Category: White Christians

Undocumented parents for trying to get medical help for their son

Oscar and Irma Sanchez, both of whom are undocumented immigrants living in Texas, were arrested while awaiting a serious surgery for their two-month-old son, highlighting the excruciating human cost of President Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant crusade.

A heart-wrenching story published by NPR on Wednesday evening detailed how the couple came into contact with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials back in May while seeking treatment for their son Isaac’s pyloric stenosis, a condition that causes vomiting and weight loss in infants. There was no hospital that could perform the surgery in the Rio Grande Valley area where the couple lives, so they would have to drive to a children’s hospital in Corpus Christi, TX—and past a Border Patrol checkpoint.

But as they were sitting in another hospital trying to figure out how to proceed, the choice was made for them, as a Border Patrol agent turned up in the waiting room. (Oscar Sanchez told NPR he suspects a nurse called the authorities on them.) The agent said they officers could escort the couple to the Corpus Christi hospital for their son to get his surgery, but that they would be arrested the moment they arrived and face deportation proceedings. As any parent would, the couple agreed.

What followed were two straight days of constant surveillance by Border Patrol agents, who Sanchez said never left their sides, asking Irma to keep the door open while she breast-fed and following him to the hospital cafeteria. They were arrested and separately taken to the local Border Patrol station to be booked before being allowed to return to their baby’s side. Sanchez asked the doctor to delay the operation until both he and his wife could be at the hospital.

“We didn’t know if they were going to let us stay with our son or not,” Sanchez told NPR in Spanish. “You feel vulnerable.”

Advocacy groups said the treatment the Sanchez family was subjected to is usually reserved for high-value targets like violent gang members or drug traffickers. Neither Oscar nor Irma have a criminal record.

It’s the latest terrifying incident in a series of arrests where immigration authorities are encroaching on spaces once thought safe for undocumented people. Immigration police have turned up to arrest people at hospitals, homeless shelters, and courthouses since the Trump administration rolled back Obama era protections to avoid making arrests in sensitive locations.

ICE has also dramatically escalated the number of immigrants it has arrested even though they have no criminal record, and Thomas Homan, the acting head of ICE, has warned all undocumented people that they are targets for potential deportation.

Trump administration seeks to ease drone strike regulations

The Trump administration is set to roll back various limits on drone strikes and commando raids put in place under former President Barack Obama, The New York Times reported Thursday.

Under the policy, strikes would be expanded to include “foot-soldier jihadists” who do not necessarily have leadership roles, instead of allowing strikes only if militants are considered a “continuing and imminent threat” to U.S. citizens.

The proposed strikes would also no longer have to go through high-level vetting, according to the Times. The rollbacks would apply to commando raids and drone strikes outside of conventional battlefields, and would affect missions in countries where the U.S. has not targeted active Islamic militants, as well as countries such as Yemen, Libya and Somalia, where the U.S. are taken aim at militants, according to the report.

The proposal, which has taken shape over the past few months, will intensify the fight against terror organizations such as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and al Qaeda. The proposal is likely to enrage human rights groups advocating for increased limits and bans on drone strikes to avoid civilian casualties.

However, the Trump administration will keep the requirement that there needs to be “near certainty” that no civilians will be killed during an attack.

The reported policy illustrates President Trump’s promise to go after jihadists with increased force, which he repeatedly advocated for on the campaign trail. Trump reaffirmed this mission in his speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, vowing to crush “loser” terrorists. “The United States and our allies are working together throughout the Middle East to crush the loser terrorists and stop the re-emergence of safe havens they use to launch attacks on all of our people,” he said.

Lawmaker posts “all lives splatter meme”, insists she was just promoting road safety

RAPID CITY, S.D. — Republican state lawmaker Lynne DiSanto of South Dakota shared an image on Facebook depicting protesters being hit by a vehicle under the caption, “All Lives Splatter.” DiSanto, who is the GOP’s majority whip in the state House, did not immediately return a phone call requesting comment. The image she uploaded in a public Facebook post said, “All lives splatter. Nobody cares about your protests. Keep your ass out of the road.” DiSanto in her post added, “I think this is a movement we can all support.” DiSanto shared the image less than one month after a driver plowed through counter protesters at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., killing a 32-year-old woman and injuring 19 others.

Comments from friends and constituents on the post were initially supportive of the image. After the post was more widely circulated, the tone of comments turned against DiSanto until she deleted the post Tuesday afternoon. DiSanto is set to again serve as majority whip during the 2018 legislative session unless she opts to step down from the elected position, said Republican House Majority Leader Lee Qualm.

