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Education Department Invites LGBT Hate Groups to Event

The National Parent Teacher Association pulled out of the event as a result.

REUTERS

The Education Department has once again sent the message that it is not inclusive of the LGBT community.


A quiet "Engaging Fathers and Families" event took place on Thursday and included speakers from Focus on the Family (FOTF) and Family Research Council (FRC). Politico was the first to report that these groups were on the agenda.

As a result, the National Parent Teacher Association (PTA) pulled out of the event. The organization told BuzzFeed News in a statement that Focus on the Family and FRC were "not in alignment" with the National PTA's views on LGBT youth.

According to its registration page, the event was centered around fathers "improving education, wellness, and development for all children."

"Attendees will be school administrators and representatives from community and faith-based organizations and federal agencies," the page says.

An agenda was not made public prior to the event but BuzzFeed reportedly obtained a copy and stated that DeVos did not attend the event. Notably, however, FRC thanks the DeVos family for its generous donations.

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) designates the Family Research Council, which is a division of Focus on the Family, as an extremist anti-LGBT hate group.

"Family Research Council believes that homosexual conduct is harmful to the persons who engage in it and to society at large, and can never be affirmed," FRC states on its website. "It is by definition unnatural, and as such is associated with negative physical and psychological health effects."

In its coverage of the "Engaging Fathers and Families" event FRC wrote, "Moms can take on the roles of teachers, nurses, chauffeurs, even janitors. But one job they can't fill is dad's."

Research on the subject has not indicated this to be true. According to PolitiFact, "Research is still limited, but many reputable studies so far have concluded that children of gay parents, generally speaking, are just as well off as children of straight parents. What's more important is the number of parents a child has, experts told us." Studies have not concluded that the parents must be opposite-gendered.

FRC believes that homosexuality can be "cured," indicating its support of so-called conversion therapy, which has been widely discredited and in fact is often considered harmful.

FOTF also supports conversion therapy.

Many credible organizations have come out in rejection of the practice, including the American Counseling Association, the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American School Counselors Association and the World Psychiatric Association.

In March 2016 the World Psychiatric Association (WPA) called conversion therapy "wholly unethical."

In 2015, ahead of the Supreme Court's marriage equality decision, FOTF founder Dr. James Dobson said legalizing gay marriage would signal "the fall of Western civilization itself."

"I do not recall a time when the institutions of marriage and the family have faced such peril, or when the forces arrayed against them were more formidable or determined," he wrote. "Barring a miracle, the family that has existed since antiquity will likely crumble, presaging the fall of Western civilization itself."

Today FOTF is headed by Jim Daly.

"Daly has made anti-LGBT statements in the past, including claiming that same-sex marriage endangers civilization; said that two gay parents contribute no value to parenting; that 'homosexual activists' wish to restrict the speech of anyone opposed to homosexuality and that 'it really is a form of fascism,'" SPLC reports. "He has also supported the discredited anti-LGBT study by sociologist Mark Regnerus."

Several weeks ago DeVos refused to say LGBT students would be protected from discrimination at private schools. She said several times that schools receiving federal funding must abide by federal laws. But only 14 states plus D.C. have laws in place that address discrimination against students based on sexual orientation or gender identity. And in regard to school anti-bullying laws, only 20 states plus D.C. have laws that address harassment and/or bullying based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Earlier this month President Donald Trump delivered remarks at the Faith and Freedom Coalition's "Road to Majority" conference, at which he was labeled the "keynote speaker and guest of honor" on June 8th, according to the agenda.

Vice President Mike Pence was also listed as a "keynote speaker and guest of honor."

Pence has long been an anti-LGBT figure, notably drawing criticism while serving as Indiana governor and signing a religious freedom bill that largely discriminated against LGBT people. Pence signed Indiana Senate Bill 101, or the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), in 2015. The law allows businesses to discriminate against LGBT people under the guise of religious freedom. After pressure from big businesses that refused to do business in Indiana due to the bill's discriminatory nature (including Eli Lilly and Co., No. 16 on the 2017 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list), Pence signed an amendment that said businesses cannot turn people away based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

However, Pence's amendment did nothing to protect LGBT people from discrimination that already existed prior to RFRA. Today, Indiana still does not protect LGBT people from discrimination when it comes to housing, employment, hate crimes, public accommodations, school anti-bullying, education and transgender healthcare, according to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).

