Davey Hiott and other South Carolina Republicans #transphobia #enbyphobia wistv.com

A ban on gender-affirming care for kids and teens in South Carolina is moving quickly at the State House.

Just hours after lawmakers gaveled in to begin their 2024 legislative session Tuesday, the newly-filed bill, H.4624, drew hours of criticism from parents and pediatricians during an afternoon hearing.

[…]But supporters, including top Republicans in the state’s House of Representatives, claimed they are pushing this legislation to protect kids.

“When God created us, he created us male and female, and that’s it. There is no other choice, and all these other folks that want to change that from birth or change that through their life, we need to stand up against that,” House Majority Leader Davey Hiott, R – Pickens and the bill’s lead sponsor, said during a news conference Tuesday.

This bill would ban minors in South Carolina from undergoing “gender-transition procedures,” including surgeries, hormone therapy, and puberty blockers.

It would also prohibit state dollars from paying for these procedures and would ban Medicaid from covering them for anyone younger than 27 in South Carolina.

South Carolina State Senator Josh Kimbrell #wingnut #transphobia #enbyphobia wistv.com

State Senator Josh Kimbrell is calling for change, threatening to defund libraries across the state if certain books are not removed from the kid’s sections.

He held a press conference Monday, at the Spartanburg Public Library, following what he claims are hundreds of complaints against books that teach children about gender identities. During the press conference, he added that the books are hiding behind “being educational”.

Examples of the books in question are “You be You”, “The Pronoun Book”, and “My Own Way”.

“I do not want tax money to be used to put this stuff in the hands of kids against their parent’s wishes”, said Kimbrell.

Protestors lined to streets outside the library making their voices heard against Kimbrell. One mother of an LGBTQ+ child said, by taking away inclusive books you are taking away free speech.

Jodi Snyder said, “this is our library too and our library is inclusive, diverse, and loving and we protect our children by making sure that they are learning about all people and all backgrounds and all socioeconomic backgrounds and all orientations. Josh Kimbrell is trying to ban books. That’s banning freedom.”

The director of the Spartanburg County Library said since the start of the year, he has only received six complaints about LGBTQ+ positive books. He said if anyone has a concern over books to please fill out a complaint form your branch.

Ann Conder #fundie wistv.com

BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - For the past three school board meetings some people have recited the Lord’s prayer during a designated moment of silence.


Former Berkeley County School Board Member Ann Conder has been leading the prayer. She says the board used to open all meetings with the prayer up until 2016. In 2016, South Carolina leaders passed the Public Invocation Act. It says that prayer at public meetings must not “advance any one faith or belief, or coerce participation by observers.”

“For fear of legal repercussions, the board at that time made the decision to place on the agenda a moment of silence instead of the longstanding practice of opening prayer. I beseech you to reinstate that historical practice,” Conder said to the board during public comment at a recent meeting.


“It is to invite God into our boardroom so that he will grant you righteous guidance as you make your decisions for our children and their education. We will not be silenced and we will continue to invite God into this boardroom,” Conder said at the comment podium.


When asked to comment specifically about the altercation at the start of the last meeting, Conder gave a statement saying: “I just don’t feel I need to defend something that is a constitutional right, but most importantly a God given right.”

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster #fundie #wingnut #homophobia #transphobia wistv.com

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Two of the men vying to lead South Carolina for the next four years outlined their visions for the state’s future Wednesday, with one pitching for South Carolina to stay its current course and the other arguing his opponent is pulling the state back to the past.

Republican Gov. Henry McMaster, seeking re-election for a second term, and former Democratic Congressman Joe Cunningham met Wednesday in Columbia for their first and only currently scheduled debate ahead of the Nov. 8 election.


“I think it was fine the way it was before under Roe v. Wade,” Cunningham said. “…If an abortion ban comes to Gov. McMaster’s desk with no exceptions, he’ll sign it, and I’ll veto it.”

Prior to Roe’s overturn, McMaster had indicated his support for a ban from conception without exceptions, but he has since said he finds the exceptions included in the state’s currently-blocked six-week ban — for the life and health of the mother, sexual assault victims, and fatal fetal anomalies — as reasonable.

South Carolina’s Republican-dominated legislature has been attempting since the summer to further restrict abortions, but lawmakers have not been able to come to an agreement on a final bill.


Questioning later turned to what would happen if the Supreme Court overturned another precedent, protecting same-sex marriage nationwide.

McMaster said he would follow a current state law that bans it. While that law is still on the books, it has been unenforceable following the court’s 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges decision to require states recognize same-sex marriages.

“Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I think marriage ought to be between a man and a woman, just like I think that boys ought to play in boys’ sports and girls ought to play in girls’ sports,” McMaster said.

Cunningham, seemingly caught by surprise by McMaster’s response, responded the governor was taking the state backwards.

“Gov. McMaster has been leading South Carolina into the 1950s since the 1980s,” Cunningham said.

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster #fundie #wingnut wistv.com

Gov. Henry McMaster will soon sign a bill that would allow healthcare professionals to deny service on the basis of their beliefs.

A spokesperson with the governor’s office said he plans to sign the Medical Ethics and Diversity Act into law Friday.

The bill would authorize what’s known as “medical rights of conscience” in South Carolina. It would essentially protect doctors, nurses and medical students from being fired or punished for opting out of services based on their “religious, moral, or ethical beliefs or principles.”

State law already protects doctors, nurses and technicians from refusing to perform abortions - but the Medical Ethics and Diversity Act would add medical students to that list.

It would not, however, apply to emergency medical treatment that is required by federal law. The bill also states that practitioners are not allowed to refuse services on the basis of race.

A group of healthcare professionals and students previously asked McMaster to veto the bill, saying it could lead to a denial of care for services like gender-affirming care as well as life-saving medications to prevent and treat HIV.

South Carolina Representative John McCravy #transphobia wistv.com

(South Carolina has passed a hate crimes bill in its House; now it goes to SC Senate)

Republican Rep. John McCravy said leaving gender in the bill would allow a progressive court a door to dismantle efforts conservatives have made to pass bills curtailing what sports teams transgender people can play on or the bathrooms they use.

“The language in this bill could be used against the Save Women’s Sports Act. It could be used against arguments about bathrooms,” McCravy said. “I think you see what the real agenda is here.”

Three South Carolina state representatives #wingnut #racist #transphobia #homophobia wistv.com

H. 4605, also known as “Freedom from ideological coercion and indoctrination,” would regulate what goes on at any entity that receives state funding, grants, or tax exemptions, including public and private schools, colleges and universities, nonprofit organizations, state contractors, and private businesses.

Reps. Lin Bennett, R-Charleston, Mike Burns, R-Greenville, and Cal Forrest, R-Saluda, are sponsoring the pre-filed bill, which will officially be introduced when lawmakers return to Columbia in January for their regular legislative session.

The bill would prohibit entities like schools from teaching “discriminatory concepts,” such as that “an individual, by virtue of his or her race, sex, ethnicity, or heritage, bears responsibility, or must confess or atone for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race, sex, or ethnic group” and that they “should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress because of his or her race, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, heritage, culture, religion, or political belief.”


The bill would also ban these entities from compelling students or employees to accept, affirm, adopt, or adhere to “controversial and theoretical concepts,” including the existence of genders other than male or female, nonbinary pronouns, implicit bias, and that race and sex are social constructs.

