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Posts tagged "Discrimination"

Fox News contributor Erick Erickson continued his pattern of championing anti-LGBT discrimination, warning that gay rights and Christianity are incompatible and asserting that a society that affirms LGBT equality “is a society bent on suicide.”

In an August 7 Townhall.com column titled “Tolerate or Be Stamped Out,” Erickson lamented the growing marginalization of anti-LGBT attitudes, charging that pro-equality activists are determined to purge Christians from American society:

In fact,enormous energy is being expended by the left in America to make Christianity and Christians unacceptable. A New York Times writer wants to stamp out those views “ruthlessly.” He describes those with orthodox Christian views on marriage as unworthy of civility. Anonymous groups expose the home addresses of mostly Christians and subject them to harassment. This is not happening to orthodox Jews or Muslims, but to Christians.

It raises a serious question Americans must confront — are gay rights and Christianity compatible? The answer appears to be no. As gay rights activists use the tactics of Bull Connor to push for what they declare civil rights, they are targeting churches, religiously affiliated groups and Christian businesses for harassment and lawsuits.

Across the country, the left has decided our sexual preference is something we are born with, but our gender is something we get to decide. Anyone who thinks otherwise is threatened and harassed. Several thousand-year-old pillars of society are being shoved aside in the name of tolerance. Those who speak up for sanity, tradition and faith are treated scornfully.

This will not end well for any of us. Despite surveys designed to show the contrary, children tend to do best with mothers and fathers.A society that willfully undermines perpetuating itself is a society bent on suicide. One thing is for sure — a faith that survived its followers being used as torches to light the streets of Rome will survive a modern age hell bent on ruthlessly stamping it out. [emphasis added]

Erickson’s latest apoplectic screed is par for the course from the Fox News commentator. Last month, he endorsed a Georgia congressional candidate’s view that “the homosexual movement … is destroying America.” Previously, Erickson has written that gay people are on the “road to hell" and warned businesses that serve gay couples that they are "aiding and abetting" sin. Moreover, Erickson is a prominent supporter of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a right-wing legal group working internationally to help criminalize homosexuality.

h/t: Luke Brinker at MMFA

Much to the chagrin of women’s rights advocates, Hobby Lobby has won its legal battle — but claims of “victory” for religious freedom must be emended. Make no mistake: This is no victory for the freedom to exercise Christian principles. Though employers like Hobby Lobby are now free to deny women access to contraceptives through their employer-subsidized health plans on the basis of religious objection, they will be violating their own purported Christian principles if they do. While Christians are not compelled by their faith to engage in religious practices that impose upon the freedoms of others, they are compelled — by their belief that all persons, men and women, are created in the image of God — to oppose discrimination.

Employers are now free to deny women access to contraceptives through their employer-subsidized health plans, though they will be violating their own purported Christian principles if they do.

Some corporations that have objected to the contraceptive requirements of the Affordable Care Act, like Hobby Lobby, claim that they do not wish to discriminate against women by denying them access to contraceptives generally, and that their opposition is merely to abortion. However, their understanding of which medications act as abortifacients rests on an outdated understanding of medical science and is at odds with the facts of the matter. Use of these contraceptive methods is not tantamount to abortion, and moreover, providing women with access to safe, reliable contraceptives for free drastically reduces the actual abortion rate.

It is likely that women will ultimately retain coverage, anyhow, though religious employers are now able to legally withhold it. The Supreme Court assumed in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby that the government has a compelling interest in ensuring that women have full access to preventive care. It appears that a majority of the court believes that this interest is compelling. The issue still under real legal dispute is how that coverage will be provided.

One suggestion is that the Obama administration extend to closely held, for-profit corporations the same accommodation already in place for religiously affiliated nonprofits. If a corporation objects, on religious grounds, to covering contraceptives in its health plan, it can fill out a two-page form, with five questions (two of which are providing a signature and the date), self-certifying that it meets the requirements for religious accommodation. By submitting this form, employees will be provided contraceptive coverage directly from their insurance company rather than through their employer.