“I don’t think that will have an impact,” Qualm said. “Obviously I think she wishes she had not put it out there, but she was quick to pull it down and it seems like one of those things you do without putting much thought into it.” Qualm said the move was an error in judgment. He said the party does not condone hitting protesters.

“To put up a meme that pretty much encourages violence and possibly murder, that’s inappropriate. She’s a community leader and an elected official,” said Lori Miller, a spokeswoman for the group Indivisible Rapid City. “Not only is she inciting violence, she is targeting a certain race of people.”

The Republican eventually deleted the post Tuesday, and issued as statement in which she said “I am sorry if people took offense to it and perceived my message in any way insinuating support or condoning people being hit by cars,” DiSanto said. “I perceived it differently. I perceived it as encouraging people to stay out of the street.” DiSanto said she failed to consider examples of violence against protesters when she shared her Facebook post. “That was a lack of judgment on my part to not take that into consideration, the highly charged political environment that we’re in,” she said.

Since then a post appeared on the Facebook page of Keller Williams Realty Black Hills that said, “Due to recent events, Lynne Disanto is no longer associated with Keller Williams Realty Black Hills.” DiSanto’s occupation is listed as “Realtor” on her legislative biography page on the South Dakota Legislature website.

Church refuses to let Jewish lesbian volunteer at Hurricane Harvey relief effort

A Texas woman who volunteered at a church to help families in need after Hurricane Harvey has been ‘fired’ after the church found she’s Jewish and a lesbian.

Carmen Hix told OutSmart magazine that The Calvary Church in Friendswood, Texas needed volunteers to help at the food bank after Hurricane Harvey devastated the community. Hix decided to take off a week from work and donate $500 worth of food to the church. On Friday, September 8, she was taken by surprise when she was called in by a volunteer and the church’s pastor, Ron Hindt, who told her she was no longer welcome at the church after he found out about her religion and sexuality.

Carmen Hix told the news station she was hurt by their request, adding that she had nothing but good intentions. She said that she couldn’t sit idly by after Hurricane Harvey hit her native Texas. “I took a leave of absence – I work part time – and decided just to do 10 days straight of volunteering,” Hix told Channel 2.

Hix said she started getting questions from the man supervising the church’s food bank when he noticed she’d been saying “shalom” at the end of prayer each day. Typically, the group all came together to pray before they started working each morning but she simply bowed her head in respect and said the salutation which means “peace be with you” in Hebrew.

“The gentleman asked me, looked me in the eye, and says, ‘Are you a Christian?’ and I said, ‘No, I identify as being Jewish,’ and he said then you can no longer volunteer for Calvary,” Hix said.

Once she got home, Hix told the magazine she called the church to complain about the pastor and was invited back in. But when she arrived, she was confronted by the pastor  about “rumors” of her sexual orientation. According to Hix, the pastor said that he ‘can’t let you represent our church, as being a Lesbian is a sin’.

Hix said that Hindt suggested that Hix and her partner, Christina Fiddmont-Norfleet, who have been together for 20 years attend a service so that they would learn about homosexuality and God’s will.

“He said when God strikes your heart and brings to light the sinfulness of your ways you’ll be able to walk away from that relationship and you’ll be good with God.”

The church’s pastor responded to the controversy in a Facebook post, claiming that they “would never” do such a thing. “Unfortunately, we’re saddened by an incident involving some miscommunication that took place off campus in an exchange between various community volunteers at the church’s food pantry. At no time did I ever say you couldn’t serve here. I told her I have Jewish friends. I go to Israel all the time…” Hindt wrote in a now deleted Facebookpost.

OutSmart magazine reached out to the Calvary Church for a comment, but did not get a response.

 

Family court judge refuses to hear cases that involve “practicing homosexuals”

A family court judge in Kentucky is refusing to hear adoption cases involving gay parents “as a matter of conscience” because he believes such households would not serve the best interests of the child.

Judge W. Mitchell Nance filed an order recusing himself from any future adoption cases involving “a practicing homosexual.” He cited a judicial ethics rule that states a judge must disqualify himself when he has a personal bias or prejudice.
Kentucky state law permits gay couples to adopt children.

Despite numerous studies showing that children in same sex households are just as mentally and emotionally healthy as children raised in different sex households, judge Nance stated-

“The undersigned judge believes as a matter of conscience that (although adoption of a child by a practicing homosexual is not expressly prohibited by law) under no circumstance would ‘…the best interest of the child … be promoted by the adoption …’ by a practicing homosexual.”

