Category Archives: Religion

Van Jones Says Democrats and Progressives need to work on Winning and Not Take Anything for Granted.

Van Jones

CNN commentator and author Van Jones said that for Democrats and Progressives to win elections, they cannot just sit and wait for the people to follow them because the masses agree with them on the issues or because most agree that President Trump is unfit to serve. Instead, they need to speak out and make their views known and remain continually persistent and vigilant for the causes they believe in.

He spoke at the Fifth Annual Lecture Series on Delivering Democracy at the Fourteenth Street Pilgrim Rest Baptist church in Phoenix.

Jones said that Democrats and Progressives also can not take any group for granted. The poor white person in Appalachia wants the same life for their kids like the poor black person in the projects. People who believe in God also believe in helping the needy and oppressed. Democrats and Progressives would be wise to reconnect with these groups they have forgotten. If Democrats and Progressives can do all of these things (and it should not be a heavy lift), Progressives and Democrats will have a lot to celebrate after the next few election cycles as long as they remember that they can never stop being proactive and fight to move the country forward.

The lecture was sponsored by the Arizona State University Center for Race and Democracy and hosted by the congregation of Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church Ministries. Jones is a community and environmental activist, and former White House Aide to President Obama, and he offered his views on bringing different races, classes, and the religious and secular worlds in our country together.

At a packed Church hall, the congregants gathered for the fifth year to hear Van Jones’ views on Race and Democracy. Many still remembered the contributions of their late Pastor, Bishop Alexis Thomas, and progressive (both secular and religious) activists from organizations like the Boys and Girls Club, East Valley NACCP, The Pat Tillman’s Veterans Center, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Red for Ed, and Outlawing Dirty Money (an irony because one of the sponsors of the event is APS)

After an excellent performance by the church choir and music group, the event started with the pivotal question, broadcast on a video “What is Democracy?” Following several varying answers from respondents on the video, the key message is that Democracy is the “responsibility of the people” to maintain.

Dr. Stanlie James, the Vice Provost for Inclusion and Community Engagement, echoed this sentiment by relaying the current issues our countries citizens’ face such as the incident with two African American patrons at a Philadelphia Starbucks (Mr. Jones would later ask in his presentation why the police did not arrest the person that made the erroneous/false complaint) or the rising mortality rate of African American Mothers in a “First World Country.” Calling the Center on Race and Democracy “an oasis in the desert” where these issues can be discussed, she cited support from the Obamas as proof that this center is doing good works.

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GOP legislators reject equal rights for women, because abortion (Updated)

This week Arizona’s GOP legislators reaffirmed, once again, that they believe women are second-class citizens who do not enjoy the full panoply of rights that white men do (they’re not convinced that men who are minorities do either), because abortion.

Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley

Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley proposes the Equal Rights Amendment.

On Tuesday, Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley (D-Tucson), for the second year in a row, attempted to use a procedural maneuver to bring up a bill for debate on approving the Equal Rights Amendment. And for the second year in a row, white men moved to adjourn the House rather than debate the bill and take a vote.

The Republic reports, On Equal Pay Day, Arizona Republicans block vote on Equal Rights Amendment:

Democrats in the Arizona Legislature fell short Tuesday in their attempt to force a vote on ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.

For the second consecutive year, they failed to persuade Republicans to allow debate on the ERA — a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution that broadly guarantees equal rights between men and women.

State Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley, D-Tucson, tried to use a procedural move to bring an ERA resolution to a vote in the House of Representatives, but the House adjourned before that could happen.

Hannley said she chose Tuesday to push the issue because it marks Equal Pay Day, the day on the calendar when the average American woman’s earnings catch up to what a male peer earned in 2017.

Nationally, women earn about 80 cents for every dollar a man makes. In Arizona, women earn about 82 cents for every dollar.

‘No time limit on equality’

“Arizona women want equal pay for equal work,” Hannley told fellow lawmakers. “Let’s make history. There is no time limit on equality.”

But Majority Leader John Allen, R-Scottsdale, intervened to prevent a vote on Powers Hannley’s motion. His motion to recess the chamber for the day passed 32-25, along party lines.

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Breaking: Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals rules Trump Muslim travel ban is unconstitutional

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, sitting en banc, ruled on Thursday in a 9-4 decision that the latest iteration of President Trump’s travel ban is unconstitutional, citing that it unlawfully discriminates against Muslims. Opinion (.pdf).

The Hill reports, Appeals court rules latest Trump travel ban is unconstitutional:

A Virginia-based federal court of appeals on Thursday ruled the latest version of President Trump’s travel ban unconstitutional, citing that it unlawfully discriminates against Muslims.

In a 9-4 decision, a majority of the judges on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals said it examined official statements from Trump and other executive branch officials, along with the proclamation itself, and found it “unconstitutionally tainted with animus toward Islam.”

The court is the second federal appeals court to rule against the travel ban.

