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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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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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Donald Trump is mirroring the career path of Vladimir Putin: Scientology doc maker Alex Gibney

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According to the director of the "Going Clear," the definitive documentary on Scientology, the rise of both Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin neatly mirror each other in the way that they have propelled themselves into office by using media manipulation as their most potent weapon.

As part of a discussion with the Daily Beast about his latest work, Citizen K, a look at the life of Russian dissident Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Alex Gibney said Putin's career trajectory became a major part of his story -- and he noticed extraordinary parallels with Trump.

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Princeton historian delivers the definitive smackdown of Trump’s ‘insulting’ lynching tweet

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Princeton University History Professor Kevin Kruse on Tuesday delivered a thorough takedown of President Donald Trump's claim that House Democrats' impeachment inquiry represents a "lynching."

In calling the tweet "twelve different kinds of bullsh*t," Kruse began by discussing the constitutional mechanics of the impeachment process in the House that only require a bare majority of lawmakers to favor in order to advance. Concerns about due process in impeachment only come into play in the Senate, where the president is ensured a fair trial and where two-thirds of lawmakers are needed to convict the president and remove him from office.

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CNN panel busts Trump for ‘grotesque’ lynching comment in effort to create chaos before key impeachment hearing

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Moments after Donald Trump fired off a tweet calling his impending impeachment a "lynching" a CNN panel hammered the president for making the horrific comparison -- but also pointed out that the president's use of the word was timed for a very specific reason.

Admitting a reluctance to read Trump's tweets on the air, "New Day" host Alisyn Camerota nonetheless, recited the president's tweet, reading, "So some day, if a Democrat becomes President and the Republicans win the House, even by a tiny margin, they can impeach the President, without due process or fairness or any legal rights,” Trump tweeted. “All Republicans must remember what they are witnessing here – a lynching. But we will WIN!” with obvious disgust.

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