It would prevent schools from teaching students under 18 about sexual lifestyles, acts, or practices; gender identity or lifestyles; and pornographic, lewd, explicit, profane, or similarly age‑inappropriate materials, or instructing in ways that “repeatedly distorts or misrepresents verifiable historical facts,” “omits relevant and important context,” or “interjects the instructor’s personal views,” among other regulations.

Schools, businesses, and entities in violation would lose their state funding or tax exemptions until the Attorney General determines they are in compliance, and the bill outlines that the Attorney General’s office would have to set up a phone and email hotline to take complaints about potential violations to investigate.

Adam Morgan and the “South Carolina Freedom Caucus” #transphobia #pratt #wingnut wistv.com

The Medical University of South Carolina announced they are dropping pediatric transgender clinics.

The clinics provided hormonal care to minors.

In response, the South Carolina Freedom Caucus, which is made up of conservative politicians around the state, called the decision “a huge win.”

“This is a huge win for the Freedom Caucus, but more importantly, it is a huge win for childhood innocence,” Chairman Adam Morgan, R-Greenville, said. “Officials from MUSC have informed us that they will no longer be providing morally and ethically repugnant ‘gender-affirming care’ that results in irrevocable and irreparable harm for minors.”

MUSC released the following statements related to the decision and its current policies.

MUSC Health has worked diligently to make sure that we are in compliance with the 2022-2023 Appropriations Act and proviso 23.4 and will do the same with any future legislative requirements/directives.
MUSC Health does not have a dedicated pediatric/adolescent transgender endocrine clinic.
MUSC Health no longer provides pediatric/adolescent transgender hormonal care.
MUSC Health does not offer gender-altering surgery.
Behavioral health and nutritional support and social services are provided, based on need, for all pediatric patients and families regardless of sex, gender orientation, or race.
The parents or legal guardians of any patient under legal age are involved in all decision-making regarding their children.

Southern Sons Active Club #racist wistv.com

BLYTHEWOOD, S.C. (WIS) - WIS is continuing to look into the distribution of pro-white flyers that have allegedly been passed out to some people living in the Blythewood neighborhood.

A Blythewood resident says he was handed one of the flyers on Halloween night. The resident says he believes the masked men were going door to door with these flyers.


The flyer gives information on a pro-white group called the Southern Sons Active Club.

It claims that the white race is going extinct and one of the group’s goals is to secure the existence of that race. The flyer also makes use of the “SS” symbol, which is commonly associated with officers in Nazi Germany.


The resident called the Richland County Sheriff’s Department which sent a deputy to the scene.

According to an incident report, the two men that gave him the flyer were wearing black masks with a white design resembling a ghost. When questioned, the men ran off.


The Southern Poverty Law Center has an online map that identifies hate groups by city and state. A researcher with the group Cassie Miller said in an email that the Active Club is a white nationalist hate group with about a dozen chapters around the country, including the Southern Sons Chapter in South Carolina.

The group was started by longtime white nationalist activist Robert Rundo. Rundo was formerly the leader of the Rise Above Movement, a white nationalist group that engaged in violence at the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville.


The Richland County Sheriff’s Department says they will continue to investigate to find out who passed out the flyers by running a lab analysis on the paper.

OTB Tax #quack wistv.com

GREER, S.C. (WIS) - A Greer company said it is hiring new employees who have not or will not get the COVID-19 vaccine or who don’t want to wear masks.

OTB Tax put up a billboard on Pleasantburg Drive in Greenville and one on Highway 123 in Easley that says: “No Vaxx? No Mask? No Job? Perfect. We’re Hiring.”

The billboards have been up for about a month.

Toppa Epps, the CEO of OTB Tax, said the company has 25 employees right now — all of whom are unvaccinated and do not wear masks in the office on Wade Hampton Boulevard.

He said the company is expanding and looking to hire more employees who have not gotten the COVID-19 vaccine and do not wear masks.

Epps says the company does taxes, bookkeeping and payroll.

Toppa Epps said the owner of the company, Courtney Epps, feels strongly that vaccines should not be required by companies.

Three South Carolina state representatives #transphobia #sexist #pratt wistv.com

Lawmakers are reintroducing a bill that will ban transgender women from playing women’s high school sports in SC.

A bill pre-filed by two Greenville representatives and one Aiken representative signed onto the bill that adds a section to the state code of laws that transgender women/girls may not participate in women’s secondary and post-secondary sports.

Also mentioned in the proposed bill, it is stated that transgender men/boys MAY participate in male sports.

The biological gender of the student will be confirmed using their birth certificates.

The bill has been filed in the past by Representative Ashley Trantham (R-Greenville) who has sponsored it again for this upcoming session.

The two other representatives are Rep. Melissa Lackey Oremus (R-Aiken) and Rep. James Mikell “Mike” Burns (R-Greenville).

When asked about the bill in February, Rep. Trantham said:

It’s not that I’m not compassionate about what they’re going through. But I would also point out, we have to think about how this is going to impact our girls. I mean they have to be able to have a level playing field and we just know based on the science that when we allow biological males to compete with our girls that we’re taking away that opportunity.

The bill has far to go and has to be signed by Governor Henry McMaster in order for it to become a part of state law.

Marion Hutson #racist wistv.com

(For context: Columbia’s first black mayor, Steve Benjamin, is retiring at the end of this term. The candidates heading to a run-off election are Tameika Isaac Devine, a black woman, and Daniel Rickenmann, a white man.)

A public figure in Cayce is under fire for allegedly making racially insensitive remarks.

Marion Hutson, one of nine Cayce Historical Museum Commissioners, allegedly told a city employee that Columbia “doesn’t need another ‘colored’ person as mayor.”

Cayce council members are now calling for an investigation into the remarks. Three council members voted to keep Hutson as commissioner, and they tell WIS they want an investigation into the remarks.

Hunter Sox was a candidate for Cayce City Council, and Hutson was a family friend campaigning for Sox.

“It’s terrible to hear,” Sox said. “I would not have had someone campaigning for me if I knew there were a possibility he would say such a thing. I was appalled and shocked and we don’t allow those comments in the city of Cayce.”

WIS spoke with Mayor Pro Tem James “Skip” Jenkins who voted to remove Hutson from his position Tuesday night.

“Hutson’s statement is unacceptable and disturbing,” Jenkins said. “I don’t know where we go from here. It’s slated to be brought back up at the council meeting next Wednesday. I’ll do an on-camera interview after it’s resolved. I don’t want to get ahead of the investigation.”

WIS also spoke with Council Member Phil Carter who voted not to remove Hutson yet.

“The comments were unacceptable, despicable and I don’t condone those statements period,” said Carter. “I voted Tuesday for due process so that there can be an investigation into the alleged statement. I believe strongly in due diligence.”

Tim James voted to keep Hutson in his position and hopes there will be an investigation.

“The City of Cayce has a sweet spirit and is a loving community,” said James. “It’s unconditioned and doesn’t mirror the sweet spirit of our city and citizens and we will address this issue.”

City of Cayce Mayor Elise Partin posted a statement on her Facebook page which says she doesn’t believe there needs to be an investigation and she believes the worker who made the allegations.

Unnamed 17-year old #racist wistv.com

The Sumter Police Department has charged a 17-year-old accused of tampering with a state sign and having it display a racial slur.

