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The "Culture Wars"...

December 31, 2022, 10:08:58 am NilsFor1611 says: blessings
August 08, 2018, 02:38:10 am suzytr says: Hello, any good churches in the Sacto, CA area, also looking in Reno NV, thanks in advance and God Bless you Smiley
January 29, 2018, 01:21:57 am Christian40 says: It will be interesting to see what happens this year Israel being 70 years as a modern nation may 14 2018
October 17, 2017, 01:25:20 am Christian40 says: It is good to type Mark is here again!  Smiley
October 16, 2017, 03:28:18 am Christian40 says: anyone else thinking that time is accelerating now? it seems im doing days in shorter time now is time being affected in some way?
September 24, 2017, 10:45:16 pm Psalm 51:17 says: The specific rule pertaining to the national anthem is found on pages A62-63 of the league rulebook. It states: “The National Anthem must be played prior to every NFL game, and all players must be on the sideline for the National Anthem. “During the National Anthem, players on the field and bench area should stand at attention, face the flag, hold helmets in their left hand, and refrain from talking. The home team should ensure that the American flag is in good condition. It should be pointed out to players and coaches that we continue to be judged by the public in this area of respect for the flag and our country. Failure to be on the field by the start of the National Anthem may result in discipline, such as fines, suspensions, and/or the forfeiture of draft choice(s) for violations of the above, including first offenses.”
September 20, 2017, 04:32:32 am Christian40 says: "The most popular Hepatitis B vaccine is nothing short of a witch’s brew including aluminum, formaldehyde, yeast, amino acids, and soy. Aluminum is a known neurotoxin that destroys cellular metabolism and function. Hundreds of studies link to the ravaging effects of aluminum. The other proteins and formaldehyde serve to activate the immune system and open up the blood-brain barrier. This is NOT a good thing."
September 19, 2017, 03:59:21 am Christian40 says: bbc international did a video about there street preaching they are good witnesses
September 14, 2017, 08:06:04 am Psalm 51:17 says: bro Mark Hunter on YT has some good, edifying stuff too.
September 14, 2017, 04:31:26 am Christian40 says: i have thought that i'm reaping from past sins then my life has been impacted in ways from having non believers in my ancestry.
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Psalm 51:17
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« Reply #30 on: September 25, 2014, 12:09:10 pm »

They're ALL on the same team! Don't be fooled!

Abortion Activist Leads Prayer at Missouri Legislature, Prays to “Loving Mother God”

The head of a pro-abortion organization was invited to the Missouri House Chamber to open them in prayer before the induction of women’s right to vote activist Virginia Minor, into the Hall of famous Missourians.

Rev. Rebecca Turner has been Executive Director of Faith Aloud since June of 2001.

Faith Aloud is a group of religious people who believe in abortion for every person. They describe themselves on their website this way, “We are people of diverse religious beliefs, denominations, and practices. Our mission is to eliminate the religious stigma of abortion.”
Faith Aloud is known for some of their social media memes giving thanks for abortion. They organize the 40 Days for Prayer to Keep Abortion Safe and Legal

On their website they describe the event which mocks the pro-life 40 days of prayer, to “be grateful that abortion is safe and legal in the United States, and to be mindful that we are moving toward a future where everone [sic] feels supported in their reproductive decision-making, safe in their relationships, and comforted and strengthened by their faith.”

Ironically, Rev. Rebecca Turner, began her prayer, “Loving mother God…from whose womb we came into being…”

Apparently – the Rev. Turner is grateful she came from her God’s womb but advocates for the ability to destroy others in their mother’s womb.

Actually- the rest of the prayer is creepy and I cringed listening to it – but- if you want to hear it – it is below:

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« Reply #31 on: September 26, 2014, 09:47:00 am »


War in the Gender Gap Evaporates
Suzanne Fields | Sep 26, 2014

The phony "war against women" has taken a strange and unexpected turn. Republican candidates are promoting expanded access to birth control, with contraceptives available over the counter. Democrats in varying shades of blue dismiss something they've always wanted as mere Republican politics. You would think Democrats would be grateful for enhanced access for women, a dream come true.

This is the catch 22 of the 2014 campaign. Democrats and Planned Parenthood are obviously afraid that if Republicans get credit for this pip of an idea, they'll fall into the diminishing gender gap and never be heard again. The latest polls show Democrats hold only a 1-point lead among women on the generic congressional ballot.

It's desperation politics to scorn a proposal to give women greater flexibility to prevent an unwanted pregnancy, eliminate a costly visit to a doctor and reduce abortions. Over-the-counter sales would make the pill less expensive for the growing number of uninsured women under Obamacare, as well as for women who work for companies with insurance but whose employers hold religious beliefs that prevents them from paying for birth control. The proposal is endorsed by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Academy of Family Physicians. This sounds to me like a win-win proposition.

The birth control pill is the most widely used method of contraception for American women, and if it were available without a prescription, sales volume would likely reduce the cost, now estimated to be about $50 a month, or less than $2 a day. Over-the-counter sales would eliminate expensive doctor's visits and time-consuming clinic visits. The Alan Guttmacher Institute finds that more than 17 percent of American women in their childbearing years between 15 and 44 rely on the pill.

Eliminating it as a prescription drug couldn't happen overnight. Only a bipartisan push from Congress would persuade the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to change its regulation of the pill, but an unlikely coalition of conservatives and liberals could make it happen quickly. It's natural for libertarian support, and the conservative Family Research Council has taken no position against contraception unrelated to abortion.

The great obstacle, of course, is that support for the idea undercuts the Democrats' "war on women" and reduces partisan noise. "What's happened with the over-the-counter birth control issue," Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway tells National Public Radio, "is that the Democrats didn't see it coming. They think they've got a monopoly on talking to women from the waist down."

A dismissive Planned Parenthood television advertisement says candidates who support the change "will turn the pill into yet another bill." Well, that's what politics is all about. Lobbying pressure and advocacy help, too. A doctor's prescription is especially burdensome for poor minority women, and it's difficult to find a pro-choice voter who opposes over-the-counter contraceptives.

None of the Republican candidates in this election cycle so far resemble any of the chest-thumping red-hots of the last cycle. Rep. Cory Gardner, locked in a tight race against Democratic Sen. Mark Udall in Colorado, is described as a "new kind of Republican." In a television ad, Mr. Booker, who supports the free-the-pill initiative, paints Sen. Udall as the man who would "keep government bureaucrats between you and your health care plan." Two driving issues fuse neatly.

Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana is a cheerleader for over-the-counter sales of the pill. He says Democrats have "demagogued" the contraceptives issue. "Contraception is a personal matter," he writes in The Wall Street Journal. "The government shouldn't be in the business of banning it or requiring a woman's employer to keep tabs on her use of it."

The Republican "war on women" has always been an absurd campaign slogan, reeking of mendacity and bad faith. Women are not a monolithic mass in their preferences and attitudes, and their representatives in Congress know it. Politicians are always looking for an issue that works in appealing to a constituency, and contraceptives could be the long-sought unifying force of both liberals and conservatives. It would give women the ability to prevent unwanted pregnancies and the power to keep their most private decisions private -- no doctor, no government intrusion. If both Democrats and Republicans support this sensible idea, this "war on women" is over.

Democrats attack at their peril the messenger who delivers a message women are eager to hear. Daniel Payne, a self-described "health-nut anti-synthetic Catholic natural foodie freak," writes in the Federalist that in spite of his religious beliefs and personal preferences, he thinks "there's no justifiable reason for me or for anyone else to impede a woman's access to something like the pill." That sums it up for most of the rest of us, too.


1Kings 13:15  Then he said unto him, Come home with me, and eat bread.
1Ki 13:16  And he said, I may not return with thee, nor go in with thee: neither will I eat bread nor drink water with thee in this place:
1Ki 13:17  For it was said to me by the word of the LORD, Thou shalt eat no bread nor drink water there, nor turn again to go by the way that thou camest.
1Ki 13:18  He said unto him, I am a prophet also as thou art; and an angel spake unto me by the word of the LORD, saying, Bring him back with thee into thine house, that he may eat bread and drink water. But he lied unto him.
1Ki 13:19  So he went back with him, and did eat bread in his house, and drank water.
1Ki 13:20  And it came to pass, as they sat at the table, that the word of the LORD came unto the prophet that brought him back:
1Ki 13:21  And he cried unto the man of God that came from Judah, saying, Thus saith the LORD, Forasmuch as thou hast disobeyed the mouth of the LORD, and hast not kept the commandment which the LORD thy God commanded thee,
1Ki 13:22  But camest back, and hast eaten bread and drunk water in the place, of the which the LORD did say to thee, Eat no bread, and drink no water; thy carcase shall not come unto the sepulchre of thy fathers.

1Ki 13:23  And it came to pass, after he had eaten bread, and after he had drunk, that he saddled for him the ass, to wit, for the prophet whom he had brought back.
1Ki 13:24  And when he was gone, a lion met him by the way, and slew him: and his carcase was cast in the way, and the ass stood by it, the lion also stood by the carcase.
1Ki 13:25  And, behold, men passed by, and saw the carcase cast in the way, and the lion standing by the carcase: and they came and told it in the city where the old prophet dwelt.
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« Reply #32 on: September 29, 2014, 11:56:24 pm »

The Tide of the Culture War Shifts

Not long ago, it would have been unusual for a Democratic senatorial candidate in Iowa to run a powerful abortion-rights television ad like the one recently broadcast by Representative Bruce Braley.

The ad lists in detail the anti-abortion positions taken by Mr. Braley’s Republican opponent, Joni Ernst. In the State Senate, the ad says, she sponsored a “personhood” amendment (declaring a fertilized egg to be a person) that would have the effect of outlawing abortion even in cases of **** or incest, and would also ban many common forms of birth control. Ms. Ernst is even shown saying at a debate that she favors criminal punishment for doctors who perform abortions; the ad describes her position as “radical.”

Ms. Ernst’s personhood ideas, shared by at least five other Republican candidates for United States Senate this year, have been radical for years. What’s new is that Democrats are increasingly willing to say so. For years they were cowed by the religious right into changing the subject when abortion or birth control or same-sex marriage came up. But now, increasingly assured that public opinion supports their positions, Democrats have become more aggressive in challenging Republicans about their beliefs.

In Colorado, Senator Mark Udall, a Democrat, has sharply criticized the views of his challenger, Representative Cory Gardner, about women’s reproductive rights, running an ad that points out the dangers in the Life at Conception Act that Mr. Gardner has helped sponsor in the House. Senator Kay Hagan, Democrat of North Carolina, continually reminds voters that her opponent, Thom Tillis, has worked to make contraception less accessible. As speaker of the State House, Mr. Tillis also made it far more difficult to get an abortion. Similar campaigns are going on in Michigan and Montana.

The decision to go on the offensive is in part designed to incite the anger of women and draw support in the November elections, particularly that of single women, who tend to vote in small numbers in midterms. But it is also a reflection of the growing obsolescence of traditional Republican wedge issues in state after state. For a younger generation of voters, the old right-wing nostrums about the “sanctity of life” and the “sanctity of marriage” have lost their power, revealed as intrusions on human freedom. Democrats “did win the culture war,” Alex Castellanos, a Republican strategist, admitted to The New York Times recently.

That’s not necessarily true in the most conservative states. In Louisiana and Arkansas this year, two endangered Democratic senators, Mary Landrieu and Mark Pryor, have not been as outspoken in attacking their opponents’ anti-abortion positions. But even there, Republicans have not campaigned against same-sex marriage.

**And Landrieu's GOP opponent has a 17 year old daughter who's going to have a child out of wedlock.

One of the most telling signs of the cultural change is the number of Republicans who are bucking conservative activists and trying to soft-pedal or even retreat from their ideology. Mr. Gardner now says he opposes a similar bill on the ballot this year in Colorado. It apparently came as a surprise to him that the bill would effectively ban certain kinds of birth control, which he says is the reason for his switch. Several other Republican candidates are trumpeting their support for over-the-counter birth control pills, though they remain opposed to the insurance coverage of contraception required by the Affordable Care Act.

In Oregon, the Republican candidate for the Senate, Monica Wehby, is running an ad promoting her support of same-sex marriage. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Senate minority leader, seems to support the expansion of Medicaid in the state, despite his implacable opposition to the law that pays for it. In Arkansas, Representative Tom Cotton, the Republican Senate candidate, tries to explain his inexcusable vote against the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act by stressing his firm opposition to violence against women. (The law, he says, is too expensive and helps fund liberal groups.)

The shift in public opinion might not be enough for Democrats to keep the Senate this year. But over time, it may help spell an end to the politics of cultural division.


