these last four years, some Supreme Court Justices, a couple hundred lower court judges, the temporary high of a few political wins, the bully pulpit of a President’s Twitter feed for forty-eight months, and perhaps soon, loss of a woman’s right to autonomy over her own body.

That was your soul’s selling price.

Was it all worth betraying Jesus for, I wonder?

Was it worth brutalizing the already vulnerable and oppressed, whose lives he said he inhabited?

Was it worth aligning with this petulant, profane Caesar in all his pervasive and prolific violence?

Was it worth driving a generation from the Church that Jesus built to be a refuge for wanderers, a balm for the hurting, a destination for weary pilgrims, and a home for prodigals?

From where I’m standing, it wasn’t.

From where I’m standing, you’re bankrupt.

From where I’m standing, you’re stuck.

President Donald Trump (in blue tie, 3rd from right) poses outside St. John’s Church across Lafayette Park from the White House Monday, June 1, 2020, in Washington. Part of the church was set on fire during protests on Sunday night. Standing with Trump are, LEFT to RIGHT, Defense Secretary Mark Esper, Attorney General William Barr, White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien, Trump, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

I’m out here with the multitudes who will never darken the door of one your gatherings ever again because they’ve seen your greed.

I’m here with those whose last remaining tethers to religion have been fully severed seeing you abandon the tender world-loving heart of Jesus, in favor of a thin facade of nationalistic bravado.

I’m here alongside hundreds of thousands sitting vigil for Read the rest of this entry »

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Safety and Security in the Southern States during a Democratic Administration

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Apprehension seems to exist among the people of the Southern States that by the accession of a Democratic Administration their property and their peace and personal security are to be endangered. There has never been any reasonable cause for such apprehension. Indeed, the most ample evidence to the contrary has all the while existed and been open to their inspection. It is found in nearly all the published speeches of him who now addresses you.

Perhaps you’ll recognize the opening words of Abraham Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address, delivered March 4, 1861. There is one very minor, only slight change, however, and it is the substitution of the word “Democratic” for the word “Republican.”

That is purposeful, and deliberate, to illustrate a case in point.

Photograph shows participants and crowd at the first inauguration of President Abraham Lincoln, at the U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C. Lincoln is standing under the wood canopy, at the front, midway between the left and center posts. His face is in shadow but the white shirt front is visible. (Source: Ostendorf, p. 87) “A distant photograph from a special platform by an unknown photographer, in front of the Capitol, Washington, D.C., afternoon of March 4, 1861. ‘A small camera was directly in front of Mr. Lincoln,’ reported a newspaper, ‘another at a distance of a hundred yards, and a third of huge dimensions on the right … The three photographers present had plenty of time to take pictures, yet only the distant views have survived.” (Source: Ostendorf, p. 86-87)

Slave Southern states nowadays are largely Republican political strongholds.

That is not accidental. It is deliberate, and has been an ongoing effort in the Republican party since at least 1964, or, perhaps even earlier.

States below the Mason-Dixon line – a surveyor’s line of demarcation delineating primarily the southern border of Pennsylvania, and the western border of Delaware, from Maryland – sometimes also known as, or referred to as “slave states,” i.e., states where slavery as an institution was considered not only legal, but morally upright, ethical, and good – were once largely Democratic strongholds until around the mid-1960’s, or thereabouts.

The tables, however, were largely turned, and the tide began to shift in earnest beginning with the candidacy of Arizona United States Senator Barry Goldwater, who was the failed Republican candidate for President in 1964, opposite President Lyndon Baines Johnson of Texas, who as Vice President, succeeded to the Presidency upon the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963 in Dallas, Texas.

At the GOP National Convention that year, New York’s Republican Governor Nelson Rockefeller ominously warned of the invasion of the GOP by radicalized elements from the South, which included members of the Ku Klux Klan, John Birch Society, Communists, and other domestic terrorists. In his address to the party’s delegates at the July 1964 Republican National Convention at Cow Palace in Daly City, California, he was given 5 minutes to address the delegates, and was booed for over 16 minutes. He was requesting adoption of a resolution to the 1964 official party platform condemning those groups and individuals whom belonged to them, who had infiltrated the Republican party, and sought to include the following language: “The Republican Party fully respects the contribution of responsible criticism, and defends the right of dissent in the democratic process. But we repudiate the efforts of Read the rest of this entry »

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Open Letter to POTUS Abraham “Honest Abe” Lincoln

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, January 18, 2021

Dear President Lincoln,

You and George Washington had something in common, aside from Presidency – you were both honest men.

There’s a story told, that as we understand it now, is but a mythical fable of someone’s vivid imagination, although every lie has an element of truth. That fable was first apparently crafted by the Reverend Mason Locke Weems (1759-1825), the first person ordained by the Anglican Church for the Episcopal Church in America after the American Revolution.

Though he first studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh, and in London, his calling was apparently to the Christian ministry, and he never practiced medicine.

His 1784 ordination – first as deacon, as customary, September 5, and then as priest on September 12 – was remarkable in part, because he was the first beneficiary of the English Parliament’s passage of the Enabling Act on August 13, 1784, which thereby enabled English bishops to ordain clergy for the American Church without requiring them to swear a loyalty oath to the English sovereign.

He later served as rector in two Maryland parishes – All Hallows’ Parish in Anne Arundel County, 1784-1789, and then from 1790-1792 of Westminster Parish in the same county.

For about 20 years, he was also an itinerant preacher at various Virginia parishes, most notably among them the Pohick Church, where George Washington (1732-1799) attended, before the Revolution. That enabled him to refer to himself as “formerly rector of Mt. Vernon Parish.”

From around 1791 until his death, he became an author, and book peddler for publisher Matthew Carey. Though he wrote and had published various moralizing tracts and biographies of individuals of renown in that era, such as Benjamin Franklin, William Penn, and General Francis Marion (a Continental Army General nicknamed the “Swamp Fox” for his elusive tactics), his most famous biography was of George Washington – “The Life and Memorable Actions of George Washington, General and Commander of the Armies of America” – and first published in 1800. It proved to be quite a success, especially with school-aged children, and in its fifth edition in 1806 – albeit with a slightly different title, “The Life of George Washington: With Curious Anecdotes, Equally Honourable to Himself, and Exemplary to His Young Countrymen” – for the first time, there appeared the anecdote of Washington and the cherry tree.

Knowing Weems was a minister, and that he Read the rest of this entry »

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Evangelicals Rethinking Trump Support

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, January 13, 2021

‘How Did We Get Here?’ A Call For An Evangelical Reckoning On Trump

January 13, 2021, 5:08 AM ET
Heard on Morning Edition
by Rachel Martin

https://ondemand.npr.org/anon.npr-mp3/npr/me/2021/01/20210113_me_how_did_we_get_here_a_call_for_an_evangelical_reckoning_on_trump.mp3

As fallout continues from the deadly siege on the U.S. Capitol, Ed Stetzer, head of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College, has a message for his fellow evangelicals: It’s time for a reckoning.

Evangelicals, he says, should look at how their own behaviors and actions may have helped fuel the insurrection. White evangelicals overwhelmingly supported President Trump in the 2020 election.

Some in the protest crowd raised signs with Christian symbolism and phrases.

“Part of this reckoning is: How did we get here? How were we so easily fooled by conspiracy theories?” he tells NPR’s Rachel Martin. “We need to make clear who we are. And our allegiance is to King Jesus, not to what boasting political leader might come next.”

Members of the audience react as U.S. President Trump delivers remarks at an Evangelicals for Trump Coalition Launch at the King Jesus International Ministry in Miami, Florida, U.S., January 3, 2020.
REUTERS/Tom Brenner

In the interview, Stetzer also laments that evangelicals seem to have changed their view of morality to support Trump.

“So I think we just need to be honest. A big part of this evangelical reckoning is a lot of people sold out their beliefs,” he says.

Here are excerpts from the Morning Edition conversation:

You write that “many evangelicals are seeing Donald Trump for who he is.” Do you really think that’s true? There have been so many other things that Trump has said and done over the past four to five years that betray Christian values and their support didn’t waver. You think this time it’s different?

I think it’s a fair question, and I’ve been one for years who was saying we need to see more clearly who Donald Trump is and has often not been listened to. But I would say that for many people, the storming of the Capitol, the desecration of our halls of democracy, has shocked and stunned a lot of people and how President Trump has engaged in riling up crowds to accomplish these things. Yeah, I do think so. I think there are some significant and important conversations that we need to have inside of evangelicalism asking the question: What happened? Why were so many people drawn to somebody who was obviously so not connected to what evangelicals believe by his life or his practices or more.

You write that Trump has burned down the Republican Party. What has he done to the evangelical Christian movement?

If you asked today, Read the rest of this entry »

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Kelly Loeffler Received Over $3M In Farm Subsidies… And Sits On The Agriculture Committee

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Blessed are those who have, for they shall be given more.

That’s not a genuine Bible verse, by the way. And if you’re any kind of decently well-read individual, with more than a perfunctory, or minimal knowledge of the Judeo-Christian collection of holy writings collectively known as the Bible, you would know that already.

And by that same token, of being any kind of decently well-read individual, you would also know that there is an eerie parallel to a saying that Jesus of Nazareth made about a related matter – the Parable of the Talents – as recorded in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. A parable, of course, is a moralizing tale, a story meant to illustrate some matter, and to point out a wrong doing, or type of injustice in an unobtrusive, easy-to-understand manner.

We’re going to get to Georgia’s appointed Republican Senator whose net worth of $500M is BY FAR the wealthiest member of Congress in just a moment, but first you need some background for understanding.

Woodcut from Historiae Celebriores Veteris Testamenti Iconibus Representatae — dated to 1712 — depicts the Parable of the Talents as told by Jesus of Nazareth, in Matthew 25:14–30. Two men bring the money that was entrusted to them back to their master, while a third man searches for his money outside.