The suspect is considered a juvenile under S.C. law, so his name will not be released. He will be charged with aggravated breach of peace and is being held in a state Department of Juvenile Justice facility, according to Sumter police. […]

The sign was located on South Pike West near Shoney’s and US-76/378 bypass. It was placed there by the Department of transportation to alert drivers to an ongoing construction project, according to police.

Police say the sign belonged to a paving company involved with a road improvement project.

On Saturday, the sign was altered by an unknown person to display an offensive statement. (Submitter’s note: The statement was “HONK IF YOU HATE N******”.)

Officers were notified around 4:30 p.m. and the statement has been removed.

“We will investigate this to the fullest,” Chief Russell Roark said, describing the incident as extremely disturbing, “A scar on the city and its residents that is in no way indicative of the community where we work and live.”

Carolina Ford #fundie wistv.com

HONEA PATH, S.C. (WBTV) - Buy a vehicle at Carolina Ford, get a free Bible - and an AR-15.

The South Carolina dealership posted their “latest greatest” promotion on Facebook last week, saying the deal is good through November.

“For the months of October and November, Carolina ford will be giving away a Bible, an American Flag and a Smith & Wesson AR with every vehicle purchased!!!!” Carolina Fords posted. “So if you have been waiting for a great deal on a new or pre-owned vehicle then now is the time to jump on it.”

The IndexJournal reports customers will get a $400 voucher for the purchase of a Smith & Wesson AR-15 from Locked-N-Loaded in Abbeville, as opposed to receiving the rifle on site. The gun shop runs background checks, according to WHNS.

In one post, a man is seen holding up part of an American flag while another man stands holding a Bible in one hand and a gun in the other.

“Love this promo! And a good reason to buy another Ford truck,” one person commented.

“Can’t wait for the lawsuits when your company is held liable for a shooting!” wrote another.

The dealership says those interested in the promotion may call (864) 369-7376.

Gates to Zion Ministries #fundie wistv.com

’Awakening Blast of the Shofar’ event to be held on State House steps, pushing for country to return to biblical roots

By Kamie Roesler | September 11, 2020 at 7:04 AM EDT - Updated September 11 at 7:14 AM

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Over the weekend a group will be gathering on the State House steps to push for our country to return to Biblical roots.

The event being dubbed “Awakening Blast of the Shofar” is organized by Gates to Zion Ministries, located in West Columbia, S.C. It will be held Sunday, Sept. 13 at 3 p.m.

“We have people who are scattered throughout this state that are coming to support this, so we are really praying that there is move of God among His people,” event organizer Jan O’Dell said.

“Our desire is that we stand up, and be heard that our country was founded on biblical principles, and we have given away those biblical principles in so many institutions, socio-economical institutions in this country,” Craig O’Dell said.

“You can come out on Sunday at 3 o’clock and make your voice heard. You can take a stand, and we together can make a change,” Jan said.

If you have a shofar you can bring one along, but it’s not required. The event is scheduled to run until about 5 p.m.

Richard Cash and other South Carolina Republicans; Holly Gatling #fundie #sexist wistv.com

SC senators amend ‘fetal heartbeat’ bill to remove exceptions for rape, incest
By Emily Scarlett and Laurel Mallory
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The debate over abortion rights in South Carolina is heating up this week.

The Senate Medical Affairs Subcommittee met Tuesday morning to discuss House Bill 3020, also sometimes known as the fetal heartbeat bill.

The bill would ban abortions so long as a heartbeat can be detected, which can happen as early as six weeks into the pregnancy. Sometimes women don’t know they are pregnant at six weeks.

Tuesday, members of a Senate subcommittee voted to add an amendment to the bill to remove exceptions for women who were victims of rape or incest. That amendment was introduced by Sen. Richard Cash (R-Anderson).

The amended bill passed with a vote of 4-3 and now moves on to the full Senate Medical Affairs Committee for a vote. If the committee passes the bill, it goes to the entire Senate.

Several other states have passed similar bills. So far this year, nine states have passed laws restricting abortion rights: Ala., Ark. Ga., Ky., La., Mo., Miss., Ohio and Utah.

Here in South Carolina, HB 3020 does still include an exception if pregnancy puts the mother’s life is at risk.

But since the Senate subcommittee took out protections for victims of rape or incest, the bill will have to go back to the House for approval before going to the governor’s desk for a signature.

If the bill is signed into law, it would serve as a major setback to the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling, which legalized abortion nationwide back in 1973.

“There are health-related factors, there are economic factors – there are all kinds of reasons that people choose to pursue or not pursue pregnancy and parenting," Women’s Rights Empowerment Network CEO, Ann Warner, said. "We should not be judging people for the decisions that they make that are best for their lives.”

Anti-abortion activists shared a display of a fetus which they said represented a child in the womb at approximately 12 weeks.

“Our mission is to protect the lives of unborn children who have no more rights than a styrofoam cup under the Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton decisions," South Carolina Citizens for Life Executive Director, Holly Gatling, said. "Basically, the child in the womb was declared a nonperson with no rights, whatsoever.”

SC Citizens for Life members passed out at about 1,000 displays depicting fetuses during this year’s State Fair.

“The human baby has a heartbeat that is detectable – with sophisticated instruments, of course – by 21 days after conception," Gatling said. “Abortion stops a beating heart.”

On the other hand, Warner said she fears this bill will endanger lives, rather than save them.

“Health care is already hard enough for people to access in South Carolina," she said. "We’ve got high maternal mortality rates, high infant mortality rates, and what bills like this do is actually push health care further out of reach, make it more dangerous for people to be pregnant in South Carolina.”

Abortion rights advocates plan to hold a news conference on State House grounds following Tuesday’s subcommittee meeting.

Jonathan Hill and Stewart Jones #wingnut wistv.com

Upstate legislators want to name I-85, I-385 interchange after President Donald Trump
February 3, 2020 at 10:20 AM EST - Updated February 3 at 11:57 AM

GREENVILLE, S.C. (WYFF) - Two Upstate legislators want to rename the interchange of Interstates 85 and 385 after the president.

House bill 5090 is sponsored by Reps. Jonathan Hill, of Anderson, and Stewart Jones, of Laurens.

If passed, it would require the Department of Transportation to name the interchange the “President Donald J Trump Interchange.”

The bill is in committee.

PETA #fundie wistv.com

Orangeburg chicken truck crash will be memorialized by PETA

Thursday, September 21st 2017, 10:49 am EDT
By Jeremy Turnage, Digital Content Manager


A week-old crash on Interstate 95 in Orangeburg County will be memorialized. Yes, you read that correctly.

On Sept. 15, a truck carrying chickens down I-95 near mile marker 91, which is about a mile south of the US 15 exit near Santee, crashed, spilling live and dead chickens on the side of the road.

The dead chickens are where the memorial comes in. PETA is using the crash as an opportunity to remind folks to go vegan.

The memorial billboard will feature a chicken next to the words "I'm ME, Not MEAT. See the Individual. Go Vegan."

"This devastating crash left countless birds mangled and suffering," PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman said in a statement. "PETA's billboard will let travelers know that the best way to prevent such tragedies is to keep smart, sensitive chickens off the road in the first place by going vegan."

The driver of the crash, meanwhile, was not injured.

SC Governor Henry McMaster; US Department of Health and Human Services; Miracle Hill Ministries; American Principles Project #fundie wistv.com

(submitter's note: This article is incredibly badly formatted and edited. I've tried to tidy it up as best I can.)