And this is exactly what they've been pushing in this false Dem/GOP Hegelian Dialectic game - these hot-button "social" issues that they KNOW would cause divisions in this country, and ultimately bring everyone together via a "compromise".

Make no mistake - all of the outcomes were scripted and pre-determined many moons ago.
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« Reply #33 on: October 01, 2014, 09:06:28 pm »

Social Outcasts

Republican candidates are retreating from debates on abortion, gay marriage, and contraception.

One month before the midterms, the general election debates are underway. Aiming at a broad electorate, candidates are looking for issues where the public agrees with them and dodging issues where they might lose votes. Democrats aren’t talking much about President Obama, and nobody’s gloating about the economy. But on social issues, the tide of cowardice is running the other way: Republicans are mumbling, cringing, and ducking. They don’t want the election to be about these issues, even in red states.

Virginia, July 26. Democratic Sen. Mark Warner faced Republican challenger Ed Gillespie in their first debate. The moderator asked about same-sex marriage. Gillespie said that while he preferred the one-man-one-woman formula, “It’s not my role to legislate on it, because I do believe that the appropriate venue for it is the state.” Warner gave a more direct answer: “I support marriage equality.” Then Warner added:

    On women’s reproductive health issues, we have very different views. He would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. He supports a personhood amendment that … would ban certain forms of contraception. … I trust the women of Virginia. I think the Supreme Court in Hobby Lobby got it wrong. I don’t think a for-profit corporation ought to be able to interfere in an employee’s health care choices. … Whether it’s marriage equality, women’s reproductive rights, [we have] very large differences between the two candidates.

Gillespie refused to engage. He pleaded for privacy (“My religious views, really, Senator, should not be at issue”), blurred the candidates’ differences on birth control (“I believe actually we should make contraceptives easier to obtain”), and deflected questions about Roe. “There’s not going to be a vote to overturn Roe,” said Gillespie. “That’s a Supreme Court decision. I’m running for the United States Senate.”

North Carolina, Sept. 3. Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan and her Republican challenger, Thom Tillis, were asked whether they agreed with the Hobby Lobby decision. Tillis, like Gillespie, repositioned himself as a contraceptive advocate: “Well, first, I believe that contraception should be available probably more broadly than it is.” He sidestepped Hobby Lobby (claiming it “was not about contraception”) and said the pill should be available over the counter. Hagan pressed the issue (“I disagree with the Hobby Lobby decision; Speaker Tillis agrees with it”) and ripped Tillis for defunding Planned Parenthood. So Tillis stepped back again. “Let’s find ways to broaden access and lower the cost [of] contraception,” he suggested. Later, he fawned over birth control pills (“they’re safe, they’re effective”) and called for easier access to them so that women would have “more choices.”

The GOP used to be confident about social issues as a winner. No more.

Arizona, Sept. 10. In their first gubernatorial debate, Democrat Fred DuVal and Republican Doug Ducey were asked where they stood on gay marriage. DuVal pounced before the question was even finished. “Yes. I favor marriage equality,” he said. “It is high time that we end this discrimination.” Ducey weaseled out. “I’m supportive of traditional marriage,” he acknowledged, but “on an issue like this, a governor doesn’t make the decision. This decision is decided by the people.”

Texas, Sept. 19. The nominees for governor, Republican Greg Abbott and Democrat Wendy Davis, were asked for their views on abortion regulation. Davis, a state senator, cited her filibuster of an anti-abortion bill: “I stood on the Senate floor for 13 hours to assure that this most private of decisions could be made by women.” She said Abbott would ban abortion even in cases of ****. Abbott chose not to talk about legislation. Instead, he spoke of “a culture of life” and told viewers, “Texas is ensuring that we protect more life and do a better job of protecting the health care of women by providing that women still have five months to make a very difficult decision.” Only after that point, said Abbott, did the state have “an interest in protecting innocent life.” He sounded as though he were reading from Roe.

Colorado, Sept. 23. In the state’s 6th Congressional District, Democrat Andrew Romanoff debated Republican Rep. Mike Coffman. Romanoff made an aggressive pitch for “reproductive rights” and blasted Coffman’s positions on Hobby Lobby and abortion law. Coffman claimed that he supported Title X family planning funds and opposed a personhood amendment. When Coffman was asked to name Romanoff’s biggest falsehood, he cited “the ad that I’m opposed to birth control.”

Later, the candidates were invited to pose questions. Romanoff asked Coffman, “What puts you in a better position than the women of this district … to decide what to do with their bodies?” Coffman demurred: “I’m pro-life, but I believe that there ought to be exceptions. And I did vote for legislation, a bill in the Congress, that after 20 weeks, certainly, a woman could decide during that span of time. And after that, there would be exceptions for ****, incest, and life of the mother.” That answer, like Abbott’s, smacked of Roe.

Coffman also ducked gay marriage. When the candidates were asked about it, Romanoff gave a flat yes. Coffman punted: “I believe that marriage is between a man and woman, but it’s ultimately going to be up to the voters of Colorado to make that decision. I will respect as a member of Congress whatever decision that they make, and represent that view in the Congress.”

Iowa, Sept. 28. In the U.S. Senate race, Republican Joni Ernst debated Democrat Bruce Braley. The candidates were asked what legislation they would pursue on abortion or contraception. Braley declared himself pro-choice and said Ernst had supported a state constitutional amendment that would have banned many forms of birth control. Ernst said she was pro-life, but she passed this off as a subjective matter: “It is a very, very personal issue.” She embraced birth control (“I will always stand with our women on affordable access to contraception”) and insisted that her amendment (which would have protected the “right to life of every person at any stage of development”) was purely symbolic: “That amendment is simply a statement that I support life.”

Braley tried to pin her down. Citing an Iowa newspaper’s independent fact check, he said the Ernst-backed amendment would have prohibited some contraceptives and would have led to prosecution of doctors. Ernst said that wasn’t true: “That is only if legislation would be passed. This amendment, again, was a statement of life.” Having portrayed the amendment as a genuine policy proposal in the Republican primary, Ernst is now dismissing it as mere sentiment in the general election.

Massachusetts, Sept. 29. Democrat Martha Coakley and Republican Charlie Baker shared a gubernatorial debate with three independent candidates. When one of the independents complained that “we are promoting sexual perversion to children in the public schools,” Baker rebuked him. “That, that was kind of a veiled reference, I think, to gay people,” said the GOP nominee. “And as the brother of a gay man who lives and is married in Massachusetts, I just want you to know that I found that kind of offensive.”

