They’re baaack! The Christian Taliban that pushed SB 1062, the religious bigots right to discriminate bill, through the Arizona legislature this year — only to be vetoed by Governor Brewer, and that had Rep. John Kavanagh (R-Fountain Hills) sponsor a strike everything amendment to SB 1045 that failed last year, the “show me your papers before you pee” bill aimed at transgenders, are back at it again.
This time these ignorant, fearful and hateful bigots want to traumatize young children in the TUSD school district who are transgender, as if life hasn’t already dealt them enough issues to deal with at such an early age. These bigots are still crusading with their “show me your papers before you pee” fear mongering. Group urging TUSD to act on transgender issue with restrooms:
The Alliance Defending Freedom, a nonprofit legal organization that advocates for the rights of people to freely practice their religion, sent a letter to Tucson Unified School District on Thursday urging TUSD to prevent transgender children from using the restroom they identify with, saying such a practice could “severely impair an environment conducive to learning” — a recommendation that TUSD Superintendent H.T. Sanchez and members of the school board are disregarding.
The alliance went as far as to draft a new policy for TUSD that calls for transgender students to use single-stall bathrooms, unisex bathrooms or faculty bathrooms. “In no event shall that be access to the school restroom, locker room, or shower of the opposite biological sex,” the draft policy reads. It also offered to defend TUSD free of charge had the district adopted the new policy and someone challenged it.
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TUSD amended its nondiscrimination policy in March, adding “gender identity or expression” to a list that prohibits discrimination based on disability, race, color, religious beliefs, sex, sexual orientation, age or national origin . . . “What we did was pass a much-needed change to our nondiscrimination policy, and I will not repeal that,” said TUSD Governing Board President Adelita Grijalva — a statement echoed by board member Kristel Foster. “We are here to support our students and their families, and we want school to be safe for every child.”
Sanchez said the policy revision is in line with case law that has gone all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and in line with other districts of TUSD’s size that have dealt with such circumstances.
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Sanchez said “I’m not going to go back and remove a nondiscrimination clause from board policy, because that indicates that I’m in favor of discriminating against a group, and I’m not,” Sanchez said. “Any person who would favor discriminating against any group for any particular reason within the 21st century, I can’t see eye to eye with them.”
Now here is the investigative reporting into the Alliance Defending Freedom that the GOP-friendly mainstream media in Arizona will not report out of fear of upsetting the Christian Right base of the GOP, from Josh Israel at Think Progress. This lengthy in-depth reporting is a must-read for anyone who wants to know what these radical Christian Reconstructionists and Dominionists who want a theocracy are really all about. The 800-Pound Gorilla Of The Christian Right:
The Alliance Defending Freedom wants to take America back to the 3rd century. Literally. On the website for its legal fellowship program, the organization explains that it “seeks to recover the robust Christendomic theology of the 3rd, 4th, and 5th centuries.”
“This is catholic, universal orthodoxy and it is desperately crucial for cultural renewal,” the explanation goes on. “Christians must strive to build glorious cultural cathedrals, rather than shanty tin sheds.”
While the Arizona-based organization has not made much progress in its mission of restoring the religious sentiments of the Byzantine Era, it has built a massive “legal ministry,” relying on 21st century attorneys and an eight-figure annual budget to reshape American law and society.
Since the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act in 2012 and ruled that the federal government must recognize same-sex marriages in 2013, dozens of legal challenges have been filed around the country over questions of whether insurance plans must provide contraception, whether states must allow equal access to marriage, and whether people with religious objections to birth control and homosexuality can opt-out of complying with those laws. In case after case, one organization has been at the helm of defending the Christian conservative position.
Many first heard of ADF earlier this year, when news reports identified it as one of the primary forces behind SB 1062, the vetoed Arizona bill that would have allowed businesses and individuals an exemption from LGBT nondiscrimination laws if complying would violate their “sincerely held” religious beliefs. That particular bill generated national outrage, but it was merely the latest effort in a decades-long effort by ADF, a tax-exempt organization committed to protecting the “God-given, constitutionally protected right to religious freedom” for Christians. Indeed, an ADF lawyer recently told a group of students that those who refuse to serve gay clients are modern-day heroes, like Rosa Parks’ civil disobedience in opposition to racial segregation.
Who exactly is the Alliance Defending Freedom? How did it become the go-to group for the Christian right’s cause?
Formed two decades ago, the Arizona-based ADF has used its steadily-growing resources to advance a conservative evangelical Christian legal agenda, fighting against what it calls the “concocted” “constitutional ‘right’ to abortion,” laws that promote “social approval of homosexual behavior,” and the “myth of the so-called ‘separation of church and state.’” ADF has had a hand in many of the most prominent legal battles of the past 20 years. In some cases, such as the Citizens United v. FEC, that consisted of filing an amicus brief in opposition to the challenged campaign finance restrictions. In others, including Hurley v. Irish-American Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Group of Boston (which affirmed the right of St. Patrick’s Day Parade organizers in Boston to exclude LGBT groups) and Boy Scouts of America v. Dale (which affirmed the right of some private organizations to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation), ADF provided funding and/or organized moot court preparations for the attorneys handling the cases. In the high profile Terri Schiavo case, ADF reportedly gave six-figure funding to the attorney representing her parents in their efforts to keep Schiavo on life support.
As it has grown enormously, other similar organizations have seen their own finances stagnate or have withdrawn from the legal arena entirely. And while ADF’s success has been mixed, allies and opponents alike agree that it has become the most powerful force fighting for its agenda.
Continue reading The 800-Pound Gorilla Of The Christian Right.