March 15, 2017
A ‘family values’ politician, who repeatedly proposed anti-gay laws, is accused of some less than ‘family values’ behaviour.
Joey Hensley, a Republican Tennessee state senator, is alleged to have had an extramarital affair.
But not just any extramarital affair – an affair with his colleague, who is also one of his patients at the medical practice he works at.
And also his second cousin.
The accusations have come about as said cousin divorces her husband, revealing the allegations during testimony in the divorce trial.
Sen. Hensley has served in the state senate since 2013, is a devout Pentecostal Christian and also works as a family physician.
As a GOP senator, he’s made the most of his few years in the legislature to introduce a string of regressive and anti-gay proposals.
He has frequently spoken about the importance of good morals, and fiercely opposed socially progressive laws.
He sponsored a bill that would have forbidden sex ed teachers from ever mentioning the existence of homosexuality, on the grounds that it wasn’t related to human reproduction.
He also sponsored a bill to allow college counsellors to reject seeing students – even suicidal ones – on religious principles after a counsellor was fired for refusing to see an LGBT student, which he thought was fine.
Monday, Mar 13, 2017
The Rev. Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s policy arm, was an emerging leader among young evangelicals because, in part, of his anti-Trump message he preached during the presidential campaign. But now many white Southern Baptist leaders are questioning whether Moore can function in his role, which will require him to lobby before the new Trump administration.
Moore, who said he would not vote for either major party candidate in 2016, was a vocal critic of President Donald Trump and the evangelical leaders who endorsed him. He accused his colleagues of “normalizing an awful candidate” and refused to drink the Trump “Kool-Aid.”
The 45-year-old reverend is feeling backlash for his blunt opposition to the president, according to a report from The Washington Post’s Sarah Pulliam Bailey. One megachurch pastor and Trump supporter, Jack Graham, said after a meeting with Moore that his congregation would withhold $1 million in donations to the Southern Baptist Convention’s umbrella fund. The move has Baptists wondering if Moore will be replaced by someone cozier with the Trump administration.
In May, just before clinching the Republican nomination, Trump attacked Moore in a tweet, insisting that he was “truly a terrible representative of Evangelicals.”
Results from the election appear to support Trump’s theory that evangelicals would rather side with him than a man of the cloth. More than 80 percent of white evangelicals voted for Trump in the election, according to exit polls.
But since Moore was elected to his position in 2013, he has steadily become a beloved leader among younger evangelicals, who may not be as receptive to conservative politics. Moore is also very popular among evangelicals of color, who have welcomed his promotion of racial justice, according to the Post.
Unafraid to deliver public lashings, Moore wrote in December that he has seen a “handful of Christian political operatives excusing immortality and confusing the definition of the gospel.”
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a fellow Southern Baptist, responded to Moore’s persistent commentary by telling Town Hall that he was “utterly stunned that Russell Moore is being paid by Southern Baptists to insult them.”
As president of the Southern Baptists Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, Moore reports to a board of trustees who control his future. The board chairman, Ken Barbic, told the Post in a text that Moore is a “Gospel-centered, faithful, and prophetic voice for Southern Baptists” and that he has the full backing of the board.
By Sarah Lazare
March 15, 2017
Responding to the call “give us our roses while we’re still here,” communities across the United States on Wednesday are staging vigils, rallies and speak-outs as part of a national day of action to “celebrate the lives of black trans women and protect all trans women and femmes.”
The coordinated mobilizations, slated for at least 10 cities and towns, are a response to reports that at least seven transgender women have been killed this year alone, making 2017 on track to be the deadliest year yet for transgender women. Of the women slain, six were black and one was Lakota “two-spirit.” Three were residents of Louisiana and one, Jaqarrius Holland, was just 18 years old.
The mobilizations, which come one week after the International Women’s Day Strike, are rooted in the conviction that in order to build a robust resistance to Trumpism, it is necessary to recognize and uplift the transgender women of color at the forefront of social movements. “In this time, when attacks are coming from all sides, it’s easy to want to triage and hunker down until the threat passes, or even try to find the lowest common denominator,” Angela Peoples, the director of the national LGBTQ organization Get Equal, told AlterNet.
“If we don’t make sure that this resistance is not just a resistance of those who have the most time, access, privilege and visibility, we will continue to see an America where trans lives are constantly under threat and black women [are] targeted and thrown under bus. black trans women and women of color are leading the resistance,” Peoples continued. “If you look at the broader Movement for Black Lives and the movement against deportations—waged long before Trump was in office—trans women’s leadership has been central to these efforts.”
This sentiment was echoed in the call-to-action released by more than 30 organizations, including Southerners on New Ground, Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement and the Queer Detainee Empowerment Project (QDEP). “Any resistance movement that is dynamic and powerful enough to overcome white supremacists and religious extremists who hold power in our government must also be bold enough to stand up and fight back against transphobic, racist, anti-woman, anti-femme forces in our ranks and in our neighborhoods,” the statement proclaims. “We must demand more of ourselves and of each other.”
