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8404NEWS -- 2014.05.08.Thursday

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  • James Martin
    May 8, 2014
      Thursday 08 May 2014
       
      1) Secular Americans Condemn SCOTUS Decision to Uphold Sectarian Legislative Prayer
      2) SCOTUS comment from the FRC
      3) Godless Church Services for Atheists Go Global
      4) Economists Slam the War on Drugs in a New London School of Economics Report
      5) Ex-Drag Queen Wins 27% Of The Vote In A Very Conservative District
      6) Anti-gay North Carolina Republican candidate worked as drag queen at gay bar
      7) HGTV Cancels Pilot From Anti-Gay Hosts Following Fan Backlash
       
       
      Extra credit ---
      North Carolina's New Gay Marriage Lawsuit Could Turn 'Everything On Its Head'
      Posted: 04/30/2014 8:03 am EDT Updated: 05/01/2014 10:59 am EDT
       
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      1)
      Secular Americans Condemn SCOTUS Decision to Uphold Sectarian Legislative Prayer - See more at: http://secular.org/news/secular-americans-condemn-scotus-decision-uphold-sectarian-legislative-prayer#sthash.fCTR2BSt.dpuf
      Secular Americans Condemn SCOTUS Decision to Uphold Sectarian Legislative Prayer
      Mon, 05/05/2014 - 12:10

      WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Secular Coalition for America today condemned the Supreme Court’s decision in the Town of Greece v. Galloway case. In a 5-4 decision, the Court found that the town’s practice of beginning legislative sessions with prayers does not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. 

      The Supreme Court’s decision, announced today, overturned an opinion of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

      Today’s decision by the court fails to protect citizens attending local town board meetings from being asked to participate in sectarian prayers.

      Edwina Rogers, Executive Director of the Secular Coalition for America said that sectarian legislative prayer practice does violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment and actively discourages citizens who wish to avoid taking part in sectarian prayers from participating in democratic institutions.

      “We are extremely disappointed that the Court chose to ignore the very blatant burden sectarian prayer imposes on the conscience of citizens with diverse religious beliefs and those without religious beliefs,” said Rogers. “Our founders went to great lengths to ensure that no American would be disenfranchised from civic participation due to their personal religious beliefs or lack thereof. This ruling violates the founding secular principles our country was built on.”

      Americans United for Separation of Church and State argued the case on behalf of Susan Galloway and Linda Stephens, the two residents who objected to the Greece Town Board’s practice of inviting Christian clergy to open its meetings with sectarian prayers. 

      Rob Boston, Director of Communications for Americans United said the decision will have serious negative impacts on many Americans.

      “Thanks to this unfortunate ruling, millions of Americans will be forced to engage in—or at least listen to—official prayer and acts of worship as the price of interacting with local government,” said Boston. “This is a serious violation of the rights of conscience. The court’s decision to bless ‘majority-rules’ prayer is out of step with the changing face of America, which is more secular and less dogmatic.” Boston also serves on the Advisory Board of the Secular Coalition for America.

      The Secular Coalition for America will continue to work to strengthen the secular character of the government by educating lawmakers at both the federal and state levels.

      CONTACT: Lauren Anderson Youngblood, SCA Director of Communications, at lauren@... or (202)299-1091 ext. 205, cell (202)630-9725

      - See more at: http://secular.org/news/secular-americans-condemn-scotus-decision-uphold-sectarian-legislative-prayer#sthash.fCTR2BSt.dpuf

       

      Mon, 05/05/2014 - 12:10

      WASHINGTON , D.C. — The Secular Coalition for America today condemned the Supreme Court’s decision in the Town of Greece v. Galloway case. In a 5-4 decision, the Court found that the town’s practice of beginning legislative sessions with prayers does not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. 

      The Supreme Court’s decision, announced today, overturned an opinion of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

      Today’s decision by the court fails to protect citizens attending local town board meetings from being asked to participate in sectarian prayers.

