Sen. Chris Coons Thinks Churchgoing Christians Could Help Turn The Tide For Abortion Rights. If Only Democrats Would Talk To Them.

WASHINGTON — It was 7 a.m. and Sen. Chris Coons was sitting in his office trying to decide which prayer breakfast to go to.

On the one hand, there was the one made up entirely of Democratic senators that is “really more of a book session,” he said. On the other, there was the bipartisan prayer breakfast, a Senate tradition dating back to World War II, where they sing hymns, hear a sermon, sometimes whip votes, and make policy decisions. In both cases, the breakfasts are closed to everyone besides senators and faith leaders, and they all vow not to disclose what is discussed behind those doors.

Usually there’s an even number of Democrats and Republicans attending the prayer breakfasts, but lately, Coons said that Democratic cochair of the breakfast, Sen. Angus King, has been “troubled by the declining numbers of Democrats.”

Coons, the Democratic senator from Delaware, told BuzzFeed News he worries that his own party has increasingly ceded religion to Republicans, allowing the GOP to become a de facto Party of God. That characterization — which Coons passionately argues is wildly inaccurate — has caused Democrats to miss out on a significant, active, and organized part of their base, he argues.

As he looks at the massive fight over abortion rights playing out right now across the country, Coons feels like his own party is leaving behind a key weapon: churchgoing Christians.

“I’ve met a lot of people who are personally against abortion … but they feel equally strongly that it is not a decision that the state should be involved in, and it’s particularly not a decision that should be enforced through criminal law,” Coons said.

“I think there is a huge reservoir of people who feel very strongly about [abortion rights,] but who have for 40 years felt that this is a settled issue and not something that’s really going to change,” he continued, “but now it’s being very clearly presented to them that it will.”

In a 2014 poll, Pew found that 65% of Presbyterians and 48% of Catholics thought abortion should be legal in “all or most cases,” while 30% of Presbyterians and 47% of Catholics thought it should be illegal in “all or most cases.” (Polling on abortion is difficult to measure and often contradictory, but these answers based on denomination are revealing nonetheless.)

“Communities of faith are an untapped resource of activism and support and advocacy,” Sara Ratcliffe, vice president of Catholics for Choice, an abortion rights advocacy group, told BuzzFeed News on Thursday.

“Activating, mobilizing, and encouraging communities and people of faith to speak out and speak up from that perspective is absolutely important. We need to correct the myth that all Catholics and all Christians believe one thing or another, and especially when it comes to abortion access that myth is completely false.”

And it’s not just abortion rights. From President Donald Trump’s plan to separate kids from their families at the border to the ongoing fight over gun control, Coons argues that if Democrats are looking for an organized group of people to really rally around an issue and make their voices heard, people of faith are a terrific place to start.

Of course, people of faith are already a part of the Democratic base. In the 2018 midterm elections, 52% of those who voted Democratic said they attend religious services a few times a month, according to Pew Research — though white evangelicals still overwhelmingly voted Republican (75%). Religious and particularly Christian communities have been a key part of the protests against the Trump administration’s immigration policies, and traditionally black Protestant, Baptist, and Methodist churches have long been heavily involved in social justice movements and activism.

But Coons sees a hesitancy — if not a fear — from many members of his own party of embracing religion and really activating those voters.

“Since the ’80s, the religious right has announced that Christianity is all about two issues: abortion and gay marriage,” Coons said, speaking to BuzzFeed News from his office on Capitol Hill. “Being against them, that is.”

As a result, Democrats have shied away from claiming Christianity as a part of their political identity, from mentioning their faith in their speeches, from attending church services with voters and making faith a significant part of their campaigns, or from citing it as part of the reason they went into politics — even though they will say that all the time in the off-the-record prayer breakfasts, Coons said.

Coons recounted a time when he was out in Ohio campaigning for Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown in 2018. When he was introducing Brown at an event, Coons mentioned that they got to know each other well through a prayer group Brown hosted in the Capitol.

“So I’m looking out at the audience and it’s abundantly clear that they’re like, ‘Prayer group? Sherrod?’” Coons said, adding that Brown hadn’t talked much about his faith on the trail before, but started to incorporate it more in his campaigning from then on. (Brown’s office confirmed this and pointed BuzzFeed News to a Bible passage he quoted in his victory speech after his trip with Coons.)