The story states that, in preparation for a journey of some duration, an owner/master entrusted and distributed his money to his 3 servants. The unspoken hope, or expectation those days, is that, upon his return, they would have increased the portion with which they were entrusted and charged.

To one, he gave he gave 5 talents (a monetary measurement), to another he gave 2, and to the third, he gave 1 talent. Upon his return, the first two who received 5, and 2, respectively, reported that they’d doubled the money. The third did not, and rather, reported that he buried the money in the ground, and had not gained anything. Upon hearing that news, the owner became enraged, called that servant lazy and wicked, fired him, then ordered that single talent to be taken from him and given to the one with 10.

That’s an important point, which you’ll see later, why.

Jesus of Nazareth, who was telling the story, made a moral assessment, and drew a conclusion based upon the actions of that one who did not return a profit, and reportedly said, “For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.”

While the story is simply told, the meaning behind it is uncertain, though there have been many sermons preached about the tale. And yet, the audience hearing that parable then, in the era in which is was told, would have interpreted it quite differently from today’s audience, according to Dr. Richard L. Rohrbaugh, STD, Professor Emeritus of New Testament and Religious Studies at Lewis and Clark College, whose primary scholarly pursuit was establishing proper historical and cultural contexts for Biblical texts.

Dr. Rohrbaugh said that, in the era in which the story was first told, the audience would have understood that the “profit” was made through the exploitative abuse of others, and that the third servant was the one which would have been considered honorable by the standard of the day. Thus, that interpretation of the parable, would mean that the first two servants were shameful, instead of the third. When asked about the matter, Dr. Rohrbaugh said in part that,

“[G]iven the “limited good” outlook of ancient Mediterranean cultures, seeking “more” was considered morally wrong. Because the pie was “limited” and already all distributed, anyone getting “more” meant someone else got less. Thus, honorable people did not try to get more, and those who did were automatically considered thieves: To have gained, to have accumulated more than one started with, is to have taken the share of someone else.”

As he explained in the Biblical Archaeology Society, “In the ancient world, greedy people who did not want to get accused of profiting at someone else’s expense – which was considered shameful – would delegate their business to slaves, who were held to a different standard.” Dr. Rohrbaugh explained that the reasoning was that, “Shameful, even greedy, behavior could be condoned in slaves because slaves had no honor nor any expectation of it.”

Again, in the parable, the master Read the rest of this entry »

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Banana Republican Newt Gingrich Announces Move To La-La Land

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Newt Gingrich, Georgia’s original nutty buddy, all-around hypocrite, liar, and one of the original Banana Republicans, recently used his quill to conjure up an OpEd to the right-wing newspaper Washington Times in which he falsely claimed in part that, “The entire elite liberal media lied about the timeline of the COVID-19 vaccine. They blamed President Trump for the global pandemic even as he did literally everything top scientists instructed. In multiple debates, the moderators outright stated that he was lying about the U.S. having a vaccine before the end of the year (note Vice President Mike Pence received it this week). If Americans had known the pandemic was almost over, that too was likely the difference in the election.”

FACT: Regarding “the timeline of the COVID-19 vaccine,” Moderna had a coronavirus vaccine designed January 13, 2020, TWO DAYS after the genome was published internationally online.

Moderna developed their vaccine only two days after the genetic sequence had been publicized internationally by Chinese researcher Professor Dr. Yong-Zhen Zhangm Ph.D. His humanitarian act of scientific generosity resulted in him being temporarily forced out of his lab.

Moderna’s vaccine design only took one weekend to develop at their Massachusetts facilities.

In fact, Moderna had completed development of their COVID-19 vaccine mRNA-1273 before the Chinese government had acknowledged the disease was transmitted by human-to-human means, and more than a week before the first confirmed coronavirus case in the United States – January 21.

And by the time the first American coronavirus death was reported a month later, on February 29, Moderna’s mRNA-1273 coronavirus vaccine had already been manufactured and shipped to the National Institutes of Health to begin its Phase I clinical trial.

All of that was long before the President had made any announcement about his “Operation Warp Speed,” the public-private partnership to develop a coronavirus vaccine, and yet even 2 months before Bloomberg News reported on April 29 that such a plan was in the works.

Gingrich then falsely claims that, Read the rest of this entry »

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More Religious Sex Abuse Cases Emerge. This time, it’s Mormons.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, December 1, 2020

The Federal government under this administration has recently re-activated the Death Penalty, and has argued also for adding other methods of execution to the mix, which is now only comprised of lethal injection, including firing squad. Hell… why can’t they just give ’em some fentanyl?

I have no pity, and no mercy for such individuals as referenced in the story below. I have none for any members of a faith organization who abuse their children. NONE WHATSOEVER.

And though I oppose the Death Penalty on pecuniary principles exclusively – it’s simply far too costly to execute (bad pun… I know) the law – we could, perhaps, make exceptions for cases like this.

Once a jury finds them guilty, or they plead guilty, march their sorry asses to some place and give ’em the fentanyl.


azcentral.com

Lawsuit: LDS Church officials, teacher knew of abuse but kept silent

 by Mary Jo Pitzl, The Arizona Republic

A lawsuit filed Monday charges that two Mormon bishops and a teacher failed to report a Bisbee, Arizona father’s repeated sexual and physical abuse of three of his children, despite a state law that makes reporting such offenses mandatory.It argues that the “clergy-penitent privilege” in the law, which keeps confessions confidential, does not apply to such cases. The teacher, a former border-patrol agent as well as the children’s Sunday school teacher, had a clear duty under the law in both of her roles to report the abuses to police, the suit alleges.

“Each of the Defendants had personal observations of the abuse, and also knew of the abuse outside of any confidential communication,” the complaint, filed in Cochise County Superior Court, alleges. The father’s abusive practices were discussed by church officials in routine meetings, and led to his excommunication in 2015 after church officials learned of his abuse of his daughter, then age 5.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of three of the six children of Paul and Leizza Adams, details Paul Adams’ repeated sexual abuse of his daughters over a seven-year period, including the rape of his infant daughter. Paul Adams was indicted on 11 counts of child sexual abuse in 2017 and was awaiting trial when he hanged himself in his prison cell later that year.

Leizza Adams, the mother, was convicted for child abuse in 2018 and was released from Perryville state prison in early October, state records show.

The children have since been adopted by various families and have different last names than their parents.

The suit names the Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints as well as the Corporation of the Presiding Bishop of the Church.

In a statement Monday, an attorney for the church, Bill Maledon, wrote:

Read the rest of this entry »

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Papa Francesco Writes

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, November 27, 2020

Pope Francis: A Crisis Reveals What Is in Our Hearts

To come out of this pandemic better than we went in, we must let ourselves be touched by others’ pain.

By Pope Francis
Pope Francis is the head of the Catholic Church and the bishop of Rome.

November 26, 2020
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/26/opinion/pope-francis-covid.html

In this past year of change, my mind and heart have overflowed with people. People I think of and pray for, and sometimes cry with, people with names and faces, people who died without saying goodbye to those they loved, families in difficulty, even going hungry, because there’s no work.

Sometimes, when you think globally, you can be paralyzed: There are so many places of apparently ceaseless conflict; there’s so much suffering and need. I find it helps to focus on concrete situations: You see faces looking for life and love in the reality of each person, of each people. You see hope written in the story of every nation, glorious because it’s a story of daily struggle, of lives broken in self-sacrifice. So rather than overwhelm you, it invites you to ponder and to respond with hope.

Papa Francesco (It.), Pope Francis

These are moments in life that can be ripe for change and conversion. Each of us has had our own “stoppage,” or if we haven’t yet, we will someday: illness, the failure of a marriage or a business, some great disappointment or betrayal. As in the Covid-19 lockdown, those moments generate a tension, a crisis that reveals what is in our hearts.

In every personal “Covid,” so to speak, in every “stoppage,” what is revealed is what needs to change: our lack of internal freedom, the idols we have been serving, the ideologies we have tried to live by, the relationships we have neglected.

When I got really sick at the age of 21, I had my first experience of limit, of pain and loneliness. It changed the way I saw life. For months, I didn’t know who I was or whether I would live or die. The doctors had no idea whether I’d make it either. I remember hugging my mother and saying, “Just tell me if I’m going to die.” I was in the second year of training for the priesthood in the diocesan seminary of Buenos Aires.

I remember the date: Aug. 13, 1957. I got taken to a hospital by Read the rest of this entry »

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Utah Female Church Member Raped, Church Forces Her To Listen To Her Rape Recording

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, November 15, 2020

If you thought it couldn’t get any more weird, think again.

There are actually TWO “issues” here:

1.) What the church did to her, and;
2.) How the news reporting media is handling it.

Let’s take the 2nd one first.

Nowadays, news reporting agencies do not name the victim in cases of news reports of sexual assaults. Not identifying the victim is a good, right, proper, and just response to the problems that often occurred as a consequential by-product of naming the victims in news stories. Naming the victim served no genuine need and had no purpose as it related to reporting the story, and so in response, for the greatest part, most news reporting agencies have declined to publish the victim’s name. The obvious exception is for the stories in which a victim names a well-known/high-profile individual as the assailant/perpetrator.

That I’ve been able to find so far, there are very few news stories about the matter, and none of them name the victim.

The Scott M. Matheson Courthouse, 450 S State St, Salt Lake City, UT 84111, is the location for the Utah Supreme Court.

While normally, that isn’t a problem, per se, in this case, however, the female victim has filed suit against the church and four elders, and her case has come before the Utah State Supreme Court.

Fundamentally, what that means, is that she is named in the case as the plaintiff.

So the news reporting agencies which wrote about the story fundamentally erred by not reporting the most basic and important fact as it exists, which indeed, forms the very basis of the story – that an important, and problematic question has come before the Utah State Supreme Court and revolves around a religious practice.

