Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Harvard student government backs group that wants to ban quoting ICE in student newspaper stories

Harvard's student government, the Undergraduate Council, voted over the weekend to stand in solidarity with an activist student group demanding the Harvard Crimson newspaper not seek comment from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in stories, according to Reason.

The activist group, Act on a Dream, held a rally last month that called for ICE to be abolished. In the Crimson's coverage of the rally, they sought comment from ICE, as it is standard journalistic practice to seek comment from relevant parties. When confronted by the group, the newspaper stood by its decision to reach out to ICE.
Evidently, that set off Act on a Dream, which launched a petition to boycott the newspaper until their policy changed.

The petition claimed that, "in this political climate, a request for comment is virtually the same as tipping them off, regardless of how they are contacted."

"We strongly condemn their decision to uphold a policy that blatantly endangers undocumented students on our campus," the petition added.

Specifically, the petition demanded that The Harvard Crimson:
1. Apologize for the harm they inflicted on the undocumented community.
2. Critically engage with and change their policies that require calling ICE for comment.
3. Declare their commitment to protecting undocumented students on campus.
On Sunday, the Undergraduate Council voted 15–13–4 to pass a statement in support of Act on a Dream and acknowledge the apparent fear the Crimson has caused.

"It is necessary for the Undergraduate Council to acknowledge the concerns raised by numerous groups and students on campus over the past few weeks and to recognize the validity of their expressed fear and feelings of unsafety," the statement said.

Act on a Dream has been a part of Harvard University since 2008 and credits itself as "a home for undocumented, DACA, mixed status family, and other immigrant students & allies."

Lutheran pastor's wife rejoices that transgender daughter, 12, just got 'life-affirming' hormone-blocking implant

Jamie Bruesehoff, the wife of a Lutheran pastor, rejoiced on Facebook earlier this month that her transgender daughter — Rebekah, 12, who was born male but identifies as female — had just received a "life-affirming" hormone-blocking implant for the second time.

The photo on the left is Rebekah from two years ago; the photo on the right is Rebekah today, Bruesehoff wrote.

⁣"That is the face of a girl terrified of hospitals and needles, but more terrified of having to live life as someone she is not," Bruesehoff said of Rebekah. "That is the face of a girl feeling on top of the world, knowing her body won't betray her, and she's one step closer to the woman she will grow up to be.⁣"

More from Bruesehoff's post:
Today, I'm thankful for top notch medical facilities and physicians. I'm thankful for ongoing and growing research and guidelines. I'm thankful for health insurance that covered my kid's medically necessary treatment. And I'm extra thankful and proud to say that the insurance covering this procedure for my transgender daughter is provided to my husband through his employer... the church.⁣

With news of further discrimination out of the White House spreading and GOP lawmakers in multiples states trying to prohibit gender affirming, life saving care like this for minors, I'm immensely grateful for my child's medical care. EVERY kid deserves access to that care. We must fight those who want to prevent kids like her from living the lives they deserve. ⁣

ALLIES, we need you. Pay attention. Speak up. Stop the spread of misinformation. This is not abuse. This is allowing my child to live her best life.⁣

What does Rebekah have to say?

Rebekah took to Facebook late last month and declared the following: "To say that I am being abused by being allowed to live an authentic life is not only nonsense (the statistics clearly show that kids who are supported in their gender identity thrive while kids who are not supported struggle deeply), it's also a slap in the face to victims of ACTUAL abuse."
Jamie and Rebekah Bruesehoff have been up front for quite a while about Rebekah's transgender journey. In the summer 2018, the pair spoke at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Youth Gathering.

"To me, being transgender just means being myself," Rebekah told the cheering crowd. "It means being who God made me to be ... I was created in the image of God to be me."

Rebekah added, "I've learned that by being who God has called me to be, and by telling my story, hearts and minds are changed. I can change the world."

Anything else?

According to Jamie Bruesehoff's website bio, she's "an openly queer woman married to a Lutheran pastor and mom to three spirited children."

