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Miss. lawmakers pass bill letting churches appoint unaccountable ‘soldiers of God’ as armed security

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The Republican-dominated Mississippi state Senate approved a bill on Tuesday allowing churchgoers carry concealed firearms without a permit while also allowing churches to designate and train members to serve as armed security.

According to the Jackson Clarion-Ledger, House Bill 786 would also block state officials from enforcing federal regulations or executive orders that would conflict with the state constitution.

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Supporters of the bill also managed to hold off adding an amendment requiring churches to post signs if they were employing armed security under the bill.

“Unfortunately, our nation has seen tragic incidents carried out in places of worship,” said Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves in a statement. “Mississippians should be able to attend church knowing they have security measures in place to protect them from anyone trying to do them harm.”

Sen. Sean Tindell (R), who backed the measure, cited the mass shooting inside the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina last June as the inspiration behind allowing churches to designate a “sergeant-at-arms” and offer them legal protection for performing in that capacity.

“I wish we lived in a world where this bill wouldn’t be necessary,” said Gipson, who is also a pastor.

The “Mississippi Church Protection Act,” as the bill is called, passed in a 36-14 vote, but not without strident objections from state Sen. Hillman Frazier (D), who “waved a sheathed sword” as he argued against the measure.

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“We don’t need to pimp the church for political purposes,” Frazier said. “If you want to pass gun laws, do that, but don’t use the church.”

The bill has also been denounced by the Secular Coalition for America, which called it the worst state bill in the US.

“This legislation would put ‘soldiers of God’ above the law, allowing them to act as judge, jury, and executioner,” coalition executive director Larry T. Decker said in a statement. “Religious institutions are already exempt from taxation, financial transparency, and many civil rights laws. The Mississippi Church Protection Act would constitute an unprecedented and dangerous next step. Belonging to a church should not afford anyone the same rights and protections as law enforcement.”

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The bill will now head to the state House for further deliberation.

[h/t The Friendly Atheist]

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‘Most people are not wearing masks’ as Trump hosts the ‘largest event since the start of the pandemic’ at the White House

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President Donald Trump on Saturday hosted the largest White House event since the start of the coronavirus lockdowns.

As attendees began to gather, the White House press corps posted photos of the event.

While the White House was asking people to wear masks, they were not required to attend the event.

Sign on the South Lawn of the WH for tonight's event: pic.twitter.com/wF6mxrWfLz

— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) July 4, 2020

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2020 Election

Montana GOP ticket sidelined after exposure to COVID-positive Trump, Jr. girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle: report

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The Montana Republican Party is facing a crisis after multiple members of the ticket were potentially exposed to COVID-19.

"Montana gubernatorial candidate Rep. Greg Gianforte and his running mate, Kristen Juras, confirmed Saturday they will self-quarantine after Gianforte's wife, Susan, and Juras attended an event last week with Kimberly Guilfoyle, who has since tested positive for COVID-19," KBZK-TV reported Saturday.

Gianforte is currently Montana's lone congressional representative. He is not running for reelection as he's running for governor. In June, the Montana GOP nominated State Auditor Matt Rosendale to replace him.

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‘Perhaps the most un-American speech ever delivered by an American president’: Ambassador McFaul

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President Donald Trump's address at Mount Rushmore was blasted as "un-American" by former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul.

McFaul retweeted a clip of the leader of the free world failing to pronounce the word, "totalitarianism."

"Trump has no idea what words like fascism and totalitarianism mean," McFaul, now a professor at Stanford, declared.

"To those who wrote this speech and those senior [White House] officials who approved this speech, shame on you. Perhaps the most un-American speech ever delivered by an American president and on the July 4th weekend no less," he explained.

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