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Tag Archives: religious freedom

Anti-Gay Law To Cost Raleigh NC $24 million

Something between 3-5% of Americans are LGBT. Getting hard numbers on that is difficult because of the fear of persecution.

However, the majority of Americans just can’t swallow the idea of laws persecuting LGBT people. Which means that in the states which have passed so called “religious freedom” laws, there may be significant economic consequences. Many of these states, located in the Bible belted Red Zone, are states which are poor to being with, get far more in tax benefits and monies from the Federal Government than they pay out, and are desperately trying to get corporations to move facilities into their states to improve the economy.

Shit like re-segregating is going to blunt, if not derail that economic growth as company after company either refuses to go there, or pulls out.

And we are not even talking about the pullout of Federal funding…Yet.

Tourism board: Raleigh set to lose $24 million thanks to GOP’s anti-trans bathroom law

A report released by the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau this week found that the local economy has already lost out on hundreds of thousands of dollars due to North Carolina’s HB2 bathroom law.

After Gov. Pat McCrory (R) signed the law on March 24 to prevent cities like Charlotte from granting bathroom rights to transgender people, companies like PayPal announced plans to move jobs out of state.

On Monday, a report from Wake County’s tourism agency said that the Raleigh area had already lost $732,000 in economic benefits, citing numerous cancellations of conferences and events, The News & Observer reported.

The Raleigh Visitors Bureau warned that the local economy could lose out on $24 million in economic benefits if the law is not repealed. According to the report, 16 other groups were considering relocating their events outside the state.

The city’s biggest loss could be a four-year contract for an undisclosed sports tournament that would have brought 51,000 people and $4.5 million in benefits to the area each year.

“We just felt that it’s not in the best interest of our membership to go someplace that’s not inclusive,” Johnstone Supply spokesperson Janet Tipton told The News & Observer.

This just in –

Deutsche Bank Won’t Expand In North Carolina Because Of Anti-LGBT Law

It will keep the 900 jobs already in the state, but won’t add the 250 more it had planned on.

Add Deutsche Bank to the list of corporations putting pressure on North Carolina politicians to back away from encouraging LGBT discrimination.

The bank announced on Tuesday that it’s freezing its plans to add 250 jobs at its software development center in Cary, North Carolina, as a result of the anti-LGBT law the state legislature passed in late March.

“We take our commitment to building inclusive work environments seriously,” Deutsche Bank’s co-CEO John Cryan said in a statement.

The German bank currently has about 900 employees at its office in Cary. It doesn’t plan to move the jobs already located there, but says it won’t include North Carolina in its expansion plans through 2017, as it had originally announced back in September.

 
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Posted by on April 12, 2016 in The New Jim Crow

 

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President Obama and Pope Francis

PRESIDENT OBAMA: You remind us that people are only truly free when they can practice their faith freely. Here in the United States, we cherish religious liberty. Yet around the world at this very moment, children of God, including Christians, are targeted and even killed because of their faith. Believers are prevented from gathering at their places of worship. The faithful are imprisoned. Churches are destroyed. So we stand with you in defense of religious freedom and interfaith dialogue, knowing that people everywhere must be able to live out their faith free from fear and intimidation.

Pope Francis gets political in Washington debut

Pope Francis immediately dove into the whirlpool of U.S. politics on Wednesday, using his first direct address to the nation to weigh in on deeply divisive issues including climate change, Cuba, marriage and immigration.

The pontiff, speaking before 11,000 ticketed guests at an elaborate welcoming ceremony on South Lawn of the White House, signaled he will take on controversial issues during his six-day visit.

In remarks delivered slowly in accented English, Francis said he was ready to listen to the “hopes and dreams of the American people” and to offer guidance to those charged with shaping the nation’s political future “in fidelity to its founding principles.”

In comments that could antagonize Republicans, Francis endorsed President Barack Obama’s efforts on climate change and rebuilding ties with Cuba after more than half a century of estrangement.

He said it was “encouraging that you are proposing an initiative for reducing air pollution. Accepting the urgency, it seems clear to me also that climate change is a problem that can no longer be left to a future generation.”