      Edwina Rogers, Executive Director of the Secular Coalition for America said that sectarian legislative prayer practice does violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment and actively discourages citizens who wish to avoid taking part in sectarian prayers from participating in democratic institutions.

      “We are extremely disappointed that the Court chose to ignore the very blatant burden sectarian prayer imposes on the conscience of citizens with diverse religious beliefs and those without religious beliefs,” said Rogers . “Our founders went to great lengths to ensure that no American would be disenfranchised from civic participation due to their personal religious beliefs or lack thereof. This ruling violates the founding secular principles our country was built on.”

      Americans United for Separation of Church and State argued the case on behalf of Susan Galloway and Linda Stephens, the two residents who objected to the Greece Town Board’s practice of inviting Christian clergy to open its meetings with sectarian prayers. 

      Rob Boston, Director of Communications for Americans United said the decision will have serious negative impacts on many Americans.

      “Thanks to this unfortunate ruling, millions of Americans will be forced to engage in—or at least listen to—official prayer and acts of worship as the price of interacting with local government,” said Boston . “This is a serious violation of the rights of conscience. The court’s decision to bless ‘majority-rules’ prayer is out of step with the changing face of America , which is more secular and less dogmatic.” Boston also serves on the Advisory Board of the Secular Coalition for America .

      The Secular Coalition for America will continue to work to strengthen the secular character of the government by educating lawmakers at both the federal and state levels.

      CONTACT: Lauren Anderson Youngblood, SCA Director of Communications, at lauren@... or (202)299-1091 ext. 205, cell (202)630-9725

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      2)
      Here's what the FRC (Southern Baptist political front) had to say --->

      May 05, 2014 - Monday

      Saving Grace in Greece: SCOTUS Sides with Prayer

      Today's U.S. Supreme Court ruling wasn't just an answer on prayer -- it was an answer to prayer! In what experts are calling one of the biggest religious liberty wins in the last half-century, the Court gave its blessing to an American tradition more than 200 years old: legislative prayer. In cities across America, secular activists have come to legal blows with dozens of local governments over the freedom to open meetings with a prayer recognizing the Author of our liberty.

      And while they may have scared the prayers out of some city councils, the town of Greece, New York refused to be one of them. After a lengthy tug-of-war, the case finally landed at the steps of the Supreme Court, where the justices ruled 5-4 to continue a practice as old as the nation itself. For as long as anyone can remember, Greece had allowed any citizen of any religion (or lack thereof) to kick off the meetings with prayer. And while the policy was wholly inclusive, Christian prayers were the most popular. Despite the town's efforts to recruit other faith groups, only four of the 127 invocations were offered by non-Christians.

      A local resident, Susan Galloway, decided the tradition was offensive and petitioned the Board to stop praying altogether. The town refused, telling Galloway that if she objected, she was free to wait in the hallway until the invocation was over. Instead, Galloway waited in the office of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, which agreed to sue the city all the way to the Supreme Court. In the lower court, judges actually sided with Galloway, ruling that "...such a 'steady drumbeat' of Christian invocations violates the Constitution's prohibition against government endorsement of religion."

      But that "steady drumbeat" was no fault of the town's, which encouraged a Jewish man, a Wiccan priestess, and even a local Baha'i chairman to join in the tradition. Apparently some courts seem to think that Christians should be punished because other faiths don't take advantage of the opportunities afforded them. Even President Obama saw the ridiculousness in that and stunned both sides of the debate by filing his own brief -- in defense of prayer. FRC had submitted its own amicus brief in the case on behalf of 49 members of Congress, essentially making the point that if the Second Circuit Court were correct, then Congress would have been violating the Constitution for more than two centuries.

      With the chisel of political correctness slowly chipping away at the First Amendment, this is a monumental victory for every American standing for the inclusion of faith -- not just by means of legislative prayers, but for all religious speech and expression. With this ruling, the justices deal a huge blow to the forces of political correctness, who continue to demand that we check our faith at the entrance to the public square.