Nance’s recusal drew swift condemnation from gay-rights organizations but support from conservative groups. He also drew comparisons to Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who was jailed in 2015 for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

“He’s clearly looking for his Kim Davis legacy. He’s probably making the comparison himself,” said Chris Hartman, director of the Fairness Campaign, a Kentucky LGBT advocacy organization. “But as I’ve been saying, if he can’t do the job he shouldn’t have the job.”

The Family Foundation, a Kentucky group that promotes socially conservative values, spoke out in favor of Nance’s decision.
“If we are going to let liberal judges write their personal biases and prejudices into law, as we have done on issues of marriage and sexuality,” said Martin Cothran, a spokesman for the group, “then, in the interest of fairness, we are going to have to allow judges with different views to at least recuse themselves from such cases.”
“When adoption agencies abandon the idea that it is in the best interest of a child to grow up with both a mother and father, people can’t expect judges who do believe that to be forced to bow the knee,” Cothran added. “Judges have a right of conscience like everyone else.”

Nance is one of two judges in the family court for rural Barren and Metcalfe counties in south-central Kentucky. He became a judge in 2000 and was most recently reelected, without opposition, in 2014. His term expires on January 1, 2023. For now, the other family court judge had agreed to hear cases involving same sex couples.

Russia calls Jehovah’s Witnesses “extremists”, bans group

MOSCOW — The Russian Supreme Court on Thursday declared the country’s branch of Jehovah’s Witnesses “extremist,” equating it to the Islamic State.

The religious group is to be disbanded and its assets seized by the government, according to the court’s website.

“This decision can lead to most deplorable consequences for believers of various confessions, as well as for Russia’s public image,” Jehovah’s Witnesses Russia said on its website.

Under Russian law, the ban would not prohibit any of the 170,000 individual believers from following their creed, but congregating and proselytizing would become offenses punishable with up to five years in prison.

The plaintiff, the Russian Justice Ministry, cited the group’s aversion to blood transfusion on religious grounds as reason for the ban.

A number of books and pamphlets by Jehovah’s Witnesses have also been banned in Russia in the past years. Prosecutors claimed the publications foster intolerance.

Eight regional chapters of Jehovah’s Witnesses have been banned in Russia as “extremist” since 2009.

The Russian list of banned extremist organizations currently contains 59 entries, most of them white supremacist organizations. The Islamic State and Al Qaida are also banned in Russia.

White protesters threaten to murder workers for taking down confederate statue

New Orleans officials removed the first of four  Confederate monuments today, the latest Southern institution to sever itself from symbols viewed by many as a representation racism and white supremacy.

The first memorial to come down was the Liberty Monument, an 1891 obelisk honoring the Crescent City White League. The Crescent City White League attempted to overthrow a biracial Reconstruction government in New Orleans after the Civil War. That attempt failed, but white supremacist Democrats later took control of the state.

An inscription added to the obelisk in 1932 said the Yankees withdrew federal troops and “recognized white supremacy in the South” after the group challenged Louisiana’s biracial government after the Civil War.

In 1993, these words were covered by a granite slab with a new inscription, saying the obelisk honors “Americans on both sides” who died and that the conflict “should teach us lessons for the future.”

Workers arrived around 1:25 a.m. in an attempt to avoid disruption from supporters who want the monuments to stay.  City officials said protesters have even made death threats to those removing the statue.

The workers inspecting the statue ahead of its removal could be seen wearing flak jackets and helmets. Police officers watched the area from atop the parking garage of a nearby hotel. Meanwhile, a handful of people opposed to the move held a vigil at the statue of Jefferson Davis, who was the president of the Confederacy during the Civil War.

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu has called the Liberty Monument “the most offensive of the four” to be taken down, adding it was erected to “revere white supremacy.”

“If there was ever a statue that needed to be taken down, it’s that one,” he said in an interview Sunday with The Associated Press.

Three other statues to Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and P.G.T. Beauregard and Confederate States of America President Jefferson Davis will be removed in later days now that legal challenges have been overcome.

The removals are “about showing the whole world that we as a city and as a people are able to acknowledge, understand, reconcile — and most importantly — choose a better future,” Landrieu said in a statement released by his office. “We can remember these divisive chapters in our history in a museum or other facility where they can be put in context — and that’s where these statues belong.”

People who want the Confederate memorials removed say they are offensive artifacts honoring the region’s slave-owning past. But others call the monuments part of the city’s history and say they should be protected historic structures.

Robert Bonner, 63, who said he is a Civil War re-enactor, was there to protest the statue’s removal.

“I think it’s a terrible thing,” he said. “When you start removing the history of the city, you start losing money. You start losing where you came from and where you’ve been.”