Category: White Christians

Churches have faith in guns, not God after Texas church shooting 

States are now grappling with the idea of more guns in church after the Sutherland shooting.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) views the deadliest mass shooting in his state’s history as evidence that more church parishioners should carry guns for self-protection.
“This is going to happen again,” Paxton told Fox News on Sunday, since “you can’t necessarily keep guns out of the hands of people who are going to violate the law.”

Pastor Jaime Chapa of El Faro Bible Church in Sullivan City, Texas agrees with Paxton and said he will be armed when he preaches to his small congregation of 50, and so will a few of his parishioners.

“There will be three armed [licensed] persons at all times at every service,” Chapa told ABC affiliate KRGV on Monday. “Nobody needs to know who they are, but our church will be protected.”

“What happened in Sutherland will not ever happen in our church,” Chapa said. “This was not supposed to happen.”

Other churches in the southern Texas area said they also planned to increase security in the aftermath of the shooting.

The McAllen First Baptist Church, located about four hours south of Sutherland Springs, said it would implement new procedures for church members with concealed handgun licenses to make each other aware of who is carrying.

“We are putting that into place so our concealed-carry people know each other, but we are also setting things up to where they’re located strategically throughout the auditorium in the services that we have,” the church’s pastor, Shannon Talley, told KRGV earlier this week.

The debate has also moved outside of Texas. Some states like Florida, already allow guns in church, but are considering updated legislation.

Detective Tracey Schofield of the Brooksville Police Department said, “If they go to church, they’re legally allowed to carry it (a gun). There are no restrictions in the state of Florida.” 

Florida State Statute 790.06 lists places you are not allowed to bring a concealed carry, if you have a permit. That list includes:  Schools, government buildings, law enforcement agencies, professional sporting events, airports, and anywhere that serves alcohol. 

Meanwhile the Republican-led Michigan Senate, days after the Texas church massacre has backed a bill that would allow guns in Schools, government buildings, law enforcement agencies, professional sporting events, airports, and anywhere that serves alcohol. 

That bill was sent to the GOP-led House for consideration next. They face an uncertain future because Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican, vetoed a similar plan in 2012 following the mass shooting of elementary schoolchildren in Connecticut.

The sponsor, GOP Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof of West Olive, said the recent mass shootings in Texas and Las Vegas highlight the need to act.

“I believe citizens have the right to be free and safe and secure and to defend themselves and their loved ones,” he said. “Responsible, well-trained, licensed gun owners may be one of those deterrents to those individuals who seek out gun-free zones as opportunities to commit heinous crimes.”

Rick Perry thinks electricity prevents rape 

Secretary of Energy Rick Perry said Thursday that fossil fuels can help prevent sexual assault by keeping the lights on, according to The Hill.
During an event with Axios and NBC in Washington, D.C., Perry brought up sexual assault after launching into a story about a trip to Africa, where he said “people are dying” because they don’t have access to energy.

“And it’s going to take fossil fuels to push power out into those villages in Africa, where a young girl said to my face, ‘One of the reasons that electricity is so important to me is not only because I’m not going to have to try and read by the light of a fire and have those fumes literally kill people,” Perry said.

He continued: “But also from the standpoint of sexual assault. When the lights are on, when you have light that shines, the righteousness, if you will, on those types of acts.” Perry’s stance however, is disputed by RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) who has statistics that indicate only 15% of sexual assaults occur in public open places, while nearly 70% of assaults occur in a homes, buildings, or dorm rooms. 

Perry and the rest of the Trump administration have been outspoken proponents of expanding energy production from fossil fuels. 

Starbucks gives white snowflakes to the white snowflakes this holiday season 

This year Starbucks has opted for a predominantly white holiday cup. The coffee chain’s latest holiday design lets customers color it in themselves. This year the cups feature splashes of red and green amid illustrations of presents, snowflakes and a Christmas tree with star on top. But the black-and white illustration is mainly blank for customers to personalize. Seattle-based Starbucks Corp. says most of its U.S. stores will have colored pencils for people to borrow.

The company says the cups — which are typically red-themed — will be in stores today. 

A plainer red cup in 2015 spurred an outcry from critics upset that it lacked snowflakes, reindeer or specific symbols of Christmas. Even President Donald Trump, who was a candidate at the time, suggested boycotting the chain.

Happy holidays!