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster had a request regarding faith-based foster care providers from an Obama administration regulation make an exception for groups in the Palmetto State.

The regulation initially said that faith-based foster and adoption groups could not discriminate against families who wanted to adopt but did not adhere to the agency's beliefs and still accept federal money to fund their operations. Those beliefs could mean that families of different religions or sexual orientations could be denied a chance to foster or adopt children if they went against private organization's beliefs.

In a statement released Wednesday, the ruling made by the Administration for Children and Families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has granted the governor’s request. It says, in part:

The governor of South Carolina, Henry McMaster, asked ACF to grant the state an exception, highlighting discrimination against faith-based organizations arising from the December 2016 grants regulation, which became effective in January 2017. It is a well-established process under HHS regulations that states can request an exception. HHS's grants regulation establishes that any grantee can seek an exception (or deviation) from particular grant requirements, and sets forth a process for seeking such exceptions. "We have approved South Carolina's request to protect religious freedom and preserve high-quality foster care placement options for children," said Lynn Johnson, assistant secretary for ACF. "Faith-based organizations that provide foster care services not only perform a great service for their communities, they are exercising a legally-protected right to practice their faith through good works. Our federal agency should not – and, under the laws adopted by Congress, cannot – drive faith-motivated foster care providers out of the business of serving children without a compelling government interest, especially now that child welfare systems are stretched thin as a result of the opioid epidemic.

Gov. McMaster joined the fight against this policy when a Greenville faith-based center, Miracle Hill Ministries, whose requirement for Christians-only became a contested issue.

"I will never stop fighting for your religious freedom. The generous foster families at Miracle Hill Ministries make sacrifices to protect our vulnerable children, but the government cannot force them to sacrifice their faith. Will you stand with us?" McMaster wrote in February 2018.

In considering the request of the state of South Carolina, ACF consulted with department subject-matter experts including the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), to which HHS has delegated the responsibility to ensure compliance among its programs and its grantees with the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). "This decision preserves all of the foster care agencies currently available for children in South Carolina by ensuring faith-based organizations can continue to serve this vulnerable population. It protects minors who are in need of as many options as possible for being placed in loving foster families," said Johnson. "The government should not be in the business of forcing foster care providers to close their doors because of their faith. Religious freedom is a fundamental human right." As before, all qualified persons interested in becoming certified foster care providers will continue to have multiple avenues for doing so within the state. Additionally, as a condition of the relief HHS provided the state of South Carolina, subrecipients of grant funds will continue to refer any potential foster care families not accepted into subrecipients' program to other placement agencies or to the state. "By granting this request to South Carolina, HHS is putting foster care capacity needs ahead of burdensome regulations that are in conflict with the law," said Johnson.

In response, the ACLU tweeted: "The Governor of South Carolina asked @HHSGov for permission to discriminate against prospective adoptive and foster families based on their religious beliefs — and HHS just granted it. Children who are waiting for loving and supportive homes deserve better than this."

Terry Schilling, executive director at American Principles Project, released the following statement applauding HHS for approving the exception for South Carolina faith-based foster care providers and urging further progress toward dismantling the discriminatory Obama-era regulation:

"Just nine days prior to President Trump's inauguration, the Obama administration implemented a discriminatory regulation that made it the policy of the federal government to viciously discriminate against faith-based foster care providers.

"Today, HHS took an important first step toward reversing that shameful policy by providing the state of South Carolina with an official exception to the regulation, allowing these charities the ability to continue serving poor children who desperately need homes without having to violate key tenets of their faith. HHS also made it clear that the position of the Trump administration is that the Obama-era regulation is in direct conflict with the law.

"We applaud HHS for their effort to protect faith-based foster care providers, and we urge HHS and the Trump administration to continue their efforts to undo this discriminatory regulation in order to preserve the freedom of these providers to continue their important work."

Kehinde and Titilayo Omosebi #fundie wistv.com

Parents charged after son dies during month of fasting to get 'blessing from God'

REEDSBURG, WI (WKOW/CNN) – The parents of a 15-year-old boy face felony child neglect charges after their son died of starvation while the family was fasting in an alleged religious practice.

The teenager's father, 49-year-old Kehinde Omosebi, appeared in court Tuesday, where he was officially charged with two counts of neglecting a child. His wife, 48-year-old Titilayo Omosebi, did not appear in court but has been arrested.

A criminal complaint filed Tuesday claims Kehinde Omosebi failed to provide food for his 15-year-old and 11-year-old sons. The father went to the police station Monday to report the 15-year-old, Ayanfe Omosebi, had died.

Police officers reporting to the family’s home described the 15-year-old's body as extremely emaciated. They say there was no food or eating utensils in the home.

The 11-year-old boy was in poor health when police arrived. He was emaciated and had a hard time walking and talking, police say. The criminal complaint states he had to be carried out of his bedroom because he was unable to walk on his own.

Doctors say the boy will have to stay in the hospital for an extended time as he is treated and returns to eating regularly.

Authorities say there was no electricity in the family home, and the only furniture they found were four metal chairs in the living room, all facing one another.

There were also padlocks placed on the doors on the inside of the house in such a way "someone on the inside would be confined to the home and unable to leave," according to court records.

Kehinde Omosebi claimed the family was part of a religious group affiliated with Cornerstone Reformation Ministries. Police say they can find no records supporting the claim.

The 49-year-old told police the family had begun fasting July 17 in order to receive a "blessing from God" to move to Atlanta.

According to the criminal complaint, the 15-year-old died Aug. 31, the day Kehinde Omosebi said the fasting was supposed to end. The family reportedly prayed for two days per their religious beliefs before the father reported his son’s death.

The father allegedly told police the family had fasted with the children before but "not for this long."

Officers say they found a handwritten note addressed to county lawyers from the 11-year-old which included the statements, "The hunger is too much. Please help me now so I may eat. I can’t continue in such a life with no food."

The letter referenced it had been five days since he and his family had eaten anything.

Officers had contact with all four family members May 21 when they were putting religious pamphlets on cars in a grocery store parking lot, according to Reedsburg Police Chief Timothy Becker.

Becker says the children appeared in good health at the time.

Mayor Hardy King of Irmo, SC #fundie wistv.com

SC mayor tells national publication 'who's going to read it' when social media posts on Muslims are questioned

Wednesday, June 6th 2018, 3:09 pm EDT
By Tanita Gaither, Digital Content Manager

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The mayor of Irmo, SC has garnered the attention of a national publication because of personal social media accounts that many are considering anti-Muslim.

Irmo Mayor Hardy King shared a post on June 4 that from a Facebook group called "America's Veterans are Loved" entitled "PERSPECTIVE." The post lists a number of global terrorist attacks and how the suspects were Muslim.

The posts were made on the mayor's personal Facebook page that includes other conservative-leaning posts. The June 4 post no longer appears on his page.

When asked by The Daily Beast, a popular online news website many consider to be left-leaning, King was unapologetic about the posts, saying his posts "did not merit public concern, commenting sarcastically 'like it's your business, or somebody's...'"

“I’m sure the article isn’t going to do any good anyway,” The Daily Beast quotes King as saying, “and I don’t know who’s going to read it here, and I’m sure it’s already biased in the first place. But that’s fine. That’s life, and that’s politics, and I’ll deal with that.”

We've reached out to Mayor King via email for further comment and have not yet heard back.

