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The Big Problem With ‘Biblical Literacy’
America is, quite famously, a nation founded on the principle of freedom of religion. As a result it is easy to understand why many people would be uncomfortable with certain kinds of religious practices (mostly notably prayer) and education in public schools. A little over a week ago President Trump tweeted his support for the introduction of Biblical literacy classes in schools, drawing attention to efforts by a variety of Christian groups to put the Bible back on the high school agenda.
Following Trump’s statement there was a flurry of media coverage of the issue. Fox News reported that “at least six states, Florida, Indiana, Missouri, North Dakota, Virginia and West Virginia have introduced legislation this year pushing for public schools to offer Bible literacy classes,” noting that these classes would be electives. (The Indiana bill is not actually a Bible course bill at all. It demands that the previously existing world religions electives class has to include a conversation about the Bible).
There is a strategy here: Project Blitz, an initiative sponsored by the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation, the National Legal Foundation and the WallBuilders ProFamily Legislative Network, has been orchestrating the push to create these bills.
As prominent SMU religious studies professor Mark Chancey has written, it’s actually already legal to teach the Bible in schools, so in some sense these bills are unnecessary. Courses like the one Trump is tweeting have been around for a century. Chancey told The Daily Beast that “it is important to recognize that Bible course bills and their sponsors may have different motivations…sometimes a bill is clearly about more than just biblical literacy, and that's definitely the case with Project Blitz bills.” Other measures that Project Blitz has called for includes the promotion of the motto “In God We Trust,” the introduction of a “year of the Bible” and the limiting of the rights of same-sex couples and transgender people. Chancey told me, “Project Blitz is weaponizing Biblical Literacy for the cultural wars.”
The Daily Beast
Ellen Page Calls Out Chris Pratt for Attending ‘Infamously Anti-LGBTQ’ Church
Ellen Page on Thursday criticized Chris Pratt for attending a “infamously anti-LGBTQ” church after he appeared on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” and discussed his religious side.
The “Guardians of the Galaxy” star sat down with Colbert to promote “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part,” and Pratt said he just finished a 21-day Daniel Fast that he took part in through his church and that his pastor encouraged. He also said the pastor shared with him words of wisdom about balancing fame and his inner self.
“If the spotlight that is shining on you is brighter than the light that’s within you, it will kill you,” Pratt recounted to Colbert.
Page tweeted about the appearance and the pastor shortly after, writing, “Oh. K. Um. But his church is infamously anti lgbtq so maybe address that too?”
Ellen Page just thrashed Chris Pratt on Twitter & she has a good point
Instagram just banned longtime gay historian Tom Bianchi, & it’s part of a troubling anti-gay trend
Tom Bianchi is a longtime male erotic photographer and HIV activist whose photographs have helped document gay men’s sexual history on Fire Island and elsewhere. But as of this morning, you won’t be seeing his images on Instagram anymore because the photo-sharing platform recently banned him.
The shot that got Bianchi banned was called “Untitled, 457,” a picture from his collection entitled Fire Island Pines: Polaroids 1975-1983. The shot simply showed a naked man sitting on a bedside with his back to the camera. It showed the top of the man’s buttocks but was otherwise non-obscene. At the point of its deletion, it allegedly had over 5,000 likes.
Bianchi’s banning isn’t necessarily surprising. The Facebook-owned photo-sharing platform has a habit of deleting supposedly risqué homoerotic content, including tasteful pictures of nude athletes, an image of Queer Eye food guy Antoni Porowski in his underwear and even a lovely image of a lesbian couple cuddling in bed with their child.
EXCLUSIVE: Michael Jackson is captured in astonishing video deposition squirming, giggling and quoting Bible verses as he's questioned about molesting boys in unearthed footage
Squirming in his seat, Michael Jackson is asked directly on camera whether he's a pedophile in newly unearthed video footage obtained by DailyMailTV.
The King (Perv) of Pop is quizzed by lawyers about allegations of child sexual abuse in what's understood to be the only time he was ever filmed being questioned on the subject during his life.
The iconic singer, who at the time was 37, appears nervous and laughs, giggles and jokes his way through questions about molesting children in the astonishing footage dated March 1, 1996.
GLORIA ALLRED I Have No Doubt ... MICHAEL JACKSON MOLESTED KIDS
Diocese removed Iowa priest after girl reported touching
A longtime Roman Catholic priest in Iowa has been removed from the ministry indefinitely after a girl complained a year ago that he improperly touched her, a diocese has confirmed.
The fourth-grader alleged that the Rev. Brian Danner of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Humboldt rubbed the top of her leg while taking her confession, the Diocese of Sioux City told The Associated Press. The girl's parents were "extremely upset" and complained to church officials, recalled diocese lawyer Michael Ellwanger.
The diocese reported the incident to the county attorney last December and has revoked Danner's ability to function as a priest indefinitely. Its review found that Danner's actions were inappropriate but didn't constitute sexual abuse, Ellwanger said.
Global Catholic nuns urge reporting of sex abuse to police
Armed men kidnap 15 girls in southeastern Niger: mayor
Child bride auctioned on Facebook in 'barbaric use of technology'
Facebook has come under fire for a "barbaric use of technology" that allowed the sale of a child bride to be held on its site.
An auction was held on the social media platform for a 16-year-old girl in South Sudan which sought payment for her hand in marriage.
Facebook said the post was taken down as soon as the company learned of it, but that wasn't until after the girl was married.
According to children's rights organization Plan International, the girl was bid on by five men, some of whom were reportedly high-ranking South Sudanese government officials.
