The Salvation Army’s History of Anti-LGBT Discrimination

From Huffington Post:


In recent years, the Salvation Army has come under fire for its lengthy history of anti-LGBT political maneuvering and other incidents. The church has publicly articulated its belief that homosexuality is unacceptable, stating:

Scripture opposes homosexual practices by direct comment and also by clearly implied disapproval. The Bible treats such practices as self-evidently abnormal. … Attempts to establish or promote such relationships as viable alternatives to heterosexually-based family life do not conform to God’s will for society.

While such statements were recently removed from the Salvation Army’s website, the church has yet to repudiate any of its explicitly anti-gay beliefs. And though these positions may seem to be limited to the group’s internal doctrines, they’ve become a persistent element of the church’s overtly political activities — activities which have negatively impacted the Salvation Army’s ability to provide charitable services, and have aimed to limit the rights and benefits of LGBT citizens in multiple nations.

1986 — The Salvation Army of New Zealand collected signatures against the Homosexual Law Reform Act, which repealed the law criminalizing sex between adult men. The Salvation Army later apologized for campaigning against the Act.

1998 — The Salvation Army of the United States chose to turn down $3.5 million in contracts with the city of San Francisco, resulting in the closure of programs for the homeless and senior citizens. The church backed out of these contracts due to San Francisco’s requirement that city contractors must provide spousal benefits to both same-sex partners and opposite-sex partners of employees. Lieutenant Colonel Richard Love stated:

We simply cannot agree to be in compliance of the ordinance.

In 2004, the Salvation Army in New York City also threatened to close down all of its services for the city’s homeless due to a similar non-discrimination ordinance.

2000 — The Salvation Army of Scotland submitted a letter to Parliament opposing the repeal of Section 28, a law prohibiting “the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship”. Colonel John Flett, the church’s Scotland Secretary, wrote:

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Noam Chomsky: U.S. used to have people killed for practicing what Pope Francis preaches

From Raw Story:

By Travis Gettys
Thursday, December 12, 2013

The United States waged a decades-long war against Catholics who practiced the teachings that got Pope Francis named as Time magazine’s person of the year, said political philosopher Noam Chomsky.

He said that the 1962 Vatican II conference had restored the Gospels to the Roman Catholic Church for the first time since the 4th Century, when the Roman Empire took over Christianity as its official religion, and this had a profound effect on religious leaders in Latin America.

Chomsky said in an interview last week with social justice activist Abel Collins that priests or lay people set up groups with Latin American peasants to read the Gospels and encourage them to demand more rights from the region’s military dictatorships – which became known as liberation theology.

“There is a reason why Christians were persecuted the first three centuries,” Chomsky said. “The Gospels are radical – it’s a radical text – that’s a basically radical pacifism with its preferential option for the poor.”

He said liberation theology’s practitioners were systematically martyred over more than 20 years by U.S.-backed forces to prevent Latin American nations from installing socialist governments to benefit their own people, rather than American interests.

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Robert Reich hammers Newt Gingrich after he blames Democrats for increasing poverty

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Actually Existing Capitalism: Wrecking Societies for the Benefit of Big Capital and the Super-Rich

From Truth Out:

By CJ Polychroniou
Thursday, 12 December 2013

The evidence suggests that capitalism has become wholly predatory and has given up all pretense of being “socially responsible.”

Are all of the socioeconomic issues confronting Europe and the United States – recession or stagnant growth, skyrocketing unemployment, lowered prospects for new job creation, a demand shortage, a widening gap between the haves and have-nots, social malaise – merely consequences of the financial crisis of 2007-08?

A strong case can be made that what we have been witnessing since then is not simply a severe financial crisis centered in the developed world but the fact that today’s capitalism is simply incapable of functioning in an economic way conducive to maintaining sustainable and balanced growth.

The so-called “financialization” of the economy, so prone to financial crises and meltdowns as the late Hyman Minsky has shown, cannot be understood independent of the production processes or developments in the real economy. Advanced capitalism had been facing severe structural stresses, strains and deformations – including overproduction, trade deficits, lack of job growth and elevated public and private debt levels – for quite a few decades prior to the eruption of the financial crisis of 2007-08.

