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Even if Republicans break the oath they’re required to take for impartiality — there’s no accountability

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Republican members of the U.S. Senate have already indicated how they will vote in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, even though new compelling evidence is continuing to be presented. Senators are supposed to take an oath pledging that they will be impartial and hear all of the evidence before they rule. So, most of them will violate that oath merely by taking it.

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According to a report from the Washington Post, there’s little that can be done.

“I solemnly swear that in all things appertaining to the trial of the impeaching of President Donald John Trump, now pending, I will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws. So help me God,” the oath mandates. Senators aren’t required to hold their hand over the Bible, though doing so might be the only deterrent to breaching the oath, albeit a moral one.

“Nothing in the rules the Senate agreed to in the 1980s says the chief justice or anyone else can punish senators for not being impartial,” said the Post. “They are not held to a gag rule like some jurors in high-profile criminal trials. They can go on cable news in between and offer their opinions. They can step out of the Senate Chamber and tell reporters what they think of the evidence.”

George Mason law professor Ilya Somin was even more cynical in her assessment.

“The kind of people who are too principled to behave this way rarely become powerful politicians in the first place. Or if they do, they may not stay there very long,” she told the Post.

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Read the full report from the Washington Post.


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‘Empty the Pews’ chronicles the ‘nurtured insanity’ of a fundamentalist upbringing

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There is a great exodus taking place in Christian circles. Can it be called a loss of faith? I don’t think so. It is rather a loss of confidence in everything at once. Christianity has always been about “the Word,” but these days, words don’t seem to matter. They’ve lost their power to describe and convince in the face of horrible deeds, from climate-change denial to the persecution of trans people to the wholesale abandonment of Christ’s teachings in favor of abusive meanness. The hard-right white evangelical voter gave us Trump. The church sat silent as industrial oligarchs ruined the earth.

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‘Impeach him again!’ Assange sets off bombshells with Trump pardon claim

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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange claims President Donald Trump dangled a pardon through a Republican lawmaker if he agreed to cover up Russia's involvement in 2016 election hacking.

Assange's lawyer Edward Fitzgerald told a London court Wednesday that former Rep. Dana Rohrabacher had passed along the offer in exchange for testimony that Russia had nothing to do with DNC leaks -- and the allegation shocked legal experts and other social media users.

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Religious leaders need ‘Empty the Pews’ — which chronicles the darker side of the ‘Nones’ phenomenon

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Empty the PewsEdited by Lauren O’Neal and Chrissy StroopEpiphany Publishing (November, 2019)

In 2020, the rise of the so-called religious “Nones”—those who claim no religious affiliation—has evolved from a story of interest to a small niche of readers into an entire genre on the religion beat. While the term None has some usefulness as a blanket descriptor, we are beginning to understand that most individual stories about religious disaffiliation are far more complicated than just checking “none of the above” on a survey. Stories about the decline in Gen Z, Millennial and Gen X believers are a regular feature in secular news—Religion News Service even publishes an entire column dedicated to statistical data on Nones, compiled by the sociologist Ryan Burge—and a growing number of books exploring the narrative stories of Nones have appeared in recent years, including a book of my own.

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