Category: Intolerance

More on the hate culture in Grand Junction: “If you don’t like it, leave”

We I came home from our anniversary dinner last fall to find this sticker slapped on our mailbox. President Trump has emboldened nasty behavior among Mesa County right wingers.

Note: I first published this article in August of 2018, but given President Trump’s recent racist statements toward four female freshmen members of Congress, it seems appropriate to re-post it. — AL, July 21, 2019

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Anyone on the western slope who has pointed out hatred, bigotry, unequal treatment or violations of people’s constitutional or civil rights in our area has heard the phrase over and over: “If you don’t like what’s going on here, you can just leave.”

That’s what many western slope residents say to people who live here who aren’t just like them, who may have moved here from somewhere else, or who disagree with them or assert their constitutional rights.

Western Slope pastor and Mesa County “Patriots” display stunning callousness towards refugees, children

Reverend Babcox, Orchard Mesa Baptist Church

Amid the massive “Keep Families Together” protests in over 750 cities across the country including in Grand Junction last weekend against the Trump administration’s harsh “zero tolerance” immigration policy that separated thousands of refugee children from their parents, some Mesa County citizens are publicly denying that any children of refugees have been taken away from their parents, while also denying there is anything wrong with doing it. Others show utter disdain towards immigrant parents for taking desperate measures to get their families out of harm’s way.

Of all people, Robert Babcox, the pastor of the Orchard Mesa Baptist Church, is one of those people.

Disgraced white supremacist Milo Yiannopoulos plans talk in Grand Junction

Milo Yiannopoulos

People are hyperventilating over a scheduled appearance in Grand Junction by white supremacist provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos at 7:00 p.m. on April 14th at a currently undisclosed location. Some are planning protests, but the best thing to do might be to just yawn and ignore Yiannopoulos entirely.

Grand Junction City Council has an opportunity to end divisive religious invocations at public meetings. Let’s hope they do.

The Devil is among the many diverse religious players who are likely to get more chances to say invocations at City Council meetings, unless the invocation is eliminated entirely or the invocation policy is changed changed to a moment of silence instead of prayers.

Grand Junction City Council plans to re-assess the issue of hosting religious invocations at public meetings at their Monday, March 5 workshop.

Grand Junction made history in 2017 as the first city in Colorado host a Satanic invocation at a City Council meeting. News of the event spread across the country, and the story even made it onto Russia Today’s news website, RT.
How could something like this happen?
Under pressure from the City’s secular community to abide by the Constitutionally mandated separation of church and state, in 2008 the City of Grand Junction adopted an invocation policy that opened up the invocation to anyone, instead of reserving the opportunity to say it only to representatives of a few selected religious groups. Over the last ten years, the new policy has resulted in the City making history  with invocations given by atheists, Satanists and anarchists.
But the most prominent non-Christian invocation — a Satanic invocation last August, and all the hoopla that surrounded it — TV news cameras, prayer circles at City Hall and Bible-toting people in the audience — seems to have made Council interested in revising their invocation policy.

Trump’s Border Wall Folly

“Believe me,” said Trump. But no, Mexico won’t pay for a wall. Trump is now demanding American taxpayers pay for it.

While still promising Mexico will pay for it, President Trump is now trying to extort $25 billion from U.S. taxpayers to build a “big, beautiful” border wall between the U.S. and Mexico, and he’s holding DACA recipients hostage to do it.

It’s clear Trump either doesn’t understand, or is ignoring the nuances of legal and illegal immigration as well as actual statistics about the rates of crime committed by immigrants vs. U.S. citizens, and how most contraband gets into the country illegally.

By far the biggest contributor to violent deaths in the U.S. is not immigrants, but our country’s own violent culture paired with easy access to deadly firearms — a fact President Trump completely ignores in his effort to whip up xenophobic fear among Americans.

The stakes for Trump’s wall are extremely high for American taxpayers in many ways. The first is financial.