This very exemption, however, currently faces its own legal threat from some Christian religious organizations, which claim that notifying the government of their objections to contraceptive use is itself religiously objectionable, as doing so will “trigger” the provision of coverage by a third party. The University of Notre Dame and Wheaton College are among several institutions that have brought such challenges. There is very little sense to be made of claims that your freedom of religion is substantially burdened by someone else’s providing services that you do not want to provide yourself. This suggests that the legal challenges are not merely aimed at allowing corporations to abstain from facilitating behavior they deem immoral but instead are seeking to effectively prevent women from engaging in that “immoral” behavior by keeping financial barriers for women, and administrative barriers for the government, in place.

This is economic coercion. Opponents to the contraceptive mandate have insisted that women remain free to purchase whatever health care services they choose, but this is woefully insensitive to the reality that low-income women and families face. For these women, there is a very large difference between what is available to them for purchase in principle and in effect. It is easy for those who do not regularly face desperate decisions due to financial insecurity or medical complexities to forget the difference. An intrauterine device, for example, can cost a low-income full-time worker more than a month’s wages. For some women, this is both the safest and most effective medical option, yet hopelessly unaffordable.

This kind of economic coercion is distinctly at odds with Christian principles. There is only one incident described in the Christian scriptures where Jesus is represented as employing coercive force, and it was not used to prevent people from engaging in sin. It was used, instead, to prevent people from dishonoring God by exploiting religious practice for personal gain. The gospels describe Jesus’ reaction to those who sought to profit from the Passover pilgrimage to the temple as fierce: “And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. And he told those who sold the pigeons, ‘Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.’” This is where corporations that claim their operations constitute religious practice of the Christian faith ought to take note.

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Hobby Lobby offered coverage for some of the contraceptives it now claims its religious faith forbids it to have any association with, until shortly after the Becket Fund for Religious Freedom asked it if it would be interested in filing suit. The company continues to profit from investments in the manufacturers of the “objectionable” contraceptives through the 401(k) plan it offers its employees. Recently, Hobby Lobby has faced legal trouble for false advertising. It has built a fortune, in large part, by selling goods manufactured in China, infamous for its poor labor conditions and related human rights violations. These are the practices of a corporation that will emphasize the Christian faith of its owners when convenient and profitable, but set that faith aside when it would be costly to do otherwise.

Hobby Lobby is not the only corporation which has objected to the law through what seems to be quite selective applications of Christian principle. Offering health care coverage as called for by the Affordable Care Act is morally permissible according to the Catholic philosophical tradition, and the sincerity of institutions like the University of Notre Dame is questionable.

The more pressing question religious corporations should ask themselves is whether denying women comprehensive health care while providing it to men, and so failing to respect women’s inherent dignity and equality, is consistent with their religious values. Since the Supreme Court focused on the practical effects at stake (that is, whether women would be able to obtain coverage elsewhere, and thus by a less restrictive means) rather than on the expressive function of the law, Hobby Lobby is now free to discriminate in its provision of health care. But the question remains, why would it want to?

H/T: Kathyrn Pogin at The New York Times' Opinionator Blogs

H/T: Josh Israel at Think Progress LGBT

h/t: Anna Lekas Miller at The Nation

thepoliticalfreakshow:

Senate candidate David Perdue at a recent GOP debate. 

Update 5/21/2014: David Perdue finished first in the May 20 primary with 31 percent of the vote. The race now goes to a July 22 runoff, where Perdue will face the runner-up in the primary vote, Rep. Jack Kingston.

