Poll: Only 27 Percent Of Americans View Trump As ‘Man Of Faith’

Donald and Melania Trump visit St. John Paul II National Shrine (photo: public domain/Flickr)

From The Hill:

The Politico-Morning Consult poll released Wednesday morning found that 27 percent of respondents somewhat or strongly agree that Trump is religious, compared to 55 percent who somewhat or strongly disagree.

Slightly more than a third of self-identified Christians see Trump as religious, pollsters noted, while half say he is not.

Forty percent of evangelicals also agreed that Trump was a man of faith, while 33 percent disagreed.

A total of 23 percent of Catholics and 18 percent of independents supported the statement that Trump is religious.

Only majorities of ideological conservatives — 55 percent — and Republicans — 60 percent — said they see the president as religious.

The poll was conducted after Trump’s disastrous visits to two prominent religious venues (St. John’s Episcopal Church and Saint John Paul II National Shrine) last week. Trump was promptly excoriated for using the church for political theater.

In an interview with his former White House press secretary Sean Spicer last week, Trump, who infrequently attends church services, was asked whether he’s “grown in his faith” since becoming president.

“So I think maybe I have, from the standpoint that I see so much that I can do,” answered Trump before adding, “I’ve done so much for religion.”

News Round-Up: April 16, 2019

Some news items you might have missed:

• Paleontologist Francesc Gascó is giving you serious beard and biceps (above).

• Democratic presidential hopeful Mayor Pete Buttigieg told CNN today he doesn’t have a problem with Vice President Mike Pence having religious beliefs, but added, “My problem is when those religious beliefs are used as an excuse to harm other people.”

• Sirius XM Radio has announced a new limited-time channel dedicated to the music of Cher.

• Former Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN) said that Donald Trump is the most “biblical” president America will ever have.

• The government of Brunei has defended its gay stoning law as a way to ‘nurture’ their citizens.

• According to reports, it could take up to three years to repair Notre Dame Cathedral after a fire completely destroyed its roof. Over $700 million has been pledged for its repair.

• Out Canadian singer-songwriter Mathew V has released the music video for his latest single, “Catching Feelings.” Directed by Gabriel Adelman, the video follows Mathew V through an extraterrestrial adventure set to an extremely danceable track.

“‘Catching Feelings’ can be counted as one of the first evocatively sun-soaked jams of 2019. Toned, smoothed out & soulful.” – EQ Music

His debut album, The Fifth, was released in the spring of 2018 and charted in both Canada and the US. The album earned critical acclaim from press outlets such as Nylon and Billboard, marking Mathew as an artist to watch.

His catalogue is now approaching 10 million online streams. Hit play below.

Texas Senate Approves ‘License To Discriminate’ By Vote Of 19-12

By a vote of 19-12, the Texas state Senate has approved legislation that would allow licensed professionals to refuse to serve anyone - including LGBTQ people - based on “sincerely held religious beliefs.”

By a vote of 19-12, the Texas state Senate has approved legislation that would allow licensed professionals to refuse to serve anyone – including LGBTQ people – based on “sincerely held religious beliefs.”

The vote went down Democrat, Sen. Eddie Lucio, voted for the bill, and one Republican, Sen. Kel Seliger, voted against.

According to The Texas Tribune, the bill has become a top legislative priority for Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R).

The bill’s sponsor, State Sen. Charles Perry (R), says Senate Bill 17 would allow professionals who are licensed by the state – like lawyers, social workers, barbers, pharmacists, physicians or plumbers – to cite their beliefs as a valid defense should they be brought up on charges by their respective credentialing boards due to professional behavior or speech.

The legislation does include a requirement that medical professionals would have to treat patients who are at risk of death or serious injury. And licensed law enforcement officers would not be covered by the law.

Opponents of the bill say “sincerely held religious beliefs” is a vague concept that could ultimately excuse any unprofessional behavior.

Equality Texas, an LGBTQ advocacy group, called SB 17 this legislative session’s “number one threat to the LGBTQ community.”

Samantha Smoot, Equality Texas’ executive director, said in a statement, “Dan Patrick has doubled down on his attack on the LGBTQ community, moving out of bathrooms and into every single licensed profession in Texas.”

“SB 17 would create a religious litmus test, and open the doors to discrimination and to real harm to LGBTQ Texans. Dan Patrick has launched a whole new war against LGBTQ people,” she added.

Perry pushed back against the ‘discrimination’ label during the debate saying, “It’s not licensing discrimination at any level.”