The primary extant stories on the matter are by Deseret News in Utah, and the Daily Beast. The Daily Mail, The Independent, The Salt Lake Tribune, Patheos, KSL Broadcasting, and Crime Online have also published stories about the matter.

The Deseret News “is the longest-running newspaper in Utah and the state’s oldest continuously operating business.” Their story – “Utah High Court Weighs Case Of Woman Who Says Church Made Her Listen To Audio Of Her RapeLower courts say First Amendment prevents juries from considering case, by Annie Knox @anniebknox November 9, 2020, 6:56pm MST – may be found here:
https://www.deseret.com/utah/2020/11/9/21557200/utah-supreme-court-case-woman-says-church-made-her-listen-to-audio-of-her-rape-jehovahs-witnesses

The Daily Beast is a publicly-traded independent news organization focusing upon “original reporting and sharp opinion in the arena of politics, pop-culture and power.” Their story – “Will a Church Get Away With Making a Teen Listen to Recording of Her Rape?The Jehovah’s Witnesses of Roy, Utah, say their extreme interrogation of a teenage rape victim is protected religious practice., by Emily Shugerman, Gender Reporter, published November 14, 2020 7:15PM ET – may be found here:
https://www.thedailybeast.com/will-a-jehovahs-witnesses-church-get-away-with-making-a-teen-listen-to-recording-of-her-rape

The case is: Williams v. Kingdom Hall #20190422-SC

• The case filing may be found here:
https://law.justia.com/cases/utah/court-of-appeals-published/2019/20170783-ca.html

• Amicus briefs have been filed by Georgetown Law’s Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection and may be found at:
https://www.law.georgetown.edu/icap/our-work/defending-vulnerable-communities-sanctuary-cities-daca-and-more/williams-v-kingdom-hall/

• Appellate briefs may be found at the Utah State Court System website:
https://www.utcourts.gov/utc/appellate-briefs/2020/03/04/20190422-williams-v-kingdom-hall/

The oral argument before the Utah Supreme Court may be viewed online:

Now, let’s examine the first point of the matter – what the church did to her.

In order to more fully understand the question before the court, we need to know Read the rest of this entry »

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Loser Trump Is ButtHurt

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, November 12, 2020

So he lost.

It’ll be “official” soon enough.

Yes, the Associated Press “called it” for Biden.

Unlike the Current White House Occupant, the Associated Press is trustworthy.

They tell the truth.

They’re reliable.

ButtHurt
An inappropriately strong negative emotional response from a perceived personal insult. Characterized by strong feelings of shame. Frequently associated with a cessation of communication and overt hostility towards the perceived “aggressor.”

When the results are certified, the only thing Read the rest of this entry »

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Biden Wins!

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, November 9, 2020

America has a NEW President!

Despite efforts by malign internal actors, heads of government agencies, individuals who are domestic enemies of our Constitution and of The People, who abused governmental resources to thwart freedom…

The People have SPOKEN LOUDLY.

Vice President Joe Biden, Official Portrait 2013

Democratic principles, honesty and the rule of law have worked AGAIN.

Our democratic republic is STRONG!!

Liberty is POWERFUL!

Evil is defeated!

Our United States of America has a NEW PRESIDENT-elect!

In response, a longtime friend and colleague wrote “Not for long , the dead people and illegals that spoke will be discredited.”

My friend, the false and malicious things you wrote are not only lies, but they’re old lies – VERY OLD. One would think that you’re stuck in a time warp of some kind.

What concerns me about your outdatedness, is that the truth of what I wrote, that in this election, something happened which has NEVER BEFORE happened, which is individuals who are OFFICIAL AGENTS of the United States Government, as malign actors, abused their high office, and ACTIVELY played roles to DELIBERATELY thwart freedom, and The People’s Right To Vote.

That was done by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy through the United States Postal Service Read the rest of this entry »

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It’s NOT Illegal For Weirdos To Serve

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, October 22, 2020

It’s a good thing that American Presidents don’t nominate weirdos or extremists for the Supreme Court.

Amy Coney Barrett as Hannibal Lector, the psychotic, psychopathic weirdo in the movie series “Silence of the Lambs.”

People who have 7 kids – adopted, or not – are certainly outside the norm.

As is forbidding the use of birth control – and that’s almost exclusively a religious matter.

And now that businesses can have religion, which god do they worship – Mammon? Was it the Commerce Clause that Jesus died for? Or, was it people?

But after all, “businesses are people, my friend.”

And since money is free speech, what’s next?

To be frank, being outside the norm is not illegal in the United States.

It’s not illegal to be a weirdo.

Goodness knows, there are plenty of them in all 50 states.

Belonging to a weird religious cult shouldn’t disqualify one for service – at least according to the Constitution, which has a renown “no religious test” clause.

I mean, we could have, and there is no legal compunction forbidding, Moonies to serve us in our government – any government, federal, state, or local – and, that’s perfectly A-okay according to the Constitution – as it should be.

People who believe the Earth is flat could serve us in government – and while there’s not a “no scientific test” clause in our Constitution, I would imagine that most reasonable people would agree that, like the Moonies, those who believe the Earth is flat are weirdos, and extremists.

People who believe in alchemy – the fraudulent and disproven notion that gold can be made from lead, various ores, or things that do not contain elemental gold – could be elected, or appointed, and serve us in our government.

Why, even those who have belonged to the Ku Klux Klan have served on the Supreme Court – Hugo Black, an Alabamian.

And the virulently infamous racist George C. Wallace was elected as Alabama’s governor FOUR times.

Stranger things have happened.

May they never happen again.


theguardian.com

Revealed: Ex-members of Amy Coney Barrett faith group tell of trauma and sexual abuse

by Stephanie Kirchgaessner, in Washington, D.C.
Wednesday 21 Oct 2020, 0500 EDT
Last modified on Wednesday 21 Oct 2020, 2337 EDT


Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the supreme court has prompted former members of her secretive faith group, the People of Praise, to come forward and share stories about emotional trauma and – in at least one case – sexual abuse they claim to have suffered at the hands of members of the Christian group.

In the wake of the allegations, the Guardian has learned that the charismatic Christian organization, which is based in Indiana, has hired the law firm of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan to conduct an “independent investigation” into sexual abuse claims on behalf of People of Praise.

The historic sexual abuse allegations and claims of emotional trauma do not pertain specifically to Barrett, who has been a lifelong member of the charismatic group, or her family.

But some former members who spoke to the Guardian said they were deeply concerned that too little was understood about the “community” of People of Praise ahead of Barrett’s expected confirmation by the Senate next week, after which she will hold the seat formerly held by the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Two people familiar with the matter say that more than two dozen former members of the faith group, many of whom say they felt “triggered” by Barrett’s nomination, are participating in a support group to discuss how the faith group affected their lives.

“The basic premise of everything at the People of Praise was that the devil controlled everything outside of the community, and you were ‘walking out from under the umbrella of protection’ if you ever left,” said one former member who called herself Esther, who had to join the group as a child but then left the organization. “I was OK with it being in a tiny little corner of Indiana, because a lot of weird stuff happens in tiny little corners in this country. But it’s just unfathomable to me – I can’t even explain just how unfathomable it is – that you would have a supreme court justice who is a card-carrying member of this community.”

Barrett was not asked about her involvement in People of Praise during her confirmation hearings last week, and has never included her involvement with the group in Senate disclosure forms, but has in the past emphasized that her religious faith as a devout Catholic would not interfere with her impartiality.

People of Praise is rooted in the rise of charismatic Christian communities in the late 1960s and 1970s, which Read the rest of this entry »

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Amy Coney Barrett Served On Gay-Hating Schools’ Board

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, October 21, 2020

This is what the soft hatred of bigotry cloaked in religious garb looks like.

This revelation should come as no surprise, that a radicalized right-wing religious zealot should serve at a high level on the Board of Directors for three schools in three separate states under a common umbrella would discriminate.

Below her image are three more images of the same type thing.

This person must NOT be confirmed to the nation’s highest court!

And toward that end, perhaps it may alarm you to know that a Ku Klux Klansman has been seated on the nation’s highest court.

No, it’s not any of the current members.

It was Hugo Black, of Alabama.

https://timeline.com/hugo-black-justice-klan-4877fcf6ac75

You can read Matt Reimann’s excellently succinct August 15, 2017 article via the link above. Of note, Mr. Justice Black was also a “textualist” on matters of interpretation of the Constitution – the same thing late Justice Scalia said he was, and which Judge Barrett says she is.

The primary problem with that alleged “style” of interpretation, is that it’s nonsensical. Here’s a succinctly brief statement why from Chicago, IL Mayor Lori Lightfoot:

“CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) — Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she is preparing for when Amy Coney Barrett takes her seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. She was asked to share her thoughts Tuesday on the judge and minced no words.

“Mayor Lightfoot was first asked if she views the U.S. Constitution as Judge Barrett does, as an “originalist.”

“Originalists firmly believe all statements in the U.S. Constitution must be strictly interpreted based on the original understanding at the time the Constitution was adopted. They do not believe in the concept of a “Living Constitution” that can be interpreted in the context of current times.

““You ask a gay, black woman if she is an originalist? No, ma’am, I am not,” Lightfoot laughed.

““That the Constitution didn’t consider me a person in any way, shape or form because I’m a woman, because I’m black, because I’m gay? I am not an originalist. I believe in the Constitution. I believe that it is a document that the founders intended to evolve and what they did was set the framework for how our country was going to be different from any other.

““But originalists say that, ‘Let’s go back to 1776 and whatever was there in the original language, that’s it.’ That language excluded, now, over 50 percent of the country. So, no I’m not an originalist.”

“Mayor Lightfoot said she’s deeply worried about some of Judge Barrett’s stated views, for instance, being against gay marriage.