With Republicans trying to avoid a repeat of 2012’s Todd Akin disaster and retake the Senate, the Georgia GOP establishment was happy to see David Perdue, a self-funded businessman, leading in the polls ahead of Tuesday’s Senate primary. Compared to gaffe machines such as Rep. Paul Broun, who has pushed personhood for zygotes, and Rep. Phil Gingrey, who defended Akin’s “legitimate rape” comment, the former Dollar General CEO seemed unlikely to introduce fraught gender issues into the general election—where Michelle Nunn, the likely Democratic nominee, is polling well against the GOP field.

But Perdue’s record on women’s issues—specifically, whether women are entitled to equal pay for equal work—is far from clean. In 2006, three years into Perdue’s four-plus years as Dollar General’s CEO, federal investigators at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission found that female store managers who worked for the company he ran “were discriminated against,” and “generally were paid less than similarly situated male managers performing duties requiring equal skill, effort, and responsibility.” A year later, separate from that investigation, thousands of female managers who were paid less than their male counterparts joined a class action suit against the company—which Dollar General eventually settled, paying the women more than $15 million.

"Dollar General has set up a system which permits stereotypes about men and women to be used in judging their pay."

"Dollar General has set up a pay system which permits stereotypes about men and women to be used in judging their pay, performance, and salary needs," female Dollar General managers claimed in sworn statements. "This includes stereotypes about men being the breadwinner, head of the household, or just more deserving because they are men."

The case began on March 7, 2006, when Janet Calvert, the former manager of a Dollar General in Alabama, sued the company for paying her less than male managers. Dollar General, which was still under Perdue’s leadership, tried and failed to prevent other female employees from joining Calvert and suing as a class. By 2008, more than 2,100 current and former employees had joined a certified a class open to women who worked as store managers for Dollar General between November 30, 2004 and November 30, 2007. (Perdue was CEO from April 2003 to summer 2007.)

The women claimed that Dollar General was violating not only the Equal Pay Act, a federal law that prohibits pay discrimination on the basis of gender, but also Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, by using compensation practices that disproportionately hurt women. For example, the company considered employees’ past salary at Dollar General or other jobs when determining pay—which hurt women because they are paid less in the job market generally, and at Dollar General specifically, than men.

One plaintiff, Patty Eberle, said in a sworn statement that from 2001 to 2008, the men she trained to be store managers made more than she did as both a store manager and trainer.

"Every male manager that was hired in the Springfield, Missouri area was brought in at a higher rate than I was making as store manager,"  another plaintiff, Ruby Sims, said in a sworn statement. "A former district manager came into my office one day right before she quit working at Dollar General and provided me with documents detailing the excessive pay men were receiving for doing the same jobs as female managers." Sims said she complained to two male superiors. "Nothing was ever done."

The EEOC, which must green-light pay discrimination lawsuits before they can proceed in federal court, began issuing right-to-sue notices addressed to Perdue beginning in 2007. Dollar General’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission for that year—Perdue’s last year with the company—stated, “The Company believes that the case is not appropriate for class or collective treatment and that its policies and practices comply with the Equal Pay Act and Title VII. The Company intends to vigorously defend the action.”

"Every male manager…was brought in at a higher rate than I was making as store manager."

The next several years saw more failed attempts by Dollar General to convince the court to decertify the class. In early 2011, the company allowed the case to go to mediation. A year later, the court finalized Dollar General’s agreement to pay $15.5 million toward a fund for members of the class, $2.8 million for a claims administrator, and $3.25 million in attorneys’ fees. The company also committed to altering its employee compensation policies.

Dollar General faced another significant lawsuit under Perdue, brought by some 2,000 current and former employees who in 2006 claimed that the company had made them managers in name only so it could deny them overtime they would have earned as store clerks. In 2013, Dollar General agreed in mediation to pay the ex-employees up to $8.5 million. That settlement awaits court approval.

In another case, a district court forced Dollar General to pay nearly $74,000 to Martha Bryant, a diabetic employee it fired in 2004 for taking time off under the Family Medical Leave Act. Dollar General argued that the law does not prohibit retaliation against employees who take FMLA leave. Dollar General appealed to the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, which upheld the district court’s judgment against Dollar General.

