Tony Perkins / Mar. 6, 2021

COVID Bill Is Asymptomatic of Relief

“Calling this a coronavirus bill is like calling Harvey Weinstein a feminist.”

Joe Biden said he wanted to meet Republicans halfway on COVID relief. If that’s the case, Senator John Kennedy (R-La.) fired back, he’s a darn poor judge of distance. “This bill is dreadful,” he vented. “It’s an orgy of pork… The only way I know how to improve it is with a shredder.”

Of course, the American people wouldn’t know how awful the $1.9 trillion dollar money pit is because it’s had no hearings, no committee debate, no “overt party discussions,” Senator Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) reminded everyone on “Washington Watch” Wednesday. The media friends of Biden would have covered it favorable as it was, but now, they’re not even covering much at all. Our job, Republicans have said, is to expose the bill for what it is.

On Thursday and into Friday morning, the GOP’s Ron Johnson (Wisc.) made sure the country knew what was in this miserable excuse for “virus relief” by ordering the Senate clerks to read the 628 pages out loud, word for word. It took until 2:04 a.m. Friday morning, but for most senators, it was the first chance they had to hear for themselves what was stuffed into the fine print. Turns out, a lot. “It’s not even a coronavirus bill,” Kennedy barked. “Calling this a coronavirus bill is like calling Harvey Weinstein a feminist.” It funds illegal immigrants, abortion, liberal teachers’ unions, schools that won’t open, blue states, the arts, and transportation kickbacks for districts like Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.)

“It’s like Nancy Pelosi is saying, ‘I have to have a pacifier for all of the leftists in my conference,” Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) explained. “I have to payoff all of these lobbyists and these Left-leaning groups that helped win the White House in the House and the Senate. So this is what you’re getting: something that takes care of the people that supported [Democrats] and their pursuit to have control of Washington, D.C. Earmarks are coming back. You have out of control spending money for the arts. You have a blue state bailout [that goes to] this mountain of debt that these poorly managed states have run up…” It’s like California, New York, Illinois, and others are saying, “Hey, print some more money. We’ve got our hand out. We’ll take it.”

The reality is, Republicans had bills on the table in July, August, September, October that would have been “targeted, timely, and temporary,” Blackburn reminded people. “And what did the Democrats do? Every single one of them voted against it. What did they do in the House? They voted against everything that we pushed forward, because they wanted people to suffer. Why did they want people to suffer? Because it was to their political advantage. And Nancy Pelosi even admitted that. How terrible to use people as pawns to win an election. And then once you win, you use them as pawns again to pass $2 trillion dollars in spending. Then you say, 'Oh, yeah, we’ve got this a little tiny bit over here in the corner of this bill… for COVID relief. That’s going to go help people that lost their job… But, hey, the rest of this, this is our money. We’re going to bail out our buddies with this.’”

And if the COVID situation is so dire that we need to spend another $2 trillion dollars we’ve already spent, why on earth wouldn’t you pick a better person to manage it? Joe Biden has picked a man to head up our health care agency, the department that’s overseeing this massive pandemic response, who has zero health experience. The only thing Xavier Becerra has ever done that’s even remotely related to health care is sue Catholic hospitals and nuns as attorney general of California. “You’re right,” Blackburn said. “He knows nothing about this. He’s a liberal activist. He’s somebody that can be counted on to go as far Left as Joe Biden wants to push.”

Absolutely nothing about Joe Biden’s plan to address the COVID crisis has anything to do with helping this country recover. Not his “relief bill,” not his anointed leaders, not even his attacks on thriving red states. What does it say about the Biden administration that their virus bill is the first one without bipartisan support? It says that this is not a new era of “healing leadership.” Or, frankly, any kind of leadership at all.

Contact your senators and ask them to oppose the Blue State Bailout/Payoff posing as a relief bill and Xavier Becerra’s nomination. America doesn’t need a pro-abortion attack dog at the helm of HHS – it needs a health expert.

Originally published here.

NBA Courts China with New TV Deal

If nine percent of Americans consider China a “partner,” they must all work for the NBA. The rest of the country, as the latest headlines make painfully clear, is done with the communist tyrants. Nine out of 10 Americans see China as a “competitor” or “enemy” now, and half think we should limit their power. Gallup’s numbers for President Jinping are even worse. They put China’s unfavorable rating at 79 percent – the worst in the history of the polling company. And they don’t have a whole lot of faith that Joe Biden’s policies will help.