““I deeply worry about this woman’s stated views. She’s on the record on a number of different things, not the least of which is thinking that gay marriage is something that shouldn’t be countenanced. And she’s got soulmates in Justice Thomas and others, who think that the decision by the Supreme Court…should somehow be rolled back,” Lightfoot said.

““What should I tell my daughter — that somehow now my wife and I are no longer married? That we’re no longer legitimately recognized in the eyes of the law? That is dangerous, dangerous territory. And what about a woman’s right to choose? We’re gonna keep re-litigating this issue, and we’re gonna make abortion illegal, as Amy Coney Barrett thinks it should be?

“The Mayor also called Republicans “hypocrites” for pushing the Barrett nomination when they put off taking up the Merrick Garland nomination by President Obama.

“”The hypocrisy is something that is a bitter pill for me to swallow,” Lightfoot said.”

Here’s an excerpt introduction from the article “A U.S. Supreme Court justice was in the Ku Klux Klan—and he remained on the bench for 34 years. Hugo Black was exposed just after his confirmation, but it made no difference.“:

The September 13, 1937 front page of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette printed an image of Black’s KKK resignation letter.

“Hugo Black had been associate justice of the Supreme Court for less than a month when the news broke. In September of 1937, an exposé by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette found proof of Black’s membership in the Ku Klux Klan. He had joined in September of 1923, and resigned in July, 1925, as one of his first moves before running for one of Alabama’s U.S. Senate seat. Ironically, the smoking gun was Black’s resignation letter, written in legible longhand on Klan stationery, which appeared on the paper’s front page.

“Franklin Roosevelt, who nominated Hugo Black, was implicated in the scandal, which threatened to have far-reaching consequences for the president’s New Deal image. What was once seen as shrewd politics — the New Deal-friendly textualist was confirmed with a 63–16 vote — had become a disgrace. “Millions of Americans,” wrote one Indiana newspaper, “will not forget this sole tangible accomplishment of President Roosevelt’s attempted ‘liberalization’ of the Supreme Court.”

“When asked by the press to remark on the scandal, Roosevelt brushed questions aside, saying, “I only know what I have read in the newspapers. I know that the stories are appearing serially and their publication is not complete. Mr. Justice Black is in Europe where, undoubtedly, he cannot get the full text of these articles. Until such time as he returns, there is no further comment to be made.”


apnews.com

Barrett Was Trustee At Private School With Anti-Gay Policies

By Michelle R. Smith and Michael Biesecker
October 21, 2020 at 10:51:08 AM CDT

Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett served for nearly three years on the board of private Christian schools that effectively barred admission to children of same-sex parents and made it plain that openly gay and lesbian teachers weren’t welcome in the classroom.

The policies that discriminated against LGBTQ people and their children were in place for years at Trinity Schools Inc., both before Barrett joined the board in 2015 and during the time she served.

The three schools, in Indiana, Minnesota and Virginia, are affiliated with People of Praise, an insular community rooted in its own interpretation of the Bible, of which Barrett and her husband have been longtime members. At least three of the couple’s seven children have attended the Trinity School at Greenlawn, in South Bend, Indiana.

The AP spoke with more than two dozen people who attended or worked at Trinity Schools, or former members of People of Praise. They said the community’s teachings have been consistent for decades: Homosexuality is an abomination against God, sex should occur only within marriage, and marriage should only be between a man and a woman.

Interviewees told the AP that Trinity’s leadership communicated anti-LGBTQ policies and positions in meetings, one-on-one conversations, enrollment agreements, employment agreements, handbooks and written policies — including those in place when Barrett was an active member of the board.

“Trinity Schools does not unlawfully discriminate with respect to race, color, gender, national origin, age, disability, or other legally protected classifications under applicable law, with respect to the administration of its programs,” said Jon Balsbaugh, president of Trinity Schools Inc., which runs the three campuses, in an email.

The actions are probably legal, experts said. Scholars said the school’s and organization’s teachings on homosexuality and treatment of LGBTQ people are harsher than those of the mainstream Catholic church. In a documentary released Wednesday, Pope Francis endorsed civil unions for the first time as pope, and said in an interview for the film that, “Homosexual people have the right to be in a family. They are children of God.”

Barrett’s views on whether LGBTQ people should have the same constitutional rights as other Americans became a focus last week in her Senate confirmation hearing. But her longtime membership in People of Praise and her leadership position at Trinity Schools were not discussed, even though most of the people the AP spoke with said her deep and decades-long involvement in the community signals she would be hostile to gay rights if confirmed.

Suzanne B. Goldberg, a professor at Columbia Law School who studies sexuality and gender law, said private schools have wide legal latitude to set admissions criteria. And, she said, Trinity probably isn’t covered by recent Supreme Court rulings outlawing employment discrimination against LGBTQ people because of its affiliation with a religious community. But, she added, cases addressing those questions are likely to come before the high court in the near future, and Barrett’s past oversight of Trinity’s discriminatory policies raises concerns.

“When any member of the judiciary affiliates themselves with an institution that is committed to discrimination on any ground, it is important to look more closely at how that affects the individual’s ability to give all cases a fair hearing,” Goldberg said.

The AP sent detailed questions for Barrett to the White House press office. Rather than providing direct answers, White House spokesman Judd Deere instead accused AP of attacking the nominee.

“Because Democrats and the media are unable to attack Judge Barrett’s sterling qualifications, they have instead turned to pathetic personal attacks on her children’s Christian school, even though the Supreme Court has repeatedly reaffirmed that religious schools are protected by the First Amendment,” Deere said in an email.

Nearly all the people interviewed for this story are gay or said they have gay family members. They used words such as “terrified,” “petrified” and “frightening” to describe the prospect of Barrett on the high court. Some of them know Barrett, have mutual friends with her or even have been in her home dozens of times. They describe her as “nice” or “a kind person,” but told the AP they feared others would suffer if Barrett tries to implement People of Praise’s views on homosexuality on the Supreme Court.

About half of the people asked not to be identified for fear of retaliation against themselves or their families from other members of People of Praise, or because they had not come out to everyone in their lives. Among those interviewed were people who attended all three of its schools and who had been active in several of its 22 branches. Their experiences stretched back as far as the 1970s, and as recently as 2020.

NOT WELCOME

Tom Henry was a senior at Trinity School in Eagan, Minnesota, serving as a student ambassador, providing tours to prospective families, when Barrett was an active member of the board.

In early 2017, a lesbian parent asked him whether Trinity was open to gay people and expressed concern about how her child would be treated.

Henry, who is gay, said he didn’t know what to say. He had been instructed not to answer questions about People of Praise or Trinity’s “politics.”

The next day, Henry recalled, he asked the school’s then-headmaster, Jon Balsbaugh, how he should have answered. Henry said Balsbaugh pulled a document out of his desk drawer that condemned gay marriage, and explained it was a new policy from People of Praise that was going into the handbook.

“He looked me right in the eye and said, the next time that happens, you tell them they would not be welcome here,” Henry recounted. “And he said to me that trans families, gay families, gay students, trans students would not feel welcome at Trinity Schools. And then he said, ‘Do we understand each other?’ And I said, yes. And I left. And then I quit the student ambassadors that day.”

Balsbaugh, who has since been promoted to president of Trinity Schools Inc., says his recollection of the conversation “differs considerably,” but declined Read the rest of this entry »

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Amy Coney Barrett And Radicalism – Religious & Political

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Perhaps by now you’ve heard of the sad and tragic news out of France, that recently, Samuel Paty, a 47-year old male teacher was brutally decapitated by a radicalized 18-year old, Russian-born male Muslim student. Though one committed the heinous act, at least 10 students have been arrested for participation in the plot. The prime suspect is a Chechen refugee.

According to Reuters, the episode began when several Muslim parents were angered earlier this month after Paty taught a mandatory “moral and civil education” class on freedom of expression, and had shown to his pupils 12 cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, which were originally published in a Danish newspaper before republication in Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical publication renown for their anti-establishment satire poking fun at the far right, and aspects of Catholicism, Judaism and Islam.

The Guardian reported that a parent of one of the students in Paty’s class had posted a response to an angry video complaining about the class. The respondent wrote: “I am a parent of a student at this college. The teacher just showed caricatures from Charlie Hebdo as part of a history lesson on freedom of expression. He asked the Muslim students to leave the classroom if they wished, out of respect … He was a great teacher. He tried to encourage the critical spirit of his students, always with respect and intelligence. This evening, I am sad, for my daughter, but also for teachers in France. Can we continue to teach without being afraid of being killed?”

The French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo recently republished for a second time the same cartoons (also seen here) the day before the beginning of a French trial of Read the rest of this entry »

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Amy Coney Barrett’s Forced Hearings Are Political Rape, And She Likes It

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, October 17, 2020

I have enumerated several reasons why Federal Judge Amy Coney Barrett should be rejected for a seat on the United States Supreme Court.

Amy Coney Barrett: Will she follow the law of recusal? – October 15

Day 1: Judge Amy Coney Barrett Brings 6 Little Human Shields To Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing – October 12

Why Amy Coney Barrett Is Unqualified – October 6

Potential Supreme Court Nominee: Right Turn Only? – September 21

Here’s another one which points out the utter hypocrisy of the GOP and the religious right wing community in moving her nomination forward shoving her nomination down American’s throat.

Think of it as a form of political rape.

As I’ve written previously – she’s allowing herself to be used.

And apparently, she likes it.


ReligionDispatches.org
Why Amy Coney Barrett’s Religion is Fair Game
By John Stoehr October 14, 2020

On Monday the Senate Democrats [avoided and ignored] the subject of religion. During the first day of Appellate Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation hearings, they focused on health care and how Donald Trump’s third nominee might rule after the U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments next month on the Affordable Care Act. Avoiding religion was probably wise given the Republicans’ level of fake outrage over fake “religious bigotry.” The rest of us, however, don’t need to play along. Barrett’s Catholicism is fair game.