Perdue’s campaign did not reply to requests for comment, and a spokesman for Dollar General declined to comment.

Besides Perdue, Gingrey, and Broun, the GOP primary field includes and Karen Handel, who is best known as the executive inside the Susan G. Komen Foundation for the Cure who pressured the group to slash funding for Planned Parenthood, and Rep. Jack Kingston, who is deeply conservative but less foot-in-mouth than his peers. The winner of Tuesday’s primary must capture 50 percent of the vote in order to avoid a July 22 runoff for the right to face Nunn in November’s general election. Polls suggest that Perdue won’t clear this threshold but is a strong contender, along with Kingston and Handel, for one of two runoff slots.

Source: Molly Redden for Mother Jones

BTW, Cotton is running for Senate in 2014, against incumbent Democrat Mark Pryor. 

h/t: Zack Ford at Think Progress LGBT

thepoliticalfreakshow:

Though James Dent could watch Central High School’s homecoming parade from the porch of his faded white bungalow, it had been years since he’d bothered. But last fall, Dent’s oldest granddaughter, D’Leisha, was vying for homecoming queen, and he knew she’d be poking up through the sunroof of her mother’s car, hand cupped in a beauty-pageant wave, looking for him.

So, at about 4:30 in the afternoon on October 18, Dent, age 64, made his way off the porch and to the curb along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in the West End of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Soon he could hear the first rumblings of the band.

There was a time, little more than a decade ago, when the Central High School homecoming parade brought out the city. The parade started in the former state capital’s lively downtown and seemed to go on for miles. The horns of one of the state’s largest marching bands, some 150 members strong, would bounce off the antebellum mansions along the streets. Revelers—young and old, black and white, old money and no money—crowded the sidewalks to watch the elaborate floats and cheer a football team feared across the region.

Central was not just a renowned local high school. It was one of the South’s signature integration success stories. In 1979, a federal judge had ordered the merger of the city’s two largely segregated high schools into one. The move was clumsy and unpopular, but its consequences were profound. Within a few years, Central emerged as a powerhouse that snatched up National Merit Scholarships and math-competition victories just as readily as it won trophies in football, track, golf. James Dent’s daughter Melissa graduated from Central in 1988, during its heyday, and went on to become the first in her family to graduate from college.

But on that sunlit day last October, as Dent searched for Melissa’s daughter in the procession coming into view, he saw little to remind him of that era. More caravan than parade, Central’s homecoming pageant consisted of a wobbly group of about 30 band members, some marching children from the nearby black elementary schools, and a dozen or so cars with handwritten signs attached to their sides. The route began in the predominantly black West End and ended a few blocks later, just short of the railroad tracks that divide that community from the rest of the city.

The reason for the decline of Central’s homecoming parade is no secret. In 2000, another federal judge released Tuscaloosa City Schools from the court-ordered desegregation mandate that had governed it for a single generation. Central had successfully achieved integration, the district had argued—it could be trusted to manage that success going forward.

Freed from court oversight, Tuscaloosa’s schools have seemed to move backwards in time. The citywide integrated high school is gone, replaced by three smaller schools. Central retains the name of the old powerhouse, but nothing more. A struggling school serving the city’s poorest part of town, it is 99 percent black. D’Leisha, an honors student since middle school, has only marginal college prospects. Predominantly white neighborhoods adjacent to Central have been gerrymandered into the attendance zones of other, whiter schools.

Tuscaloosa’s schools today are not as starkly segregated as they were in 1954, the year the Supreme Court declared an end to separate and unequal education in America. No all-white schools exist anymore—the city’s white students generally attend schools with significant numbers of black students. But while segregation as it is practiced today may be different than it was 60 years ago, it is no less pernicious: in Tuscaloosa and elsewhere, it involves the removal and isolation of poor black and Latino students, in particular, from everyone else. In Tuscaloosa today, nearly one in three black students attends a school that looks as if Brown v. Board of Education never happened.