The mayor is a Republican and was elected to his position in 2011. The mayor, a local businessman who championed the city's parking ordinances, promoted a track record of fiscal conservatism during his campaign.

He is running for reelection in 2019, according to his website.

Brittany and Tiara Jones #fundie wistv.com

CPD: Woman arrested in attempted exorcism, kidnapping; sister wanted
Monday, April 16th 2018, 3:08 pm EDT
By Claude Thompson, Digital Content Producer

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Two women are facing charges in connection with an attempted exorcism where a 56-year-old victim was held against her will on March 19.

Brittany Jones, 28, and Tiara Jones, 26, are both facing first-degree assault charges and kidnapping charges in connection with the exorcism.

Brittany Jones allegedly assaulted the victim in the upper and lower body with a cross, believing the victim was possessed.

The victim escaped and got help from a neighbor and was transported to injuries that were not life-threatening.

Brittany Jones was arrested last week and is held on a $100,000 bond, according to Columbia Police, but Tiara Jones is still wanted.

Anyone with any information about this incident is urged by authorities to contact Crimestoppers by calling 1-888-CRIME-SC (888-274-6372) or visiting www.midlandscrimestoppers.com and emailing a tip. Your identity will be kept anonymous, and if your tip leads to an arrest, you could be eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000.

Six South Carolina Republicans #fundie wistv.com

A group of six SC lawmakers are looking to define same-sex marriages as 'parody marriages'
Monday, February 19th 2018, 10:00 am EST
By Jeremy Turnage, Digital Content Manager

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A group of six Republican lawmakers are looking to redefine marriage even after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld same-sex marriage in a landmark June 2015 ruling.

The "Marriage and Constitution Restoration Act" aims to refer to any marriage not between a man and a woman as "parody marriage." The bill says those marriages "fail to check out the human design."

The bill goes further and defines marriage as only a "union between a man and a woman."

Reps Josiah Magnuson, Bill Chumley, Steven Long, Mike Burns, John McCravy, and Rick Martin filed the bill in mid-February. All six lawmakers are running for re-election in the 2018 general election.

The Supreme Court made all bans on same-sex marriage unconstitutional following a 5-4 ruling in the Obergefell v. Hodges case.

Justice Anthony Kennedy issued the opinion of the court in that case.

"No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family," Kennedy wrote. "In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right."

The South Carolina bill was referred to the House Judiciary Committee.

Kenneth Copeland and officials at Fort Jackson #fundie wistv.com

'Christian extremist' Kenneth Copeland's Ft Jackson appearances sparks protests
Tuesday, January 30th 2018, 9:31 pm EST
Tuesday, January 30th 2018, 10:00 pm EST
By Tanita Gaither, Digital Content Manager


Both military and veteran groups are protesting a well-known' televangelist's appearance at a prayer breakfast on Fort Jackson this week.

A number of veterans and military groups - including the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, the Forum on Military Chaplaincy, Vote Vets - have called for Fort Jackson to rescind the invitation from televangelist Kenneth Copeland. A petition has also started making the same request.

The prayer breakfast is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 1.

Copeland - a member of President Donald Trump's faith advisory board - and longtime television preacher whose headquarters is in Fort Worth, TX, has made a number of claims in the past stating that the Bible says soldiers should not suffer or claim to suffer from a post-traumatic stress disorder.
In one 2013 sermon, the self-described "Christian extremist" cites Numbers 32: 20-22 as the verse to back his claim. The passage reads:

Then Moses said to them: “If you do this thing, if you arm yourselves before the Lord for the war, and all your armed men cross over the Jordan before the Lord until He has driven out His enemies from before Him, and the land is subdued before the Lord, then afterward you may return and be blameless before the Lord and before Israel; and this land shall be your possession before the Lord."

"Any of you suffering from PTSD I want you to listen to me right now," Copeland said in 2013. "You get rid of that right now. You don't take drugs to get rid of it, it doesn't take psychology - that promise right there [points to Bible] will get rid of it."

In a letter to Fort Jackson Commander Maj. Gen. John P. Johnson, MRFF President and Founder Mikey Weinstein asked that given PTSD is a recognized mental health disorder, why would Copeland even be allowed to be on post.

"If you trivialize PTSD, you trivialize the members of the military that have this very serious disease. Is he going to claim next that you can't have [a] traumatic brain injury? Is he going to say at Fort Jackson that PTSD doesn't exist?"

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, an estimated 3.6 percent of U.S. adults had PTSD in from 2016 to 2017. People who battle PTSD are not just veterans and soldiers - PTSD can occur when a person survives any traumatic event, such as a physical assault, car accident, or natural disaster.

Various Hidalgo County officials #fundie wistv.com

(bolding done by submitter, for emphasis)
(article contains autoplay video)

Ex-priest convicted of murdering Texas woman in 1960

EDINBURG, Texas (AP) - An ex-priest was convicted of murdering a 25-year-old Texas schoolteacher and beauty queen on Thursday, more than 57 years after Irene Garza went to Sacred Heart Catholic Church in McAllen intending to go to confession.

Garza's bludgeoned body was found days after her April 16, 1960, disappearance. An autopsy revealed that she had been raped while unconscious and had been beaten and suffocated.

A Hidalgo County jury deliberated 6½ hours before returning its verdict in the murder trial of John Bernard Feit, an 85-year-old former priest, after hearing five days of testimony.

Feit, who was 28 at the time of her death, came under suspicion early on, telling police that he heard Garza's confession - in the church rectory, not in the confessional - but denying he killed her.

This week, prosecutors presented evidence that elected and church officials suspected Feit killed her but wanted to avoid prosecuting him because it might harm the church's reputation and elected officials politically. Most elected officials at the time in Hidalgo County were Catholic, and Sen. John F. Kennedy, a Catholic, was running for president that year.

Feit later spent time at a treatment center in New Mexico for troubled priests and after that became a supervisor and had a part in clearing priests for assignments to parishes. Among the men Feit helped keep in ministry was child molester James Porter, who assaulted more than 100 victims before he was ultimately defrocked and sent to prison.

Feit left the priesthood in 1972, married and went on to work at the Catholic charity St. Vincent de Paul in Phoenix for a number of years, training and recruiting volunteers and helping oversee the charity's network of food pantries.

Among the evidence that pointed to Feit as a suspect over the years: His portable photographic slide viewer was found near Garza's body. Two fellow priests told authorities Feit confessed to them. And one of them said he saw scratches on Feit soon after Garza's disappearance.

Also, Feit had been accused of attacking another young woman in a church in a nearby town just weeks before Garza's death. He eventually pleaded no contest and was fined $500.

At trial, Dale Tacheny, a tax adviser in Oklahoma City who had been a priest at a Missouri monastery where Feit had applied to live in 1963, said that Feit had confessed to him that he had murdered a young woman. Tacheny said it wasn't until years later that he learned that the woman Feit had described was Garza.

Defense attorney O. Rene Flores argued that prosecutors have insufficient evidence to convict Feit, who was living in Arizona at the time of his arrest last year.

Garza's family members and friends had long pushed authorities to reopen the case, and it became an issue in the 2014 district attorney's race. Ricardo Rodriguez had promised that if elected, he would re-examine the case.

Prosecutors Michael Garza, who was not related to the victim, and Krystine Ramon, hugged members of Irene Garza's family after the verdict was read. District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez, who campaigned for election in part on a pledge to reopen the Garza murder case, embraced his team of prosecutors and the Garza family, some of whom shed tears of relief.