Read more news @ DiversityInc.com

Update: Student Wearing MAGA Hat Standing Face-to-Face With Native American Veteran Releases Statement

"I was not intentionally making faces at the [protester]," said Nick Sandmann.

Screen shot of Instagram video by Kaya Taitano

UPDATE: Monday, Jan. 21, 2019 at 7 a.m.

Nick Sandmann, the Covington Catholic High School Junior who stands in front of Nathan Phillips, an elder with the Omaha tribe and a veteran, in a viral video that has sparked outrage, made a statement through a lawyer and spokesman on Sunday night.

Sandmann said the students decided to raise their voices to drown out the comments against them by four Black protesters who identify themselves as Hebrew Israelites. A video has been released of the incident.

"A student in our group asked one of our teacher chaperones for permission to begin our school spirit chants to counter the hateful things that were being shouted at our group," Sandmann said in his statement. "The chants are commonly used at sporting events. They are all positive in nature and sound like what you would hear at any high school," he said.

Phillips walked up to the students and said he started drumming and singing a song to encourage unity trying to quell the argument.

"There was that moment when I realized I've put myself between beast and prey,'' Phillips told the Detroit Free Press. "These young men were beastly and these old Black individuals was their prey, and I stood in between them and so they needed their pounds of flesh and they were looking at me for that.''

But said at one point, he claims the teenagers started saying "Go back to the reservation'' and broke into chants of "Build that wall.'' He also questioned why chaperones did not get involved.

"I was scared," Phillips told CNN. "I don't like the word 'hate.' I don't like even saying it, but it was hate unbridled. It was like a storm."

Sandmann claims he was "not intentionally making faces at the [protester]. I did smile at one point because I wanted him to know that I was not going to become angry, intimidated or be provoked into a larger confrontation."

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Covington in Kentucky is currently investigating the incident.

ORIGINAL STORY Published Sunday, Jan. 20, 2019

Students wearing "Make America Great Again" hats, who attend Covington Catholic High School in Park Hills, K.Y., were in Washington, D.C. on Friday for the anti-abortion March for Life rally. In a video, it appears that Nathan Phillips, an elder with the Omaha tribe and a veteran, was being mocked by the students at the Lincoln Memorial.

The incident occurred as the Indigenous Peoples March was ending. Videos showing their behavior went viral on social media on Saturday.

One of the students, standing less than a foot away, appears to be trying to intimidate Phillips by staring him down with a mocking smirk on his face. Phillips was in the midst of drumming and singing a song of unity:

Kaya Taitano, who shot the video, told CNN that MAGA hat-wearing-students and four Black teens, who'd been preaching about the Bible nearby, started yelling and calling each other names. That's why Phillips started drumming and singing a song to encourage unity trying to quell the argument.

President Trump, whom the students apparently idolize, posted a tweet last week to mock Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who plans to run for president in the 2020 election.

Trump made fun of the 1890 Wounded Knee massacre in response to a video Warren posted on Instagram.

Phillips, a Vietnam veteran who said he served between 1972 and 1976, is in tears as he explains in a video how the incident on Friday made him feel:

"I heard them saying, 'Build that wall, build that wall.' This in indigenous land. You know, we're not supposed to have walls here. We never did …"

He continued, "Before anybody else came here, we never had walls. We never had a prison. We always took care of our elders. We took care of our children. We always provided for them. We taught them right from wrong."

He said he wishes the young men who taunted him would use "that energy to make this country really great."

Robert "Bob" Rowe is the principal of Covington Catholic High School (email: browe@covcath.org).

An investigation is now taking place, and the MAGA teens could be expelled. The Diocese of Covington and the high school issued the following statement on Saturday:

"We condemn the actions of the Covington Catholic High School students towards Nathan Phillips specifically, and Native Americans in general, Jan. 18, after the March for Life, in Washington, D.C. We extend our deepest apologies to Mr. Phillips. This behavior is opposed to the Church's teachings on the dignity and respect of the human person.

"The matter is being investigated and we will take appropriate action, up to and including expulsion.

"We know this incident also has tainted the entire witness of the March for Life and express our most sincere apologies to all those who attended the March and all those who support the pro-life movement."

More than 10,000 people have signed a petition on Change.org demanding changes at the high school.