Tuscaloosa’s school resegregation—among the most extensive in the country—is a story of city financial interests, secret meetings, and angry public votes. It is a story shaped by racial politics and a consuming fear of white flight. It was facilitated, to some extent, by the city’s black elites. And it was blessed by a U.S. Department of Justice no longer committed to fighting for the civil-rights aims it had once championed.

Certainly what happened in Tuscaloosa was no accident. Nor was it isolated. Schools in the South, once the most segregated in the country, had by the 1970s become the most integrated, largely as a result of federal court orders. But since 2000, judges have released hundreds of school districts, from Mississippi to Virginia, from court-enforced integration, and many of these districts have followed the same path as Tuscaloosa’s—back toward segregation. Black children across the South now attend majority-black schools at levels not seen in four decades. Nationally, the achievement gap between black and white students, which greatly narrowed during the era in which schools grew more integrated, widened as they became less so.

In recent years, a new term, apartheid schools—meaning schools whose white population is 1 percent or less, schools like Central—has entered the scholarly lexicon. While most of these schools are in the Northeast and Midwest, some 12 percent of black students in the South and nearly a quarter in Alabama now attend such schools—a figure likely to rise as court oversight continues to wane. In 1972, due to strong federal enforcement, only about 25 percent of black students in the South attended intensely segregated schools in which at least nine out of 10 students were racial minorities. In districts released from desegregation orders between 1990 and 2011, 53 percent of black students now attend such schools, according to an analysis by ProPublica.

The Dent family, from grandfather to granddaughter, has lived out integration’s fleeting wonder, a fact that hardened James Dent’s face as he stood on that Tuscaloosa curb last October. The parade—just 15 minutes old, and yet almost over—quickly brought D’Leisha before him. Nene, as her family calls her, beamed and waved. Dent waved back and looked around to share the moment. But besides his wife and his stepson, no one else was there.

In the hours after the parade, James Dent sat back in a worn wingback chair in the cramped but tidy house he and his wife rent in the West End. As dusk brought out the whirring of cicadas, he quietly flipped through a photo album devoted to D’Leisha’s many accomplishments. She’s the class president, a member of the mayor’s youth council, a state champion in track and field. Later that night, she would be named homecoming queen as well.

Dent never went to college. One of 13 children born into the waning days of Jim Crow, he took his place in the earliest of integrated American institutions: the military. He served four years in the Air Force, including a year in Vietnam, before returning to the West End to spend the next 40 mixing cement for a living. The work was steady, but the pay meager.

Thin, with chestnut skin, and seldom seen without a Vietnam-vet cap, Dent is a reserved man, not prone to soapboxes. But after a long silence, he gently suggested that maybe his granddaughter deserved a little more than a 12-car salute at a brief and sparsely attended parade. When D’Leisha graduates this spring, she will have spent her entire public education in segregated schools. Just like he had.

“I think about it all the time, and ain’t nothing I can do about it,” he said. “It ain’t going to get no better.” He said he just hoped she was learning as much as the city’s white students were, then grew quiet again. If integration was going to prove so brief, what, he wondered, had all the fighting been for?

To read the full long-read article, including a timeline, click here. (Or at the link on the top of this post.)

In my colleagues’ view, examining the racial impact of legislation only perpetuates racial discrimination. This refusal to accept the stark reality that race matters is regrettable. The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to speak openly and candidly on the subject of race, and to apply the Constitution with eyes open to the unfortunate effects of centuries of racial discrimination.
Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor on the April 22nd ruling in Schuette v. BAMN, where the Court’s five conservatives rejected long-established equal protection law under the Fourteenth Amendment to uphold Michigan’s voter-approved ban on affirmative action. (via mediamattersforamerica)

H/T: John Aravosis at AmericaBlog

Fox’s newest show, Outnumbered, features a rotating cast of four female hosts, one male host, and a litany of sexist tropes.