Yes, I know. Highly influential liberal pundits, and some liberal pundits striving mightily to become influential, argue that religion should be off limits. First, they say, because a person of sincerely held religious beliefs can adjudicate impartially. Second, there’s enough to talk about without bringing up Barrett’s faith. While I presume these liberals mean well (to be clear, in presuming this, I’m being generous), they’re wrong.

They assume, for one thing, that religion and politics can be disentangled. Sometimes they can be. Sometimes they can’t. For another, these liberals behave as if politics is somehow taking religion hostage. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wrote Monday night: “When politicians use faith as an excuse to pass and uphold laws that seize control of people’s bodies but not guarantee them healthcare, feed the poor, shelter the homeless, or welcome the stranger, you have to wonder if it’s really about faith at all.”

No, you don’t have to wonder. It’s about their faith, full stop. Millions in this country—white evangelical Protestants and conservative white Catholics chief among them—root their genuinely held religious beliefs in opposition to modernity, which is to say, in politics. There is, therefore, no appreciable difference between them. The more our society moves in the direction of greater freedom, equity and justice for all people, the more these revanchists believe their faith is under siege; and the more they feel their faith is under siege, the more prepared they are to go to war over “religious freedom.”

I don’t know if Barrett intends to help reverse Roe any more than you do. I do know—and you know—that that’s why Donald Trump picked her. That’s why she accepted his illegitimate nomination. Overturning Roe, or at least gutting it in order to Read the rest of this entry »

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Why Amy Coney Barrett Is Unqualified

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, October 8, 2020

True to form, radicalized, far right-wing political extremists are portraying Judge A.C. Barrett as a victim. The “poor, pitiful me” routine has taken hold in the GOP, Tea Party and other such ilk. Self loathing has never been more popular, it seems. But it does seem rather peculiar that it should find residence in the right, when for years we’ve been told that it is the political left who are such whiners and crybabies.

Aaaah… the political hypocrisy! You can smell the stench of its cooking all the way from the banks of the Potomac in Washington, D.C.

And the blindly vicious ambition! Its unmitigated violence permeates the miasmatic ether surrounding the city, all the way to the Chesapeake Bay, and beyond.

They’re both forms of pollution which Congress continues to ignore, and which are far more damaging than even dirty water, or air. For their poison, while not permanent like PFOS or PFAS, the man-made “forever chemicals” used in making non-stick coatings which are found even in newborns’ blood, there are few, if any, filters to remove such contaminants from the necessary processes we employ to govern ourselves.

While “organic,” such contaminants are far from resembling a healthy backyard compost pile where grass clippings, leaves, eggshells, coffee grounds, vegetable peelings, and other such items begin their transformation process to become rich humus, fertile soil for vegetable and plant growth. Their forms, while neither ephemeral, nor impermanent, per se, are causative of other illnesses and diseases transmitted even to the 3rd and 4th generations, and beyond – all preventable – and must be guarded against by every generation.

The only difference being, is that disorders caused by those infections are preventable by conscience, not by manufacture. And the inoculation against such infection and affliction is love.

“Contrary to the impression many have of Barrett, what is most striking about her record is not the looming specter of theocracy, but her enduring opposition to what many Christians believe justice and mercy demand, presented under the aspect of originalism — an ersatz catechism, written in the pages of her judicial opinions, that fuses the political aims of the religious right with the constitutional theories of the late Antonin Scalia.”

There is NO “war” against religious faith in this nation, nor has there ever been. Neither has there ever been any alleged “war against Christmas” by our government, nor by its elected officials and administrators… like Federal judges, and other lifetime appointees. Although, it is curious how an officially non-sectarian, non-religious government sponsors a Federal holiday acknowledging a deity, thereby giving deference, homage and support to the same.

Judge Amy Coney Barrett, United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

Rather, our Founders, not all of whom were religious-minded, were cognizant of others’ desires to express themselves through the practice of a privately-held conviction of faith – if they so chose – collectively and individually, according to the dictates of their conscience, and allowed to the greatest extent possible the practice of the same, without impingement upon the practices of government, and without obtruding upon others, who might, or not, agree with them. The Founders thought that aspect of individual liberty was so inherent, so inviolable, so sacrosanct to the public good, that they ensconced it, along with a few others, and made it and them First, and foremost among all others which followed.

Our fundamental foundational governing document, the Constitution, ensures and guarantees rights to Read the rest of this entry »

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The Pornographer and The Preacher

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Jerry Falwell, Jr. in the Bahamas July 2019, Instagram post

If “the farmer and the cowman should be friends,” then the pornographer and the preacher should be too.

Turns out, they did become friends.

By now, if you’ve not heard the name Jerry Falwell, some might wonder what cave in Tora Bora you’ve been hiding in for the last 40 years, or so.

And, if you enjoy any late-night teevee humorists – such as Stephen Colbert, John Oliver, Jimmy Fallon, Trevor Noah, Jimmy Kimmel, Seth Meyers, Samantha Bee, Bill Maher, etc., Johnny Carson, Jay Leno, David Letterman, and Conan O’Brien are ancient history – you should continue reading.

And if you don’t, you should STILL continue reading.

Why?

Freedom.

Because you do like it that way, don’t you?

Publisher Larry Flynt with the parody ad mocking Rev. Jerry Falwell, Sr., which initiated Falwell’s lawsuit against the magazine Hustler, and Flynt, its publisher. The case wound its way to the Supreme Court, and enjoyed a rare unanimous decision in Flynt’s favor.

First, some background:

There are now three men who’ve been named Jerry Falwell:
1.) The Reverend Jerry Falwell, Sr. (1933-2007)

2.) Jerry Falwell, Jr., (b.1962) an attorney/real estate developer who is the first born, and son of Jerry Falwell

3.) Jerry “Trey” Falwell, III (b.), the first born and son of Jerry Falwell, Jr.

It’s all your fault.

The Reverend started it all.

He started Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia.

He started the now-long-defunct religious political action group called the “Moral Majority.”

And, he started Liberty University.

He handed the keys of Liberty University to Jerry, Jr., while he handed the keys of the Thomas Road Baptist Church to son Jonathan.

The parody/satire ad in Hustler magazine that started it all. The parody is clearly marked as such at the center bottom, and is listed in the contents section as parody/satire, and states “not to be taken seriously.”

Good ol’ country boys

Like Falwell, Larry Flynt was good Southern boy, having been born in the hills and hollers of Eastern Kentucky in Lakeville, Magoffin County, while Falwell was born in Lynchburg, Virginia – about 216 miles from each other as the crow flies… or a 6+/- hours drive not-so directly East-West from each other. There’s hills and hollers throughout the area, you know. They happen to be called the Appalachians, for short. It’s hard to have a straight road in those mountainous areas.

Like Father, Not Like Son

Part of the greater underlying irony of the matter involving the Rev. Falwell, Sr., is that Read the rest of this entry »

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How Jerry Falwell, Jr. Influenced Trump’s Election

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, August 31, 2020

Predictions sometimes come true.

And paybacks aren’t always hell.

The NY Times and other news agencies are reporting that Liberty University is in the process of a forensic audit to examine the school’s operations during Jerry Falwell, Jr.’s tenure as its President.

You had to have known (i.e., strongly suspected) that it would happen.

Falwell, Jr. is a real estate attorney-developer whose father, the late Rev. Jerry Falwell, Sr. founded the school, and was founding pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia. As well, he founded the long-defunct “Moral Majority” – a right-wing Christian religious political action group which was extensively involved in Republican politics, and was predominately concerned with social and cultural matters, and vehemently opposed Civil Rights for anyone but heterosexuals.

Others in the same era include James Dobson, a psychologist and founder of “Focus on the Family” who frequently pointed to Judeo-Christian holy writ to support his theories, the Rev. Don Wildmon, a United Methodist pastor and founder of the Tupelo, Mississippi-based American Family Association, and the American Family Radio network which began as Low-Power FM stations in small communities and neighborhoods throughout the nation, and numerous other predominately White Protestant religious figures, including many in the so-called “blab-it-and-grab-it” heterodox pseudo-faith movement also known as the “prosperity gospel” preachers such as Kenneth Copeland, Benny Hinn, Robert Tilton, Jerry Savelle, Marilyn Hickey, Kenneth Hagin, Sr., T.L. and Daisy Osborne, and John and “Dodie” Osteen, whose son Joel, with his wife, now occupies their former positions in the church they founded.

Perhaps now you can better understand the basis for some, if not much, of the shenanigans with the Republican party’s fawning obeisance to Evangelicals. Simply put, it’s payback, because they put them in power. You’ll see that theme emerge again, later in the article.

But back to the matter at hand.

And that is concerning Jerry Falwell, Jr.’s tenure as Liberty University President and Chancellor.

NOTE: For sake of simplicity, and ease of understanding, the junior Falwell will be referred to simply as “Jerry Falwell,” except for instances in which it is pertinent to mention his father, the late “Rev. Jerry Falwell, Sr.”

Liberty University today (Monday, August 31, 2020) released a statement regarding their objectives, which also mentioned that they would be pursuing an investigation of Falwell’s time as President. Their statement read in part that, Read the rest of this entry »

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Money, Sex, and Politics: Is Jerry Falwell, Jr. A Closeted Bisexual?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Editor’s Note: The point of the headline of this entry is to expose what appears to be the presence of blatant hypocrisy in Falwell, and in the greater Evangelical community, if not the practical entirety of the Christian religion, in its long-standing intolerance toward, and abhorrence of same-sex attraction, and their continual denial of civil rights, and even basic human rights to that community.

