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Republicans on Florida’s Constitution panel are intent on smashing the separation between church and state

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Like most states, Florida’s constitution has a boilerplate clause on the separation of church and state that resembles that of the United States constitution. But a startling move by the state’s Constitution Revision Commission, which reviews the Florida constitution every 20 years, may lead to the removal of the prohibition of the state giving funds to religious institutions.

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As Hemant Mehta at The Friendly Atheist writes, the Florida CRC’s Declaration of Rights subcommittee voted 5-1 last week “in favor of a proposal that would eliminate that ban on funding religion.”

The proposal the committee voted overwhelmingly for would “remove the prohibition against using public revenues in aid of any church, sect, or religious denomination or any sectarian institution,” a screenshot of the subcommittee’s measure shows.

As Mehta noted, all 37 members of the CRC are Republicans, as they’re nearly all appointed by the state’s governor, leaders of its House and Senate and the Florida Supreme Court’s Chief Justice.

Jiri Hulcr, an assistant professor at the University of Florida, attended the meeting and called it “eye-opening” in an editorial for The Gainesville Sun published earlier on Wednesday.

“What I witnessed was not prudent and unbiased deliberation,” Hulcr wrote, “but a show scripted for public consumption. Several commissioners did not even pretend to represent the people, and instead were justifying a clear agenda. Commissioner John Stemberger, for example, was beaming with excitement as he proceeded to lecture about the benefits of connecting, not separating, church and state. ‘Faith is a public good … Our job [as the commission] is not to be successful, it is to be faithful,’ Stemberger said.”

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Hulcr also noted that the proposal is likely to pass the entire Republican-dominated committee, which would then lead to the question of whether state funds should be used to fund religious institutions could be posed to Florida voters as early as 2018.

The separation of church and state is also at risk in the a provision in the Republican tax bill passed by the United States Senate early last Saturday morning that would allow churches to endorse or oppose political candidates from the pulpit and retain their non-profit status. “Pulpit politicking” has been prohibited by the Johnson Amendment since 1954 — and the GOP tax bill did not include measures to repeal it.

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2020 Election

Intel official who briefed lawmakers on latest Russian meddling targeted for ouster by Trump White House: CNN

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During a discussion on the war on the intelligence community being waged by the Donald Trump's White House, CNN host Victor Blackwell stated that sources speaking with the network stated that the intel official who briefed lawmakers for both parties on new efforts by Russia to meddle in U.S. elections could be on the way out.

Speaking with contributor Lynn Sweet, Blackwell asked about the so-called "purge" being conducted by the White House.

"It sends the signal once again that President Trump is not a respecter of the United States intelligence services with the bigger issue that a permanent director has not been in that office since last summer when Dan Coates was forced out," Sweet explained. "This is a key position, subject to Senate confirmation and Trump hasn't seen fit to have a permanent director for months now."

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2020 Election

Trump’s latest national security adviser is undercutting FBI Director Wray to quash report of new Russian meddling: report

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In a scorching column for the Daily Beast, historian David Rothkopf accused Donald Trump's latest national security director, Robert O'Brien, of undercutting the United States intelligence services and uses his comments about recent reports of new Russian election meddling to make the case that he is contradicting FBI Director Christopher Wray to please the president.

According to Rothkopf, "For just over a century, since America arrived as a major force on the global stage, we have feared that should our enemies defeat us, it would be on the battlefield or via a devastating nuclear onslaught. We never could have imagined that an enemy might take another approach altogether: infecting us with a presidential virus who this week gutted our national security leadership structures like a fish."

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Decoding the Christian paradox: Evangelical historian explains how right-wingers ignore Jesus to support a corrupt and greedy president

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To quote the bumper sticker: "What would Jesus do?"

Assuming that he existed and held the views imputed to him, Jesus Christ would not support Donald Trump.

Donald Trump's behavior, values, policies and their consequences are the opposite of what Jesus Christ represented. Trump has put migrants and refugees in cages and delighted in their suffering. He feels contempt for the poor, the sick, the vulnerable and the needy. He has lied at least 16,000 times. He is corrupt and wildly greedy.

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