Bruesehoff's wrote about her sexuality in a blog post over the summer, which she said she's bisexual:
People are usually surprised when I say I'm queer. I'm married to a man. I'm a pastor's wife. I don't fit whatever image they have in their head of what queer means, but that's the point. For me being queer means rejecting the boxes people want to shove me in, not simply choosing a different box. This is who I am. By being open and proud of my identity, I can create space for other people to show up as themselves.

I still feel the weight of biphobia and bisexual erasure. It can still feel like I don't quite belong. People regularly ask, "how can you say you're queer when you're married to a man?" I (mostly) patiently explain, just like I do in the workshops I lead, that you can't know someone's gender identity based on the way they act, dress, or talk and you can't know someone's sexuality based on their current or past relationship. We make assumptions, but that's all they are — assumptions.

National pro-life group helps young mother finish college, also teaches students about 'pregnant and parenting' rights

Students for Life of America, a national pro-life advocacy organization, helped single mom Ruth Asmarzadeh finish her college degree.

According to Fox News, the group also provides education on pregnancy and parenting.

What are the details?

The group — which aims to educate pregnant college students and enrolled parents of their rights on campus — awarded Asmarzadeh with a scholarship through its Pregnant on Campus Initiative after she had to withdraw from Pikes Peak Community College in Colorado because of her pregnancy.

Asmarzadeh said that her Title IX rights were violated after becoming pregnant in 2017. She said that she was pressured to have an abortion, but stuck to her pro-life stance and carried out her pregnancy without incident.

Asmarzadeh explained that she lost her student financial aid and was not able to reschedule pertinent exams. That's when the organization stepped in, provided a $6,000 scholarship to help finish her education, and even threw her a baby shower.
"I don't like to imagine my life without my son or my education," she told the network. "In fact, it breaks my heart knowing at one point I had to choose between the two."

Kristan Hawkins, who is president of Students for Life of America, told Asmarzadeh in a video call that no woman "should have to choose between her education and her child."

Asmarzadeh thanked Hawkins profusely for the scholarship and the organization's kindness.

"Thank you. I'm honored and grateful for all of this," Asmarzadeh said. "I'm sure [son Eli] will be very thankful when he's able to understand one day. Thank you."
The organization told Asmarzadeh that they believed the college violated her Title IX rights, and informed her of the group's "Pregnant and Parenting Bill of Rights," which stipulates that the school cannot discriminate against students because of pregnancy or parental status, according to Fox News. The program offers to help students learn more about their rights under Title IX, and, if needed, refer them to agencies like Alliance Defending Freedom for legal assistance.

“Pregnancy should mark the beginning of a new life, not the end of an academic career," Hawkins told Fox News in a statement. “Know your Title IX rights."

Transgender writer for Slate: New gender-neutral Barbie dolls are too ‘playful,’ do not go far enough in ‘deconstructing the gender binary’

In an op-ed for Slate Magazine, a transgender writer criticized toymaker Mattel's line of "gender-neutral" Barbie dolls, saying they are too "playful" and do not go nearly far enough in "deconstructing the gender binary."

Alex Myers, "a transgender guy who's spoken to young people about gender for nearly 25 years," characterized himself as "deeply skeptical" of what the line of dolls, which was launched in September, is actually communicating.
"On a basic level, the doll falls far short of actually embodying or even representing a nonbinary identity," Myers informed his audience. "'Gender-neutral,' the term Mattel uses in its marketing of the doll, is not, in fact, a term that many — any? — people use to describe themselves. They use 'gender-fluid,' or genderqueer, or nonbinary, or nonconforming."

"If you move past that, you get to the body," where, Myers says, "we have … nothing."

"The bodily blankness," he argues, "erases so much of what the discussions — personal and political — about gender focus on. These dolls do not have bodies that are like ours; these dolls do not have bodies that society reads in a gendered way at all. That sort of misses the entire point."