A stone-faced John Feit was led from the courtroom back to his county jail cell.

The jury will begin hearing evidence Friday morning on what punishment Feit should receive. He could be sentenced to up to 99 years or life imprisonment.

Ralph Stair and Overcomer Ministry #fundie wistv.com

Former members of Colleton Co. church allege sexual abuse, say it's a cult
By Harve Jacobs, Reporter

COLLETON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Former members of a Colleton County church have come forward saying they were sexually assaulted by the church's leader.

The leader of Overcomer Ministry in the Canadys community in Colleton County is under investigation after Ralph Stair apparently was seen on video touching a 12 year old girl's breast.

Some say the 84-year-old so-called preacher actually is a predator who preys on young girls and women. A video recently surfaced that apparently shows Stair cupping the breast of a 12-year old girl during a church service.

"I'm gonna touch those things till nobody else can touch 'em," Stair is heard saying in the video.

The video brought back some bad memories for three former members of Stair's church. They all decided to speak out after seeing the (video).

Stacey who asked us not to show her face moved with her family to Stair's farm in 1999. At the time she was 17 years old.

"I think it's that he's really charismatic, he's powerful sounding, at least back then with his words," Stacey said.

Donna Jackson and her family moved to Stair's farm in 1995. At the time Jackson was married and in her 30s.

"It wasn't that difficult for me to do because I was under the impression that this was a man of God and that what we were doing was the right thing," Jackson said.

Lita, who also asked that we not show her face moved to the Overcomer farm with her family in 1997. At the time she was 17.

"We all assumed that ok, he hears from God and whatever he says, do this is what you do," Lita said.

The brochure for Overcomer Ministry portrays the farm as a place where people seek to live together for God and each other. The brochure states residents will "go nowhere, no shopping or trips. Your life will be here on the farm until Jesus comes." Families also were forced to give all their possessions to Stair and his ministry.

"Just everything, we went with nothing," Lita said.

The women say their families learned to be self-sufficient, growing their own food. Soon, they saw some red flags.

"Started giving me hugs and he had never paid me much attention at all except he asked me a couple of times how old I was," Stacey said.

"He made a beeline for me pretty quickly once we moved there," Jackson said.

Lita says she was forced to live apart from her parents.

"That's when I started encountering sexual advances from Stair," Lita said.

Stacey says one day the elderly preacher did the unthinkable to her inside a trailer on the compound.

"He just sexually assaulted me right there. I still couldn't talk. I couldn't say anything. I just basically let it happen. I covered my hands over my face and let it happen because I didn't know what else to do," Stacey said.

Lita says she also was sexually assaulted by Stair for more than a year.

"I was like I don't want to do this. Can you please leave me alone? He's like don't you want to please God?" Lita said.

Jackson says she was attacked but not sexually assaulted.

"He grabbed me and I could feel him if you understand what I mean because he had pressed himself against me that firmly," Jackson said.

Jackson told her her husband about the (assault). The two other women were afraid to speak up.

"Even if you thought in your mind against him you were in danger of going to hell or being judged by God," Stacey said.

"Nobody's gonna believe anything you say. If you say something against him, you are going to hell. You're just like outcasts," Lita said. "I was told to just be quiet and let God handle it which is why this time I feel like I have to say something."

In 2002, Stacey went to the Colleton County Sheriff's Office. Stair was charged with sexually assaulting her. Stacey says prosecutors told her because Stair was old and it was the holiday season, it would be hard to get a conviction.

Stair pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of assault and battery.

Lita did not ask for charges to be filed.

The former members now say what they initially thought was a church is something else.

"It's a cult, it's absolutely 100 percent cult," Stacey said.

"Today I call it a cult. Then I would have said it was a church community," Jackson said.

"It's brainwashing at its finest," Lita said.

Now years later, the women say the recently posted video looks all too familiar.

"Now he's abusing children in front of an entire congregation and not only in front of an entire congregation. He's actually bold enough to videotape it and put it on his website," Stacey said.

"I was disgusted but I wasn't surprised because this is something he was doing forever," Jackson said.

"I was tore up," Lita said. "It's like everything that I've kept hidden for all these years. All of those emotions and feelings just came rushing back up. I was messed up."

Reporter Harve Jacobs went to the Overcomer compound to try to get a response from Reverend Stair. There are no trespassing signs outside the gate, so he called for a comment. Harve was told Stair was not available. He left his number but never heard back. The former church members who came forward all eventually left the ministry.

All say they still bear scars from their time at the farm.

"All he does is destroy families in the name of Jesus, that's what he does," Lita said.

"I want people in Walterboro and in Colleton County to realize that is going on right there around you and people that can stop it are not stopping it," Stacey said.

"I would just really admonish everyone, anyone who's ever thought about going there, don't do it, you will regret it," Jackson said.

So far no new charges have been filed against Stair.

The Colleton County Sheriff's Office with the assistance of the State Law Enforcement Division is investigating Stair after the latest video that surfaced.

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EPA #fundie wistv.com

EPA chemical review would exclude millions of tons of toxins


BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - Spurred by the chemical industry, President Donald Trump's administration is retreating from a congressionally mandated review of some of the most dangerous chemicals in public use: millions of tons of asbestos, flame retardants and other toxins in homes, offices and industrial plants across the United States.

Instead of following President Barack Obama's proposal to look at chemicals already in widespread use that result in some of the most common exposures, the new administration wants to limit the review to products still being manufactured and entering the marketplace.

For asbestos, that means gauging the risks from just a few hundred tons of the material imported annually while excluding almost all of the estimated 8.9 million tons (8.1 million metric tons) of asbestos-containing products that the U.S. Geological Survey said entered the marketplace between 1970 and 2016.

Lawmakers say the review was intended to be the first step toward enacting new regulations needed to protect the public. But critics - including health workers, consumer advocates, members of Congress and environmental groups - contend ignoring products already in use undermines that goal.

The administration's stance is the latest example of Trump siding with industry. In this case, firefighters and construction workers say the move jeopardizes their health.

Both groups risk harm from asbestos because of its historical popularity in construction materials ranging from roofing and flooring tiles to insulation used in tens of millions of homes. Most of the insulation came from a mine in a Montana town that's been declared a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Superfund site and where hundreds of people have died from asbestos exposure.

"Hundreds of thousands of firefighters are going to be affected by this. It is by far the biggest hazard we have out there," said Patrick Morrison, assistant general president for health and safety at the International Association of Fire Fighters. "My God, these are not just firefighters at risk. There are people that live in these structures and don't know the danger of asbestos."

Asbestos fibers can become deadly when disturbed in a fire or during remodeling, lodging in the lungs and causing problems including mesothelioma, a form of cancer. The material's dangers have long been recognized. But a 1989 attempt to ban most asbestos products was overturned by a federal court, and it remains in widespread use.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health analyzed cancer-related deaths among 30,000 firefighters from Chicago, Philadelphia and San Francisco. The 2015 study concluded firefighters contract mesothelioma at twice the rate of other U.S. residents.

Firefighters also face exposure to flame retardants included in the EPA's review that are used in furniture and other products.

"I believe the chemical industry is killing firefighters," said Tony Stefani, a former San Francisco fireman who retired in 2003 after 28 years when diagnosed with cancer he believes resulted from exposure to chemicals in the pending review.