How the President’s racism affects the western slope

President Donald Trump spent years spreading the racist lie that President Obama was born in Kenya. He’s publicly described Mexicans as rapists, called for a “complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” said immigrants from Haiti “all have AIDS,” used the gang MS-13 to disparage all immigrants and called African countries “shitholes.”

Sad to say, but there are people in our own community who actually believe these things, and worse, and Trump is empowering them to more freely express their racism and xenophobia.

Trump’s shocking U.S. District Court nominees


Three of President Donald Trump’s nominees for U.S. District Court judgeships have gone down in flames in the last few days for reasons that make Americans scratch their heads about how they could ever have been nominated to in the first place.

Trump’s nominee for U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia, Matthew Spencer Petersen, appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, December 14, 2017 and was forced to admit he had never tried a single case in any court of law, and had never filed a single motion or conducted even one deposition on his own over the course of his entire legal career. He was also stunningly unable to answer even the most basic questions about legal procedures common to federal courts.

What Roy Moore and Grand Junction City Council have in common

Roy Moore

Roy Moore, the Alabama Republican senatorial candidate accused of sexual predation, brings thoughts right back here to Grand Junction, because Moore and Grand Junction have two big things in common.

They are 1) the Ten Commandments, and 2) an eagerness to defy U.S. law.

Moore was twice thrown out of his job as Chief Justice for the state of Alabama for defying U.S. law. After the Supreme Court’s 2015 landmark ruling legalizing gay marriage, Moore ordered the state’s probate court judges not to issue marriage licenses for same-sex couples. A commission charged him with violating federal judicial orders and kicked him off the court in 2016. That was the second time Moore was ejected for violating the law.

More Social Media Insight Into CO State Senator Ray Scott’s Attitude Toward Constituents

Colorado State Senator Ray Scott

Mesa County resident Claudette Konola ran against Ray Scott for the State Senate District 7 seat in 2014, to keep him from running unopposed. We’ve already seen some of Scott’s contemptuous Facebook and email responses to citizens who disagree with his views. Following are tweets Claudette Konola received from Ray Scott between 2014 and 2016, starting around the time she announced she would be running against him, and ending just after the 2016 election. The tweets are all verbatim. All spelling and grammatical errors are in the originals.

Mesa County citizens submit formal ethics complaint against State Sen. Ray Scott

A federal court ruled July 25, 2017 that an elected official’s Facebook page is a forum for speech under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and that blocking participants based on their viewpoints violates their right to free speech.

Three Grand Junction residents submitted a formal ethics complaint (pdf) to the state legislature August 15 about Colorado State Senator Ray Scott (R-District 7) for blocking them from his official social media accounts after they criticized his views.

Screencaps of Senator Ray Scott’s Rude Responses on Facebook

Ray Scott

Ray Scott

Not only has Colorado State Senator Ray Scott shocked participants on his social media accounts with consistent grammatical and spelling errors and frighteningly superficial knowledge of environmental issues, but he is particularly nasty toward constituents with whom he disagrees politically. That is, before he blocks them from his social media completely, which, according to a federal court, is against the law.

Scott also often deletes his rudest comments, perhaps realizing too late he’s gone beyond the pale. But this, too, is impermissible because all entries on Senator Scott’s social media — whether they are his own or from citizens — are part of his official public record and as such must be preserved.

Cidney Fisk’s First Year at University: An Update

Cidney Fisk, speaking at California Freethought Day last fall

Cidney Fisk, the former 4.0 GPA Delta High School student who risked everything in 2016 to publicly expose the pervasive Christian proselytizing and other injustices going on in Delta County’s public schools, has completed her first year at University of Denver and will soon start her second year.

Cidney paid dearly for speaking out about her public school district. She lost grants for college tuition from local funders after the Daily Sentinel published a front page article about the proselytizing which bore her photo and contained extensive quotes about what she had experienced at school. Cidney’s teachers and counselors suddenly turned their backs on her and refused to write letters of support for her applications for scholarships, effectively tanking her chances of getting those scholarships. After speaking out, Cidney struggled to cobble together enough money to attend university. Cidney is from a low income family and completely dependent on grants, loans and scholarships to fund her tuition.