Actions are slated to sweep major cities, as well as rural areas, following in the footsteps of the first national day of action for black transgender women in 2015, under the banner of #BlackTransLiberationTuesday. A flier for an Omaha action states, “Trans women of color are pinned between the pincers of both racism and transphobia. Black, indigenous and brown trans femmes are under attack.”
WASHINGTON― An estimated 225 million women in the world who want to avoid pregnancy lack access to safe and reliable contraceptives. But President Donald Trump appointed two delegates to the 61st Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women this week who believe birth control access is “antithetical to the values and needs of women worldwide.”
The State Department announced on Monday that it is sending Lisa Correnti, the executive vice president of the Center for Family and Human Rights, to “the most important annual meeting on women’s issues at the United Nations.”
Her organization has been designated a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center. She and the other delegate, Grace Melton, a conservative activist with the Heritage Foundation, have both criticized feminists for promoting contraception use, LGBT anti-discrimination efforts and safe abortion access, according to research by the progressive group American Bridge.
“Alarmingly, this radical feminist agenda reduces the diverse economic, political, and social needs of women around the world to issues of sexuality and fertility,” Melton wrote in a 2011 article. “At the U.N., nearly every conversation, forum, and program that purports to be concerned with women has a monomaniacal focus on such matters as sexual rights, reproductive health, contraception, and abortion.”
Correnti is a longtime anti-abortion activist who has argued that “gay parenting” is “harmful” to children. Her organization refers to family planning and contraception as “population control” and has actively lobbied against it.
“Elite billionaires and powerful governments use the guise of ‘helping poor women’ to extract permanent funding for abortion-promoting and population control groups,” the group said in a 2012 statement on the London Summit on Family Planning. “Contraception will have a higher priority than education, basic health care, infrastructure, and economic improvements – diverting funding from measures that empower women and communities. None of the contraception programs help pregnant women or newborns.”
Trump told Congress in his recent address that he intends to “invest in women’s health.” But he has made it clear, with these appointments and other policy moves, that his administration does not support increased access to reproductive health care globally. In one of his first acts as president, he reinstated the global gag rule, which withholds U.S. foreign aid funding to international health organizations that counsel women on family planning options that include abortion. The gag rule, first put in place by President Ronald Reagan in 1984, has forced has forced health providers “to fire staff, reduce their services or even close their clinics altogether,” according to the Guttmacher Institute.
by Rebecca Solnit
Monday 13 March 2017
Last month, Daniel Ellsberg and Edward Snowden had a public conversation about democracy, transparency, whistleblowing and more. In the course of it, Snowden – who was of course Skyping in from Moscow – said that without Ellsberg’s example he would not have done what he did to expose the extent to which the NSA was spying on millions of ordinary people. It was an extraordinary declaration. It meant that the consequences of Ellsberg’s release of the top-secret Pentagon Papers in 1971 were not limited to the impact on a presidency and a war in the 1970s. The consequences were not limited to people alive at that moment. His act was to have an impact on people decades later – Snowden was born 12 years after Ellsberg risked his future for the sake of his principles. Actions often ripple far beyond their immediate objective, and remembering this is reason to live by principle and act in hope that what you do matters, even when results are unlikely to be immediate or obvious.
I began talking about hope in 2003, in the bleak days after the war in Iraq was launched. Fourteen years later, I use the term hope because it navigates a way forward between the false certainties of optimism and of pessimism, and the complacency or passivity that goes with both. Optimism assumes that all will go well without our effort; pessimism assumes it’s all irredeemable; both let us stay home and do nothing. Hope for me has meant a sense that the future is unpredictable, and that we don’t actually know what will happen, but know we may be able write it ourselves.
Hope is a belief that what we do might matter, an understanding that the future is not yet written. It’s informed, astute open-mindedness about what can happen and what role we may play in it. Hope looks forward, but it draws its energies from the past, from knowing histories, including our victories, and their complexities and imperfections. It means not being the perfect that is the enemy of the good, not snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, not assuming you know what will happen when the future is unwritten, and part of what happens is up to us.
We are complex creatures. Hope and anguish can coexist within us and in our movements and analyses. There’s a scene in the new movie about James Baldwin, I Am Not Your Negro, in which Robert Kennedy predicts, in 1968, that in 40 years there will be a black president. It’s an astonishing prophecy since four decades later Barack Obama wins the presidential election, but Baldwin jeers at it because the way Kennedy has presented it does not acknowledge that even the most magnificent pie in the sky might comfort white people who don’t like racism but doesn’t wash away the pain and indignation of black people suffering that racism in the here and now. Patrisse Cullors, one of the founders of Black Lives Matter, early on described the movement’s mission as “rooted in grief and rage but pointed towards vision and dreams”. The vision of a better future doesn’t have to deny the crimes and sufferings of the present; it matters because of that horror.
I have been moved and thrilled and amazed by the strength, breadth, depth and generosity of the resistance to the Trump administration and its agenda. I did not anticipate anything so bold, so pervasive, something that would include state governments, many government employees from governors and mayors to workers in many federal departments, small towns in red states, new organizations like the 6,000 chapters of Indivisible reportedly formed since the election, new and fortified immigrant-rights groups, religious groups, one of the biggest demonstrations in American history with the Women’s March on 21 January, and so much more.