Americans may cut the new administration some slack when it comes to foreign affairs, but their trust has limits. Of all the international issues on Biden’s plate, his handling of China ranks worst. Sixty percent have confidence that he’ll do the right thing on world issues in general, but when it comes to “dealing effectively” with the Chinese Communist Party, voters have their doubts. Only 53 percent believe in his ability to manage the relationship well – the lowest of any foreign policy issue.

And his waffling on the genocide label over China’s Uyghur treatment won’t help. In a February townhall, President Biden tried to excuse the systematic rape, torture, and killing of two million minorities as “a different norm.” Surprising everyone who’s followed the atrocities of the internment camps, Biden waved away the abuses, saying, “Culturally there are different norms that each country and their leaders are expected to follow.” Americans certainly don’t see it that way. Both parties (Republicans at 72 percent, Democrats at 69 percent) feel strongly that the U.S. should protect human rights in China – even if it hurts economic ties.

It’s bad enough that liberal U.S. corporations like Nike and the NBA are legitimizing China with TV deals and overseas factories – while they moralize at home about “discrimination” and social justice. The hypocrisy is so bad they don’t even blush, Gordon Chang agreed. “We have a company called Nike that lectures the American People about racism, but actually had its shoes manufactured in conditions that really were slave labor, not just forced labor. This went on for decades. Nike obviously knew about it, although they denied it. Clearly, this is hypocrisy at a level that we’ve never seen. And we have a number of athletes in the NBA who are connected to Nike who have been lecturing us about all sorts of things.”

And people are fed up, Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) warns. “They’ve just about had it [with the double standards and hypocrisy] because they’re seeing it every day. It’s one set of rules for the Left and then censorship and diminishment on the Right.” In fact, she’s so frustrated by the pro-China decisions of the NBA that she fired off a two-page letter demanding to know why the league would strike a deal with a television company that’s at “the mercy of communist country.” “While investigations into the origin of COVID-19 continue in Wuhan, the NBA seems solely focused on mending its relationship with CCTV,” she wrote to commissioner Adam Silver.

Didn’t they learn anything from the basketball camps the NBA ran in China? One league employee compared the atmosphere in their Xinjiang’s complex to “World War II Germany.” “One [coach] requested and received a transfer after watching Chinese coaches strike teenage players, three sources told ESPN…. ‘You can’t have it both ways,’ one former employee told ESPN. ‘You can’t be over here in February promoting Black History Month and be over in China, where they’re in reeducation camps, and all the people that you’re partnering with are hitting kids.”

But unfortunately, Blackburn says, it all comes down to greed. After this week’s deal with CCTV, they’re suddenly saying “these warm, cozy things about the Chinese Communist Party. These are people who are not our friends. They do not wish us well. The NBA is listening to the sound of money talking. They are not thinking about the well-being of the Chinese people or the human rights violations that are being carried out against the Hong Kong freedom fighters or the Tibetans or the Taiwanese or the genocide that’s being committed against the Uyghurs… [who are] faced with having their population just completely annihilated.”

If they can make $3 billion more dollars, they don’t care who’s being hurt. That’s why they need to know, Marsha warned: “the U.S. Senate is watching.”

Originally published here.

Snopes on the Ropes over Equality Act Review

Getting the truth out about the Equality Act hasn’t been easy. As if the mainstream media isn’t deceptive enough, now liberals have the fact checkers doing their dirty work attacking those who are trying to put the facts out. But who’s checking the fact checkers?

Over at Snopes, who is now in the business of truth checking prayers, the question was raised, if Franklin Graham’s “Urgent Prayer Alert” about the radical Equality Act was correct. Like most people in the Christian community, Franklin has warned his followers that this is “a very dangerous piece of legislation with implications for everyone from secular businesses to Christian schools. Desperate to downplay just how far-reaching the devastation to freedom would be, Snopes’s Dan MacGuill takes apart the post piece by piece.