By now, you’ve probably heard of, or read about, the escapades and/or exploits – sexual, and otherwise – of Jerry Falwell, Jr., the once-and-soon-to-be former President of Liberty University, the Lynchburg, VA-based private Christian school founded by his late Baptist pastor father, the Rev. Jerry Falwell, Sr.


UPDATE: As the article was being written, Falwell had not resigned. By press time, he had.


Most recently (Monday, August 24, 2020), Reuters News posted a news report in which Jerry Falwell Jr., the President of Liberty University, whom is an attorney by education and real-estate developer by experience, was named by a Miami-based long-time sexual play friend of his, and wife Becki, in which Falwell Jr. played the cuckold role. Of course, in an official statement to the Washington Examiner, a well-known right-wing sympathetic D.C. Beltway news group, Falwell has denied all culpability, claimed he was being blackmailed and pointed the finger of sexual blame at his wife. Exclusive: Falwell says Fatal Attraction threat led to depression & STATEMENT BY JERRY FALWELL, JR.

Giancarlo Granda, who was befriended by Liberty University President Jerry Falwell, Jr. and wife Rebecca “Becki,” while working as a pool attendant at Fontainebleau Miami Beach, a renown luxury hotel, and was later backed by them in a business venture involving an area gay youth hostel, poses for a portrait in Washington, U.S., August 10, 2020. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

The Falwell’s relationship with Giancarlo Granda – the 29-year-old man claiming to have had 6 years of cuckolding sexual liaisons with Jerry and Becki Falwell – goes back several years, and Falwell claims that Granda was attempting to blackmail him.

In October 2019, the Miami Herald published an account that detailed an undisclosed financial settlement Falwell made in Federal court with Read the rest of this entry »

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Should We Give Tax Dollars To Churches?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, July 13, 2020

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…

Since before our nation’s founding, the framers of the Constitution had very powerful feelings about religion. Not that they were religious men and women, per se – some were, some weren’t – but that they didn’t want the government to tell them how they ought to worship, if they so chose to do.

In fact, they despised the idea so much that some folks (think “pilgrims”) traveled across an ocean in a small wooden sailboat which was little more than an over-sized primitive row-boat, to a far-away land, where literally no one knew them, just in order to escape the overbearing behavior of the ruler of the government (a king), who also just so happened to also be the head of the officially-recognized, governmentally-supported and approved state-sponsored religion – The Church of England.

Yeah.

Governmentally supported.

“Supported” as in “took tax money to give to the church” – the state-sponsored church… the one of which the king was the head – the chief priest, if you prefer.

Yeah.

THAT church.

So, they got so sick and tired of the “long arm of the law” reaching into their pockets and Read the rest of this entry »

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What is Democratic Socialism?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, February 15, 2020

Bernie Sanders has continually explained and made the case why he calls himself a democratic socialist, and corrects those who decry his self-described identity as a democratic socialist. Opponents from within, and without the party have viciously maligned him for that.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders – I , official portrait

In essence, it’s caring for your fellow citizen just like they’re your family. And that includes being humanitarian, and caring for others, treating them with the dignity, honor, and respect inherently and rightly due every human being.

Listening to him speak of the principles he addresses, for those with a Christian, or religious knowledge, or background, it reminds me of the principles mentioned following Judeo-Christian Scripture verses. Oh, for those who consider Jews as God’s special, or chosen people… Bernie is a Jew. Could his voice be that of a prophet, of one crying in the wilderness?

“Where there is no vision, the people perish.”¹

“The laborer is worthy of their hire.”²

“Do not muzzle the ox that treads the grain.”³

“‘Administer true justice. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other.'”⁴

“You must not oppress, or defraud your neighbor nor rob him. The wages due a hired hand must not remain with you until morning.”⁵

“Do not oppress a hired worker who is poor and needy, whether he is a brother or a foreigner residing in one of your towns.”⁶

“Now if your countryman becomes destitute and cannot support himself among you, then you are to help him as you would a foreigner or stranger, so that he can continue to live among you.”⁷

“You must not exploit or oppress a foreign resident, for you yourselves were foreigners in the land of Egypt. You must not mistreat any widow or orphan.”⁸

“He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing.”⁹

“But I will be merciful only if you stop your evil thoughts and deeds and start treating each other with justice; only if you stop exploiting foreigners, orphans, and widows; only if you stop your murdering; and only if you stop harming yourselves by worshiping idols.”¹⁰

¹Proverbs 29:18
²1 Timothy 5:18
³Deuteronomy 25:4
⁴ Zechariah 7:9,10
⁵ Leviticus 19:3
⁶ Deuteronomy 24:14
⁷ Leviticus 25:35
⁸ Exodus 22:21,22
⁹ Deuteronomy 10:18
¹⁰Jeremiah 7:5

––//––

Bernie Sanders fires back at Trump over socialism
CNN Sanders Town Hall
Feb 25, 2019
During a CNN town hall, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders explains the programs he’d like to implement if he were elected president, which have been criticized by President Trump as akin to socialism.
https://youtu.be/tJ9j_JT9Lhg

In response to a question asked by an audience member, Bernie Sanders said in part…

“We have political rights… freedom of religion – and all of that is enormously important. But you know what we don’t have? We don’t have guarantees regarding economic rights. And way back in 1944, and in a little-known, little-publicized State of The Union speech, Franklin Delano Roosevelt said something, and – I’m paraphrasing him – but he said, ‘you know, when we talk about human freedom, and rights, we’ve got to understand that everybody needs a decent-paying job, that people need healthcare, that people need education.’ Read the rest of this entry »

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Everything Old Is New Again

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Diane Ravitch is a name known to some, to few, and to many.

It depends upon what circles one travels in to determine who knows whom.

If it’s educational circles, then one is certainly well aware of her stature and renown. One wouldn’t suppose that bricklayers, stonemasons, heavy equipment operators, or welders would recognize her name. But, they could. One never knows.

However, Ms. Ravitch is a well-respected, and highly-regarded education historian, policy analyst, and author, who also blogs on her personal website DianeRavitch.net, and for many years, has advocated for improvements in Public Education.

She was appointed by POTUSes Clinton and George W. Bush to public service, served as Assistant Secretary of Education from 1991-93 to Secretary of Education, Lamar Alexander. From there, she was appointed membership to the National Assessment Governing Board, which supervises the National Assessment of Educational Progress, and served in that capacity from 1997-2004. She earned her PhD from Columbia University, and undergraduate from Wellesley College.

And ardent education reformer who opposes Common Core and the seemingly incessant testing to which students are subjected, she has said that the only sure way to stop corporations’ efforts to undermine taxpayer-funded Public Education is to “build a political movement so united and clear in its purpose, that it would be heard in every state Capitol, and even in Washington, D.C.”

Caricature of James Russell Lowell, by Théobald Chartran published in Vanity Fair, 21 August 1880.

Whereas formerly, she supported the school voucher system, she now opposes it, and in her 2010 book “The Death and Life of the Great American School System,” which NPR described as a “terrific and timely book,” she explains why she did so, citing an abundance of “new evidence.”

In a January 22, 2020 entry in her blog, she recently posted a poem from late American poet Read the rest of this entry »

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Politics, Religion, And Sex

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, January 10, 2020

https://www.statesman.com/news/20200109/court-rejects-appeal-arguing-that-latex-clad-dancers-are-nude-under-texas-law

PPL can be so stupid.

I think we’re living in an extraordinarily stupid era.

Sure, there are ~some~ smart folks, and some genuinely genius things have been, and are being done. But, on the whole, this age is small-minded, and inordinately consumed with a desire to make, by force of law, others behave according to the privately-held sacrosanct tenets of select individuals or groups who are, in effect, writing private law, instead of public law.

Most such individuals and groups are ultra right-wing religious radicals, zealots of the First Order, who, legally mandate others to behave according to their private principles. The ostensible effect is impressing casual observers that the adherent/practitioner believes, because their behavior demonstrates adherence and obedience to those rules and regulations. It also thereby gives automatic imprimatur to them. In such tenets, they see themselves as performing the will of their god/ess, and by extension, being pleasing to the same. It is a form of wholesale cultural appropriation and subjugation.

It is, in effect, a hypocrisy, a type of lip service which has been ridiculed and mocked via memes such as “Jesus is coming. Quick! Look busy!,” and others similarly.

In essence, in its simplest, purest form, it boils down to one group of people wanting to control another group of people, and to force them into submitting to their privately held beliefs, most of which are religiously motivated, and often predicated upon a “thou shalt not” type law.

However, the highest, if not entire, notion of religion is not only freedom, but of self-improvement and self-regulation. Religion ostensibly seeks the betterment of the individual, and by natural extension, the whole, the collective, the corporate, the community.

By working on an Read the rest of this entry »

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Why Should Churches Should Be Taxed?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Ownership of these churches in the Archdiocese of Santa Fe was transferred to the parishes. As a result, the churches are excluded from the bankruptcy estate available to clergy abuse victims. [Photographer: William LeGoullon for Bloomberg Businessweek]

Tax churches because they’re businesses, plain and simple. The product or service they provide is religion and/or spirituality.

Bloomberg Business News published the findings of their most recent financial investigation, which showed that – as expected – like any nominally competent business organization, or conglomerated international corporation, the Catholic Church in the United States has moved to protect its assets from being considered part of any potential judgments/settlements arising from individual or Class Action lawsuits initiated by individuals (plaintiffs) who as children were abused by priests, and now are adults.

From a business perspective, one could think of it as the Church opposing members who may be potential or prospective “creditors” in any liability arising from sex abuse cases.

The Federal Government needs to RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) them, because they’re clearly corrupt as evidenced by:
• Perpetrating, and perpetuating, sexual abuse, by;
• Deliberately hiding and shuffling perpetrator priests, and by;
• Deliberately shifting and hiding assets in response to lawsuits.