This begs the question: Does Myers want children's' toys to have genitalia? Altered genitalia? What indicators of gender would he like to see included for the dolls to more accurately express what it is like to be nonbinary?

According to Myers, while the dolls may succeed in offering children ways to alter gender expression, they "completely gloss over the much-thornier topic of gender identity, which is internal, a sense of self."

Then, at the heart of his argument, he asserts the dolls create a new troubling paradigm:
Their bodies are erased: Biological sex doesn't pertain to them. Their gender identity — how they understand themselves — is impossible to discern as well. And their gender expression … well, that's limited to three options: feminine and masculine and half-and-half. That's still an incredibly binary way to look at gender. To suggest that the "other;" option to masculine or feminine is "both" or "in between" is a basic misunderstanding of how many gender-nonconforming people express their gender. Gender is not a line between two endpoints — to be nonbinary is not to be androgynous. These dolls only further entrench that misunderstanding and simultaneously reinforce the idea that gender is "playful" and easy to switch around, accusations that are often leveled at trans youths when they come out.
Myers laments over the idea that these new dolls may simply be just the latest step in "a deeper story of constructed gender" where toy manufacturers have played a major part in exaggerating the gender binary.

He also resigns himself to the notion that, in the end, it's all about money.
The gender-neutral dolls are likely "a ploy to create a new market," Myers concludes, designed to "[appeal] to parents who want to be attuned to their children's gender expressions and to companies that, in the Trump era, have found it commercially advantageous to be socially progressive."

Each kit retails around $23.

Piers Morgan shreds 'shameless' liberal hypocrisy after Donald Trump Jr.'s appearance on 'The View,' praises his spirit: 'He gave as good as he got'

"Good Morning Britain" co-anchor and former CNN host Piers Morgan blasted the women on "The View" for their liberal hypocrisy following last week's explosive interview with Donald Trump Jr.

What are the details?

In a lengthy diatribe published in the Daily Mail, Morgan called Trump Jr's appearance on the long-running daytime talk show "ballsy," and highlighted "barefaced lying liberal celebrity hypocrisy."

Morgan pointed out that before Trump even appeared on the show, celebrities were foaming at the mouth over the president's son's appearance.
One such critic was "Will and Grace" actress Debra Messing, who has a history of spouting liberal platitudes from her Twitter pedestal. Messing tweeted, "Why would you bring him on?" and tagged the show. "You trying to be 'balanced?'"

Messing added, "He and his family have assaulted our country, our democracy, our environment, our national security, moral compass. Very very disappointing and irresponsible decision."

"Nobody's allowed to be 'balanced' about President Trump anymore," Morgan quipped. "There is, of course, no legitimate reason why Donald Trump Jr. should not be a guest on ABC's excellent and top-rated flagship daytime panel show."

Morgan pointed out that in addition to being secure in his own right, Trump Jr. is a "smart, amusing, and combative character" who is good on television and performed well during last week's appearance on "The View."

"In fact, it was one of the wildest daytime talk show interviews I can ever remember watching, accompanied by constant raucous boos and cheers from the audience," he said. "For Trump Jr. turned the tables on some of his family's most savage critics, and exposed their searing hypocrisy."

Morgan pointed to Trump's decision to tweet out an article that named the alleged Ukraine whistleblower, which drew much more than raised eyebrows from the women of "The View." Trump insisted that he didn't commit a crime as a private citizen for sharing the article.

Calling out the behaviors

During the highly charged appearance, the panel of women also called out President Donald Trump's alleged behaviors contained on the infamous "Access Hollywood" tape, professing that he would grab women "by the p***y."

Trump Jr. responded by sidelining the remark, pointing out that "we've all done things we regret." He turned the tables once more and pointed out that co-host Joy Behar once dressed up in blackface as a "beautiful African woman" despite her protestations of being "woke." She insisted that she never did such a thing, but during a 2016 airing of the show, Behar admitted to dressing up in a Halloween costume and significantly darkened her complexion.