“There is something about our current cultural environment that makes Democrats uncomfortable with publicly saying, ‘The whole reason I got into public service was because of the values I’ve learned at synagogue, at my church, through my faith.’ We are much more uncomfortable I think with formal religiosity. We have been pushed into feeling like this is not welcome, is not celebrated, is maybe not even appropriate.”

While all of the Democratic candidates for president identify as being affiliated with one religion or another, only one has really leaned into faith as a part of his campaign, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, a gay churchgoing Christian who was raised Catholic but now is part of an Anglican congregation. Coons has already endorsed former vice president Joe Biden in the race — he did, after all, replace Biden in the Senate — but Coons said he is hopeful Buttigieg can help activate young Christians who have felt rejected by the church due to its association with social conservatism and scandal, and decided to leave.

Over the past decade, the US population has become increasingly less religious, Pew found in multiple studies, and young adults are much less likely to identify as religiously affiliated than anyone in older generations.

“If you’ve grown up with the priest abuse scandals in the Catholic Church, and the ways in which televangelists have failed their flock, and the other stunning examples of fallenness by clergy, if that’s your whole image of religion, then of course it has produced a negative backlash in a generation,” Coons said.

“I am hopeful for and excited to see the progressive Christian voices of a younger generation, and I’m very hopeful that Mayor Pete, for example, ends up inspiring younger people” who had left the church because they saw it as not accepting of their sexuality or their views on abortion.

Coons can’t stand arguments that begin with, “The way we win elections is…” he said. But maybe, if Democrats start talking about their faith more, start making voters who see religion as a big part of their life feel more represented by the Democratic Party, they could end up seeing a whole new part of their base become activated and enthusiastic, they could start to take the reputation of the Party of God back from the Republicans, and maybe this would end up winning them some elections after all.

Jessica Chastain and Sophie Turner vow to boycott US states with strict abortion laws | US News

Jessica Chastain and Sophie Turner vow to boycott US states with strict abortion laws | US News submitted by /u/Amcal to r/movies
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What’s classy if you’re rich but trashy if you’re poor?

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Ashton Kutcher Testifies in Trial of Alleged Serial Killer

Before Ashton Kutcher was a household name, he was just a 23-year-old dealing with girl troubles.  

In 2001, Kutcher was dating a student named Ashley Ellerin. The two were “together” but not TOGETHER, in the sense that nothing was exclusive. Ellerin had tried to make plans with Kutcher one night but he turned her down on that occasion.

Later in the same evening, Ellerin asked Kutcher to make plans but he declined once again. He did, however, agree to plans later in the night at around 10:45pm.

Kutcher drove to Ellerin’s house around 10:45, expecting a bit of a fight. Having already turned down his girlfriend twice in one day, he anticipated she might be a bit upset with him. When he showed up to the house, Kutcher knocked on the door and yelled out Ashley’s name a couple times, but there was no answer. He says he looked in a window and saw a pool of what he believed to be red wine on the floor. Kutcher figured Ellerin was mad at him for not accepting her earlier invitations so he just left.

As it turns out, it wasn’t red wine. It was blood.

Ellerin had been stabbed 35 times while getting ready for her date with Ashton.

“He slashed Ms. Ellerin’s throat so violently [he] nearly decapitated her. After she was murdered her body was left [in a] demeaning pose that was sexual in nature,” according to court documents.

Ashley Ellerin

So who did it? Who murdered Ashley Ellerin?

That would be serial killer Michael Gargiulo , also known as the ‘Hollywood Ripper’ is an air-conditioning technician who has other murder accusations to his name.

Gargiulo is accused of stabbing three women to death and attempting to murder a fourth.

He is a native of Glenview, Illinois, where he may have stabbed his neighbor, 18-year-old Tricia Pacaccio, to death on her back door step. Her corpse was found by her father the morning after on August 14, 1993. She was stabbed 47 times. Gargiulo moved to Los Angeles in 1998, allegedly to escape scrutiny from police in Illinois.

Gargiulo is accused of three murders in Southern California between 2001 and 2008.