Catholic Church Shields $2 Billion in Assets to Limit Abuse Payouts

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2020-01-08/the-catholic-church-s-strategy-to-limit-payouts-to-abuse-victims

“In many cases, churches precede bankruptcy by transferring and reclassifying assets.

The effect is to shrink the pot of money available to clergy abuse victims.

“That and Chapter 11’s [bankruptcy] universal settle­ments and protections from further claims have been an effective Read the rest of this entry »

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Mandatory Death Penalty For Pedophile Priests

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, December 28, 2019

In this Dec. 18, 2019 photo, Joey Covino poses for a photo at his home in Saugus, Mass., with a photo of himself as a 9-year-old boy. Covino was abused by Rev. Richard J. McCormick at a summer camp in Massachusetts in 1981. Covino said the entirety of his adult life had been altered by McCormick’s abuse – failed relationships, his decisions to join the military and later the police, nightmares that plagued him. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Hundreds of

accused clergy

left off church’s

sex abuse lists

apnews.com/f6238fe6724bdf4f30a42ff7d11a327e

Can anyone think of any legitimate reason why child sex offenders should not get a mandatory Death Penalty – with no possibility for appeals?

Sex offenders who prey upon children are incorrigible. They are literally incapable of reform. It would be easier to ask a leopard to change its spots.

In this Monday, Aug. 10, 2015 file photo, Judge Timothy Feeley, left, addresses the former Rev. Richard J. McCormick, 74, in Salem Superior Court in Boston after his conviction of raping Joey Covino as a child, for which he was sentenced up to 10 years. Joey Covino said the entirety of his adult life had been altered by McCormick’s abuse over two summers at a Salesian camp – failed relationships, his decisions to join the military and later the police, nightmares that plagued him. His decision to come forward led to McCormick’s conviction of rape in 2014. McCormick has since plead guilty to assaulting another boy. (Faith Ninivaggi/The Boston Herald via AP, Pool)

No form of treatment – not even chemical castration – has ever “cured” or eliminated child sex abusers’ compulsion to harm children. Professionals acknowledge that, “no cure exists for pedophilia.” As one organization put it, “No one has been able to find a way to change pedophiles into nonpedophiles.” It is splitting hairs to argue that the term “pedophile” is somehow inapplicable because sexual attraction to, and sexual abuse of, children aged 11 to 14 is categorized as “hebephilia.”

Currently-accepted thought is that child sexual abusers are born with a predilection for being sexually aroused by children. And while that inordinate unhealthy desire can be “cultivated,” per se, it needn’t be acted upon – it needn’t be cultivated.

Sexual preference for children (as in normal, healthy, youthful sexual desire) doesn’t have to result in actual sexual behaviors being demonstrated toward or upon children, and is differentiated from acting upon one’s thoughts – including differentiating between fantasy and reality.

It is differentiated from habitual sexual abuse of children, especially by adult males in a religious order (in this case), who exercised some degree of authority, or control over the children and teens in their “flock” of believers.

How common is sexual abuse of children?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that 1 in 4 girls (25%), and 1 in 6 boys (16.6%) are sexually abused before age 18, with the average age of first abuse between ages 9 and 10. The typical pattern is abuse by an adult male acquaintance (60%), which continues for at least 4 years.

As of March 31, 2016, there were 805,781 registered sex offenders in the United States. Many offenders evade detection and their offenses are unknown, along with the actual number of child molesters, which also remains unknown. As well, the root cause(s) of their impulses are largely unknown.

The Catholic Church has not helped to expose or stop such horrific wrong-doing, and instead, has conspired to Read the rest of this entry »

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Merry F’n Christmas

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, December 8, 2019

Pregnant by someone to whom she is not married… unwed, refugees, homeless… foreigners in a foreign land.

Yeah.

What a story, eh?

“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

Yeahbut… Jesus, when did we see you as a thief, child molester or murderer in prison, eh?

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”

That’s just tough shit for some, eh?

Church nativity depicts Jesus, Mary and Joseph as family separated at border

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/church-nativity-depicts-jesus-mary-joseph-family-separated-border-n1097891

Repulsed by report of staff raping women at Florida federal prison, Rubio demands inquiry

Read the rest of this entry »

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Believing The Lie

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, November 24, 2019

Nowadays, it’s not uncommon to hear some right-wing nutjob talk about “god.” Which one that is, I have no idea. They rarely say. It’s just “god.”

But those same ones, who most often align themselves with the GOP (NOTE: GOP does not stand for “Party Of God”) hold themselves out, or so it seems, as not only paragons of virtue, but morally superior to all others.

What’s especially problematic, is that they purport to know what’s good best for you, and for everyone else. In other words, if you live your life according to their precepts, and dictates, everything’ll be hunky dory, and peachy keen. All will be well in La-La Land.

But please… what ever you do, DO NOT attempt to tell them what to do! You know… because they’re right, and you’re not. You’re an evil Liberal Atheist Democrat, and you need “god.” They are the ONLY ones who’re right, or correct. They’re god’s frozen chosen. And besides, you shouldn’t eat babies. Not even veal.

And Trump… Trump is “god’s man.”

According to them, he’s been “chosen by god for such a time as this,” despite the fact that he’s an habitually chronic liar, sexual abuser, serial divorcer, philanderer, tax cheat, and all-around scumbag.

But again… you know, he’s “god’s man.”

To which I say… well, goddamn.

The Evangelical community in large part perceives this to be a struggle between good, and evil, and their god is in the GOP since they’re right, and no one else is correct. They have an exclusive corner on the truth. They’re doing god’s work, and what they do is god’s will.

Again, all is well in La-La Land.

It just so happens that Read the rest of this entry »

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To Trump, or Not To Trump: Religion, Politics, and Voting

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, October 28, 2019

As I pondered how to begin this entry, numerous thoughts occurred to me about the possible pathway it could take. But the bottom line (Already? Yes, already.) is that what I really want to do is talk about politics and religion.

Sure, almost everyone has heard the adage and encouragements to avoid talking about those two subjects, and almost always to avoid them at holiday family get-togethers. And then, there’s “polite company,” in which one doesn’t want to appear controversial, start a quarrel, or possibly offend someone.

But this is none of the above, and you’ve read this far, so here we go.

Globally, within the last 50 years, and more so since the 1990’s in this nation (the United States), there has emerged a politically active religious movement which has innervated the halls of government at the national and state levels. Local politics has some effect, but nowhere is it more seen and felt than at those two levels.

We have seen the emergence of right-wing extremism in almost all religions, and it’s certainly most visible in the Abrahamic monotheistic religions of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity – three sects of a common religion from the same family which essentially share the same god.

In recent history, we have seen it demonstrated as a revolt against liberalism (which is properly defined as “freedom”) in Iran in 1979, in which right-wing religious extremists of the Islamic religion, led by the Ayatollah Ruholla Kohmeni (1902-1989) overthrew the Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi (1919-1980). Since that time, the nation has remained under the oppressive religious regime of the Islamic Republican Party.

We have also witnessed events such as the rise of radical Islam in the Taliban in Afghanistan, the Islamic State (formerly known as ISIS, or ISIL), and numerous sects in other Middle Eastern nations, many of which were formerly free from religious influence in government.

While there are many other complicating features of those nations’ internal struggles, such as governmental oppression, totalitarianism, involvement by foreign governments in propping up leaders seen as useful to those same governments, etc., suffice it to say, it is true that the revolutionary forces were almost exclusively religiously motivated by fear of losing their religion at the hand of the existing governmental state.

In the United States, led in large part by the Reverend Jerry Falwell (1933-2007), founder of Liberty University, and supported by Evangelicals such as Pat Robertson (b.1930) and his 700 Club and Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) led by Paul (1924-2013) and Jan Crouch (1939-2016), and a veritable host of other high-profile religious leaders who used television, such as Oral Roberts (1918-2009), Kenneth Hagin (1917-2003), Kenneth Copeland (b.1936), Jerry Savelle (b.1946), Marilyn Hickey (b.1931), Jimmy Swaggart (b.1935), et al., have exercised significant political sway upon a large portion of the American voting public, which in turn, elected officials and politicians who would do their political bidding in Washington, and in states’ capitols nationwide.

Once described as “values voters” who measured candidates on high moral character, Evangelicals now unify behind an unholy trinity of nativism, xenophobia and White grievance. They have exchanged ethics of accountability principles, to thinking “the end justifies the means,” and have stopped searching for personal character and leadership quality in political leaders, and instead have accepted the actions and morality of their chosen candidates if their election objectives are met.

Such actions are problematic not only for religion, but for government as well. Because if religion has become a tool used by government, it has lost its own internal moral compass, and its influence and usefulness as a force for public virtue, private morality, and social unification has become worthless. And even if that is true (and increasingly, it seems so), then America has lost its own unique character of adherence to principles of tolerance, seeking peaceful resolution to problems, and its own commitment to equality under law.

All those groups and people have one thing in common: they constrain freedom in people by using religion to manipulate government. And yet, as evidenced by numerous hind-sight observations in the 2016 General Election, the irony – and disturbingly eerie parallel – of the matter, is that Evangelicals are no longer adherent to orthodoxy, or traditional “old time religion,” which has become as equally a motivating religious fear factor for them, as much as it is for radical Islam.

In Middle Eastern nations, it has been more violent, but the objectives are the same: Wrest control of the existing government away from its leaders, and install religious extremists in power; curtail personal freedoms; subjugate and limit women to child-rearing and housekeeping roles; deny women education – keep them illiterate; deny women access to contraceptives or abortion services, thereby forcing them to become pregnant and give birth; deny women – and others – voting rights; deny women and others freedom of movement by forbidding them to drive automobiles; force everyone to adhere to the state religion, or face harsh punishment or execution for disobeying, or speaking against it.

While in the United States such drastic measures have not all occurred, little by little, led largely by Republicans, states and the Federal government are enacting laws limiting hard-won civil rights, such as 18-year-olds’ Right to Vote; denying women access to contraception, and limiting therapeutic abortion.

