A Christian Extremist Shot a Trans Woman In the Face, but Indiana Doesn’t Call That a Hate Crime

Last week, a Christian extremist shot a transgender woman in the face at her place of work — and because it happened in Indiana, it’s not considered a hate crime.

Crystal Cash, 55, was shot in the face while working at the cosmetics business she runs in Evansville, Indiana. Cash is currently unable to speak, but through writing was able to help identify her attacker as Gerald Duane Lewis. Lewis also yelled an anti-gay slur at Cash before shooting her.

CrystalCashImageViolence against transgender women is an epidemic, and in incidents like this, it’s obvious that anti-LGBT bias is at play. Still, the police investigation of the incident has been murky, which is likely related to the fact that Cash is a trans woman and that there are no hate crimes laws on the books to protect against bias-based violence in Indiana:

The case has been complicated by the police — who have implied that Cash is a prostitute — and by whether her assailant, identified as Gerald Duane Lewis (AKA Gadiell Ben Israel), belongs to an organization identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as a hate group.

The SPLC identifies Lewis/Israel’s church as violently anti-Semitic and anti-LGBT. The Israel United in Christ Church, on its Tumblr page, denounces interracial marriage as a sin and an abomination, and also commands its followers not to vote. In recent posts, it commented upon a recent house fire that killed seven children that it was a lesson to be learned about “defiling the sabbath.” The organization posted a note on its website denying that Lewis was a current member of the group.

Transgender women are often mistreated in the criminal justice system, whether they are being accused of a crime or have been victimized. They are frequently assumed to be sex workers and treated poorly, or their gender identities are not recognized. Both of these things happened to Cash:

When the Evansville Courier-Press reported on the arrest, it paraphrased the police report:

“Investigators noted in the arrest affidavit that Cash operates a known massage parlor in one of the spaces in the building where the shooting happened. Cash is a frequent poster on Backpage.com, an adult services website that police have expressed concern about in the past. […]

Johnny Dickens, Cash’s brother, says that his sister has been in a “committed relationship for twenty years.” He alleges that police are trying to portray his sister as a prostitute rather than as a transgender businesswoman who was targeted by a Christian extremist.

According to Courier news reports, there was initial confusion after the events as police reported that a “man” had been shot. Cash was able to describe the suspect in writing, whom she said was wearing an “Israeli-Christian” tee shirt. Lewis/Israel is being held on $5 million bond/$500,000 cash for attempted murder, robbery, and carrying a handgun without a permit.

This is where it would be helpful for the police to publicly acknowledge that Cash’s attacker committed a hate crime. Hate crimes don’t just target a person, but an entire class of people. They’re meant to intimidate, like small-scale terrorist attacks that send a threatening message to an entire community.

Hate crimes legislation, therefore, recognizes the multifaceted ways an act of violence can affect an entire community, and helps protect other members of that community who may be at risk. President Barack Obama even prioritized expanding hate crimes legislation toward the beginning of his presidency.

Despite all this information, police are not charging Lewis with a hate crime because Indiana is one of only five states in the country that do not have hate crimes protections in place. Indiana Gov. Mike Pence — who might just be our next Vice President — is a major opponent of hate crimes legislation:

“The president has used his position as commander in chief to advance a radical social agenda, when he should have used it to advance legislation that would unequivocally support our troops,” said [then-U.S. Rep.] Mike Pence, R-Ind., chairman of the House Republican Conference.

Pence also argued that the law could be used to curb free speech rights, such as with religions that consider homosexuality a sin.

Protecting people who are at risk has been a federal concern for at least the last seven years, but in states like Indiana, efforts to implement hate crimes laws are continually thwarted. This horrifying event could be a snapshot of the “values” that would govern a Mike Pence vice presidency: no recognition of populations that are routinely targeted, and no justice for those who experience such violence. Here’s hoping for a speedy recovery for Cash, and a speedy demise for the Trump/Pence campaign.

(via Raw Story. Image via 14News)

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Church of England Synod member: Gay Christians are ‘children of the devil’

by Nick Duffy

Christian Concern want LGBT rights rolled back

Christian Concern want LGBT rights rolled back

 

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As the Church of England holds its ‘shared conversations’ on the future of LGBT rights within the church, one Synod member has called for ‘Satanic’ gay priests to be expelled.