Victim photos are shown as Michael Gargiulo appears in court for opening statements in his murder trial on May 2, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. Gargiulo is charged in the stabbing deaths of two women, one of whom dated actor Ashton Kutcher, and with attempted murder of a woman during a robbery at her home.getty

On February 21, 2001, he allegedly stabbed Ashley Ellerin 47 times to death in her home in Hollywood. Ellerin’s injuries included a neck wound that nearly severed her head, and deep punctures to the chest, stomach, and back that in some cases were up to six inches deep. According to detective Tom Small, one stab wound “actually penetrated the skull and took out a chunk of skull like a puzzle piece.”

On December 1, 2005, Gargiulo allegedly stabbed his neighbor, Maria Bruno, to death at her home in El Monte, California. She was stabbed 17 times.

On April 28, 2008, Gargiulo allegedly attempted to murder his neighbor, Michelle Murphy, in her home in Santa Monica on April 28, 2008. She fought off the attack, and blood matching Gargiulo’s DNA was found at the scene.

Michael Gargiulo was charged with capital murder.

Gargiulo was being held at Los Angeles County Jail awaiting a capital murder trial. A pre-trial hearing was held June 9, 2017 in Los Angeles Superior Court with his trial scheduled to begin in October 2017. After delays, his trial began on May 2, 2019.

Alleged serial killer Michael Gargiulo, known as the “Hollywood Ripper,” listens as Ashton Kutcher testifies during Gargiulo’s trial of at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center on May 29, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.Getty

In May 2019 Hollywood actor Ashton Kutcher testified about the crimes.

Ashton testified that he had met Ashley through a friend and he had gone to her house a few weeks before the Grammys to a housewarming party for her. He characterized his relationship with her as “an acquaintance,” although he did say he had some interest in her.  

Kutcher said the night of the Grammys was the first time he had thought he might pursue her in a dating relationship. He told the jury at around 7:30 PM he called her to say he was going to a friend’s house to watch the show and then come to her home.

Getty

He said at 8:24 PM they talked and she said she had just gotten out of the shower and was going to blow dry her hair and they would meet up later and maybe go out to dinner. He called her at around 10 PM and believed he left a message saying it was getting late so they would not have dinner but just drinks.

Ashton says he went home, walked his dog and went to her place at around 10:45 PM. He knocked on her door but no one answered. He looked through a side window and saw what he thought was red wine spilled on the floor. So, he left.

The next morning Ashley was found dead in her home outside her bathroom, with more than 47 stab wounds, and authorities say Gargiulo was the murderer.

Ashton appeared in court wearing a blue suit and appeared relaxed on the stand.  

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Gargiulo, who has pled not guilty. In his opening statement, Deputy District Attorney Dan Akemon referred to Gargiulo as a brutal killer whose “hobby was plotting the perfect opportunity to attack women with a knife in and around their homes.”

Mom Gives Birth, Son Records Video – All In Front Seat Of Car

Facebook – Maxi Cortez

Losing a child is the most devastating thing a parent could ever go through, and I would imagine that when that child is part of a multiple birth, that pain turns into confusion, as you’re both grieving the loss of a child and celebrating the birth of others. Facebook – Maxi CortezFor Maxi and Dan Cortez, they unfortunately knew these confusing emotions all too well, as one of their triplets passed away just seven weeks

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My Great Great Aunt’s 100 year old nursing kit has a vile full of cocaine tablets and a syringe.

My Great Great Aunt's 100 year old nursing kit has a vile full of cocaine tablets and a syringe. submitted by /u/Crepes_for_days3000 to r/mildlyinteresting
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Real Housewives Teresa Giudice’s Daughter Is All Grown Up

Getty Images

Ever since her cancer diagnosis, Beth and her husband Duane “Dog” Chapman, have been sharing regular updates about her health with their fans. At some point the Dog the Bounty Hunter star appeared to be on the path to recovery, but unfortunately, her cancer wasn’t fully cured.In December 2018, Beth was rushed to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles for an emergency surgery to remove a mass in her throat twice the size of

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‘Ford v Ferrari’ Official Poster (Matt Damon, Christian Bale)

'Ford v Ferrari' Official Poster (Matt Damon, Christian Bale) submitted by /u/filmfanatic5 to r/movies
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I drove past the Five Guys where the oil was being dumped from the pic yesterday and saw this man cleaning the mess up this morning.

I drove past the Five Guys where the oil was being dumped from the pic yesterday and saw this man cleaning the mess up this morning. submitted by /u/JeronimoThatHoe to r/pics
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