Does my church support a hate group?

Being gay and loving gays is normal. Beating gays and killing gays is a crime!

So says the sign held by the man, Dmitry Isakov, in this image. You can’t see it in the picture, but approximately 1,000 miles away there's a guy who read an article about Dmitry's sign and called the cops, leading to a conviction and a fine[1]. You see, in Russia a statement like Dmitry's counts as LGBT propaganda.

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Why Campaign Zero: Four Stories About Interactions With Police

Cross-posted with permission from FEMWOC: Feminist Mormon Women of Color.

Recently, several young activists and groups of activists have come together to launch a platform called “Campaign ZERO.” The website states: 

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The Government, The Press, and Technology

“I don’t know, I have no idea. Like with cloth or something? I don’t know how it works digitally at all. I know you want to make a point, I will just repeat what I have said: in order to be cooperative as possible, we have turned over the server … we turned over everything that was work-related. Every single thing.”

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What To Do When Your LDS Child Comes Out

[This post relates a true story and has been edited to protect the identity of the author's adult child. Names have been changed.]

It’s a quiet evening. You’re sitting watching a little TV and relaxing as the day winds down. Your daughter Cheryl comes into the room and sits near you, but not too close. She is there, but not saying much. You turn off the TV and engage her in conversation. You ask about her classes, what she has been doing, and engage in other small talk. Slowly, somewhat hesitatingly, she superficially answers. After a little verbal interchange, she gets to the point of her conversation.

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STEM Education

Cartoon-Robot.pngScience, technology, engineering, and math are important subjects that our schools need to teach. Many groups have come to recognize this and are pushing for better STEM education for a variety of reasons. We do need to make sure our students are gaining useful skill sets, but that doesn't necessarily mean buying into the latest fads.  While it is important to promote STEM careers, the success of our economy depends on a variety of people and skills sets.

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A New Page in US-Cuban and US-Iranian Relations

In recent weeks, the US has seen dramatic changes with two age-old policies as relations have begun normalizing between our nation and Cuba, and the historic nuclear agreement negotiated between the United States and Iran. These two policy changes are monumental achievements for the Obama administration considering the five-decade embargo and travel ban regarding Cuba, and a warming of relations with Iran that have been icy at best for over 30 years.

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Defunding Planned Parenthood: Making a Bad Situation Worse

pphealth1.jpgAn all-out attack on Planned Parenthood has begun. Yesterday Bobby Jindal, governor of Louisiana, cut all Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood reasoning, “Planned Parenthood does not represent the values of the people of Louisiana and shows a fundamental disrespect for human life. It has become clear that this is not an organization that is worthy of receiving public assistance from the state.”  Jeb Bush also followed suit on the campaign trail remarking, “I'm not sure we need a half a billion dollars for women's health issues.” Scott Walker even boasted, “We defunded Planned Parenthood long before these videos came out.” To the emotional pro-life observer these comments are met with warm acceptance and a thunderous applause. The problem with the demonization of Planned Parenthood is such arguments are built on blatant lies fueled by ignorance. Although such attacks are designed to end the practice of abortion and rally the voting base, the real victims are the millions of women who use Planned Parenthood for preventative healthcare and family planning.

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I'm a Mormon and I Stand with Planned Parenthood #standwithPP

I am an active, believing temple recommend holding member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

I am also a board member of the c4 arm of the Planned Parenthood Association of Utah.

These two things are not a contradiction.

 

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I'M STILL HERE: THOUGHTS ON THE 50th ANNIVERSARY OF MEDICARE AND MEDICAID

This Thursday, July 30, marks the 50th anniversary of the enactment of Medicare and Medicaid, and for me it’s a deeply personal occasion, made all the more poignant by its placement very close to the sixth anniversary of my kidney transplant.  Because this is so personal to me, rather than simply discuss the history of these programs or discuss facts and figures relating to their status today, I want to talk about my personal experience with them, and tell you why they mean so much to me.

At the time that I was diagnosed with end stage kidney failure, I was working part-time for a science education facility and as a part-time actor, going to college part-time, and was a full-time care provider for the two greatest kids in the world: my niece and nephew. My sister and her husband both had to work full-time to support their family, so I was living in their basement and helping pay rent while taking care of the kids. None of these things gave me access to health insurance. But I qualified for both Medicare and  Medicaid (one of the small number of circumstances which makes a person younger than normal Medicare eligibility age eligible is end stage kidney failure).

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The Retrumplican Party

donald-trump.jpgAs a Democrat I should love Donald Trump. His style and self-absorbed attitude entertains a powerful faction of the far-right movement which creates problems for the conservative core. He is a one-man wrecking ball; targeting his attacks on any individual that opposes him which includes most of the 2016 Republican field. His rhetoric is sharp and overtly hyperbolic and his methods are intrusive and borderline comical. Trump has cornered the market on ridiculousness and amazingly this message is resonating at light speed with many in the Republican base. Trump hurts Republicans chances in 2016, which is welcomed by Democrats, but he is also reinforcing a false narrative about key issues.

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