“When it comes to the care of our ‘common home’ we are living at a critical moment of history,” he said.

Francis also made reference to one of the central themes of his papacy: that the modern global economy is enriching the few at the expense of the many.

“I would like all men and women of good will in this great nation to support the efforts of the international community to protect the vulnerable in our world and to stimulate integral and inclusive models of development,” Francis said.

But he also delivered a firm defense of traditional values, warning that the institution of marriage and family needed to be protected at “a critical moment in the history of our civilization,” remarks that could irk liberals months after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage nationwide.

He said that it was right that society was “tolerant and inclusive” but warned that American Catholics were “concerned that efforts to build a just and wisely ordered society respect their deepest concerns and their right to religious liberty. That freedom remains one of America’s most precious possessions.”

Stepping into another delicate political issue, the Argentine-born Francis pointedly noted that he was a “son of immigrants” — a sign that he could step into the debate later in his visit on how to handle millions of undocumented immigrants in the United States that has roiled the 2016 presidential campaign.

Obama and first lady Michelle Obama earlier greeted the Pope at the White House as he stepped out of his small black Fiat, which he is using to make a statement of humility in Washington, a city full of limos and hulking government SUVs.

On a glorious early-fall morning, the President and Pope stood together before an honor guard as a band played the national anthens for the Vatican and the U.S.

Obama paid warm tribute to the Pope as an individual as well as the leader of 70 million U.S. Catholics, saying he displayed “unique qualities” of a leader “whose moral authority comes not just through words but also through deeds.”

The White House has said that Obama will not seek to exploit the visit of Francis for political gain — but the president warmly welcomed the pontiff’s support on climate change and Cuba, for which he is trying to build domestic support.

“Holy Father, we are grateful for your invaluable support of our new beginning with the Cuban people, which holds out the promise of better relations between our countries, greater cooperation across our hemisphere, and a better life for the Cuban people,” Obama said.

The president also said the Pope had offered reminders that “we have have a sacred obligation to protect our planet.”

“We support your call to all world leaders to support the communities most vulnerable to a changing climate and to come together to preserve our precious world for future generations.”…

 
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Posted by on September 23, 2015 in News

 

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Thomas Jefferson and the Defense of Muslim Citizens

Thomas Jefferson would be the first in the history of American politics to suffer the false charge of being a Muslim. Slavery hid the fact that some of the slaves imported to America were Muslim. This is an interesting treatise on how early Americans views Islam, and how things today are more similar that we would believe.

 

Our Founding Fathers included Islam

At a time when most Americans were uninformed, misinformed, or simply afraid of Islam, Thomas Jefferson imagined Muslims as future citizens of his new nation. His engagement with the faith began with the purchase of a Qur’an eleven years before he wrote the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson’s Qur’an survives still in the Library of Congress, serving as a symbol of his and early America’s complex relationship with Islam and its adherents. That relationship remains of signal importance to this day.

That he owned a Qur’an reveals Jefferson’s interest in the Islamic religion, but it does not explain his support for the rights of Muslims. Jefferson first read about Muslim “civil rights” in the work of one of his intellectual heroes: the seventeenth-century English philosopher John Locke. Locke had advocated the toleration of Muslims—and Jews—following in the footsteps of a few others in Europe who had considered the matter for more than a century before him. Jefferson’s ideas about Muslim rights must be understood within this older context, a complex set of transatlantic ideas that would continue to evolve most markedly from the sixteenth through the nineteenth centuries.