The program premiered April 28 with female co-hosts Jedediah Bila, Harris Faulkner, Sandra Smith, Kimberly Guilfoyle and their male co-host of the day Tucker Carlson, who was honored with the Twitter hashtag #ONELUCKYGUY and described by the women as “a good enough sport to join us on day one.”

When Fox announced the new show, Amanda Marcotte noted its premise: ”The man will be ‘outnumbered,’ meaning that even though Outnumbered is supposedly a female-centric show, the male point of view is still so central that it gives the show its title.” The Washington Post's Alyssa Rosenberg similarly predicted that the program would find its “heat” by highlighting opposition between men and women, essentially parodying “what conservatives often accuse feminists of wanting to do to men: overwhelm them and shout them down as a sort of rhetorical reparations for years in a subordinate position.”

These predictions proved accurate. In fact, Outnumbered's set even placed the lone man at the center, surrounded on a couch by the female hosts wearing Fox's famous short skirts. The hosts kicked off the show by indulging the parody that men and women are profoundly opposed to each other, with Carlson joking at the very beginning that he was “in a defensive crouch already,” because living with four women had given him experience he needed to ”submit” and handle this “outnumbered” position:

The debut episode’s first potential “feminist” altercation focused on how a woman’s appearance might affect a presidential run, with the hosts contemplating a hypothetical Democratic primary between former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). While Guilfoyle quipped that, when it comes to looks, “I think if it’s between Hillary and Elizabeth Warren, it’s even,” Carlson argued that “it works both ways. I don’t think anyone would be standing with Wendy Davis in Texas if she, you know, weren’t a handsome woman … you don’t see a lot of bald guys running for president.”

Studies have shown discussion of appearance does negatively hurt female candidates — one study found that any mention of female politicians’ appearance, even discussion that was coded as a “compliment,” lost the candidate votes. But instead of pointing this out,  the female co-hosts quibbled with Carlson’s description of a woman as “handsome,” asking if he meant “pretty.”

Later, while discussing a female teacher recently accused of giving an under-age male high school student a lap-dance, Carlson insisted that not only was the student not a “victim,” because “this is the dream of 15-year-old boys,” but he also invented a new double standard for victims, claiming that a female student who received a lap dance from a male teacher would be a victim because “girls react differently to this kind of thing, it’s just reality.” Facing his co-hosts’ understandable outrage, Carlson said “lighten up, America, come on,” and suggested that the teacher facing charges is “obviously a very enthusiastic teacher.”

While the women of Outnumbered sometimes pushed back on Carlson’s sexist stances, they also pushed plenty of tired sexist tropes right along with him. 

For instance, Guilfoyle previewed a discussion of McDonald’s toys (a recent study revealed McDonald’s employees refused to give girls the so-called “boy” toy) by claiming “girls like pretty ponies, and boys like toy trucks.” Bila threw in that she was “odd”  as a child and did not play with Barbies, even though she is “obviously” a female. Though Faulkner noted that she tries to get her two daughters a variety of toys, she concluded: “You want to rule the world, little girls, you’ve got to know what the guys like.”

Fox is notorious for its incredible sexism — Fox News CEO Roger Ailes even allegedly once offered to increase a female producer’s salary in exchange for sex, and became livid after a female host appeared on air wearing pants. The women of Outnumbered seem prepared to fall in step. In addition to the hosts featured today, future hosts include Andrea Tantaros and Katie Pavlich, both of whom have come under fire for slut-shaming and launching sexist attacks on women.

