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Karen Pence is campaigning for a candidate who longs for the days when it was a crime to be gay

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Karen Pence, wife of Vice President Mike Pence, spent time this week in North Carolina campaigning for Mark Harris, a right-wing pastor who upset incumbent Rep. Robert Pittinger in the GOP primary in May.

Karen Pence was seemingly brought in to help Harris deal with fallout from recent controversy over comments Harris had made about women, such as emphasizing Bible verses requiring women to submit to their husbands and questioning whether women having careers is “healthy” for society. WFAE reported that “Pence came to Charlotte as the guest of the Women for Mark Harris Bus Tour,” which kicked off at the University of North Carolina’s Charlotte campus on Monday morning.

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“I’m here because this race is so important,” Pence said at the rally, emphasizing Harris’s support for President Trump’s agenda. “The road to the majority leads right through North Carolina. This seat, this race, it is critical to keeping the majority in Congress.”

Harris is a member of the Family Research Council’s “Watchmen on the Wall” network who wants to push his extreme opposition to abortion rights and LGBT equality into law. One of his “staunchest supporters,” according to the Christian Broadcasting Network, is Christian nationalist David Lane, who has made it a priority to recruit conservative evangelical pastors to run for office.

As we noted after his primary win:

Not surprisingly, Harris has a track record of opposing LGBTQ equality and abortion rights. Harris was an ally of the anti-LGBTQ Benham brothers in opposition to a Charlotte nondiscrimination law, and he was a driving force behind the campaign that put a ban on same-sex couples getting married into the state constitution; his First Baptist Church contributed more than $50,000 to the campaign. Harris, who says being gay is “a choice,” has said the anti-equality amendment was not about discrimination but about “standing up for the values and principles that have been a part of the fabric of American society.”

… He has praised new state-level restrictions on abortion and called for conservative Supreme Court justices who will revisit Roe v Wade so that the law can recognize that “life begins with conception” and  extend legal protections to the “unborn.”

In August, Media Matters unearthed video of Harris bemoaning, “We have watched in one generation where homosexuality was once criminalized to now we see the criminalization of Christianity.”

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Media Matters has also reported on Harris’s Islamophobia, including his signing of a statement that falsely claimed that “all terror groups … have 100% Muslim membership” and asserted that “terrorist entities are not aberrations of Islam, they are the very essence of it.”

“We need good men like Mark Harris in Congress to keep the country moving ahead,” said Pence.

Just before she spoke at the rally, Pence did a brief interview with anti-LGBTQ personality Elizabeth Johnston—aka Activist Mommy. Johnston asked if “the pro-life issue” was a motivating factor for Pence to campaign for Harris.  “Absolutely,” said Pence, saying that she and her husband told their children the first time he ran for Congress the told their children, “We’re running to save the babies.”

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Johnston followed up with her own declaration to the camera, saying, “I am here today because Mark Harris looked me in the eye, and he assured me that he wanted to see an end to the bloodshed, an end to the murder of babies through abortion, and he said, ‘No exceptions.’ And I said, ‘That is a man I can get behind.’

Among the other rally speakers was academic-turned-Religious Right activist Carol Swain, who said she believed Harris would fight for “the values and principles that made our nation great.” Swain said that Christians “have an obligation to Christ,” adding, “And I believe that God is doing a new thing in this nation, and that He’s raising up godly men and women to serve in office, men and women, and Mark has answered the call.”

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“It is a God mission that we are on,” said Christian TV host Donica Hudson. “Mark Harris operates through the only worldview that I personally will ever vote for,” she declared, saying that worldview is based on love and unity, “the sanctity of human life,” and “the value of biblical traditional marriage,” and “parental rights.” She also praised Harris for being a “constitutionalist.”

Tami Fitzgerald of the North Carolina Values Coalition announced the group’s endorsement for Harris. “Mark Harris supports raising children in families with a mom and a dad,” she said, declaring that there are “no family values” in the Democratic Party platform.

Debbie Meadows, wife of Rep. Mark Meadows, chair of the right-wing Freedom Caucus, said Harris has a “spine of steel” and won’t be like one of the people who “fold like a cheap suit” when they get to Washington. Said Meadows, “Mark Harris will be the same man in Washington that he has been for decades here in the Charlotte area.”

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Donald Trumps needs a coronavirus scapegoat — and right now it’s China

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"If we are at war, who is the enemy?" asks Fred Hiatt, editorial page editor for The Washington Post in a smart piece that examines the question of who constitutes a target for a self-declared "wartime president."

While it is obvious that the enemy, in this case, is a tiny, sticky, invisible microbe that stubbornly gloms onto surfaces or leaps through the air to weaponize subway cars or shared gym equipment or a touch to the face.

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Trump says Putin to ‘probably ask’ for sanctions lifting

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President Donald Trump said Monday he expects his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to request the lifting of US sanctions during an upcoming phone call.

"Yeah, he'll probably ask for that," Trump told Fox News.

Trump did not say what his response would be, noting that he had put sanctions on Russia but adding: "They don't like that. Frankly we should be able to get along."

The two were due to talk "shortly," he said.

Last Thursday, Putin told G20 leaders during a conference call that he wanted a moratorium on sanctions as a "matter of life and death" during the global coronavirus outbreak.

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Arguing with the coronavirus deniers in your life can backfire — here’s how to make them see the light

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For those of us diligently practicing social distancing, it can be infuriatingly frustrating to encounter friends and loved ones who refuse to. There’s a strong temptation to lash out at them as selfish fools whose irresponsibility endangers us all. But doing so will backfire because, when people feel attacked, they get defensive and entrench in their position. Like it or not (not!), this is human nature.

Your civic duty, in addition to social distancing, is to talk to Covid-deniers in a way that has some chance of getting through to them. Here are some do’s and don’ts from the world of cross-partisan dialogue best practices that apply to the Covid-19 pandemic:

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