Another member of Trump’s administration praises confederacy

White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly on Monday called Robert E. Lee “an honorable man” and said that “the lack of an ability to compromise” led to the Civil War, once again thrusting himself into the public spotlight on an emotionally charged issue.

The comments, made on the debut night of conservative media host Laura Ingraham’s show on Fox News, came after Kelly was asked about the recent decision by a Virginia church to remove plaques that honored the Confederate general and George Washington.

“I would tell you that Robert E. Lee was an honorable man,” Kelly told Ingraham. “He was a man that gave up his country to fight for his state, which 150 years ago was more important than country. It was always loyalty to state first back in those days. Now it’s different today. But the lack of an ability to compromise led to the Civil War, and men and women of good faith on both sides made their stand where their conscience had them make their stand.”

The comments came in the midst of an interview that touched on a wide range of topics including the indictments in the investigation by special counsel Robert F. Mueller, the United States’ relationship with China and Kelly’s work as the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

Long seen as a force of order and discipline in the White House, the retired Marine general became part of the controversy over the president’s calls to Gold Star families this month when he defended Trump’s statements to a widow, made false claims about a Florida congresswoman who had criticized the White House and said he would only take questions from reporters who knew families that had lost service members overseas. He told Ingraham on Monday that he did not believe he had anything to apologize for.

Body of Sherin Matthews “most likely found” say police 

Authorities in Texas found the body of a small child on Thursday during the search for a 3-year-old girl who was reported missing more than two weeks ago.
Sherin Matthews went missing on Oct. 7 after her adoptive father, Wesley Mathews, forced her to stand outside their house alone in the middle of the night as a punishment for not drinking her milk. She was last seen by him at 3 a.m. that morning.
Wesley Mathews was later arrested and charged with abandoning or endangering a child. He was released on a $250,000 bond.

Authorities conducted a weeks-long search around the neighborhoods and surrounding areas where Mathews last reported seeing Sherin.

On Thursday morning, police found the body of a small child in a culvert beneath a road, Sgt. Kevin Perlich, spokesman for the Richardson police department, said at a press conference. He did not specify how far the road was from Mathews’ property.

While authorities have yet to make a positive identification, Perlich said “indications are that it is most likely” the body of Sherin Mathews.

Her parents have been notified, Perlick said. A cause of death has not yet been determined. Police have not arrested anyone else so far, he said.

In a tweet on Thursday, the chief of the Richardson police department said, “Worst news finding child’s body. If it’s #SherinMathews happy recovered so properly laid to rest. Will bring person(s) responsible to justice.”

Trump continues quest to dismantle ACA and deny healthcare to as many Americans as possible 

President Trump signed an executive order on Thursday intended to allow small businesses and potentially individuals to buy a long-disputed type of health insurance that skirts state regulations and Affordable Care Act protections.
The White House and allies portray the president’s move to expand access to “association health plans” as wielding administrative powers to accomplish what congressional Republicans have failed to achieve: tearing down the law’s insurance marketplaces and letting some Americans buy skimpier coverage at lower prices. The order represents Trump’s biggest step to carry out a broad but ill-defined directive he issued his first night in office for agencies to lessen ACA regulations from the Obama administration.

Critics, who include state insurance commissioners, most of the health-insurance industry and mainstream policy specialists, predict that a proliferation of such health plans will have damaging ripple effects: driving up costs for consumers with serious medical conditions and prompting more insurers to flee the law’s marketplaces. Part of Trump’s action, they say, will spark court challenges over its legality.

Trump said that Thursday’s move, which will initiate months of regulatory work by federal agencies, “is only the beginning.” He promised “even more relief and more freedom” from ACA rules. And while leading GOP lawmakers are eager to move on from their unsuccessful attempts this year to abolish central facets of the law, he said: “We are going to pressure Congress very strongly to finish the repeal and replace of Obamacare.”

Under the president’s order, association health plans will be able to avoid many ACA rules, including the law’s benefits requirements, limits on consumers’ yearly and lifetime costs, and ban on charging more to customers who have been sick. Critics warn that young and healthy people who use relatively little insurance will gravitate to those plans because of their lower price tags, leaving older and sicker customers concentrated in ACA marketplaces with spiking rates.

Americans can’t wait to snitch on neighbors, ICE can’t stop doxxing snitches 

The Immigration and Customs and Enforcement website inadvertently dumped personal information for hundreds of callers and their neighbors as part of a Trump administration hotline to snitch on immigrants.
Hundreds of call logs are available for download on the ICE website, and much of the personal information — but not all of it — is redacted for privacy and security reasons, reported Splinter News.