While the argument has changed in tenor and is now couched as a “right to life” (a phrase not found in the Constitution, but only in the Declaration of Independence – “…they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”), its beginning is unmistakably religious in origin, having first been promulgated by the Catholic Church, and later adopted by Evangelical Protestants as a tenet of their faith, as well.

But, because many don’t necessarily see eye-to-eye on that subject, those who would restrict others’ freedoms, instead, take a circuitous, surreptitious route to force their beliefs upon others, ultimately, by making voting more difficult, and hoping they’ll stay away from polls on Election Day. Because when voters don’t vote, freedom is the ultimate loser. And sadly, that is how some want it – because they think there’s just too much freedom – and wrongly claim that responsibility is absent from freedom.

This Spring, the Republican-dominated Texas State Legislature enacted legislation which forbids any early voting polling place from being open less than the full 12 days of the early voting period. The net effect is that 9 sites on college and university campuses in the state – as well as 6 campus polling locations in Fort Worth, 2 in Brownsville, and others throughout the state – will be forced to close, effectively disenfranchising very nearly 14,000 full-time student voters.

In Wisconsin, despite the fact that there has never been a case of deliberate student voter fraud in state history, the Republican-led state legislature passed legislation that requires poll workers to check signatures ONLY on student IDs, even though many schools have removed signatures from them because it’s a security risk, since the IDs are also used as debit cards, and room keys. As well, that same law mandates that IDs used for voting purposes must expire in 2 years, while most Student IDs are valid for 4 years. Not only that, but students with acceptable IDs must also show proof of enrollment before being allowed to vote. While the state’s colleges and universities have diligently tried to meet all ID requirements for the students to use school IDs to exercise their voting rights, the end result has been statewide student voter chaos.

In New Hampshire, a Republican-led effort which became law now requires newly-registered voters who also drive, to establish “domicile” there by obtaining a New Hampshire Driver License and automobile registration, which can cost hundreds of dollars annually. The catch is, it affects students almost exclusively, because 60% of the state’s students come from outside the state. That too, was a Republican-led effort by the former Republican Speaker of the House, William O’Brien, who in 2011 promised to restrict student voting and said they are “kids voting liberal, voting their feelings, with no life experience.”

In Texas, which ranks dead last in voter turnout, the state’s Republican legislators have restricted student voter pre-registration to 2 months before the student’s 18th birthday, excludes use of college and university-issued ID cards, mandates that state driver licenses be used -and- only if they sign a form swearing that they could not reasonably obtain an “accepted” voter ID, and explain why.

Tennessee isn’t too far behind. That state’s Republican legislators use a convenient loophole in the law requiring election officials to help register high school students to avoid fulfilling their obligation, do not accept student IDs as valid for voting purposes, and have excluded out-of-state Driver Licenses as forms of valid Voter ID. The state’s 4 most populous cities – Nashville, Knoxville, Memphis, and Chattanooga – also have significant student populations, and no on-campus early voting polling locations. However, a recent law requires those who would – for pay – register voters, to take a 30 minute course offered by the Secretary of State, while those who would – not for hire – register voters out of a sense of civil service, are not required to take the course. Although, the state’s General Assembly does allow expired IDs such as United States Passport, military photo ID, TN driver license, and TN handgun carry permit with photo, and photo ID issued by the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, to be used as valid forms of Voter ID.

Sunny Florida doesn’t fare so well, either. That state’s Republican Secretary of State outlawed on-campus early voting sites in 2014, but following a Federal court challenge, the decision was overturned and 60,000 votes were cast on campuses statewide in the 2018 election. Not to be outdone, the state’s legislators re-enacted the ban and required all early voting sites to have “sufficient non-permitted parking,” which is often difficult to find.

The Tarheel State hasn’t been very friendly to student voters, either. North Carolina’s Republican legislators passed a Voter ID law in 2018 that accepted student IDs as valid for voting purposes, albeit with caveats so burdensome that even major state universities couldn’t comply. While the law was relaxed somewhat, confusion still exists, and consequently, less than half of the state’s 180 accredited institutions have sought Voter ID certification for their students’ IDs.

Aside from the common denominator of student status, the single greatest factor in all these cases is that students reliably vote for Democratic candidates.

Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government found in a March 2019 poll that Read the rest of this entry »

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Love Is Not Like That

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, October 6, 2019

(Previously titled: Thoughts on Religious “Free Will”)

Recently, in conversation with friends over the evening meal (supper) at a nearby restaurant, a comment was made observing something to the effect of recent global events, specifically, Iraqi uprisings in that nation, which in turn quickly segued into a remark by that same one, which was something to the effect of “the LORD is doing wonderful things in that nation,” or very similar.

About two days later, in conversation with another different friend, I shared that experience, and the remarks, and commented that, “You know, it’s as if the people who say things like that are proud of their god, as it like they trained it. ‘Attaboy, god! You go! You’re doing such a good job! We’re proud of you!’ It’s as if they’re praising a child for doing something good, proper, or right.”

Additional remarks might be something like, ‘There you go, god! You’re doing a good job! Keep up the good work! You’re doing SO MUCH BETTER! Earlier, you weren’t worth a shit… but NOW!?! You’re doing FANTASTIC work!’

You see how absurd that is?

If a person has a god which is an omniscient, omnipotent being, why would that one need praise? It’s wholly, entirely, and totally absurd. People only praise those whom are doing things they approve of, and who have some semblance of commonality – who share an often-unifying common bond – either by sharing national origin, or some other similar factor.

Praise the astronauts who were the volunteer human subjects who sat atop rockets destined (hopefully) for outer space, for their heroic actions, and intestinal fortitude. But, they were mere men, as well. It’s the same thing for firefighters, who, instead of running out of a burning building, rush headlong INTO it.

It’s totally contrary to what our natural instincts (the preservation of life) are.

And yet, some even died in those processes – of space exploration, and saving others’ lives and property.

And if they survive, all of them age, and eventually later die.

And by golly, if a god is all that and a bag of chips, what’s the point?

Seriously.

Heaping praise for an omniscient, omnipotent being from those who are utterly the epitome of stupidity?

C’mon…

If that’s not a case of putting the cart before the horse, I don’t know what is.

It’d be like having a child heaping praise upon Albert Einstein (1879-1955) for developing the Theory of Relativity, or praising Robert Boyle (1627-1691) for discovering Boyle’s Law, or congratulating Italian scientist Amedeo Avogadro (1776-1856) for discovering Avogadro’s number/constant.

It’s utterly inconsistent with the idea of praise for congratulations, adulation, or adoration to come from below. Properly, praise comes from above. Your boss, or supervisor praises you. Or, even a colleague praises you. But hardly ever does an inferior praise a superior. While it does, and has happened, it’s certainly not the norm.

But again, I digress.

The point I had hoped to express was about the idea of “free will” as often expressed by Baptists, and other right-wing extremist Christian faith traditions.

Over supper, I expressed my thoughts to the friend, that I Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in - Did they REALLY say that?, - Faith, Religion, Goodness - What is the Soul of a man? | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Do We Own Relationships?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, October 4, 2019

In an email exchange with a long-time friend about human sexuality and religion, I expressed an idea which I’ve been developing for quite some time, but had never written it. Though I’d talked about it with others, I’d never written it.

The idea concerns itself with the proposal that our sexuality has been, and largely continues to be, a tool by which we are controlled for others’ purposes, most notably religious and political.

Christendom, and other religions – including the Abrahamic traditions of Judaism, and Islam – have continually said “no” to the expression of human sexuality, even though sexual response and the orgasm itself is but a mere function of the autonomic nervous system, which is but one of many in a collection of bodily functions over which we have no control, including pupillary response, digestion, rate of respiration and heart rate, blood pressure, and micturition (the creation of urine), most notably.

So it seems more than odd that we should be punished by religions for something over which we largely have little-to-no control. And yet, within many religions, it is precisely that sort of thing which (the attempt to control one’s uncontrollable functions) has innervated religions for eons. We see it in the flagellation associated with the Passion of the Christ in annual displays worldwide. We see it in the writings of the Desert Fathers whose asceticism is renown. We see it even in the daily functions of Abrahamic religions. It is pervasive.

Raquel Welch, in Los Angeles, on a cross; 1970 photograph by British photographer Terry O’Neill; wearing a fur bikini from the 1966 motion picture “One Million Years B.C.,” in which she starred, which was a remake of the original 1940 “One Million B.C.”

As well, a sense of shame and guilt is brought with it in order to continue to subdue others. None of it makes any sense. And yet, amidst it all, faithful adherents are told to become “more Christlike,” or “godly” by taming other genuinely negative behaviors and expressions such as selfishness, anger, hatred, lying, and numerous other unbecoming attitudes.

However, the root cause of it all has largely, to date, undefined – though it has been touched upon in numerous homilies, sermons, and teachings.

And so, while it is largely unrefined, per se, the core of the idea which I have been long considering is expressed here below, and is excerpted from an email to a long-time friend.

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The Scriptures make it abundantly clear that: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in - Even MORE Uncategorized!, - Faith, Religion, Goodness - What is the Soul of a man? | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Dreams, and Surviving As An Empath

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, June 3, 2019

Bob Hayden is a fellow whom I met several years ago in Birmingham, AL at a Dreams Interpretation Workshop, which I attended as part of my own personal, spiritual growth and development.

Bob is a retired Episcopal priest who founded the institute which bears his name in Asheville, NC, which in the years since, has grown significantly in size, scope, and outreach, and now has a presence in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada.

Carl Jung in his study.

It was after attending that workshop that I began to understand the significant genius that Swiss psychiatrist/psychologist Carl Jung Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in - Faith, Religion, Goodness - What is the Soul of a man?, - Round, round, get around, I get around. | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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