Man Sentenced to Life for Raping 7-Year-Old Girl Just 6 Weeks After Being Released for Another Rape
More than 420 suspects are being investigated in £100m Rotherham grooming inquiry after conviction of gang who forced girl to have sex with 'at least 100 Asian men' by the time she was 16
A Teen Was Allegedly Sexually Assaulted With A Broomstick At A Prestigious All-Boys Catholic School In Toronto
Police in Toronto are seeking information on multiple incidents of alleged sexual and physical assaults at a private all-boys Catholic school after videos of two of the alleged assaults surfaced on social media earlier this week.
St. Michael’s College School in Toronto has expelled eight students and suspended one after videos of two separate incidents — one which involved allegations of sexual assault — were circulated online.
Toronto police said Friday that its investigation into one of the incidents — in which a student was allegedly sexually assaulted with a broomstick by a group of boys in a locker room — has opened a “number of occurrences involving incidents of alleged assaultive and sexually assaultive behavior” at the school.
Six Americans file class action lawsuit against Vatican claiming U.S. Catholic clergy sexually abused them
Trans youth are twice as likely to be sexually assaulted or raped in the US
Evangelicals are boycotting these stores for Christmas to celebrate Jesus’ birth
Ever year the religious right boycotts various companies for Christmas because Jesus wouldn’t shop at a store that doesn’t advertise Christmas sales or something.
Evangelicals have used multiple reasons for their nonsense. Starbucks holiday cup didn’t specifically say “Christmas.” Target lets transgender people use the restroom. J. Crew doesn’t use nativity scene clipart to sell sweaters.
Now two anti-LGBTQ hate groups have issued their yearly “naughty or nice” list (despite Santa’s absence from the Bible) and the reasons they’ve targeted some companies is just as laughable.
Shocking video of two churches pushing ex-gay therapy may help end the practice
While more US states prepare to ban so-called ex-gay conversion therapy, the harmful practice of trying to change someone’s sexual orientation remains legal through the UK. And a recent TV report has captured disturbing footage of two UK churches claiming that God can “fix” gay people.
An ITV investigative report revealed that Journey UK and World Mission Agency – Winners Chapel International (WMA-WCI) both advocate the idea that one can pray the gay away.
A man from Journey UK spoke to an undercover ITV reporter about how certain activities can help lessen one’s feelings of same-sex attraction. A pastor from WMA-WCI told the reporter that gay people are under Satan’s control and compared positive media depictions of gay people to Nazi propaganda.
The WMA-WCI pastor also said a 20-minute prayer over the reporter, even speaking in tongues, presumably attempting to “heal” him.
Inside the Fight to Uncover the Truth About Trump’s Anti-LGBT Crusade
In the wake of an explosive anti-transgender memo leaked from the Department of Health and Human Services and published by the New York Times, LGBT advocates have questions: Who proposed that “sex” be defined by original birth certificate? Was there any pushback? Who, if anyone, was consulted?
But under an administration that has not exactly been forthcoming on LGBT issues, the only way to get answers might be through Freedom of Information Act requests, the Human Rights Campaign says.
The Daily Beast
Ex-gays to march to show 'Jesus' love delivered them from LGBTQ lifestyle'
A group of people who claim to be former ‘homosexuals’ and ‘transgenders’ will take to the streets Los Angeles to show Jesus changed them. They want to show that people can stop being LGBTI.
The Freedom March is a collective of people who claim to no longer be LGBTI. Their second ever march is happening on 4 November.
Gay Star News
Anti-gay lawyers just showed up in the Supreme Court with a big ask for Brett Kavanaugh
A team of conservative lawyers filed a petition in the Supreme Court on Friday, effectively asking the Court to allow religious conservatives to discriminate against same-sex couples.
Trump Administration to create policy allowing federal contractors to discriminate against LGBTI people
Major Christian group tells members to pray for the right to harm LGBT children
The Family Research Council has been designated an anti-LGBTQ hate group – and there’s a good reason.
While the organization is best known for its vociferous opposition to abortion and LGBTQ rights, they’ve made considerable inroads into the Trump administration thanks to their ties to Vice President Mike Pence.
Tony Perkins, the group’s leader, is one of our adulterous and immoral president’s biggest supporters. Under his leadership, the group has become explicitly political and is frequently involved in Republican policy making.
In a “prayer of the day” email sent to supporters, today Perkins asks his followers to plead with God for the right to harm LGBT children. And elect far right Republicans.
WAIT, WHAT? Conservative Blogger Calls for 'Underground Railroad' to Kidnap Children of Gay Parents
No one will go to jail in vicious gang-beating of a gay man even though his attackers were arrested
An appeals court just overturned the conviction of a man who was accused of taking part in the gang-beating of a gay, black man.
In 2013, Taj Patterson was walking in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, when he was attacked by a dozen men who were part of an Orthodox neighborhood watch group.
The men accused Patterson of vandalizing cars, even though they had not filed a police report and police found the claim of vandalism to be unfounded.
The men beat Patterson while saying, “Stay down, faggot, stay the fuck down.” He was left blind in one eye after the brutal attack.
Thousands of people are seeking help after being forced into ‘ex-gay therapy’
In December 2014, a tractor-trailer traveling down Interstate 71 in Ohio struck and killed Leelah Alcorn.
Alcorn, who identified as transgender, had posted a suicide note on her Tumblr in which she described her isolation, desperation, and depression—feelings she blamed, in part, on the “conversion therapy” her conservative Christian parents forced her to undergo. Alcorn’s parents believed their “sick” child could be forcibly turned back into a boy and “cured” of her attraction to males.