      Fortunately, this Court recognizes just how misguided their intolerance is. As Justice Anthony Kennedy explains, the tradition of public prayer exists to unite, not divide. "The decision concluded that legislative prayer, while religious in nature, has long been understood as compatible with the Establishment Clause. As practiced by Congress since the framing of the Constitution, legislative prayer lends gravity to public business, reminds lawmakers to transcend petty differences in pursuit of a higher purpose, and expresses a common aspiration to a just and peaceful society."

      One look at the headlines and we can all agree: if there's one thing this country could use more of, it's prayer!

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      Prey(er).  My comment --- Nobody knows how to lie and bear false witness like a ________  ________.
       
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      3)

      Godless Church Services for Atheists Go Global

      by Nico Hines May 4, 2014 5:45 AM EDT
       
      --- click on URL ----------
       
      One of the comments at the end of this article ---
      Arguments for or against a God are interesting and never-ending. What is most important is the direction your faith or religion or belief system takes you. Are you what I call a "Bible Thumper" or are you a lover of your fellow humans. Bible Thumpers are arrogant, think they have all the answers, and cherry pick selected verses out of their various "bibles", in order to justify their hatred of Gays, Women, people of other religions, etc. They do very little "good" in the world. They mostly spread hate and fear. Lovers of fellow humans are accepting of others, do what ever they can to address obvious needs, and don't need to justify their acts with verses in a so called "holy book". They spread love and good will and need no justification. Their actions speak for themselves!
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      4)

      Economists Slam the War on Drugs in a New London School of Economics Report

      Abby Haglage, May 5, 2014 8:40 PM EDT
       
      --- click on URL ----------
       
      Lots of comments at the end of this article.
       
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      5)

      Ex-Drag Queen Wins 27% Of The Vote In A Very Conservative District

      Hunter Walker               [ picture at URL ]
      May 7, 2014, 12:08 PM
       
      Anti-gay marriage Republican Steve Wiles had his past life as a drag queen revealed just days before voters headed to the polls in his North Carolina State Senate race Tuesday. Wiles, who believed the reports about his past were an attack from his opponents didn't emerge victorious in his primary. However, according to results posted on the North Carolina State Board of Elections website, he did garner 4,962 votes.

      That total put Wiles in third place with 27.49% of the vote. He was slightly less than 200 votes behind number two finisher Dempsey Brewer. All of the voters in this primary would have been registered Republicans. 

      Wiles' total seems noteworthy considering the late reports about his past and the fact he was running in a state senate district described by Daily Kos Elections in 2011 as "heavily Republican." In 2008, John McCain beat President Barack Obama there by over 20 points. 

      Wiles, who has told Business Insider he considers his past an "embarrassment," did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the result Wednesday.

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      Previous report
       
      6)

      Anti-gay North Carolina Republican candidate worked as drag queen at gay bar: report 

      Steve Wiles, a conservative candidate for North Carolina state Senate who has campaigned primarily on his support for the state’s gay marriage ban, worked for years as a cross-dressing emcee known as ‘Miss Mona Sinclair’ at a Winston-Salem gay bar, according to a local newspaper.

      NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
      Sunday, May 4, 2014, 6:12 PM

      What a drag.

      An anti-gay Republican candidate in North Carolina worked as a drag queen performer and emcee known as 'Miss Mona Sinclair,' according to a bombshell report.

      Steve Wiles, a conservative North Carolina state Senate candidate who has been outspoken in his support of the state's same-sex marriage ban, worked as a female impersonator and drag-show emcee earlier in his life, the Winston-Salem Journal reported over the weekend.

      Wiles, 34, worked at a gay-friendly Winston-Salem lounge called Club Odyssey from 2002 to 2010, where he directed a weekly drag show, the club's former owner Randy Duggins told the Journal.