You can brush off Baker as an outlier, since Obama got 61 percent of the vote in Massachusetts two years ago. But you can’t make that excuse in Texas (where Obama got 41 percent), Arizona (45 percent), North Carolina (48 percent), Virginia (51 percent), Iowa (52 percent), or Coffman’s Colorado district (52 percent). These are purple and red states. Five of these six states approved ballot measures against gay marriage within the last decade. The most recent was two years ago. Now you can’t even get a clear answer from Republican nominees in these states, not just about marriage, but about birth control or abortion.

In other states where general election debates have been held—Alaska, Arkansas, Kansas, Nebraska—Democrats haven’t brought up these issues, but Republicans haven’t, either. It’s true that Republicans are counting on dissatisfaction with the economy, Obamacare, and other domestic issues to carry them through the election. But the GOP used to be confident about social issues as a winner or a wash, particularly in midterms. No more.

Have Republicans surrendered on social issues? Far from it. Ernst, Tillis, and others are under fire precisely because they’ve waded into the policy fights. But they’ve lost faith that those fights can be defended at election time. If the midterms vindicate that anxiety, a retreat on policy will follow.
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« Reply #34 on: October 07, 2014, 09:05:37 pm »

Gay marriage opponents pick new battleground of religious freedom

 CHICAGO (Reuters) - With the U.S. gay marriage battle looking increasingly like a lost cause for conservative opponents, a last battleground may be their quest to allow people to refuse services to gay men and women on religious grounds.

Some conservative groups have seized on what they consider religious freedom cases, ranging from a Washington state florist to bakers in Colorado and Oregon who are fighting civil rights lawsuits after refusing to provide goods and services to gay couples.

"You'll have more instances where religious liberty will potentially come into conflict with this new redefined way of understanding marriage," said Jim Campbell of the Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal group established to defend religious freedom.

Campbell represented New Mexico's Elane Photography, a small company that was sued after the owner declined to provide services for a same-sex commitment ceremony.

Such cases, experts said, will likely become more common after action by the Supreme Court and federal appeals courts this week extended gay marriage to more than half the states.

Several states have considered new broadly worded laws that among other things would permit people to deny services to gay people on religious grounds.

In Arizona, the Republican-led legislature passed such a measure but Republican Governor Jan Brewer vetoed it in February. A similar bill was considered but not passed by the Kansas legislature.


New Mexico's state Supreme Court in 2013 upheld a judgment against Elane Photography, which was ordered to pay legal fees for the couple who complained of discrimination.

"We think other courts will get it right," said Campbell. "We believe the Constitution protects the right of all citizens including business owners to live in a way consistent with their faith."

The Alliance represents other defendants such as the owner of Colorado's Masterpiece Cakeshop, who was sued for discrimination when he declined to make a cake for a same-sex commitment ceremony.

Colorado's Civil Rights Commission ruled in favor of the couple who filed the complaint. The case is now with the Colorado Court of Appeals.

Twenty-one states ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. American Civil Liberties Union lawyer James Esseks said that in the 29 states that do not, gay men and women already have little recourse if they wish to complain about discrimination.

In light of the pro-gay marriage rulings, Esseks predicted more state legislatures will consider new religious liberty laws that would allow businesses and individuals to deny services to gay people on religious grounds.

"These are attempts to give people a license to discriminate," Esseks said. "We think that's not what religious liberty means in America."

In Wisconsin, where voters passed a ban on gay marriage in 2006 that has been overturned by the courts, the Wisconsin Family Action group said it is being more aggressive in contacting business owners, churches and pastors to offer support if they want to refuse service to same-sex couples.

**But 99% of churches in America are 501c3 - they have no choice.

"We will certainly be working on conscience protection for the good people of Wisconsin who may find themselves in the crosshairs of this issue because they hold a set of beliefs that is contrary to what has happened in this state," said Wisconsin Family Action President Julaine Appling.

Even if the Supreme Court decides to take up the issue down the road, it will be difficult to reverse the uniform tide of lower court rulings favoring gay marriage, said University of Illinois political science professor Jason Pierceson.

Pierceson, author of several books on politics and same-sex marriage, sees groups opposed to gay marriage "focusing less on the sin narrative and more on the danger to our religious freedom."

"They will try to carve out a movement that protects people of certain religious faiths from having to serve same-sex couples or recognize same-sex marriages," Pierceson said.
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« Reply #35 on: October 20, 2014, 11:54:12 am »

Turf Shifts In Culture Wars As Support For Gay Marriage Rises

When social norms change, sometimes they change so fast it's hard to keep up.

Only 10 years ago, ballot initiatives opposing gay marriage were helping Republicans win elections. But two weeks ago, when the Supreme Court effectively cleared the way for legal same-sex marriage, the response from Republican leaders was deafening silence.

They were so quiet, some wondered whether the culture wars had finally ended with a Republican defeat.

Gary Bauer, a longtime social conservative activist, thinks that's nonsense.

"The idea that the culture wars are over is absurd," he says. "A war over the culture and the meaning of American liberty will continue to be a major factor in the American public debate."

Other social conservative leaders agree with Bauer. Former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee said if the Republicans don't fight against gay marriage, he'll become an independent. Sen. Ted Cruz promised to introduce a constitutional amendment allowing states to ban gay marriage.

But those views are in the minority. While polls show opinion on some social issues, like abortion, are relatively stable, public opinion on gay marriage has changed — and changed fast.

A majority of Americans now accept gay marriage, says Peter Levine, a political scientist at Tufts University. He calls that "a profound generational change."

"In the long run, everyone's going to be for gay marriage," he says, "but in the short term, Republicans have a problem, which translates into a problem of perceived intolerance."

Conservative views on social issues, including gay marriage, are often called the third leg of the Republican stool, alongside small government and strong defense. So the party will have to adapt without alienating an important part of its voting coalition, says Ari Fleischer, who was a press secretary in the Bush White House.

"For Republicans, the challenge is if they take the issue uniquely as gay marriage head-on, many Republicans aren't going to want to change, who are older voters," Fleischer says. "Younger Republicans are willing to change on that issue — they already have changed."

The problem for the GOP is that right now there aren't enough young Republicans. Young people vote overwhelmingly for Democrats in national elections, and social issues are one of the main reasons.

Kirsten Kukowski is the press secretary for the Republican National Committee, which is trying to help Republican candidates bridge the gap between the party's base and changing public attitudes.