"Trump Jr. then turned to Goldberg and accused HER of downplaying fugitive child rapist Roman Polanski's criminal conduct," Morgan added. "'Whoopi, you've said Roman Polanski.. it wasn't 'rape-rape' when he raped a child.'"

Morgan continued, "By reminding Goldberg of her shocking statement, Trump Jr. also reminded us all of Hollywood's outrageous on-going support for Polanski, which is staggeringly hypocritical in this #MeToo era where liberals bay for blood at the slightest suggestion of sexual bad behavior."

Morgan also pointed out that liberals don't often want to remove the plank from their own eyes before attempting to remove the speck from Republicans' eyes.
"[Liberals] don't want to give any attention to the increasingly suspicious-looking activities of Hunter Biden in the Ukraine, who, as Trump Jr. pointed out, was 'getting boards of companies and languages he can't speak, in companies he knows nothing about,'" Morgan recalled.
"The fact liberal celebrities don't care about the Biden side of this scandal comes back to Debra Messing's fury at the b-word: balance," Morgan reasoned. "Or lack of it."

What about the book?

He also pointed out that while Trump Jr.'s appearance was supposed to be based on his new book, "Triggered," none of the co-hosts even broached the topic of the new book, calling it an "extraordinary discourtesy."

"It took guts for Trump Jr. to go into the lionesses' den yesterday and he got the savaging he expected," Morgan added. "But he gave as good as he got, and in doing so, he also exposed much of the shameless hypocrisy and selective outrage that pervades the liberal celebrity anti-Trump mindset."
Morgan concluded by warning liberal celebrities that their antics will only further secure a 2020 win for Trump.

"The high moral ground is a very precarious place," he wrote. "And as I keep warning, the higher hypocritical liberal celebrities try to mount it, the easier they make it for President Trump to get re-elected."

'Alt-right' trolls target Turning Point USA again as Donald Trump Jr. walks out of book launch at liberal university after constant heckling

Donald Trump Jr. walked out of his Sunday appearance at the University of California, Los Angeles, after an unruly mob of purported "alt-right" activists heckled the president's son off the stage, demanding a Q&A session.

What are the details?

Trump Jr. appeared at the university for a launch of his new book, "Triggered: How The Left Thrives on Hate and Wants to Silence Us."

About 450 people were in attendance at the event — which was moderated by Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk — many of them chanting, "USA, USA!"
According to The Guardian, Trump Jr. — who appeared with his Trump adviser girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle — refused to take questions during the event due to time constraints. Trump Jr. also said that taking questions from the audience ran the risk of creating misconstrued soundbites that would end up distorted on the internet.
The chants of "USA!" eventually turned into chants of "Q and A!" before Guilfoyle called out the protesters for being rude. "We are happy to answer a question. Respect the people around you so that they can hear."

When it seemed like the protesters would not let him get a word in edgewise, Trump left the stage about 20 minutes into the event, which was scheduled to span two hours.

According to The Washington Post, Trump Jr. initially appeared to believe that the shouts were coming from leftist protesters.
"Name a time when conservatives have disrupted even the furthest leftist on a college campus," he reportedly told the crowd. "It doesn't happen that way. We're willing to listen."

One of the audience members then reportedly shouted, "Then open the Q&A!"
"See what I mean?" Trump Jr. fired back. "And that is the problem. And the reason oftentimes it doesn't make sense to do the Q&A is not because we're not willing to talk about the questions, 'cause we do. No. It's because people hijack it with nonsense looking to go for some sort of sound bite. You have people spreading nonsense, spreading hate, trying to take over the room."

Who are these people?

Several outlets report that the hecklers were the same "alt-right" trolls who had dogged Kirk, disrupting and sabotaging at least one previous event that was moderated and sponsored by Turning Point USA.

Nick Fuentes, a 21-year-old white nationalist activist who hosts a podcast called "America First," Salon reports, called the protest a "HUGE victory," and seemed to take credit for the disruption. Fuentes — who is sometimes known as "Nazi Nick" — is also a self-described white supremacist and holocaust denier.
Fuentes wrote that he and his "group" didn't have a particular issue with Trump Jr., but did take issue with Kirk.