Indeed, the “financialization” wave – which many have labeled “casino capitalism” or “stock market capitalism” but which amounts essentially to the deregulation of giant financial entities capable of shaping and controlling the fate of national economies – began as a result of the structural problems associated with the postwar regime of capital accumulation, whose collapse in the mid-1970s threatened the growing expansion of capitalism. Thus, “financialization” does not spring out of the blue but emerges as an alternative model to the decay of the postwar regime of accumulation.

What is accumulation, you ask? Well, in the Marxist tradition dating back to Marx himself and to his Theories of Surplus Value, capitalist accumulation is the conversion of surplus value into capital for the purpose of producing more surplus value. Keynes disagreed on this point with Marx’s contention by ignoring it completely, but if you believe in the Freudian/Lacanian analysis, that meant that he opted to repress its truism. At any rate, the accumulation of capital is projected to be an objective movement that develops on the basis of the appropriation of unpaid labor power. From a historical perspective, the scale of accumulation depends on the specific form of the expansion of capital and on the productive power of social labor. Hence, when the capitalist class faces capital expansion with a low organic composition of capital (which refers to the ratio of the value of the constant capital to variable capital), the increase of capital is actualized by the growth of absolute surplus values (i.e., by increasing the length of the working day and hence of exploitation).1

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Corporate Democrats in DC Already in Freakout Mode That Liz Warren Is a Threat to Their Power

From Alternet:

There’s a growing smear campaign underway against progressive ideas that might represent a threat to Hillary Clinton in 2016.

By Thom Hartmann
December 10, 2013

The Washington establishment’s war on Senator Elizabeth Warren has officially begun.

On Friday, Jim Kessler, vice president of the centrist Democrat think-tank Third Way, took to the airwaves to defend his organization’s recent attack piece on the Senator. That editorial, which was published in the Wall Street Journal last week, blasted Warren for supporting an expansion of Social Security.

Kessler doubled down on Third Way’s anti-Warren messaging during his appearance on Sirius XM radio, telling host Ari Rabin-Havt that she is “ starting to get out of hand.”

Ignore the not-so-hidden sexism in that comment, and consider for a second what’s really going on here.

Jim Kessler and the corporate Democrat “moderate” types who support Third Way are absolutely terrified. They’re terrified that Elizabeth Warren and her supporters will upend the stranglehold they’ve had on Democratic politics since the Clinton era.

So now they’ve joined Republicans in declaring an all-out war on her and everything she stands for.

Warren has said that she won’t run for President in 2016, but that doesn’t really matter. Because even if she makes good on her promise to fill out her Senate term, Warren’s message and her supporters will continue to threaten what the Democratic establishment sees as an easy road to a second Clinton presidency.

So make no mistake about it—that Wall Street Journal editorial was just the start of a big multi-year smear campaign against progressives who might represent a threat to Hillary Clinton in 2016.

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Paul Krugman: The GOP’s austerity agenda is winning

From Salon:

The New York Times columnist throws some cold water on liberals celebrating the recent budget deal

Friday, Dec 13, 2013

While some people may be celebrating the passage in the House of the Ryan-Murray budget as a defeat for the far right, Paul Krugman takes a look at the big picture in his latest column for the New York Times and finds little to cheer.

“[I]f you take a longer perspective,” Krugman writes, referring to the Tea Party takeover of Congress in 2010, “what you see is a triumph of anti-government ideology that has had enormously destructive effects on American workers.”

Krugman notes that since Republicans roared back into the House majority some three years ago, counter-cyclical federal government spending has dried up, while state-level spending has nearly “collapsed.” And the areas where the cuts have been harshest have been the very same where investment is most important — both in the short- and long-term.

“We haven’t seen anything like the recent government cutbacks since the 1950s, and probably since the demobilization that followed World War II,” Krugman writes. “What has been cut? It’s a complex picture, but the most obvious cuts have been in education, infrastructure, research, and conservation.”

More from Krugman at the New York Times:

There are three things you need to know about these harsh cuts.

First, they were unnecessary. The Washington establishment may have hyperventilated about debt and deficits, but markets have never shown any concern at all about U.S. creditworthiness. In fact, borrowing costs have stayed at near-record lows throughout.

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