The spreadsheets detail calls into the Trump administration’s Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) hotline, which was set up to “provide proactive, timely, adequate, and professional services to victims of crimes committed by removable aliens.”

The call logs reveal hundreds of callers turning in relatives, neighbors and acquaintances for minor infractions.

“Caller requested to report her mother-in law and sister-in law,” reads one report. “Caller stated these individuals came to the U.S. as tourists and stayed in the U.S. in order to get legal status.”

One caller even provided the date and location of an upcoming divorce hearing where an alleged undocumented immigrant was scheduled to appear, and others seemed to be reporting neighbors for simply existing.

“Caller claims his next door neighbors are undocumented and are from South America,” one report reads. “Caller claims two boys’ ages 14 and 15 reside there along with an adult male.”

Many of the calls came from individuals reporting their accusers in domestic violence cases, as well as reporting alleged undocumented immigrants of violent crime.

Splinter News examined two spreadsheets available for download on the ICE website, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, and found much of the private data had been redacted.

But the news website conducted Google searches for some of the data and found a second spreadsheet, covering April until mid-August, hosted on the ICE website that contained two columns of unredacted personal information — including names, cell phone numbers, alleged crimes, addresses, and Social Security numbers.

That sensitive data revealed personal information for both callers and alleged undocumented immigrants they had reported.

In some cases, the details would have revealed to targets who had informed on them.

“I don’t think they got their sh*t together over there to be honest, pardon my English,” said Jerrold Kestenberg, of Nahant, Massachusetts.

He spoke to Splinter News after calling the hotline to report a neighbor, but was surprised to learn his own phone number, along with his girlfriend’s name and the neighbor’s address, could be found online.

“I’m not too happy about it — sh*t, I mean, I don’t think she wanted that,” he told the website. “I didn’t want them to put it out there, just look into it.”

Kestenberg said he never even received a follow-up call about the report.

Splinter News said the unredacted information remained online three days after notifying ICE about the spreadsheet, and nearly a day after sending a link to the data.

Together, the logs are a grim running diary of a country where people eagerly report their fellow residents to the authorities, or seek to bring the power of the immigration police to bear on family disputes. On May 25, 2017, one man called to say that his stepson was violating a restraining order by parking his car near his house. He didn’t want his wife to know that he was trying to get her son deported.

Javier H. Valdés, the co-executive director of the immigration-rights group Make the Road New York, wrote in an email to Splinter that the logs demonstrate VOICE was little more than an attempt to sow fear and suspicion of immigrants. “Months after the creation of the VOICE program, it’s clear that it’s exactly what we feared it would be,” he wrote. “A sinister public relations ploy to paint immigrants as criminals and foster fear in our communities, all with the despicable goal of tearing apart our families. The program should be immediately ended.”

3 year old girl missing after punishment, parents refuse to cooperate with police

An Amber Alert continued Monday for missing 3-year-old Sherin Matthews from Richardson, Texas. Sherin Mathews was last seen around 3 a.m. Saturday. Her father has been arrested and charged with child endangerment.

Members of the family’s church, Emmanuel Bible Chapel in Irving, have been in and out of the home, comforting the girl’s mother and looking behind the home where Sherin was last seen. “We are trying our best. We hope that baby Sherin is alive somewhere safe,” said Emmanuel Bible Chapel elder, Jose Cherian.

Wesley Mathews, 37, said he ordered Sherin Mathews to stand next to a tree behind the fence at their Richardson home at around 3 a.m. Saturday, according to an arrest affidavit. The tree is across an alley from the home was arrested Saturday for abandoning or endangering a child. The arrest affidavit states: “He directed his daughter to stand near a large tree at 3 a.m. because she wouldn’t drink her milk.”

Mathews claims he then went outside about 15 minutes later to check on her, but Sherin was gone, the affidavit states. The child, who has a developmental disability, was wearing leggings, a pink long-sleeved shirt and pink flip-flops.

The father didn’t notify police that his daughter was missing until about five hours later, said Sgt. Kevin Perlich. He said the delay in reporting the matter “is certainly concerning to us. That does not seem like a normal response that one would do if you have a missing child,” Perlich said.

Police say Wesley and his wife waited until 8 a.m. to report her missing. The affidavit also states Wesley told police: “He knew coyotes had been seen in the alley where he left his daughter.”