The Church this month sought to tackle a rift on teachings on homosexuality at a General Synod meeting at York University.

The process follows a years-long impasse on issues that equal marriage legislation brought to a head, including a hastily-adopted ban on gay priests getting married

Though discussions were largely progressive, anti-LGBT evangelical group Christian Concern took the opportunity to urge the Church to expel all gay priests.

Andrea Williams said in a statement: “The attempt on the church’s part to pretend that same-sex relations and LGBTI arguments have any biblically-rooted validity or might be the result of the ‘leading of the Spirit’ is not only farcical, it is disgraceful and arguably blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.”

She bemoaned: “A homosexual priest in a relationship for nineteen years and in a civil partnership addressed the whole of synod from the platform. Shouldn’t he be lovingly disciplined and removed from his position?”

“Another senior LGBTI activist with a prominent and official position on synod, who has been in a homosexual relationship for many years, dared ‘the conservatives’ to tell him to his face ‘you are not a Christian’.

“One thing that he can be told very clearly is that he is not living in obedience to Jesus and His commands. Shouldn’t he be lovingly disciplined and removed from his position?”

She cited a Biblical passage that says: “Whoever practises righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning.

“No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practise righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.”

Christian Concern added: “The habitual practice and promotion of sin in the life of the church is surely a mark of the same kind of heresy that the apostle John was addressing in this letter.

“It is time for the bishops in the church to make a clear stand with Christ and with Scripture, or a godly separation is the only course that would not grieve the Holy Spirit, for it is He who the revisionists are truly offended by.

“One vocal group in synod call what is sin, holiness. Of course, we can and we must relate to one another in our shared humanity, but we can’t stay together if the church wants to bless what is not holy.

“The fundamental question at stake is whether the church belongs to Jesus Christ or whether it belongs to the revisionists who would reshape it in the image of today’s cultural moods.

“If the church is to flourish and be a true blessing to society, she must repent and rededicate herself to Jesus Christ, trusting his teaching, example and the rescue from sin that he freely offers.”

 

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Inside extremist Christian sect the Exclusive Brethren – who are accused of covering up child sex abuse and ‘making secret donations to the Liberal Party

  • Exclusive Brethren is a Protestant sect with 15,000 Australian members
  • Reports have surfaced they covered up child sex abuse in regional NSW 
  • Said to pressure their young female out of exposing the abuse
  • Group also made $67,000 donations to the Liberal Party in December 2010

 

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Harrowing revelations of child abuse have come to light about the Australian branch of an extremist Christian sect known as the Exclusive Brethren.

Sydney Morning Herald report has told of the sordid inner workings of the group, who are believed to cover up cases of child sex abuse as well as make secret donations to the Liberal Party.

An unnamed young victim from regional NSW claimed she revealed to her mother she was being molested by a high-ranking church member before being pressured out of exposing the abuse.

A Christian sect known as the Exclusive Brethren is said to be covering up cases of child sex abuse in Australia

A Christian sect known as the Exclusive Brethren is said to be covering up cases of child sex abuse in Australia

The victim’s mother took the girl to the house of Lindsay Jensen – who was allegedly abusing her – in mid-2002.

After a thorough interrogation from Mr Jensen she signed a note saying she had lied about the abuse.

‘I have always thought of the relationship between Lindsay and I as a father/daughter relationship…And I was glad for it because I needed some sort of father,’ she wrote in the note.

‘The things that I said that happened, I don’t believe they happened at all.’

The girl’s sister later claimed she too was abused by Mr Jensen, before being subjected to the same silencing tactics.

A recent study from UK psychologist Jill Mytton found 27 per cent of 264 former members reported being sexually abused as children.

An unnamed young victim from regional NSW was said to be pressured her out of exposing the abuse she suffered from highly-ranking members of the sect

An unnamed young victim from regional NSW was said to be pressured her out of exposing the abuse she suffered from highly-ranking members of the sect

Also recently coming to light are secret donations the group has made to the Liberal Party, reports Sydney Morning Herald.

Dozens of members of the group donated more than $67,000 to the Liberal Party in December 2010.

The donations were exposed in documents at the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption during an investigation into the Liberal Party’s funding.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull insisted on Saturday he had ‘no complaints’ about the Exclusive Brethren, after the group’s donations were made public.