"For a long time we came across as maybe not as sensitive and not as compassionate on these issues," she says. "And I think a couple of years ago — right after the 2010 presidential election — for people in the RNC specifically, our strategists, a lot of our pollsters and a lot of the people around us in these campaigns, we sat down at the table and said, 'How do we change how we talk to voters?' "

Republicans are already changing. This year, most Republican candidates in tight races barely mention social issues on the stump. Others have moved to the center, disavowing their previous support for "personhood" amendments, which would give constitutional rights to embryos. A handful of Republican Senate candidates have joined Planned Parenthood in supporting the idea of over-the-counter birth control.

In addition to RNC operatives, conservative intellectuals are also grappling with this problem.

"There's a group of us who are basically conservative but think that mainstream conservatism needs to rethink some of its strategic approaches and policy emphases," says Henry Olsen of the Ethics & Public Policy Center. "And we've been called reformicons, and we're fine with that."

Olsen and his fellow reformicons say social issues like gay marriage have to be navigated carefully — very carefully.

"No Republican candidate can be nominated that openly supports same-sex marriage. That doesn't mean that you need to talk about it in a way that implies disapproval or condemnation of gay and lesbian people. It certainly does not mean that you have to deny certain sorts of federal benefits that presumably could be extended to people without the formal extension of marriage," he says. "That sort of thing is the rhetoric of compassion and inclusion that a Republican candidate to win the presidency ought to pursue."

Gay marriage is where opinion is changing the fastest, but the public is also evolving on other issues, like immigration and climate change. The RNC's Kirsten Kukowski says the party will debate all of this in the 2016 primary campaign.

"We're going to have a very interesting conversation in the next couple of months," she says. "And having been here through the last presidential [election] and then through the midterms, this is going to be a very important conversation for Americans to have, and for us to have as a party."

It's clear where the public is going on issues like gay marriage — but not so clear where the Republican Party will end up.
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« Reply #36 on: October 22, 2014, 08:26:53 pm »

MARK CUBAN: Here's What Republicans Should Do Next

 Billionaire investor Mark Cuban has some advice for the Republican Party: Drop the social issues.

"If I was going to give guidance to the Republican Party, ... I'd say, 'Stay completely out of social issues," Cuban said Tuesday morning on CNBC's "Squawk Box."

The "Shark Tank" star and Dallas Mavericks owner said this would allow the GOP to communicate a strong message on the economy.

"If you stay out of social issues, then the conversation from that side will only be about economics, and business, and growing business, and ideas," he said. "It should be easy!"

**And the love of money is the root of all evil...

Cuban also said he would have expected today's policy-makers to agree with him, given that many of them grew up in the 1960s and 1970s.

"The generation of sex, drugs, and rock and roll didn't turn out quite like we planned, right? We thought we'd be like, 'Live free. Stay out of the bedroom. Stay out of everybody's lives. Let's just focus on business,'" he said. "It turned out to be the exact opposite."
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« Reply #37 on: October 27, 2014, 04:49:15 pm »

Same-Sex Marriage Support Nearly Universal Among Entering College Students

The national landscape for marriage equality has changed considerably in the past month. On Oct. 6, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear appeals on five different cases challenging lower courts' rulings that found same-sex marriage bans to be unconstitutional. The decision paved the way for same-sex marriage in five states immediately (Oklahoma, Virginia, Utah, Wisconsin, and Indiana). Just a few days later, Idaho and Nevada joined the growing number of states allowing same-sex marriage. On Oct. 17, same-sex marriage bans in Alaska and Arizona fell with Wyoming following suit just days later.

Ted Olson, one of the lawyers in the landmark "Proposition 8" Supreme Court decision (Hollingsworth v. Perry), declared today that the "point of no return" on gay marriage has now passed. Indeed, it seems clear that the U.S. Supreme Court decision is signaling to the lower courts that it will not take up the issue of same-sex marriage any time soon, particularly if the lower courts continue striking down state marriage bans for same-sex couples.

As these state bans continue to fall, the federal government has announced that it would immediately begin recognizing same-sex marriages in all of 33 states. This decision follows the U.S. Supreme Court decision on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 2013 (United States v. Windsor), which held that denying benefits to married same-sex couples was unconstitutional.

It is hard to believe that Congress enacted DOMA less than two decades ago. Right after that law went into effect, the Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP) Freshman Survey at UCLA's Higher Education Research Institute began asking incoming freshmen their views on same-sex marriage. Since CIRP first started asking the question in 1997, a majority of incoming college students have agreed that same-sex couples have a legal right to marry; however, it is remarkable how strongly incoming students now endorse this position. The CIRP Freshman Survey last asked this question in 2012, and three-quarters of first-time, full-time students (75.1 percent) agreed that same-sex couples have a legal right to marry, and the data suggest that nearly all (91.1 percent) of students who identify as "liberal" or "far left" hold this view.

Support of same-sex marriage among "conservative" and "far right" students has increased more than 20 percentage points since the question first appeared on the CIRP Freshman Survey. A near majority (46.4 percent) of students who identify their political ideology as "conservative" or "far right" now agree that same-sex couples should be allowed to legally marry.

The largest gains in support of same-sex marriage have been among incoming students who identify their political ideology as "middle-of-the-road." In 1997, a bare majority (51.5 percent) believed same-sex couples should be permitted to marry. By 2008, more than two-thirds (67.7 percent) felt similarly, and that figure jumped another 10 percentages points by 2012 with 78.9 percent of "middle-of-the-road" students supporting same-sex marriage.

Today's college students do not just support same-sex marriage; they also support allowing gay and lesbian couples to adopt. In 2013, 83.3 percent of all first-time, full-time college students agreed that gays and lesbians should have the legal right to adopt children.

Most individuals are more than mere single-issue voters, but given these numbers, it is interesting that some politicians continue to focus so heavily on social issues like same-sex marriage. The recent spate of court decisions in favor of same-sex marriage in the past two years, and particularly in the past four weeks, has caught up with public opinion. The political views of today's college students increasingly suggest growing divide with the "culture wars" being waged by social conservatives. Candidates running for political office who continue to emphasize social questions while doing everything in their power to impede progress on an issue such as gay marriage risk alienating this large bloc of potential voters.

The question regarding support of same-sex marriage appeared again on the 2014 CIRP Freshman Survey, and we expect to see even greater support for the issue. The 2015 Freshman Survey likely will be the last time the item appears, as the data make clear that support for same-sex marriage is nearly universal among entering college students.
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« Reply #38 on: February 08, 2015, 09:47:50 pm »

I really hate to say it, but it looks like this (forced)vaccination agenda is becoming part of the current day "culture wars"(like with this climate change deception).

