A Roman Catholic church in Michigan is apologizing after one of its priests took to the pulpit to compare “evil” Black Lives Matter protesters to the 9/11 terrorists.
In a homily live-streamed on the Church of the Divine Child’s Facebook page Saturday, the Rev. Paul Graney marked the previous day’s 19th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks — and said that Antifa and Black Lives Matter demonstrators were now the “terrorists attacking” the US “riot by riot.”
“Al-Qaeda’s goal was to come to the United States and kill Americans. Really just wanted to wipe America off the map. And they would have done it if they could,” Graney told his congregants in suburban Detroit.
“But today, those who we see wanting to bring down America are Americans, and they want to do it under the facade of justice, freedom and love,” the priest said.
“But it is all a big bunch of baloney. It’s anti-Christian. It’s anti-family. It’s evil.”
Garney — a priest since 2016 — attacked protesters for creating “maybe some of the ugliest times in our nation’s history.”
“Cars have been torched, property has been destroyed, businesses looted and burned, and police officers and other people have been intimidated, assaulted and even murdered,” he said.
“All in the name of justice, often times the rallying cry being, ‘No justice, no peace,’” he said.
He called Antifa an “anarchist, terrorist organization” and attacked the BLM movement for also working against the traditional family structure” by supporting LGBTQ people.
“God did not design us to behave homosexual … Humanity is built on the foundation of heterosexual love between a man and a woman,” he told his congregants.
“Now the terrorists attacking us have the endgame of a society with no law, no structure, no government — even no family structure,” he preached.
The video was pulled after 90 minutes, with the Dearborn-based church’s pastor, Rev. Bob McCabe apologizing for the “division, anger, confusion and chaos” the video created. Some congregants saved copies before it was deleted and shared online, however.
“As your pastor, I want to assure you that at Divine Child we love and respect all persons. Every person is sacred in the eyes of God regardless of their race, religion or sexuality,” McCabe said.
He also noted that his priest had not preached about the theme of the day’s Gospel, which centered on forgiveness.
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Cops break up massive party of more than 1,000 people near FSU
Students at Florida State University in Tallahassee may need some remedial classes in social distancing after police broke up a party with more than 1,000 people at an off-campus student apartment complex, according to reports.
The massive weekend gathering took place as 46 students and five FSU employees tested positive for the illness last week, the university said on its website. A total of 1,448 students and 31 employees have tested positive so far.
Police said the party was one of a dozen large gatherings they broke up this weekend, including one Sunday where two people were injured by gunfire, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
About 700 vehicles at the Tenn Street Apartments on Dixie Drive were blocking traffic lanes and a Leon County sheriff’s chopper was deployed to assist officers to disperse the crowd, according to police.
The Sunshine State has recorded over 700,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, which has killed 14,200 people, according to statistics released by the state Department of Health on Sunday.
Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has moved Florida into Phase 3 reopening, last week said he would seek a “bill of rights” for college students after strict crackdowns on parties and other gatherings, the Miami Herald reported.
“I understand that universities are trying to do the right thing, but I personally think it’s dramatically draconian that a student could get potentially expelled for going to a party. That’s what college kids do,” DeSantis said at a press briefing.
NYC daily coronavirus infection rate ticks above 3 percent
For the first time in months, New York City’s daily coronavirus infection rate is more than 3 percent — fueled by hot spots in Brooklyn and Queens, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday as he vowed to ramp up enforcement.
“The fact is for the first time in quite a while, the daily number is over 3 percent and that is cause for concern,” de Blasio said during his daily City Hall press briefing.
Hizzoner said that primarily nine zip codes in Brooklyn and Queens have driven the daily positivity rate up to 3.25 percent, according to the latest city data.
Those hot spots — which include Gravesend/Homecrest, Midwood, Kew Gardens, Edgemere/Far Rockaway, Borough Park, Bensonhurst/Mapleton, Gerritsen Beach/Sheepshead Bay, and Flatlands — account for 25 percent of all coronavirus cases citywide over the past two weeks.
De Blasio threatened that if progress is not made, the city will move to roll back the reopening efforts in those areas, including the shuttering of non-essential businesses, banning gathering of more than 10 people and closing private schools.
“It is a situation at this point that is very serious and we have to have all options on the table,” de Blasio said.
The mayor noted that though the daily COVID-19 infection rate spiking, the citywide infection rate based on a seven-day rolling average is 1.38 percent, according to the latest city data.
That data showed that on Sunday there were 71 patients admitted to city hospitals for suspected COVID-19 with 16.4 percent of them testing positive.
COVID-19 has so far killed 23,810 city residents, according to the most recent city data, which showed that two people died from it on Saturday and one on Sunday.
The daily death statistics, however, are often revised to show an increase as more data becomes known.
If the infection rate soars past 3 percent on a seven-day rolling average, Big Apple public schools would close for in-person learning under city standards.
“We’re seeing a different situation than we’ve ever experienced,” de Blasio said, adding, “Nine zip codes out of 146 — the geography is very specific.”