"Our problem is not with [Trump Jr.] who is a patriot — We are supporters of his father!" Fuentes wrote on Twitter about the incident. "Our problem is with Charlie Kirk's TPUSA organization that SHUTS DOWN and SMEARS socially conservative Christians and supporters of President Trump's agenda. We are AMERICA FIRST!"
Fuentes also blasted Kirk for being a "fake conservative."

"Charlie Kirk is a FAKE CONSERVATIVE that promotes the LGBT agenda, supports immigration policies that hurt the American worker, and says that America is simply a worthless 'placeholder,'" he wrote. "Kirk was virulently anti-Trump until we won the nomination. He is hurting MAGA!"

Monday, 11 November 2019

Pastor Who Deserted Christianity Now Says Trump Is 'Damaging to the Gospel'

Former megachurch pastor Joshua Harris made some minor-league headlines a few months ago when he separated from his wife and disavowed Christianity.
“I have undergone a massive shift in regard to my faith in Jesus. The popular phrase for this is ‘deconstruction,’ the biblical phrase is ‘falling away,’” Harris, the author of Christian courtship guide “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” and former leader of Maryland’s Covenant Life Church, wrote in an Instagram post in July.
“By all the measurements that I have for defining a Christian, I am not a Christian. Many people tell me that there is a different way to practice faith and I want to remain open to this, but I’m not there now.⁣⁣”
The “falling away” of an evangelical Christian and author of a dating guide usually wouldn’t even have made a blip on the screens of a media that makes no hardly any pretense of viewing Christianity as anything other than a vestigial remnant of a different time, something to be studied by cultural anthropologists and hardly missed.
But then he started apologizing to the LGBT community for having hurt them and, well, hot diggity.
Even then, Harris would have maybe occupied the last row of seats in the news-cycle crossover for a few weeks until being dropped off to continue his life outside the church and/or the spotlight. However, now he’s back and giving an interview about how Donald Trump is “damaging” the religion he left.
In a wide-ranging interview, Harris told “Axios on HBO” that he “excommunicated myself essentially” from his church, refused to answer rumors regarding his sexuality and, in the portion of the interview that generated the most headline wattage, talked about his problems with evangelical Christians being  “identified with President Trump.”
“I don’t think it’s going to end well,” Harris said, telling Axios he felt that it would be “incredibly damaging to the gospel.”
“And I think, you know, you look back at the Old Testament and the relationship between the prophets and really bad leaders and kings, and oftentimes it was, it’s not something you unwind because it’s, it’s actually in the scriptures presented as God’s judgment on the False Religion of the day,” Harris said.
“You think Christians today who are embracing President Trump are due for a judgment?” Axios’ Mike Allen asked.
“I think it is the judgment,” Harris said. “I think it is part of the judgment.”
When asked what he meant by that, Harris responded, “To have a leader like Trump I think is in itself part of the indictment, that this is the leader that you want and maybe deserve.
“That represents a lot of who you are,” he added.

This is all very powerful stuff until you realize this is being spoken by a guy who says, in no uncertain terms, that he’s no longer a Christian.
Harris wasn’t necessarily a model Christian when he was a Christian, mind you. If you haven’t read “I Kissed Dating Goodbye,” I don’t recommend it even if you can find a copy; it’s a dating guide that contains a lot of extra-biblical advice mostly predicated on Harris’ own extrapolation.
Now that he doesn’t agree with either his dating guide or the gospel, he’s telling us all how this is being destroyed by a president he doesn’t like.
If Harris is concerned about how the gospel is being represented, I would argue that this kind of thing — talking about how Trump and his supporters are somehow damaging the eternal Word of God when it’s clear he doesn’t particularly believe in it anymore — is a lot more problematic.
Joshua Harris is no longer of the faith. If he has a problem with Donald Trump, he ought to discuss it on a secular level. Anything else is unnecessary and unconvincing.