Stephanie Grace: Where has this Bobby Jindal been?


No, I’m talking about Jindal’s forceful, unequivocal endorsement of vaccination amid a frightening measles outbreak in California and renewed fears that the anti-vaccine movement is undermining efforts to control the disease’s spread.

In a prepared statement, Jindal, a former state health secretary, said he has “no reservations about whether or not it is a good idea and desirable for all children to be vaccinated.”

“There is a lot of fear mongering out there on this,” Jindal continued. “I think it is irresponsible for leaders to undermine the public’s confidence in vaccinations that have been tested and proven to protect public health. Science supports them, and they keep our children safe from potentially deadly but preventable diseases. Personally, I would not send my kids to a school that did not require vaccinations. Vaccinations are important. I urge every parent to get them. Every one.”

What a pleasant surprise it was to see him come down decisively on the side of common sense. What a relief to hear him embrace public health and science rather than coddle the conspiracy theorists who equate mandatory vaccinations with government overreach and cling to debunked suspicions that vaccines cause more harm than good. How refreshing not to have to listen to another tired lecture about how parents know best, his go-to platitude when questioned over his opposition to school accountability measures he once championed.

What a nice change from the way he’s been handling a whole host of issues lately.

Now, it could well be that he did it for political reasons. Jindal’s statement came relatively late in the controversy, after potential GOP rivals Chris Christie and Rand Paul had been widely excoriated for suggesting decisions over whether to vaccinate children are little more than a matter of parental choice. By the time he spoke, everyone knew which way the wind was blowing on this issue.

Or maybe he really believes what he said. Nothing wrong with that.

I remember this Bobby Jindal, the guy who used to be more interested in problem-solving than purity, the proud conservative who also sought common ground rather than turning every issue into an ideological standoff.

The new governor who, for example, tried to stop the Legislature from repealing the Stelly income tax increases during a time of plenty, because he understood that the state’s bottom line wouldn’t be able to take the hit once all that hurricane recovery money stopped flowing.

Don’t forget that it was all those new post-term limits lawmakers elected along with Jindal in 2007 who campaigned on that issue, while Jindal initially stayed silent. Only after they threatened to eliminate the state income tax entirely did Jindal agree to repeal the Stelly increases. While he now trumpets signing the biggest tax cut in Louisiana history, his goal at the time was simply to head off something even worse.

I think a lot of people who voted for him thought that’s the governor they would get, not the guy who seems like he’d take any position, no matter how shortsighted or irresponsible, just to stand out.

I kind of like this Bobby Jindal, the one who showed up unexpectedly this week after such a long time away. Maybe, if we ask really nicely, we can get him to stick around for a bit.
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« Reply #39 on: April 01, 2015, 10:28:09 am »

Indiana law draws Republican White House hopefuls into the culture wars

The national debate over an Indiana religious-liberties law seen as anti-gay has drawn the entire field of Republican presidential contenders into the divisive culture wars, which badly damaged Mitt Romney in 2012 and which GOP leaders eagerly sought to avoid in the 2016 race.

Most top Republican presidential hopefuls this week have moved in lock step, and without pause, to support Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) and his Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which has prompted protests and national calls for boycotts by major corporations.

In Arkansas on Tuesday, Republican legislators approved a similar measure that Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) is expected to sign. The action prompted the chief executive of Arkansas-based Wal-Mart to ask Hutchinson to veto the bill, saying that it “does not reflect the values we uphold.”

The agreement among the likely GOP candidates illustrates the enduring power of social conservatives in early-voting states such as Iowa and South Carolina, which will help determine who emerges as the party’s nominee next year.

But the position puts the Republican field out of step with a growing national consensus on gay rights, handing Hillary Rodham Clinton and other Democrats a way to portray Republicans as intolerant and insensitive. Some Republicans also fear that Indiana is only the first in a series of brush fires that could engulf the party as it struggles to adapt to the nation’s rapidly changing demographics and social mores.

At a news conference Tuesday, Pence — a potential long-shot presidential candidate himself — strongly defended the Indiana statute, which grants individuals and businesses legal grounds to defend themselves against claims of discrimination. But he also said the state would “fix” the law to make clear that it does not give license to businesses to deny services to anyone.

Pence insisted that it was never the law’s intent to allow discrimination — “I abhor discrimination,” he said repeatedly — although he acknowledged that negative perceptions have taken a rapid toll on Indiana’s reputation and economic development.

[Read Dan Balz: Indiana and the defining divisions in American politics]

After Pence signed the law Thursday, corporate executives nationwide — as well as the White House and likely Democratic presidential candidates Clinton and Martin O’Malley — issued sharp condemnations.

But former Florida governor Jeb Bush and other GOP presidential hopefuls did not waver in their support of Pence and what they consider a necessary state measure to safeguard religious liberty. The positions are in keeping with the views of social conservatives, who enjoy an outsize influence in the Republican presidential nominating contest.

“This is another case where the Iowa caucus beckons,” veteran GOP strategist John Weaver said. “Politically, it’s a difficult issue for a general election. After watching the Romney campaign in 2012, a lot of people said, ‘Do no harm to your general-election chances while trying to win the nomination.’ Having said that, you have to win the nomination first.”

As Steve Deace, a conservative talk-radio host in Iowa, put it: “This is the first litmus test of the race. Everyone in the party is watching to see how the candidates respond. For evangelicals, this is the fundamental front of culture issues.”

General-election concerns
Across the GOP firmament Tuesday, there was some worry that Democrats could revive the moment in next year’s general-election campaign to assail the eventual Republican nominee as an opponent of gay rights.

“Could this emerge as an ad? Yes,” GOP pollster David Winston said. “Could it be a decisive issue in people’s minds? It’s not clear at this point.”

Vin Weber, a former congressman and Bush ally, said he is concerned about the general-election implications and whether the Indiana debate damages the Republican brand with moderate and independent voters. “Everyone likes Mike Pence, and they’re concerned about the primary politics of the marriage issue, but I’m a little worried they’re not thinking of the broader perceptions of the party,” he said.

But other Republican strategists argued that the Indiana imbroglio could have the opposite effect. They suggested that the harsh reaction to the law has become a rallying cry for the tens of millions of evangelical voters. On his show Tuesday, talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh called the media blowback an example of how “religious people in this country are being ganged up on.”

