Homeland Security Official Resigns Over Remarks on African-Americans and Muslims


The Department of Homeland Security’s head of outreach to religious and community organizations resigned on Thursday after audio recordings revealed that he had previously made incendiary remarks about African-Americans and Muslims while speaking on radio shows.

…John F. Kelly, the White House chief of staff, had appointed Mr. Johnson to the department in April during his brief tenure as secretary of Homeland Security.

…[Johnson said on a radio show] that the black community had “turned America’s major cities into slums because of laziness, drug use and sexual promiscuity.” He also said black people were anti-Semitic because they were jealous of Jewish people..

…Mr. Johnson attacked Islam, …“Muslims want to cut our heads off,” that Islam is “an ideology posing as a religion” and that President George W. Bush made a mistake by calling it a religion of peace.

…Mr. Johnson also said he agreed with the conservative author Dinesh D’Souza that “all that Islam has ever given us is oil and dead bodies over the last millennia and a half.”

…“The DHS Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships is driven by one simple, enduring, inspirational principle,” Mr. Johnson wrote on his account’s inaugural post eight months ago. “LOVE THY NEIGHBOR.”

Homeland Security Official Resigns Over Remarks on African-Americans and Muslims – The New York Times

Kelly appointed a bigot to an office in charge of outreach to minority groups. Sadly, this isn’t a surprise. At least he was outed and pushed out.


Opinion: Evangelical conservatives are proving their harshest critics right

Democrats accused Christian conservatives of being closet theocrats, seeking to impose Christianity on the country and refusing to accept, let alone embrace, American diversity. 

…That’s stunning to the many Americans who think the divine right of kings was what we fought against in the American Revolution. A God-chosen president can do no wrong, tell no lie, make no error. And that, it seems, has been the default setting for many of Trump’s most loyal supporters among the religious right.

The notion that lies don’t matter, that politics is akin to a religious mission, strikes many Americans as a scary repudiation of the Constitution’s establishment clause. 

…having lost on gay marriage, on legalized abortion and on cultural decay, now takes refuge in nativism, xenophobia and white grievance. For these evangelical figureheads, “us vs. them” has replaced a message of brotherly love and Christian charity.

Evangelical conservatives are proving their harshest critics right – The Washington Post


Elizabeth Smart Is Standing Up for Rape Victims—And Tearing Down Purity Culture 

In writing and talking about sexual violence, people must make a linguistic choice in describing someone who has endured an assault: victim or survivor. Elizabeth uses both terms seemingly interchangeably, as in “rape victim” or “survivor of sexual assault.” Though she uses both words, Elizabeth maintains that they’re not synonymous. “I don’t think they’re the same thing; I think they are different stages, actually,” she says. “A victim is someone who is still going through the abuse, and a survivor is someone who survived it. I’m not saying that they don’t have hard moments still, or things to work through, but it’s more about making that choice: that they want to survive, that they no longer want to remain the victim and they’re taking the steps to move on in their life.”

“I’m not saying it’s easy,” she adds, careful not to minimize anyone’s path to recovery.

[An] editor of a journal on Mormonism …says of Elizabeth, “She’s entirely faithful. And while she’s not part of the feminist ferment in Mormonism, and I doubt she’d call herself a feminist, she is strong in a way that feminists can admire.”

…”The church explicitly considers feminists to be enemies.”

This puts Elizabeth Smart in a very strange position. She is a champion of victims of sexual violence, a hero for so many survivors, and an outspoken critic of religious purity culture. By all accounts, she is a feminist in the truest sense of the term.

…Later, I ask Elizabeth whether she identifies with the term or rejects it, as the New Yorker piece would suggest. At first, she equivocates. “I think there are so many different kinds of feminism—some good, some maybe too extreme—it’s a wonderful thing for women to come together, to be strong, to be independent, to have equal rights as human beings… There shouldn’t be a glass ceiling,” she says, sort of talking around the question. “At the same time, I like it when a man holds the door open for me, and I like it when I’m treated like a lady. I mean… I’m married, I have a husband, I have a family.”

Given the Mormon church’s antagonistic view of the movement, her discomfort with the label makes sense; still, believing in—and actively campaigning for—equality between men and women is pretty much the definition of feminism. When I tell her this, Elizabeth seems to casually change her position. “I’ve never thought of myself as a feminist before… Sure, call me a feminist,” she says.

Elizabeth Smart Is Standing Up for Rape Victims—And Tearing Down Purity Culture – Broadly

Bad. Ass.

Saudi Arabia women hail end of driving ban 

One activist called it a “great victory”, while another said she was going to buy her “dream car”.

…The Gulf kingdom is the only country in the world that bans women from driving – and women are still subject to strict dress codes and gender segregation.

Until now, only men were allowed licences and women who drove in public risked being arrested and fined.

…The country’s US ambassador, Prince Khaled bin Salman, confirmed that women would not have to get male permission to take driving lessons, and would be able to drive anywhere they liked.

…In recent years, some members of the Saudi royal family have expressed support for ending the ban.

Last year, the government launched the Vision 2030 plan to modernise the economy – which was seen as a sign the country was moving towards reform.

…The hashtags “I am my own guardian” and “Saudi Women Can Drive” quickly gained traction on social media – but so did the hashtag “the women of my house won’t drive.”

…An estimated 800,000 chauffeurs currently ferry Saudi women around. The reason it has taken so long is the long-standing opposition from religious conservatives, who have expressed views varying from “they are too stupid to drive” to “it will lead to intolerable mingling of the sexes.”

Saudi Arabia women hail end of driving ban – BBC News

Amazing. What a leap forward!