De Blasio urged Big Apple residents, specifically those in the neighborhoods where infection rates are spiking, to get tested for COVID-19.
“We need a lot more people to get tested,” he said. “We need the whole truth … the more testing that happens, the clearer picture we get.”
The city is beefing up community outreach in the hot spot areas with more testing and hundreds of additional city personnel handing out face masks, de Blasio said.
“Anyone who is not wearing a face covering will be offered one, will be reminded it is required and anyone who refuses will be told if they don’t, they will be fined,” he said.
De Blasio explained that private schools and child care centers will close if they don’t meet Department of Education standards under an amended order by the city’s health commissioner.
Sex ed mandate sparks bitter Washington state ballot fight
SEATTLE — Democrats in the Washington state Legislature thought they had passed a routine sex education requirement for public schools earlier this year. But a coalition of Republicans and religious conservatives launched a swift, historic backlash that’s led to a bitter partisan fight and an effort to overturn the measure on the November ballot.
Democrats in the famously liberal state say they want to protect young people from sexual abuse, diseases and infections. But the increasingly outnumbered and aggrieved Republicans have taken issue with the content of the standards as they rally for local control.
The resulting referendum on the November ballot marks the first time in the country that such a decision on sex ed will be decided by voters.
Under the wide-ranging bill, kindergarteners would be taught how to manage feelings and make friends, while older kids will learn about consent and how to respond to violence. The curriculum must also address issues faced by LGBTQ students.
At least 29 states plus Washington, D.C., require public schools to teach sex education, but the National Conference of State Legislatures and the Education Commission of the States — two organizations that track policy trends — said it has never appeared on a statewide ballot. Instead, the curriculum has been debated at school boards and statehouses.
A Washington state group funded by Republican leaders called Parents for Safe Schools forced the issue onto the ballot by submitting over 264,000 signatures, the most gathered for a referendum to overturn an existing bill or law in the past four decades, according to the secretary of state. It was double the minimum number needed to make the ballot, with two-thirds coming from church sites.
The group helmed by Mindie Wirth, a tech company manager who lives in the Seattle suburb of Bothell, was aided by Catholic church parishes that served as signature-gathering locations while the pandemic limited traditional petitioning activities.
“It feels like we’re just not being listened to and I think this is a very large part of what this represents,” said Wirth, a one-time Republican candidate who lost a bid for state Senate in 2016.
Courtney Normand, director of a Planned Parenthood-affiliated political group in the state, is leading the campaign in support of the sex ed bill. She said her coalition didn’t mobilize during the referendum petition because of the pandemic and was dismayed that the opposition’s in-person signature-gathering took place despite Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee’s stay-at-home order.
“It seems to be a political, partisan turn-out goal rather than really an intention about student safety,” Normand said of the Republican-led efforts.
As of Sept. 24, almost half of the $1.1 million raised for Safe & Healthy Youth Washington, the campaign in support of sex ed, has come from Planned Parenthood affiliates.
Parents for Safe Schools — the campaign against the sex ed bill — has amassed $245,000 in contributions. Most came from the Reagan Fund, the political action committee of the Washington State House Republican Leadership.
Republicans have slammed the mandate as an affront to local and parental control of education. Though school boards have the authority to create or adopt their own curriculum, opponents said the bill would still dictate what must be covered in classes. Opposition leaders say they aren’t necessarily opposed to sex education but see the statewide mandate as heavy-handed.
The Washington State Catholic Conference, the policy arm of church leadership in the state, is especially opposed to the affirmative consent aspect of the curriculum because the church opposes premarital sex.
“When you get into the issues of how do you say ‘yes’ or how do you say ‘no,’ that can easily open the door to that ‘It’s OK. It’s OK to say yes and no,’ and that steps on our teaching that sexual activity is to be reserved for the sacrament of marriage,” said Mario Villanueva, executive director of the conference.
The fiercely partisan fight has carried over into the non-partisan race for state schools chief.
Maia Espinoza, who was a single mother after having her first child at 19 years old, said she decided to run against incumbent Superintendent Chris Reykdal because she is horrified by the sex ed mandate that his administration requested. Two years ago, Espinoza ran as a Republican in a losing bid for a seat in the state House.
Those in support of comprehensive sex ed say it’s a health and safety measure needed to protect children and that there is a wide disparity among the nearly 300 public school districts in the state, a small number of which do not teach any sex education.
Reykdal, who previously served three terms as a Democrat in the state House, said the state education department routinely reviews content standards. He said the Legislature was mindful of the sensitivity of the sex ed topic, issuing age-appropriate concepts by grade level and allowing families to opt out of the lessons. Families also have a say when their local school district adopts curriculum.
State Sen. Claire Wilson, a Democrat from the Seattle suburbs, said she was moved to sponsor the bill based on her experience as an educator working with pre-teen mothers and also by hearing from men and women who said they didn’t even know the words needed to describe sexual abuse they endured as children.
“This is not about teaching sex. It never has been and it never will be,” Wilson said.
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