Many are saying on social media that the actions of the Covington Catholic High School students mimics how whites tried to intimidate Blacks during the civil rights movement:

Ignorance is Driving Trump Support

Most Americans don't know that the overwhelming majority of U.S. immigrants are legal. A Pew report explains immigration.

As the partial shutdown of the federal government continues, it has now become the longest funding lapse in U.S. history. President Trump is demanding that Congress approve $5.7 billion in funds to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Meanwhile, on Friday, at least 800,000 federal workers did not receive paychecks.

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Rep. Steve King's White Supremacy Remark Just Shows His True Colors

King's remarks are "abhorrent and racist and should have no place in our national discourse," tweeted Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney.

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) wants to know why white nationalists and white supremacists are getting a bad rep.

"White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?" King asked in an interview with The New York Times published on Thursday. "Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?"

The far-right lawmaker is at the forefront of supporting the Trump administration's anti-immigration policies and the push to end birthright citizenship. As a matter of fact, King credits himself with getting Trump onboard.

"Donald Trump came to Iowa as a real non-ideological candidate," King said, in the Times interview. He said he told Trump, "I market-tested your immigration policy for 14 years, and that ought to be worth something."

King has previously, on the House floor, shown a model of a 12-foot border wall he had designed.

Thursday afternoon he released a statement on Twitter "clarify" his comments on white supremacy and white nationalism.

"I want to make one thing abundantly clear; I reject those labels and the evil ideology" represented by those terms. "I am simply a Nationalist," he wrote.

"I condemn anyone that supports this evil and bigoted ideology which saw in its ultimate expression the systematic murder of 6 million innocent Jewish lives." Like the Founding Fathers, he wrote, "I am an advocate for Western Civilization's values."

But let's look at King's track record.

In the wake of the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre, consumers and employees pushed back against companies donating to King's campaign in November. He is known for his association with white nationalists, even retweeting a Nazi sympathizer.

(But residents of Iowa still re-elected him for another term.)

King endorsed, Faith Goldy, an openly white supremacist candidate for mayor of Toronto. He often praises far-right politicians and groups in other countries.

In September, during a European trip financed by From the Depths — a Holocaust memorial group — King actually met with members of a far-right Austrian party with historical ties to Nazis for an interview on their anti-Semitic propaganda website. The meeting was just a day after ending a five-day trip to Jewish and Holocaust historical sites in Poland, including the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp.

"In an interview with a website associated with the party, King declared that 'Western civilization is on the decline,' spoke of the replacement of white Europeans by immigrants and criticized Hungarian American financier George Soros, who has backed liberal groups around the world," according to The Washington Post.

In December 2017, King shared a story on Twitter written by the Voice of Europe and quoted Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, who said, "Mixing cultures will not lead to a higher quality of life but a lower one."

King added to the tweet: "Diversity is not our strength."

Members of Congress are condemning his recent comments.

"Everything about white supremacy and white nationalism goes against who we are as a nation," House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, (R-Calif.), said, in a statement. "Steve's language is reckless, wrong, and has no place in our society. The Declaration of Independence states that 'all men are created equal.' That is a fact. It is self-evident."

Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney tweeted that King's remarks are "abhorrent and racist and should have no place in our national discourse."

"Dear Steve King (@SteveKingIA): FYI this is one reason you get bad search results when people type your name in Google," Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), tweeted.

Ask the CEO: Crisis at the Border

"Here's the real crisis at the border: children are dying," writes DiversityInc CEO Luke Visconti.

A photo of Jakelin Amei Rosmery Caal Maquin who died while in the custody of the United States Border Patrol in December 2018. / REUTERS

After watching the president conclusively prove he can read off a teleprompter, I struggled to stay awake as the 146-year-old couple (Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi) robotically read through an uninspired response.

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: Trump is a Racist

In a "60 Minutes" interview, the new Democratic congresswoman said the president's words are "historic dog whistles of white supremacy."

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) is starting her term in Congress telling it like it is.

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Muslim Youth Groups Clean Up National Parks Amid Government Shutdown

"Service to our nation and cleanliness are important parts of Islam," said Dr. Madeel Abdullah, president of The Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association.

Twitter @MKA_DC/ Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association

A group of teen boys and young Muslim men in multiple cities are cleaning up the nation's parks and memorials because Trump's government shutdown over his border wall has debilitated the National Park Service.

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