The announcement for the show claimed that the ensemble of four female panelists and one male would allow them to “tackle top new headlines from all angles and perspectives.” Rather than presenting “all angles and perspectives,” Outnumbered sticks to Fox’s favorite tried and true angle — favoring male perspective while capitalizing on female conflicts.

h/t: Olivia Kittel at MMFA

h/t: Brian Tashman at RWW

ABC host George Stephanopoulos announced on This Week that talk radio host and Fox News contributor Laura Ingraham is the network’s “newest contributor.” On her syndicated radio program The Laura Ingraham Show, Ingraham has repeatedly engaged in inflammatory and hateful rhetoric, lobbing numerous attacks against everyone from President Obama to people who receive government assistance to her favorite target, immigrants.

Here are 10 hateful moments from Ingraham in the past year:

1. Ingraham Used A Gunshot Sound Effect To Cut Off A Replay Of Rep. John Lewis’ March On Washington Speech. During her coverage of the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington in August 2013, Ingraham criticized the event and its speakers, saying the goal “was to co-opt the legacy of Martin Luther King into a modern-day liberal agenda.” She then played a clip of a speech from Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), who was the youngest speaker at the 1963 March on Washington, abruptly interrupting the playback of his comments with the sound of a loud gunshot. Following criticism of this sound effect, Ingraham defended her use of the gunshot sound, instead calling it a “blow up effect” and claiming that criticism of her using the sound effect on Lewis was an attempt “to crush free speech.”

2. “Hillary Clinton Should Be Absolutely Crucified For Her Lack Of Performance As Secretary Of State.” On her August 2, 2013, radio show, Ingraham lobbed attacks against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton while discussing foreign policy, claiming that the rest of the world is “emboldened by Barack Obama’s weakness” and that Clinton “should be absolutely crucified for her lack of performance” as secretary of state.

3. Ingraham Repeatedly Mocked An Immigration Protestor For Speaking English With An Accent. In November 2013, Ingraham repeatedly mocked a woman who was protesting the Obama administration’s record number of deportations, saying, “Wait, what did she say at the end? I can’t — I need a translator. I speak Spanish too. I’d rather have her just speak Spanish, at least I’d understand that.” She then went on to affect the woman’s accent, stating, “No want more amnesty. No want more lies. No want more phony promises. No want more people coming into the country, filling up our schools and our emergency rooms, having anchor babies and then blaming us for it. No want more that.”

4. Ingraham Claimed Immigration From Mexico Would Turn U.S. Into A “Hellhole.” Ingraham used a May 2013 hearing on immigration reform to claim that immigration from Mexico would create a “hellhole” and a “mini-Mexico,” saying, “I think a lot of you look around at this culture of ours, and some of it is our own fault, but we see America disappearing. I’m not even talking about demographics, I’m talking about our culture.”

5. Ingraham Equated Negotiating With President Obama To Negotiating With Castro On Human Rights. While discussing immigration reform in August 2013, Ingraham claimed that Democrats wanted to a “forge a permanent majority in the U.S. government, which is what they wanted all along.” She continued, “Small government conservatives willing to sit down and forge a comprehensive deal with Barack Obama on immigration. I mean, if you’re willing to do that, you might as well be willing to sit down with Castro and talk about human rights, because he’s had such a great record on that.”

6. Ingraham: People Who Use Food Stamps Are The Next Hurricane Katrina “Roof Squatters.” While discussing the House of Representatives’ passage of the farm bill in July 2013, Ingraham lamented the number of people who use food stamps, saying, “44 million people sucking on the — of the government. You know, the udder of the government.” She went on to say of food stamp recipients, “The next thing you know, they’re going to be standing on the roof, waiting for the helicopters to rescue them, right, the roof squatters during Hurricane Katrina.”

7. Ingraham Threatened To Personally Primary Challenge Republicans Who Support Immigration Reform. In May and June of 2013, Ingraham launched a series of attacks against Republican politicians whom she perceived as supportive of immigration reform, going so far as to claim that she would “primary challenge [Arizona] Senator Jeff Flake [her]self.” She also stated that she would look into running against Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham for his immigration policies, saying, “people think I’m joking, I’m actually not joking,” and later asserted that she would campaign against any House Republican who supported comprehensive immigration reform.