Amid the interdenominational Christian violence in Europe, some Christians, beginning in the sixteenth century, chose Muslims as the test case for the demarcation of the theoretical boundaries of their toleration for all believers. Because of these European precedents, Muslims also became a part of American debates about religion and the limits of citizenship. As they set about creating a new government in the United States, the American Founders, Protestants all, frequently referred to the adherents of Islam as they contemplated the proper scope of religious freedom and individual rights among the nation’s present and potential inhabitants. The founding generation debated whether the United States should be exclusively Protestant or a religiously plural polity. And if the latter, whether political equality—the full rights of citizenship, including access to the highest office—should extend to non-Protestants. The mention, then, of Muslims as potential citizens of the United States forced the Protestant majority to imagine the parameters of their new society beyond toleration. It obliged them to interrogate the nature of religious freedom: the issue of a “religious test” in the Constitution, like the ones that would exist at the state level into the nineteenth century; the question of “an establishment of religion,” potentially of Protestant Christianity; and the meaning and extent of a separation of religion from government.

Resistance to the idea of Muslim citizenship was predictable in the eighteenth century. Americans had inherited from Europe almost a millennium of negative distortions of the faith’s theological and political character. Given the dominance and popularity of these anti-Islamic representations, it was startling that a few notable Americans not only refused to exclude Muslims, but even imagined a day when they would be citizens of the United States, with full and equal rights. This surprising, uniquely American egalitarian defense of Muslim rights was the logical extension of European precedents already mentioned. Still, on both sides of the Atlantic, such ideas were marginal at best. How, then, did the idea of the Muslim as a citizen with rights survive despite powerful opposition from the outset? And what is the fate of that ideal in the twenty-first century?

This book provides a new history of the founding era, one that explains how and why Thomas Jefferson and a handful of others adopted and then moved beyond European ideas about the toleration of Muslims. It should be said at the outset that these exceptional men were not motivated by any inherent appreciation for Islam as a religion. Muslims, for most American Protestants, remained beyond the outer limit of those possessing acceptable beliefs, but they nevertheless became emblems of two competing conceptions of the nation’s identity: one essentially preserving the Protestant status quo, and the other fully realizing the pluralism implied in the Revolutionary rhetoric of inalienable and universal rights. Thus while some fought to exclude a group whose inclusion they feared would ultimately portend the undoing of the nation’s Protestant character, a pivotal minority, also Protestant, perceiving the ultimate benefit and justice of a religiously plural America, set about defending the rights of future Muslim citizens.

They did so, however, not for the sake of actual Muslims, because none were known at the time to live in America. Instead, Jefferson and others defended Muslim rights for the sake of “imagined Muslims,” the promotion of whose theoretical citizenship would prove the true universality of American rights. Indeed, this defense of imagined Muslims would also create political room to consider the rights of other despised minorities whose numbers in America, though small, were quite real, namely Jews and Catholics. Although it was Muslims who embodied the ideal of inclusion, Jews and Catholics were often linked to them in early American debates, as Jefferson and others fought for the rights of all non-Protestants.

In 1783, the year of the nation’s official independence from Great Britain, George Washington wrote to recent Irish Catholic immigrants in New York City. The American Catholic minority of roughly twenty-five thousand then had few legal protections in any state and, because of their faith, no right to hold political office in New York. Washington insisted that “the bosom of America” was “open to receive . . . the oppressed and the persecuted of all Nations and Religions; whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges.” He would also write similar missives to Jewish communities, whose total population numbered only about two thousand at this time.

One year later, in 1784, Washington theoretically enfolded Muslims into his private world at Mount Vernon. In a letter to a friend seeking a carpenter and bricklayer to help at his Virginia home, he explained that the workers’ beliefs—or lack thereof—mattered not at all: “If they are good workmen, they may be of Asia, Africa, or Europe. They may be Mahometans [Muslims], Jews or Christian of an[y] Sect, or they may be Atheists.” Clearly, Muslims were part of Washington’s understanding of religious pluralism—at least in theory. But he would not have actually expected any Muslim applicants.

Although we have since learned that there were in fact Muslims resident in eighteenth-century America, this book demonstrates that the Founders and their generational peers never knew it. Thus their Muslim constituency remained an imagined, future one. But the fact that both Washington and Jefferson attached to it such symbolic significance is not accidental. Both men were heir to the same pair of opposing European traditions.