Sen. Jose Menendez, a San Antonio Democrat, attempted to put that to a test with an amendment to the bill that would specifically prohibit professionals from refusing service based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Perry allowed the amendment to go to a vote which failed 12–19, which pretty much sums up the motivations behind the bill.

So much for “not licensing discrimination at any level.”

Sen. Borris Miles, a Democrat from Houston, announced in no uncertain terms, “You know that saying, ‘You can put lipstick on a pig? Sen. Perry, this is a discrimination bill.”

Major businesses like Google, Facebook and Amazon have all announced their opposition to the bill.

The Human Rights Campaign issued a statement today after the vote.

“Today’s vote on SB 17 marks a dark moment for Texas: the passage of one of the most broadly discriminatory bills under consideration across the country,” said Rebecca Marques, HRC Texas state director. “This bill would allow state-sanctioned discrimination against many Texans, but would particularly impact the LGBTQ community.

“Before the session began, Texas’ elected officials promised to focus on key issues important to all Texans and not to revisit the fights of the previous session,” she continued. “Instead, it’s legislative deja vu, as Dan Patrick is pushing a discriminatory anti-LGBTQ agenda yet again. We implore the House of Representatives to not take up this harmful bill.”

The legislation will head to the state House after one more vote in the Senate which is primarily a procedural step.

The HRC notes that there are “at least” 19 bills in this legislative session that threaten LGBTQ Texans.

(h/t Texas Tribune, HRC)

Georgia Republicans Making Another Run At Anti-LGBTQ ‘Religious Freedom’ Law

Georgia state Sen. Marty Harbin introduced legislation to legalize LGBTQ discrimination

State Sen. Marty Harbin of Georgia has introduced SB 221, a Religious Freedom Restoration Act that would legalize discrimination against LGBTQ people in the Peach state.

Nine state senators (seven of whom are committee chairman) have signed on as cosponsors ahead of the March 7 procedural deadline.

According to Georgia Equality, SB 221 would “allow businesses to refuse service to LGBT customers, among others, and would grant taxpayer-funded agencies a broad license to discriminate against LGBT youth, families, and other Georgians.”

In 2016, a similar bill was passed but former Gov. Nathan Deal vetoed the legislation as economic backlash prompted the Metro Atlanta Chamber to predict financial losses in excess of $600 million in regard to sporting events, convention business and major movie location shoots.

Newly-elected Gov. Brian Kemp, however, has signaled he will sign a RFRA bill if it lands on his desk.

During his campaign last year, Kemp told his followers he would support legislation that mirrors the language in a federal religious freedom law that was passed in 1993.

His opponent in the 2018 gubernatorial race, Stacey Abrams, says she opposes the legislation.

That legislation, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, was found to be unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1997. SCOTUS ruled that the law could only apply to federal government.

As a result, 21 individual states have passed their own state RFRAs.

SB 221 includes the same language as the federal RFRA, but also adds provisions for recovering legal costs in religious lawsuits and gives judges the power to change local laws that might be deemed as infringing on religious beliefs.

Georgia political pundits say the bill will probably pass in the senate, but the legislation’s chances in the state House are unclear.

This isn’t the only anti-LGBTQ legislation working its way through the Georgia legislature.

Last week, the state senate passed SB 375 (by a vote of 35-19) that would allow adoption agencies to refuse to place children with same-sex couples based on their religious beliefs.

That bill is now headed to the state House for consideration.

Watch the report from local NBC affiliate 11Alive below.

News Round-Up: January 18, 2018

(Image via photographer Robin MacDonald)

Some news items you might have missed:

• It’s always such a quandry getting dressed for the gym (above) – sneakers or no sneakers? How about just mimosas!

• Log Cabin Republicans have shared a congratulatory letter from Donald Trump on their 40th anniversary just a day after Trump proclaimed Tuesday “Religious Freedom Day.” It comes as no surprise the proclamation was full of anti-LGBT dog-whistles.

• Insurance giant Aetna will pay $17 million to settle a lawsuit after mailing out envelopes that accidentally revealed thousands of patients’ HIV status.

• The young 22-year-old writer of the Aziz Ansari “Revenge Porn” article has responded to criticisms of the piece by flipping out on Twitter.

• Imagine opening a package expecting to see your gorgeous printed wedding invitations only to find a pamphlet entitled, “Understanding Temptation: Fight the good fight of the faith.” That’s what happened to this gay couple.

• Donald Trump will soon announce new guidelines that would allow healthcare providers to deny LGBT, and especially, transgender patients and others critical care in the name of religion.

• I know, I know – no one wants to see hunky UK gymnasts literally flipping into their clothes… (But if you did, watch below).

(h/t JoeMyGod)