      Prior to his directorial debut, Wiles had been a frequent attendee at the weekly soirée which featured men dressed as women. He later starred as the show's emcee under the stage name, 'Miss Mona Sinclair,' Duggins said.

      Wiles, who has campaigned primarily on his support of the state's ban on gay marriage, confirmed to Business Insider that he used to perform as "Miss Mona Sinclair" at the now-defunct bar but later decided that the role "just was not something that I wanted to continue."

      "I think that everyone has their own choices to make and I'm fine with everyone making their own," he said. "For me, from a religious standpoint, just for my life, for me, it just was not something that I wanted to continue."

      He has previously denied his affiliation with the club.

      When Business Insider asked if he was gay, Wiles responded, "no, I really won't make any comments on that."

      Wiles also worked as a promoter for the 2011 Miss Gay America pageant, but was dismissed for "conduct unbecoming to" the organization, according to the Journal.

      Wiles, who now works as a real estate agent, is competing against two other GOP candidates in a competitive primary scheduled for May 6.

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      7)

      HGTV Cancels Pilot From Anti-Gay Hosts Following Fan Backlash

      The Wrap 
      By L.A. Ross, Wednesday 07 May 2014
       
      HGTV has canceled a pilot hosted by twin brothers with a history of preaching against homosexuality, abortion and divorce following backlash from fans.

      “HGTV has decided not to move forward with the Benham Brothers’ series,” the network wrote on its Facebook page Wednesday.

      Also read: Ellen Page Fires Back at Anti-Gay Pastor's Letter Over Twitter

      Twins David and Jason Benham were scheduled to premiere “Flip It Forward” in October, which would have focused on a new deserving family every episode transforming a fixer-upper into their dream home.

      But the devout Christian brothers have a history of supporting their church's views against gay rights and reproductive choice. In 2012, the Benhams rallied in Charlotte, N.C. to support a constitutional amendment within the state to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

      “We will always finger point but we don't realize that, OK, if 87 percent of Americans are Christians and yet we have abortion on demand,” David Benham said at the time. “We have no-fault divorce; we have pornography and perversion; we have homosexuality and its agenda that is attacking the nation; we have adultery … while the church sits silent and just builds big churches.”

      The twins are sons of controversial evangelical minister Flip Benham, whose abortion clinic protests were a part of fans’ backlash on social media. Though many expressed their support of HGTV's decision to pull the show, some were still critical of HGTV's initial greenlight.

      See video: Lindsey Graham Backer Brags to ‘Daily Show’ That He ‘Didn't Even Try’ to Help Gays 

      “Plan a show hosted by the children of the most rabid pro-lifer in the country (Flip Benham, who leads Operation Rescue – the folks who stalk abortion doctors and harass women outside of clinics), who have also made pretty intolerant statements themselves, and decide to place it on a network with a large gay viewer base. What could POSSIBLY go wrong there? LOL” Darren Watts wrote on Facebook.

      “I am amazed that HGTV would have ever tried to put these guys on the air in the first place. The very idea that an HGTV audience would tolerate public expressions of heterosexist bigory [sic] from the Benham Brothers was delusional. Rule number one in the broadcast industry: Know your audience.” commenter Ken McPherson wrote.

      Hear audio: WWE's Stone Cold Steve Austin Slams ‘Motherf–kers’ Who Don't Agree With Gay Marriage 

      “While I am glad you dropped ‘Flip it Forward,’ You have forever lost this gay man as a viewer,” Bruce Robson added.

      But not all viewers agreed with HGTV's decision to drop the Benhams.

      “You just lost me. Whatever happened to free speech and freedom of religion,” Donna Unterseher said. “I will never watch your channel again. Very dumb move.”

      The post HGTV Cancels Pilot From Anti-Gay Hosts Following Fan Backlash appeared first on TheWrap.

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      View Comments (1473)
      My comment -- These comments are nasty.
       
      The drug of religion, when overdosed, is a HUGE problem.  Just like other drugs.
       
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