A neighbor, who wanted to remain anonymous says the Mathews had trouble conceiving their first child, a 4-year-old girl. He says the couple adopted Sherin, who has developmental issues and limited communication skills. “They felt since God gave them that baby as a miracle baby, that they could help another little one without a family,” he said. This neighbor described the Mathews as devout Christians, who wanted and prayed for Sherin, but he can’t comprehend why Wesley would put her outside, alone as punishment.

UPDATE: The parents of Sherin Mathews are no longer cooperating with the investigation, police have said. According to CBS DFW, the Richardson Police Department said Wesley Mathews and his wife have hired a lawyer, and refused to answer further questions.

Trump, GOP agree women shouldn’t be able to access birth control 

The Trump administration is rolling back the Obama-era requirement that employer-provided health insurance policies cover birth control methods at no cost to women.
According to senior officials with the Department of Health and Human Services, the goal of the new rule is to allow any company or nonprofit group to exclude the coverage for contraception if it has a religious or moral objection.

“This provides an exemption, and it’s a limited one,” said Roger Severino, director of the HHS Office of Civil Rights. “We should have space for organizations to live out their religious identity and not face discrimination.”

He said he expects that most companies will continue to provide coverage for birth control and that the changes will only affect a tiny percentage of U.S. women. The new rules are being published Friday in the Federal Register and go into effect immediately.

But some health policy analysts say the new rule creates a huge opening that lets any employer claim an exemption, leaving their female workers to pay the full cost of any birth control out of pocket.

“It is a huge loophole for any employer that does not want to provide birth control coverage to their employees,” says Dania Palanker, a professor at Georgetown University’s Center on Health Insurance Reform.
HHS officials said they don’t expect many companies to seek waivers. They said the group seeking waivers will likely be limited to those about 200 companies and nonprofits that have already sued.

But Palanker says the impact could be a lot bigger. There are a lot of large private companies, she says, whose owners may hold strong religious beliefs but did not want the publicity and expense of suing the federal government.

“A lot of women will retain birth control coverage,” Palanker says, “but there will be a lot of women who will lose that coverage.”

That means they’ll find themselves paying out of pocket. A one-month supply of birth control pills can cost anywhere from $4 to $55 or more, according to GoodRX.com.

Longer-acting contraception, like an intrauterine device, can cost more than $1,000, says Sarah Lipton-Lubet, a vice president at the National Partnership for Women and Families. She says the new rule is a tool for discrimination against women.

“Women shouldn’t be denied access to basic health care based on their employers’ religious beliefs,” she says. “We all have the right to our religious beliefs. But the way that this rule treats religion is really an excuse to discriminate.”

HHS officials say they also plan more stringent enforcement of a provision in the Affordable Care Act that prohibits federal subsidies from being used for insurance policies that cover abortion. The agency will issue guidelines for insurers Friday on how they have to charge women who want abortion coverage at least $12 a year more for such a policy, and they have to keep that money in a separate fund to be used only to pay for abortions.

The Trump administration’s rule is likely to face its own legal challenges from groups that favor contraception. 

Justice department rolls back gender protections for Americans 

The Department of Justice rolled back a policy Wednesday that protected transgender workers as part of the Civil Rights Act.
Title VII of the landmark 1964 federal law states that employers cannot discriminate against someone “because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.” In December 2014, under former President Barack Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder issued a memo saying that Title VII protections include protections for transgender individuals.
But in a memo sent Wednesday to U.S. attorneys and other top department officials across the country, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said otherwise.

“Although federal law, including Title VII, provides various protections to transgender individuals, Title VII does not prohibit discrimination based on gender identity per se,” the memo reads. “As a law enforcement agency, the Department of Justice must interpret Title VII as written by Congress…. Therefore, as of the date of this memorandum, which hereby withdraws the December 15, 2014, memorandum, the Department of Justice will take that position in all pending and future matters.”
In a statement Thursday, a Justice Department spokesperson said, “The Department of Justice cannot expand the law beyond what Congress has provided.”

“Unfortunately, the last administration abandoned that fundamental principle, which necessitated [the] action,” the statement continued. “This Department remains committed to protecting the civil and constitutional rights of all individuals, and will continue to enforce the numerous laws that Congress has enacted that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.”

The memo comes just over two months after President Donald Trump first announced a ban on transgender individuals from serving in the military and days after the United States voted against a U.N. resolution that would ban the death penalty form being used as punishment for being Lgtbq.