Stefani said he was one of five in his station to contract cancer in a short period. Three later died, while Stefani had a kidney removed and endured a year of treatment before being declared cancer-free.

"When I entered the department in the early 70s, our biggest fear was dying in the line of duty or succumbing to a heart attack," he said. "Those were the biggest killers, not cancer. But we work in a hazardous-materials situation every time we have a fire now."

Mesothelioma caused or contributed to more than 45,000 deaths nationwide between 1999 and 2015, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study in March. The number of people dying annually from the disease increased about 5 percent during that time.

Congress ordered the EPA review last year to gauge risks of asbestos and nine other highly toxic substances and find better ways to manage them for public safety.

In one of its last acts under Obama, the EPA said in January it would judge the chemicals "in a comprehensive way" based on their "known, intended and reasonably foreseen uses."

Under Trump, the agency has aligned with the chemical industry, which sought to narrow the review's scope. The EPA now says it will focus only on toxins still being manufactured and entering commerce. It won't consider whether new handling and disposal rules are needed for "legacy," or previously existing, materials.

"EPA considers that such purposes generally fall outside of the circumstances Congress intended EPA to consider," said EPA spokeswoman Enesta Jones, adding the agency lacks authority to regulate noncommercial uses of the chemicals.

One of the law's co-authors, New Mexico Democratic Sen. Tom Udall, disputes that Congress wanted to limit the review.

"It doesn't matter whether the dangerous substance is no longer being manufactured; if people are still being exposed, then there is still a risk," Udall told The Associated Press. "Ignoring these circumstances would openly violate the letter and the underlying purpose of the law."

Rep. Frank Pallone of New York, ranking Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said the EPA was deferring to the chemical industry's wishes at the expense of public health.

Democrats and public health advocates have criticized EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt for hiring two people - Nancy Beck, the agency's deputy assistant administrator for chemical safety, and Liz Bowman, its associate administrator for public affairs - who formerly worked for the American Chemistry Council, the industry's lobbying arm.

The council pushed back against the Obama administration's interpretation of the law, urging the EPA's new leadership to narrow its review. The Trump administration did that in June.

"Did we get everything we wanted? No. But we certainly agree the (Trump) administration put forth a reasonable final rule," said council vice president Michael Walls. Broadening the review, he added, would send the EPA "down a rabbit hole chasing after illusory risks."

The politically influential National Association of Homebuilders, which represents the residential construction industry, fears broadly interpreting the new law would lead to burdensome regulations that are unnecessary because it says asbestos disposal rules already are adequate.

Many of those regulations are based on a 1994 Occupational Safety and Health Administration finding that materials had to contain at least 1 percent asbestos to qualify for regulation. But public health experts say the 1 percent threshold is arbitrary.

"It's bad medicine, and it's harmful," said Michael Harbut, an internal medicine professor at Detroit's Wayne State University and medical adviser to an insulation workers' union.

"There's still a lot of asbestos out there," said Harbut, who helped establish criteria used by physicians to diagnose and treat asbestos-related diseases. "It's still legal, it's still deadly, and it's going to be a problem for decades to come."

SCE&G; US Army Corps Of Engineers #fundie wistv.com

Feds OK plan to leave slick of polluted coal tar in SC river

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (AP) - Federal authorities have approved a plan to allow S.C. Electric and Gas to leave a slick of polluted coal tar in the Congaree River rather than cleaning it up.

The Sun News of Myrtle Beach reports the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approved a permit Wednesday allowing the power company to cover the toxin-tainted coal tar with stones or other material to hold it in place.

The company backed away from a plan to dig up the coal tar and haul it away because of expense.

Congaree Riverkeeper Bill Stangler says his group is considering legal challenges to the Corps' decision. State regulators say the coal tar hasn't hurt water quality, although testing has been limited. Stangler's full statement released on Friday reads:

"This will not protect the Congaree River or the people who use it, and it is a far cry from SCE&G’s promise to do right by the river. We believe SCE&G can do better, and should do better. No one from SCE&G has ever explained to us why they have backed away from their assurances of a full cleanup.”

The Corps approved the plan Wednesday and made it public Friday.

Boy Scouts; Colorado state senator Vicki Marble #fundie wistv.com

Cub Scout kicked out after asking lawmaker about gun control

Associated Press

DENVER (AP) - A Cub Scout was kicked out of his den after he questioned a Colorado state lawmaker about her position on gun control and previous comments she made about African-Americans' health and eating fried chicken.

It was the latest political flashpoint for the Boy Scouts after President Donald Trump used his speech at the organization's national jamboree in July to rail against "fake news" and former President Barack Obama and boast about beating Hillary Clinton.

Eleven-year-old Ames Mayfield posed the questions at an Oct. 9 event in Broomfield, between Denver and Boulder. Cub Scouts had been told to come prepared to talk to Republican state Sen. Vicki Marble about issues important to them.

Ames' mother, Lori Mayfield, said a local scout leader later told her that the topic of gun control was inappropriate because of its political nature and that the boy's questions were disrespectful.

The Boy Scouts, which includes the Cub Scouts, refused to comment on why the boy was asked to leave but say he will remain in scouting after finding a new group.

"The Boy Scouts of America is a wholly nonpartisan organization and does not promote any one political position, candidate or philosophy," the organization said Friday in a statement.

Cub Scouts is for children in the first through fifth grades. They meet in groups of children from the same grade called "dens," which are part of larger "packs."

Ames was only kicked out of his den, not the larger pack. Since the other available den met while he attends classes, changing to another den within the pack was not an option. He's joining a den in a new pack at his church, his mother said.

The leaders of the group that kicked Ames out did not return phone messages and emails left by The Associated Press.

In online videos recorded by Lori Mayfield, the scouts asked questions about why people wanted to vote for Obama just because he was black and about Trump's proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. It was unclear which scouts asked the questions. Mayfield blurred the identities of all the children except for that of her son.

In the video showing Ames asking about gun control, he read from a printed sheet, telling the lawmaker that he was shocked that she sponsored a bill that allowed domestic violence offenders to own guns. He also rattled off a list of survey statistics about Americans' views on the issue and spoke about the trouble Las Vegas shooting victims would have paying their bills.

"There is something wrong in our country where Republicans believe it's a right to own a gun but a privilege to have health care. None of that makes sense to me," he said.

After nearly 2½ minutes, an adult is heard cutting him off, remarking on his thorough question. Marble responds by talking about the need for "crime control" instead and saying that the Vegas shooting and the 2012 Aurora theater shooting both happened in "gun-free zones."

Marble drew national attention in 2013 after she seemed to draw a link between the health of black people and eating fried chicken and barbecue in comments made during a legislative committee hearing. The head of the state Republican Party and others criticized her words.

She then issued a statement saying she was saddened that her comments were interpreted as disparaging.

During the scout meeting, Ames told Marble that he was "astonished that you blamed black people" for their health problems.

She replied, "I didn't. That was made up by the media. So you want to believe it, you believe it, but that's not how it went down."

Marble went on to say Americans enjoy multicultural food but cautioned that people also need to consider whether they are predisposed to any diseases because of their genetic makeup.

In a statement Friday, Marble said she did not know about Ames' dismissal until she read about it. She said she did not blame him because she thought there was an "element of manipulation involved" by his mother.