8. Ingraham Smeared The American Children Of Undocumented Immigrants As “Anchor Fetuses.” Ingraham’s attacks against pro-immigration reform Republican politicians were accompanied by numerous smears against immigrants and Latinos, including referring to the American children of undocumented immigrants as “anchor fetuses” during a discussion about Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) “embrace of the path to citizenship” in May 2013.

9. Ingraham Compared Obama’s Immigration Policies To “Spousal Abuse.” Ingraham invoked a “spousal abuse” analogy in February to describe President Obama’s immigration policies, claiming, “The administration led by Barack Obama are abusers of our Constitution.”

10. “We Can Then Wall Off Detroit” If Immigrants Move There. In January, Ingraham derided Michigan Republican Gov. Rick Snyder’s plan to attract skilled immigrants to work and live in bankrupt Detroit, saying, “we can then wall off Detroit” to keep those immigrants from moving to other parts of the country.

h/t: Hilary Tone at MMFA

thepoliticalfreakshow:

Senate Bill 2681 has returned to the Mississippi legislature, resurrected by Senate and House Republicans during the last week of the three-month legislative session. SB 2681, the Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act (PDF here), is one of many bills introduced in the states this year aimed at creating a “license to discriminate” against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people into law.

Opponents thought the bill had been temporarily defeated in early March when the controversial language was amended to institute a study committee in its place. Now, it’s closer to its original form.

Section 1 of the bill says, “Government shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, except as provided in paragraph (b) of this subsection.”

In practical terms, for example, that would mean that a hotel or restaurant owner could refuse service to gay customers while claiming “exercise of religion” and government would have no recourse.

New to the bill is this, found in lines 16-18 of Section 1:

(b) Laws “neutral” toward religion may burden religious exercise as surely as laws intended to interfere with religious exercise; (c) Government should not substantially burden religious exercise without compelling justification;

The target of this section seems to make it clear that the bill is meant to reach far beyond just attacking LGBT rights. In fact, it seems to hint at a case before the Supreme Court right now, Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby. In what could prove to be a landmark decision, the Supreme Court will decide whether or not corporations can refuse to provide female employees healthcare that includes birth control on the basis of religious belief (and thus whether or not corporations are people with all the rights people enjoy – including free exercise of religion).

The requirement that all healthcare plans include birth control for women may be one of those “neutral” laws that SB 2681 now mocks with quotation marks. This bill would make it clear that employers in Mississippi can refuse to comply with laws that don’t like on religious grounds. So if an employer who happens to be a Jehova’s Witness wants to deny employees access to healthcare that includes blood transfusions (which Jehova’s Witnesses are religiously opposed to), the government would have to provide a compelling justification before “interfering with” the employer’s “free exercise.”

The possibilities the quote-unquote “neutral” language introduces are truly myriad. The point, of course, is to say that there is almost nothing over which a claim of religious belief does not take precedence. A law doesn’t have to be intended to interfere with religious exercise; a religious person just has to claim it interferes.

This version of the bill goes beyond protecting free exercise of religion, instead solidly establishing claims of religious exercise in a privileged position above all else.

The bill makes explicit that it applies to all state laws, rules, regulations, and municipal and county ordinances. That could jeopardize recent advances made in Starkville, Hattiesburg, and Oxford, where anti-discrimination effort – including discrimination against LGBT people and other minority – via diversity resolutions have passed to great fanfare in recent months.

The bill still protects the interests of the business community, ensuring that “nothing in this act shall create any rights by an employee against an employer if the employer is not the government.” So, while the act does mean that employers can discriminate against employees and customers on the basis of religious exercise, employees are definitively barred from doing the same in reverse.

The Arizona-style “license to discriminate” bill goes back to a vote on the Mississippi House and Senate floors for an up-or-down vote. No further changes will be allowed. If it passes both houses, SB 2681 then goes to the governor’s desk.