Mr Turnbull told reporters in Melbourne on Saturday religious groups were entitled to donate, while insisting the coalition was being ‘massively outspent’ by Labor.

The Exclusive Brethren was thrust into the spotlight in 2006 after they dedicated $370,461 to contribute to the 2004 election on behalf of John Howard, whom they were closely aligned with.

The sect, who have since renamed themselves the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church, is a Protestant sect of 40,000 worldwide members and 15,000 in Australia

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Fictionally ‘preventing Sharia Law’ by actually imposing their own brand of Christo-fascist Sharia Law.
christian fascism_01-christian-fascism-e1281825747299
The Republican platform hates gays, puts women back in the kitchen, and insists on religious law
 NEW ORLEANS, LA - JUNE 18:  Family Research Council president Tony Perkins speaks during the 2011 Republican Leadership Conference on June 18, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The 2011 Republican Leadership Conference features keynote addresses from most of the major republican candidates for president as well as numerous republican leaders from across the country.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

  Tony Perkins, author of much of the 2016 Republican platform

Over the last week, as the Republican platform committee added planks to their ever growing platform a pattern established itself. Again and again, libertarian forces in the party raised objections to the parts of the platform that drove Republicans ever deeper into social extremism. Again and again, the libertarians lost.

Meanwhile, every time extremists on the right put forward a new idea, whether it was Bundy-esque demands on federal land or gratuitous attacks on President Obama, the plank was accepted. The result is a document that’s far to the right of the 2012 platform, decades out of sync with social reality, and enormously intolerant.

Republicans moved on Tuesday toward adopting a staunchly conservative platform that takes a strict, traditionalist view of the family and child rearing, bars military women from combat, describes coal as a “clean” energy source and declares pornography a “public health crisis.”

And while Republicans continue to warn about the non-existent threat of Sharia Law, their platform insists that religious law isn’t an option—it’s required.

The platform demands that lawmakers use religion as a guide when legislating, stipulating “that man-made law must be consistent with God-given, natural rights.”

It also encourages the teaching of the Bible in public schools because, the amendment said, a good understanding of its contents is “indispensable for the development of an educated citizenry.”

Who interprets God-given, natural rights? Conservatives, of course, and their interpretation presents an incredibly strict, incredibly narrow, and quite detailed picture of what it takes to be a Real American.

The Republicans: Preventing Sharia Law, by imposing Sharia Law.

Several of the issues added were in areas where the Supreme Court has already given a decision, such as the legality of gay marriage or the use of “religious freedom” laws to permit discrimination against gays. That they had lost on these issues only hardened the Republican positions.

Amendments were proposed that toned down the language on homosexuality. They failed. Amendments were proposed that recognized how LGBT people had been the targets of hate crimes. They failed. In fact, every proposal that tried to offer any so of inclusion was dismissed as “identity politics.”

Meanwhile …

But nearly every provision that expressed disapproval of homosexuality, same-sex marriage or transgender rights passed. The platform calls for overturning the Supreme Court marriage decision with a constitutional amendment and makes references to appointing judges “who respect traditional family values.”

Restricting bathroom access for transgender Americans? It’s in the Republican platform. “Conversion therapy” for parents who want to “cure” their gay children? It’s in the Republican platform. The idea that only a man and a woman together in marriage can properly raise children? It’s in the Republican platform. The Republican platform even has a statement against “cohabitation,” a fight that was lost some time while the Smothers Brothers was in its initial run.

Oh, and when it comes to immigration, Trump’s wall is now an official part of the platform. So is a statement that there should be no limit on the size of magazines for weapons.

The Republicans didn’t just take everything from the already hard-right 2012 platform. They took it all, and made it worse.

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Uber Tea Baggers Führer Donald Trump

Trump Praises Holocaust Survivor Elie Wiesel After Tweeting Neo-Nazi Image (TWEETS)

It’s hard to believe that Donald Trump could be worse than what he’s already presented himself to be, but somehow he continues to prove that there is no limit.

A mere 24 hours after the presumptive Republican nominee tweeted out an anti-Semitic meme attacking Hillary Clinton, Trump denied the neo-Nazi image that clearly used the Star of David and even had the nerve to make a remark about Holocaust survivor and author Elie Wiesel, who had passed away on Saturday.