Mayfield denies that. She said she and her son, whom she said is gifted and likes to watch the news, researched Marble together, and she typed up his questions using his words. The mother questioned why the Scouts would chose to invite such a controversial lawmaker to speak.

The Boy Scouts and their Denver-area governing council said they were "pleased that the family will continue their participation in scouting," the statement said. "We are committed to working with families to find local units that best fit their needs."


Associated Press writers James Anderson in Denver and Tamara Lush in St. Petersburg, Florida, contributed to this report.

Aggressive Christianity Missions Training Corps #fundie wistv.com

Christian cult leaders arrested in raid on sex crime charges, death of child
Published: Wednesday, August 23rd 2017, 11:35 am EDT
Updated: Wednesday, August 23rd 2017, 11:40 am EDT

SACRAMENTO, CA (KCRA/KOAT/CNN) - Four members of a religious sect in New Mexico are now in jail. Two of them are accused of sexual abuse involving minors.

The others are charged in connection with the death of a child. The group is called "Aggressive Christianity Missions Training Corps."

It's a religious sect that was founded in Sacramento in the early 1980s. They left the state, after losing a lawsuit to a former member who says the group forced her to give up three of her children.

That woman, Maura Schmierer, spoke Tuesday about the charges facing the four sect members.

"At that time, I didn't think it was a cult," Schmierer said. "No. Nobody in there thinks of themselves as being in a cult."

She and her husband were the third and fourth members, but it eventually grew to about 30, living in an isolated compound.

"They would want us to beat the children," Schmierer said. "They wanted me to whip my young child, who was under 2 years old with a belt, because he didn't use the toilet."

Schmierer defied that.

"They changed my name to Forsaken, and they put me out in a shed in the backyard," she said.

That's when she got out and worked to regain custody of her four kids. Schmierer talked with KCRA 3 News then, in the late '80s, saying, "I was afraid. I was under their influence. I believed that if I left I would lose out on eternal salvation."

The remaining Aggressive Christianity Missions Training Corps members moved in 1989, eventually settling in New Mexico. Four members were arrested Sunday during a raid.

Member Stacey Miller in now in jail. Court documents show her son died after she refused to get him medical treatment in 2014.

The group's co-founder, Deborah Green, faces charges that include sexual penetration of a minor. Her son-in-law, Peter Green, face more than 100 charges of that same crime, and Joshua Green, Deborah Green's son, failure to report a birth.

After leaving the group in the '80s, a court awarded Schmierer more than $1 million - money she's yet to see. Now, more than 30 years after she got out, Schmierer still shutters watching Deborah Green.

"The same feelings come up," she said. "I get a knot in my stomach."

She hopes these arrests are the end of the religious sect.

"It's time that their ministry is shut down," she said.

In a statement, Aggressive Christianity Missions Training Corps calls the charges "totally false."

Jim Chambers #fundie wistv.com

Atlanta gym bans police officers, military from joining
Wednesday, August 9th 2017, 5:54 pm EDT
By J.T. Fellows, Digital Content Producer

ATLANTA (AP) - An Atlanta gym owner has banned police officers and military members from working out at his facility.

Jim Chambers put up a sign on the door of EAV Barbell Club that used an expletive to announce that police aren't welcome there. Chambers tells WXIA-TV that his gym has "had an explicitly stated 'No Cop' policy" since it opened. He says active members of the military also aren't eligible for membership.

The Atlanta Police Department tells the station that the policy wouldn't prevent them from responding to an emergency at the gym.

Chambers says he's taken the sign down due to its vulgarity but plans to replace it with a clean version. He told the station that people who work out there are generally minorities who are uncomfortable with law enforcement.

Brooke Covington and the Word Of Faith Fellowship #fundie wistv.com

Prosecutor: Minister 'directed' beating of gay congregant
Thursday, June 1st 2017, 11:47 am EDT

Associated Press

RUTHERFORDTON, N.C. (AP) - A prosecutor says a North Carolina minister "directed and participated in" the beating of church member who says the assault was meant to expel his "homosexual demons."

Prosecutor Garland Byers gave an opening statement Thursday in the trial of Brooke Covington, a 58-year-old minister at Word of Faith Fellowship in Spindale, North Carolina.

Covington is the first of five church members to face trial. They will be tried separately.

Covington is charged with kidnapping and assaulting former church member Matthew Fenner. If convicted, she faces up to two years in prison.

Her lawyer, David Teddy, disputes the allegations.

The 23-year-old Fenner says he was slapped, choked and screamed at for two hours in January 2013 as members tried to expel his "homosexual demons."

Mike Burns, Bill Chumley, Anne Thayer #fundie wistv.com

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - South Carolina lawmakers are wading into pornography.

Nope, not like that, but nonetheless, members of the General Assembly have introduced a bill in hopes of addressing what they call the "pornography epidemic."

The bill, H. 3887, introduced by Rep. Mike Burns, Rep. Bill Chumley, and Rep. Anne Thayer on Thursday calls for the regulation of pornography on the Internet to "ensure compliance with obscenity laws of the state."

In their bill, the representatives say pornography is creating a "public health crisis" that "perpetuates a sexually toxic environment."

The bill looks to encourage education, prevention, research, and policy changes to help stem the growth of pornography among state residents.

The bill has already been referred to the House Judiciary Committee.

Nikki Yovino #fundie wistv.com

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) - A New York woman is facing charges after police say she lied about being raped by two football players from a Connecticut university due to fears a third student would lose romantic interest in her.

Nikki Yovino, of South Setauket (seh-TAW'-kiht), New York, has been charged with falsely reporting an incident and tampering with or fabricating physical evidence.

The 18-year-old Yovino said two Sacred Heart University football players sexually assaulted her in a bathroom in October during an off-campus party.

The men said it was consensual.

Capt. Brian Fitzgerald tells WABC-TV another student informed authorities of explicit text messages between the three. He says one man also recorded some of the incident on his cellphone.

Yovino's lawyer, Mark Sherman, tells The Connecticut Post his client stands by her original story.

Michael Juan Smith #racist wistv.com

The man charged in the Five Points shooting that injured a University of South Carolina student said the media was making a big deal out of the case because the victim was white.

Michael Juan Smith was sentenced to the maximum 10 years in federal court Friday. In February he pleaded guilty to possessing a weapon as a felon, admitting possessing a pistol that was taken across state lines before it was stolen in Richland County.

Smith still faces state charges related to the shooting. If convicted on those charges, he must serve the 10-year federal sentence in addition to what time he receives from the state.

Smith was charged with assault and battery and several weapons-related charges after the shooting in Five Points in 2013 that left Martha Childress paralyzed.

Friday, prosecutors played audio recordings of Smith's jail conversations, who said the media was making a big deal about the case "because she's white."

"I didn't try to shoot that d__n b___h," said another recording.

As she heard this, Childress cried and asked for a facial tissue.

Smith, who has previous felony convictions, did not admit firing the weapon or shooting Childress.

Police say Smith opened fire on two men he was arguing with on Harden Street on an early October morning in 2013.

However, the bullets missed their intended targets and instead struck Childress in the midsection, severing her spinal cord and forcing her to spend the rest of her days in a wheelchair.

Smith's defense claimed he fired in self-defense, but Judge Joe Anderson rejected that argument, saying there was no reason for him to have a gun and fire into a crowd.

Prosecutors also showed surveillance video of the shooting, which shows Childress falling near the Five Points fountain as shots were fired.