The first, which predominated, depicted Islam as the antithesis of the “true faith” of Protestant Christianity, as well as the source of tyrannical governments abroad. To tolerate Muslims—to accept them as part of a majority Protestant Christian society—was to welcome people who professed a faith most eighteenth-century Europeans and Americans believed false, foreign, and threatening. Catholics would be similarly characterized in American Protestant founding discourse. Indeed, their faith, like Islam, would be deemed a source of tyranny and thus antithetical to American ideas of liberty….(More)

 
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Posted by on August 5, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Uncle Tommie Sewage And the New York Mosque

Ever the faithful Lawn Ornament, Uncle Tommie Sewage climbs out of the cesspool of self hate and attacks Muslims, and those clear thinkers who consider our American values as something other than waving plastic Made in China Flags at appropriate moments.

This Lawn Jockey indeed has a price tag…

A matter of propriety, not rights

The proposed mosque near where the World Trade Center was attacked and destroyed, along with thousands of American lives, would be a 15-story middle finger to America.

It takes a high IQ to evade the obvious, so it is not surprising that the intelligentsia are out in force, decrying those who criticize this calculated insult.

What may surprise some people is that the American taxpayer is currently financing a trip to the Middle East by the imam who is pushing this project, so that he can raise the money to build it. The State Department is subsidizing his travel.

The big talking point is that this is an issue about “religious freedom” and that Muslims have a “right” to build a mosque where they choose. But those who oppose this project are not claiming that there is no legal right to build a mosque near the site of the World Trade Center.

If anybody did, it would be a matter for the courts to decide — and they would undoubtedly say that it is not illegal to build a mosque near the site of the World Trade Center attack.

The intelligentsia and others who are wrapping themselves in the Constitution are fighting a phony war against a straw man. Why create a false issue, except to evade the real issue?

Our betters are telling us that we need to be more “tolerant” and more “sensitive” to the feelings of Muslims. But if we are supposed to be sensitive to Muslims, why are Muslims not supposed to be sensitive to the feelings of millions of Americans, for whom 9/11 was the biggest national trauma since Pearl Harbor?…

This from a 9/11 Widow

The first time I heard about the Park51 Islamic community center was on May 6, 2010, when I received the following e-mail from a New York TV reporter:

“I’m doing story today about the proposed mosque project at the WTC site. I am interviewing the developers but I am also trying to look for family members who think building a mosque at the site is a bad idea.”

“Bad idea” — that was a bit leading, wasn’t it? I always thought journalists were supposed to be objective, and yet, here we were, the “victims of 9/11,” being prodded for our outrage. An hour later, another e-mail arrived, this time from CNN. The language was more measured: “As a family member of someone who was killed in the attacks on 9/11, what do you think about the decision to construct a mosque this close to Ground Zero?”

These e-mails came through the “9/11 List-Serv,” which community activist Arnie Korotkin has voluntarily maintained since September 2001, sending 5,000+ subscribers daily articles and news updates related to 9/11. There are also media requests, which come clearly marked as such. The listserv has evolved and expanded over the years, vastly simplifying the media process from those chaotic days right after 9/11, when journalists hunted us down. In October 2001, journalists contacted my Lamaze teacher at Beth Israel Hospital, hoping she’d refer them to a pregnant 9/11 widow who would allow them to televise her fatherless child’s birth.

I ignored that request. And this one, too.

What did I think about the decision to construct a “mosque” this close to ground zero? I thought it was a no-brainer. Of course it should be built there. I sometimes wonder if those people fighting so passionately against Park51 can fathom the diversity of those who died at ground zero. Do we think no Muslims died in the towers? My husband, Eddie Torres, killed on his second day of work at Cantor Fitzgerald while I was pregnant with our first child, was a dark-skinned Latino, often mistaken for Pakistani, who came here illegally from Colombia. How did “9/11 victim” become sloppy shorthand for “white Christian”? I wish someone would put out a list of all the ethnicities and religions and countries and economic levels of the victims. For all the talk of “remembering 9/11,” I wonder if we’ve missed the patriotic message entirely. So, in short: No, I did not think it was “a bad idea.”

 
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Posted by on September 8, 2010 in Black Conservatives

 

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