On Sunday evening, Trump praised Wiesel’s work and tweeted:

“The world is a better place because of him and his belief that good can triumph over evil!”

trump-weisel_Screen-Shot-2016-07-04-at-2.trump53.15-PM

Twitter

Wiesel certainly deserves the praise – that isn’t the problem. After all, Wiesel not only survived the Auschwitz concentration camp, but wrote over 50 books and won the Nobel Peace Prize, whose committee said he was “a messenger to mankind.” His legacy and work was incredible, and he will surely be missed.

The issue is that this message, coming from Trump, is sickening considering just the day before he was heavily criticized for tweeting out his anti-Semitic meme that blasted Clinton for being the “Most Corrupt Candidate Ever!”, complete with the Star of David. To make matters worse, the meme originated from a website that was frequently used by neo-Nazis and white supremacists. To make matters even worse yet, Trump has a disturbingly long history of retweeting white supremacists and has also been endorsed by former KKK leader David Duke! The Star of David was no mistake on this meme, but Trump won’t own up to it.

trump-jew-Screen-Shot-2016-07-04-at-2.53.30-PM

Twitter

Trump is someone whose values and rhetoric would have absolutely been rejected by Wiesel. Tablet reported that Wiesel had actually met The Donald in person before, and “was repulsed by his xenophobic rhetoric.” We don’t blame him.

Trump’s anti-Semitic tweet was so offensive that the Anti-Defamation League called on Trump to disavow many of the disrespectful acts that his supporters have been doing. The organization’s CEO, Jonathan Greenblatt, said:

“It’s been concerning that [Donald Trump] hasn’t spoken out forcefully against these people. It is outrageous to think that the candidate is sourcing material from some of the worst elements in our society. We would like to see [Trump] speak out consistently and clearly and reject not only this kind of prejudice, but the people behind it. And make it clear that they have no please [sic] in the public conversation, and no place in a political campaign, and that they have nothing to do with making America great again.”

While Trump’s statement about Wiesel is the exact opposite of flattering, President Barack Obama wrote a beautiful letter to honor Wiesel’s life. Obama wrote:

“He raised his voice, not just against anti-Semitism, but against hatred, bigotry and intolerance in all its forms. As a writer, a speaker, an activist, and a thinker, he was one of those people who changed the world more as a citizen of the world than those who hold office or traditional positions of power. His life, and the power of his example, urges us to be better.”

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pyramid_San-Bartolo-pyramid-800x430
Jehovah’s Witnesses accused of vandalizing 7,000 year-old pyramid out of fears of devil worship

by Tom Boggioni

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Members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses church have been accused to vandalizing a 7,000 year old religious site in Mexico as part of a religious campaign against devil worship, reports Telesur.

According to local media sources, recent damage at the base of a pyramid at the San Bartolo Tutotepec archeological site falls in line the destruction of altars in the area that church members have taken responsibility for.

Members of the Christian sect state that they are following the word of God and believe that the sites are still used for traditional rituals that are “not Christian” and may involve devil worship.

In fact, according to anthropologists, the sites are used by the Otomi people who hold sacred various deities including earth, water, and fire and worship by giving offerings.

The 7,000 year-old Makonikha sanctuary in the central Mexican state of Hidalgo is comparable to Mecca for Muslims or the Vatican for Catholics, the researchers explained.

Unlike the previous acts of destruction, the Jehovah’s Witnesses have not taken credit for the damage at San Bartolo Tutotepec and locals who protect the site are unsure who or how anyone accessed the holy site normally restricted to worshipers.

 

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DOGS not impressed by either major political Party on lack of support for public schools and education funding – religion playing a significant role in demise of public school funding.

The interference and erosion of public school funding, began by governments giving into the blackmail and threats of the Catholic Church mafia.

public schools wpid-img_311641078123259

Worried about Privatisation of Medicare? The Lib-Labs have been Privatising Public Education by stealth for 50 Years

                                              AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL FOR THE DEFENCE OF GOVERNMENT

SCHOOLS

PRESS RELEASE 660#

WORRIED ABOUT PRIVATISATION OF MEDICARE BY A THOUSAND CUTS?

The Lib-Labs have been privatising Public Education

By stealth for fifty years

 Privatisation of Medicare by the Liberal Government has become part of the Labor Party campaign. But nobody dares to talk about the ongoing privatisation of public education, particularly in Victoria.