Longtime GOP consultant David Carney said: “It’s going to potentially wake up a sleeping giant. . . . It’s crazy for people in our party to surrender or wet their pants every time there’s something controversial on the front page of The Washington Post or Out magazine or the New York Times.”

Regardless of whether they support or oppose the Indiana law, the Republican contenders must signal compassion to avoid damaging the party’s brand, said pollster Whit Ayres, an adviser to likely presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).

“More than anything else, it’s a tone and an attitude of inclusion and acceptance that Ronald Reagan articulated beautifully and that too few Republicans have articulated effectively of late,” Ayres told reporters at a breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor.

Bush defended the Indiana law in an interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt on Monday, but he has not made social issues part of his core campaign message. At some moments, he has tried to strike a conciliatory tone on gay issues. He drew heat from social conservatives in January after saying people should accept court rulings that legalize same-sex marriage and should “show respect” for gays in committed relationships.

States are driving debate
The reaction of likely Republican candidates to the Indiana law captures a powerful dynamic at play in the early stages of the 2016 race. The actions of GOP-controlled state legislatures as well as Congress are setting the course of debate, leading the presidential contenders to grapple with controversies that arise in far-flung state capitals.

The frenzy of activity by conservative lawmakers is an outgrowth of Republicans’ sweeping success in state and federal elections in recent years, especially in the tea-party-fueled 2010 contests. Buoyed by their victories that year, many hard-right legislators have aggressively pursued conservative agendas on regulatory policy, social issues and labor law.

[The Fix: The political war over gay culture is over, and the gays won]

After Pence’s rocky appearance Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” Christian conservative leaders around the country organized a frantic outreach effort to pressure likely candidates to defend the legislation, according to several people who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private communications.

The Republican Party has been fraught with tensions over the scope and details of such legislation. GOP leaders have been wary of upsetting more moderate swing voters but also nervous about angering the conservative activists who lifted them to power.

Outside groups, such as the right-leaning American Legislative Exchange Council, have gained traction as they have bolstered their relationships with ascendant Republicans in the states and have provided them with blueprints for a wide variety of bills.

On the right, religious liberty has emerged as a central issue, rooted in the ongoing fight over contraception coverage mandates in President Obama’s signature health-care law. The Supreme Court ruled last year that family-owned businesses do not have to offer their employees contraceptive coverage that conflicts with owners’ religious beliefs.

“Before the contraceptive mandate, very few people in the country knew what an RFRA was or had need to know,” said Mark Rienzi, senior counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, referring to Religious Freedom Restoration Acts. “Since then, there has been mass education, and people have sat up and paid attention.”

Much of the rallying behind the Indiana law can be credited to the ideological impulses of the modern GOP, but part of the response is also due to Pence’s strong political capital. The former talk-radio host became a high-ranking congressman with ties to influential religious conservatives.

He remains a force on the national stage, shuttling to Washington to nurture his relationships and taking to the speaking circuit to criticize Common Core, a set of education benchmarks adopted by most states that has sparked a revolt among conservative groups.

“Governor Pence has a lot of friends in the party,” said Pence pollster Kellyanne Conway. “He’s been very heartened by the e-mails, texts and personal calls he’s received from Republicans around the country.”

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« Reply #40 on: April 02, 2015, 01:25:54 pm »

Indiana And The Culture Wars

If I visit a kosher restaurant and order a pork chop, am I being discriminated against when the waiter says they don't serve pork?

If an establishment requires that men wear jackets and women dress in what that establishment defines as an "appropriate way," does that constitute discrimination?

When I visit the Vatican, the Swiss Guards won't let me in if I'm wearing shorts. They offer a cover-up. It is the same for women, if they bare too much flesh. Is that discrimination?

What about the sign "no shoes, no shirt, no service"? Is that bigotry against the shoeless and shirtless? Should the government force any of these entities to violate their standards?

That is the issue in Indiana, the latest front in the culture war. The state legislature passed and Gov. Mike Pence signed a law that says the government cannot force a business or individual to violate tenets of their religious faith, unless the government has a compelling interest in doing so. The language in the Indiana law is similar to a federal law, the "Religious Freedom Restoration Act," passed by Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton in 1993. Though applicable to all religions, in '93, the motivating issues were the protection of sacred lands for Native Americans and the use of peyote as a part of religious tradition.

The backlash following the Indiana law's passage was immediate. Gov. Pence later admitted there was some "confusion about the law," and he has since asked legislators to change the measure to make clear, he said, "that this law does not give businesses the right to discriminate against anyone."

But facts don't matter when the media and gay activists believe they can find an issue that stirs controversy (the media) and advances their cause (the activists).

Then-Illinois state-Sen. Barack Obama voted for a version of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in 1998. Several other states have similar measures protecting conscience from government intrusion. The religious conscience issue was before the Supreme Court in the Hobby Lobby case. The Court upheld that company's right not to cover certain contraceptives for female employees as part of its health plan because of the owners' religious beliefs and their objection to abortion.

The uproar about Indiana's law is political theater. It is also a trap set by the Left, which Republicans risk falling into. It works this way: Find a Republican state (Gov. Pence is a Republican and the legislature is overwhelmingly Republican); pick an issue you can twist to your political advantage -- and Republicans' disadvantage; enlist the help of a gay-friendly media; threaten a boycott of the state by prominent individuals and businesses; use this issue in the next presidential campaign to brand Republicans as racists, bigots and homophobes.

In this theater of the absurd, any defense becomes indefensible. The die has been cast; the scarlet letter attached.

Gov. Pence wrote an opinion piece forTuesday'sWall Street Journal. In it, he professed the absence of discriminatory DNA, saying he believes in and lives by the Golden Rule and that the law, which is scheduled to take effect July 1, merely sets a standard by which a religious objection to a law can be judged.

It doesn't matter. As reporter Stephanie Wang wrote in the Indianapolis Star, "The argument over what Pence has thus signed becomes not only intellectual, but visceral, vitriolic, ugly. Both sides dig in, because each thinks the other is flatly wrong -- in their hearts, and on the facts. And the debate rages on, sometimes spiraling to a place so far away from the law itself."

The debate has become far more visceral, vitriolic and ugly than intellectual, thanks to the secular progressives who have made it that way. A Wall Street Journal editorial correctly noted, "Indiana isn't targeting gays. Liberals are targeting religion."

Republicans have seen the potential for political damage. Nationally, Republicans don't want to debate social issues in 2016 because they see little advantage in doing so in a rapidly changing culture.