Under the "What’s True” section, he concedes that the Equality Act would “prohibit schools, hospitals, public accommodations and in some cases churches from discriminating against individuals on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity; legally oblige those establishments to accommodate transgender persons in accordance with their preferred gender identity; remove a major 'conscience protection’ for religious healthcare workers; and leave religious colleges open to being cut off from federal assistance if they violate Title VI non-discrimination rules.”

What’s false, Snopes insists, is that the bill wouldn’t “neutralize an existing exemption in federal law that allows religious organizations to discriminate in favor of employees of the same religious faith or religious values.” Sure, some of the titles may have religious liberty language that is maintained as a technicality, but the Equality Act takes multiple steps to neutralize their effectiveness. The actual text of H.R. 5 makes it quite clear that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act – the most robust protection for Americans’ religious freedom rights – would be meaningless against any lawsuit on those grounds. Specifically, it says, “The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 shall not provide a claim concerning, or a defense to a claim under, a covered title, or provide a basis for challenging the application or enforcement of a covered title.”

Joe Biden and his army of extremists have made it their goal to demand conformity on LGBT issues from everyone. And it will only be a matter of time before every American in every profession has a choice between their jobs or organizations and their beliefs.

In the Bostock ruling that redefined what qualifies as “sex discrimination,” Justice Samuel Alito pointed out in his dissent that “briefs filed by a wide range of religious groups––Christian, Jewish, and Muslim––express deep concern that the position now adopted by the Court ‘will trigger open conflict with faith-based employment practices of numerous churches, synagogues, mosques, and other religious institutions…’ This problem is perhaps most acute when it comes to the employment of teachers. A school’s standards for its faculty ‘communicate a particular way of life to its students,’ and a ‘violation by the faculty of those precepts’ may undermine the school’s ‘moral teaching.’ Thus, if a religious school teaches that sex outside marriage and sex reassignment procedures are immoral, the message may be lost if the school employs a teacher who is in a same-sex relationship or has undergone or is undergoing sex reassignment. Yet today’s decision may lead to Title VII claims by such teachers and applicants for employment.” The religious liberty protections within Title VII probably aren’t enough to protect against those claims, especially if sexual rights are elevated above religious rights – like they are in the Equality Act.

MacGuill also tries to downplay the impact on Christian schools and colleges, insisting in his slyly crafted response that the Equality Act wouldn’t “directly” cause religious colleges to lose their accreditation. Not directly, no. But it is, as Snopes acknowledges, “a somewhat accurate assessment of the text of the bill and its legal consequences… the Equality Act, combined with the court precedents we discussed above, would effectively make it impermissible discrimination for schools and colleges not to accommodate transgender students according to their preferred gender identity, then failing or refusing to provide those accommodations could, in principle, ultimately lead the government to cut off federal assistance to those institutions.”

And groups like the Human Rights Campaign aren’t waiting for the Equality Act. They think Joe Biden can use his executive power at the Department of Education to deny “any school that stands against the LGBTQ revolution [their] accreditation.” And maybe there are Christians who say, “Well, no big deal,” Albert Mohler warns. It’s a huge deal, he insists. Accreditation has everything to do with “whether your school can accept students from the GI Bill, whether or not your school can participate in federal student aid programs… And whether or not your degrees and credits will be recognized to transfer to another institution or [whether] your graduates [are] able to apply to a graduation program elsewhere…This is the worldview conflict we’re facing.”

Unfortunately, most Snopes readers probably didn’t bother to scroll past the “mixed” rating on Graham’s alert, or else they would have seen that the site confirmed more facts about the bill than it denied. That includes the truth about treating schools, churches, and health care groups as “public accommodations” that have to accept the government’s beliefs and mandates about sexual orientation and gender identity. Snopes also agreed that the bill would force girls and women to welcome biological males in their sports, locker rooms, women’s shelters, women’s prisons. It will strip health care workers, doctors, nurses, and others from their conscience rights on gender surgeries and abortions. And yes, the site admitted, it will force teachers and students to “publicly pretend that a biological male is female.”

On those grounds alone, Americans should be very concerned about the possibility of this bill becoming law. On the question of whether the Equality Act is the most dangerous piece of anti-freedom, pro-LGBT legislation ever considered by Congress, our rating is TRUE.

Originally published here.

This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.

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