 For this might open up the REAL funding problem, namely,

 State Aid pouring with no strings attached into private schools that  duplicate and undermine our cash-strapped public school  facilities.

Only countries that no longer value their sovereignty, citizenry, and independence from marauding multinational companies, financial pirates that plunder resources and avoid tax – fall into the privatisation trap.

Our State Aid to private school problems commenced in the 1960s when the Labor Party gave in to the threats of the Catholic sector. These problems have been exacerbated by the shift to globalisation that took off in the 1980s. Our leaders led us into a novel process, the consequences of which were unknown or highly questionable. DOGS predicted an outmoded misunderstanding of C18 ideology would lead us back into C18 inequalities, booms and busts. And so it has. We are now in a globalisation trap, with governments seeking to privatise what little in public facilities remain after the big sell-off.

And, in spite of the realisation that public education is the only way forward for our next generation of Australian citizens, our public schools in Victoria are being forced into a privatisation business model and starved of funds. The Department has long been taken over by private school and political interest groups. In recent times, there has been evidence of corruption, fraud and mismanagement of public moneys. The schools have been cut off from the centre, support resources have been cut, and principals are given inadequate ‘budgets’ and told to go and survive the way their private school counterparts have learnt to do.

And so, they have done. Victorian public school supporters were horrified – and angered – in the last week to discover that Cash-strapped state schools are hiring out their teachers to private schools to raise desperately-needed funds.

Schools are finding increasingly creative ways of making extra money, with new figures revealing almost one in four state schools are in deficit. http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/schools-in-the-red-and-battling-to-balance-books-20160609-gpfy4o.html#ixzz4CLlqjpvU

Instead of the Department providing sufficient funds for a public school’s expenses, we have principals contracting out their budget problems to private enterprise.

The only reason the current outrageous situation has surfaced into public notice is because Philip Rainford – the director of the Harlequin Group of Companies which helps 100 Victorian state schools manage their budgets – said schools were leasing out under-utilised teachers to make ends meet.

The Age revealed last week that at the end of last year, 361 of Victoria’s 1528 government schools were in deficit. A growing number of principals said they had been forced to cut programs, hire cheaper teachers and limit the VCE subjects they offer due to inadequate funding.

A review into school funding by former Victorian premier Steve Bracks, which was commissioned by the state government and released in April, recommended a revamp of funding to ensure it covers school costs. Each Victorian public school student received $2253 less state and federal government funding than the national average in 2013-14, making them the lowest funded in the country. Yet the first thing the Andrews-Merlino government did on election was to guarantee private schools 25% of public school costs. http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/cashstrapped-state-schools-hire-out-teachers-to-private-schools-20160616-gpkj6j.html

Many Victorian state schools have also turned to crowdfunding  to make ends meet.V http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/schools-crowdfund-to-make-ends-meet-20140725-zwzea.html. Others supplement their government funding with income from international students. Schools are also striking up relationships with sponsors, who might display banners at fetes or pay for sports uniforms.Many schools have arrangements with sponsors, where they will thank them at every school assembly.

According to the AEU’ State of our Schools survey last year, an average 12.3% of state schools’ budgets came from parent fundraising.

Some, Thornbury High being an example, have resorted to crowd-funding to provide for the basics of supporting children in need. As the Principal, Mr Edgeberg says:

“I just think it’s a bit sad that’s what we’ve had to resort to,”
Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/schools-crowdfund-to-make-ends-meet-20140725-zwzea.html#ixzz4CM0AI920

DOGS think that this situation is a bit more than sad. The dangers to Medicare of GP co-payments and outsourcing to private contractors of so many health services have long since taken place in Australian education. Governments have long since outsourced the education of one third of Australian children to private, religious institutions, which, like the Catholic church are multinational organisations which are a law unto themselves. And now our public schools themselves are being forced to outsource their very financial survival to private contractors.

This situation is both outrageous and dangerous. Starving public schools of funds, testing, testing and testing , again through outsourced contractors or even robots, using results to accuse  them of ‘failure’  and then handing them over, holus bolus, to private multinational contractors, representatives of hedge funds in profits at public expense is a pattern already evident into the United States. https://dianeravitch.net/

Australian parents and public school supporters should think of the world to be inherited by our children. We should not follow our Lib-Lab leaders down the privatisation road to perdition.

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