One potential good has emerged from this, however. Miley Cyrus has announced she won't be bringing her "twerking" self to Indiana, which is bound to have a positive effect on the state's moral climate.
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« Reply #41 on: November 13, 2016, 11:05:19 pm »

Trump Win Resets Culture War Debate on Abortion, LGBT Rights

By david crary and rachel zoll, ap national writers

NEW YORK — Nov 13, 2016, 1:05 PM ET

For the combatants in America's long-running culture wars, the triumph of Donald Trump and congressional Republicans was stunning — sparking elation on one side, deep dismay on the other.

Advocates of LGBT rights and abortion rights now fear setbacks instead of further gains. But the outcome emboldened the anti-abortion movement and breathed new life into the religious right's campaign for broad exemptions from same-sex marriage and other laws.

Kelly Shackelford, head of First Liberty Institute, a legal group that specializes in religious freedom cases, said that, for his cause, the environment will transform from "brutal" under the Obama administration to friendly given GOP control of both Congress and the White House. His clients include two Christian bakers in Oregon who were fined for refusing to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding.

"Many of us who fight for religious freedom have felt in the last four or even eight years there was a lot of overreaching that was wrong," said Shackelford, who was among hundreds of religious conservatives who met with Trump last June. "To have someone who is president-elect, who says I'm going to put an end to this ... we're going to go back to a country built on religious freedom. That makes us very hopeful."

Among the election's repercussions will be a renewed campaign, in state legislatures and in Congress, to pass tough anti-abortion legislation. Religious conservatives will press for far-reaching conscience protections and a repeal of regulations they said violated their religious liberty. And the push to let transgender students use the bathroom of their choice at school, strongly backed by President Barack Obama, may wither in the face of GOP resistance.

"There's no question a lot of transgender students and their parents woke up Wednesday morning really scared," said Sarah McBride, a 26-year-old transgender activist who gave a speech at the Democratic National Convention. "I'm feeling the way a lot of folks are feeling — worried that the heart of this country isn't big enough to love us, too."

Comparable worries surfaced among abortion-rights supporters.

"My colleagues across the country are deeply disheartened," said Dr. Willie Parker, an Alabama-based physician who provides abortions in three Southern states. He predicts intensified efforts to lay the groundwork for a challenge of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision establishing a nationwide right to abortion.

"We're disappointed, but not defeated," said Parker. "Like the civil rights movement, we're in it for the long haul."

Anti-abortion leaders initially were wary of Trump, who in the past had supported abortion rights. They rallied behind him — and launched a massive door-knocking campaign in several battleground states — after he pledged to support several of their key goals. These include defunding of Planned Parenthood, a ban on most late-term abortions, and the appointment of Supreme Court justices who might weaken or reverse Roe v. Wade.

Marjorie Dannensfelser, leader of the anti-abortion Susan B. Anthony List, hailed the GOP sweep as "an historic moment for the pro-life movement," putting its goals within reach.

Yet some wariness remained.

"We are well aware that promises are not deeds," said Troy Newman, the president of Operation Rescue. "We will work to hold the new administration's feet to the fire throughout Trump's presidency, to ensure that promises are kept."

Planned Parenthood, whose services include birth control, sex education and abortions, has been a longtime target of Republican politicians, and is now bracing for intensified challenges.

"There are almost no words to capture the threat that this election result poses," said the organization's president, Cecile Richards. "We will not give up, we will not back down."

On social media, many women were broaching the option of acquiring long-lasting intrauterine devices as their form of birth control, on the possibility that birth-control pills would no longer be available free if Obama's health care act is repealed. ?

The GOP triumph was a heavy blow to the Human Rights Campaign and other gay-rights organizations which had worked vigorously on behalf of Hillary Clinton. They embraced her campaign as unprecedented in the breadth of its outreach to gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people.

"It hurts," said Rachel Tiven, CEO of the LGBT-rights group Lambda Legal. "Our beautiful, slowly improving, two-steps-forward-one-step-back country took a giant step backward."

LGBT activists are now wondering if same-sex marriage — legalized nationwide by a 2015 Supreme Court ruling — is in jeopardy given the prospect of Trump appointing conservative justices who might reconsider that decision.

Activists also are worried by news that Ken Blackwell, a former Cincinnati mayor, was being tapped to handle domestic issues for Trump's transition team. Blackwell is a senior fellow with the Family Research Council, a staunch foe of same-sex marriage and other LGBT-rights causes.

On same-sex marriage and other issues, the Obama years brought one defeat after another for religious conservatives, who saw the president and his supporters on an inexorable march to curtail the rights of people of faith.

Liberals considered these fears overblown and said the First Amendment already offered significant protection for religious groups. But conservative Christians were deeply anxious about their future. Their only major victory came when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled two years ago in favor of Hobby Lobby, the Christian-owned arts and crafts chains with faith objections to the birth control coverage requirement in the Affordable Care Act.

Now, advocates see a transformed landscape.

"We now have more equilibrium between the so-called competing sides — between the LGBT rights movement and the religious freedom proponents," said Tim Schultz of the 1st Amendment Partnership, a Washington-based group which advocates for religious exemptions.

In a letter last month to Catholics, Trump decried what he called hostility to religious freedom and pledged, "I will defend your religious liberties and the right to fully and freely practice your religion, as individuals, business owners and academic institutions."

During the campaign, he promised to repeal the Johnson Amendment, an IRS rule barring pastors from endorsing candidates from the pulpit.

Due to the election results, Schultz expects the Justice Department will be friendlier to religious conservatives, and Congress more willing to enact legislation that advances conscience protections.

Retired Navy Chaplain Wes Modder, a Pentecostal minister, was the target of a complaint that he was disrespectful in counseling gay sailors when discussing his religious opposition to same-sex relationships. The First Liberty Institute took him on as a client and successfully challenged the complaint as a violation of Modder's religious freedom. The case became a rallying cry for Christian conservatives upset about the Obama administration's support for LGBT rights.

"No military chaplain should have to go through what I went through," Modder said of his fight to avoid being ousted from the Navy.

Modder, among military veterans who met with Trump in September, said he was very hopeful that Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence, a religious conservative, will advance policies that would prevent recurrences of what happened to him.

Trump "understands the importance of religious liberty," said Modder, who recently retired from the military to become a pastor in Chicago. "The team that he is assembling, the people he is surrounding himself with, I think are going to give him the right messaging."
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