The most recent iteration of the ban bars people from eight countries — six of which are predominantly Muslim — from coming to the U.S.

The Supreme Court had decided in December that it would allow the latest travel ban to take effect while litigation ran its course [in this case].

It has now run its course. You can rest assured that Confederate Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III will file an appeal back to the U.S. Supreme Court from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals decision.

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Evil GOP bastards reject the will of the voters on Minimum Wage Initiative (Prop. 206)

Rep. Paul Gosar is Arizona’s most embarrassing member of Congress, but in the Arizona legislature, there are a multitude of challengers for the title of most embarrassing member of the legislature.

A perennial contender is Sen. Sylvia “Earth is 6,000 years old” Allen (R-Snowflake), a theocratic Dominionist Christian Reconstructionist whose heretical views of Christianity too frequently influence the legislation she advances.

Sen. Allen’s latest dog bone to chew on is the Minimum Wage Initiative (Prop. 206) overwhelmingly approved by Arizona voters in 2016. She believes that you the voters were “immoral” in approving the Minimum Wage Initiative, and she wants to reverse the will of you sinful voters. You’re all going to Hell!

The Arizona Capitol Times reports, Senate committee passes resolution to repeal state’s minimum wage:

A resolution sponsored by Sen. Sylvia Allen, R-Snowflake, would ask voters to undue much of Proposition 206, a citizen-driven initiative that boosted Arizona’s minimum wage from $8.05 to $10 in 2017, $10.50 in 2018 and eventually to $12 by 2020. Allen’s resolution would also repeal mandated paid sick time and a provision that allows domestic violence victims to take paid sick leave to handle issues caused by the violence.

Allen, who in the past has described the notion of minimum wage as “morally flawed,” wants voters to freeze the minimum wage at $10.50, repeal state laws requiring employers to provide paid sick leave, and adopt a new law prohibiting cities, counties or towns from adopting their own minimum wage if it’s higher than the state’s.

Mandating a minimum wage is like “pulling money from one person to give to another person,” she told the Senate Commerce and Public Safety Committee on Monday.

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Do Arizonans believe in equal rights for all Arizonans, or not? Give HB 2586 a vote

Since at least 1994, to the best of my recollection, a bill has been introduced in the Arizona legislature to amend the Arizona Civil Rights Act to include protections for the LGBTQ community. (Many Arizonans falsely believe that such protections already exist). As I recall, there may have been one year the bill actually got a committee vote — and was defeated — but almost every year the bill does not even get a hearing in the GOP-controlled Arizona legislature.

This remains true even after the U.S. Supreme Court and the Arizona Supreme Court have recognized equal protection for same-sex marriages, and same-sex spouses have the same parental rights as opposite-sex spouses under Arizona law.  Another lawsuit enjoined a 2009 statute that made domestic partners of state employees ineligible for health benefits.

Too many Arizona Republicans resist “the arc of the moral universe [that] bends towards justice,” under “a Constitution that promised its people liberty, and justice, and a Union that could be and should be perfected over time.”

To paraphrase Joseph Welch, “You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, GOP legislators, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?

The GOP-controlled Arizona legislature is, once again, kowtowing to the hateful lobbyist for religious bigots, Cathi Herrod of the Center for Arizona Policy, whose undue influence over the Arizona legislature makes her “Arizona’s 31st Senator.” It’s time to revoke her status.

The Arizona Republic reports, Bill to bar discrimination against LGBT people can’t get a hearing:

For the first time ever, a proposal to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in Arizona has gained support from a Republican in the Legislature, along with GOP municipal leaders.

But that doesn’t appear to be enough to get a hearing at the Capitol.

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Trumpism, moral relativism, and GOP tribalism (Updated)

Dana Milbank of the Washington Post had an interesting piece about the moral decay of the GOP the other day, Republicans redefine morality as whatever Trump does:

New evidence suggests that the damage [Trump] is doing to the culture is bigger than the man. A Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday found that two-thirds of Americans say Trump is not a good role model for children. Every component of society feels that way — men and women, old and young, black and white, highly educated or not — except for one: Republicans. By 72 to 22 percent, they say Trump is a good role model.

In marked contrast to the rest of the country, Republicans also say that Trump shares their values (82 percent) and that — get this — he “provides the United States with moral leadership” (80 percent).

And what moral leadership this role model has been providing!

* * *

[L]et’s see what might have led 72 percent of Republicans to conclude Trump is a good role model:

His lawyer arranged to make payment to a porn star, Stormy Daniels, a month before the election for her silence about an alleged sexual encounter with Trump, according to the Wall Street Journal.

He used a vulgar word to describe African countries during a racist rant to lawmakers at the White House.

He was mounting a campaign to discredit the “corrupt” FBI, the Justice Department and the special prosecutor, just as he previously sought to disqualify courts and judges.

He backed a credibly accused child molester for the Senate from Alabama.

And so on.

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