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‘Pro-life’ Idaho Republican thinks parents have a religious right to let kids die from treatable illness

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Lawmakers in Idaho approved a bill that would allow Bible study in science classes and declined to change a law that shields faith-healing parents from prosecution when their children die from treatable illnesses.

State Rep. John Gannon (D-Boise) introduced a bill to remove the exemption in a child injury law for faith-healing parents, but state Sen. Lee Heider (R-Twin Falls), head of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee, said he was never asked to set a hearing — which he had already said he wouldn’t do.

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Heider said it was too late in the session to set a hearing on the faith-healing bill, but he said he’s not likely to support a change to state law that he believes would prosecute parents for exercising their religious beliefs, reported the Twin Falls Times-News.

“I’m a First Amendment guy, and I believe in the First Amendment, which gives people freedom of religion,” said Heider, who describes himself as “pro-life.”

Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter, a Republican, said three weeks ago that he had asked House Speaker Scott Bedke and Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill to appoint a work group to study the faith-healing exemption.

The issue has drawn attention in recent years through reporting on the deaths of numerous children in the Followers of Christ community in southwestern Idaho from preventable deaths such as pneumonia and food poisoning.

But Republican lawmakers haven’t been willing to do much to change a law that would compel religious parents to seek medical care for their children — even though evidence suggests that would save lives.

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A doctor who practices in southwestern Idaho said changing the law could help parents who want to seek medical care overcome social pressure from their religious community, which he said happened when Oregon lawmakers removed that state’s exemption in 2011.

The Idaho Senate overwhelmingly passed a watered-down version of a bill introduced by state Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll (R-Cottonwood) allowing teachers to use the Bible as a reference book in public schools, reported The Spokesman-Review.

The bill that passed, however, removed references to the Bible’s use in “astronomy, biology, (and) geology” classes — and explicitly allowed for the uses of other religious texts, as well.

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Nuxoll said her bill would “relieve any fear or confusion” about the Bible’s use as a reference and stressed its historic importance.

“The Bible is the document brought to North America by our nation’s first immigrants, used in our public schools, and is the foundation of our Judeo-Christian heritage,” she said. “Some perceive the Bible to be central to only the Christian faith, but this is not true. It is referenced by Jews, Muslims, Christians and others.”

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The amended bill attracted the support of some of its critics, however, because it replaces an outdated law that requires Bible readings in public schools.


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Pennsylvania Dem unloads on GOPers who pushed to reopen as they hid colleague’s COVID-19 infection

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Pennsylvania state Rep. Brian Sims (D) lashed out at Republican lawmakers who remained silent after testing positive for COVID-19.

Democrats this week accused Republicans of withholding information after Rep. Andrew Lewis (R) tested positive for the virus.

"It's been a week, perhaps longer, that House Republican leadership knew that at least one of their members had tested positive for COVID-19," Sims explained in a Facebook post. "But they didn't go on quarantine until they were done serving alongside us, especially those of us that serve on the State Government Committee."

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‘Art of the Deal’ ghostwriter: ‘Psychopath’ Trump is ‘driven by an insatiable narcissistic hunger’ and an obsessive ‘need to dominate’

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President Ronald Reagan, in the 1980s, famously asserted that someone who agreed with him 70% of the time was a 70% ally and not a 30% enemy. But President Donald Trump, on the other hand, is furious if someone disagrees with him even on rare occasions. Author Tony Schwartz, who co-wrote or ghost-wrote Trump’s famous 1987 book, “The Art of the Deal,” analyzes Trump’s mentality in a May 28 article for Medium — stressing that the president is motivated, above all else, by a “need to dominate.”

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Bill Barr and the White House plan to collect information on social media users when Trump signs Executive Order: reports

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A draft of President Donald Trump's social media executive order shows it would create disturbing structures that could allow the President of the United States to personally target social media companies he feels are taking action against his supporters, enable his supporters to report that action directly to the White House, and empower the Attorney General of the United States to collect publicly available "watch-lists" of social media users that monitor not only their online activities but their offline activities as well.

The draft is not final, but both the speed with which it will be signed and reports show it likely has not gone through interagency review, as CNN's Brian Fung, who calls it "hastily conceived," notes.

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