State Department and U.S. Women Worry Trump is Preparing to Cut Programs Benefitting Women

18 year old Aria Watson, a student in Oregon, created a series of photographs of women with some of Donald’ Trump’s misogynistic statements written on them for a photography class. The project has gone viral.

Women inside and outside the government are chilled by the news today that Donald Trump’s transition team has asked the State Department to provide him with detailed information on U.S. programs aimed at benefitting women around the world, as well as a list of positions in the department that are involved in reducing gender violence and promoting women in the workplace. A senior official said people in the State Department are “freaked out” by the request and deeply concerned Trump wants to roll back these diplomatic efforts, many of which were spearheaded by Hillary Clinton.

It’s no wonder they’re concerned.

Local “Deplorables” Gather for Trump’s Visit

Former Delta County "Castration school board member" Kathy Svenson attended Trump's rally of self-described "Deplorables" yesterday at West Star Aviation in Grand Junction

Former Delta County “Castration school board member” Kathy Svenson (arrow, in kooky hat) was one of the self-described “Deplorables” at Trump’s visit at West Star Aviation in Grand Junction yesterday

 

A woman who attended Donald Trump’s rally in Grand Junction yesterday appeared in a front page photo in today’s Daily Sentinel and was identified as “Kathy Svenson of Delta.”

Svenson was a highly suitable attendee for Trump’s rally. She is, in fact, a bona fide “Deplorable.”

Svenson is the famous former Delta County School Board member who gained notoriety nationally and internationally for saying transgender students should be castrated before being permitted to use the restrooms in public schools. She became known as “The Castration School Board Member” of Delta County, Colorado.

Svenson made her comments after the Colorado Civil Rights Division ruled that a 6-year-old transgender student could use the girls’ restroom at her school.

Who Is the Woman Cutting Loose With a Racist Rant in Front of the Mesa County Health Department?

Adding to concerns about the growing undercurrent of bigotry, hatred and intolerance that runs in western Colorado, this unidentified Grand Junction-area woman cut loose with a racist rant towards a Latino family in the parking lot of the Mesa County Health Department on Monday, August 1.

The family expressed concern about a dog that was left in a hot car in the parking lot.  The temperature that day was in the mid to high 90s.

One of the Latino family members filmed the woman’s rant as evidence in case the woman harmed them, then posted the video on Facebook, where as of August 4 it had gotten over 360,000 views. It’s also posted on YouTube.

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel ran an article about the incident and the video in today’s paper.

So far, the woman engaging in the racist rant has not been identified.


UPDATE: Here is the ranting woman’s response after the video went viral. She claims she is hispanic herself so could not be racist.

Delta County School Board Rips Off Kids

A slide from Shelly Donahue's "WAIT" program shown at Delta High School

Crucifixes in a slide from Shelly Donahue’s “WAIT” program at Delta High School

The Delta County School Board is violating state and federal laws in order to keep students from getting medically-accurate sex education information, and it seems to be by design.

Last October, the school district hired controversial abstinence-only-before-marriage pontificator Shelly Donahue as a sex education speaker for students. According to students, this was the only “sex education” the Delta County School District provided them, and the school board and district administration apparently consider this an adequate sex education.

Far from it.

For those who aren’t familiar with Shelly Donahue, she is an evangelistic Christian abstinence-only speaker who rakes in government grant funds by giving “WAIT” (“Why Am I Tempted”) training in public schools. Donahue’s website says

“She is passionately committed to Jesus Christ as the ultimate answer to the teen sexual activity problem in America. As a motivational speaker and a leading sex education expert, she is making a significant impact for the Kingdom of God!”

The leading "T" in Donahue's business logo is a crucifix in flames; the logo and cross appear in every slide, regardless if presentations at public schools

The leading “T” in Donahue’s business logo is a flaming crucifix; the logo and cross appeared in every slide in her presentations at Delta schools

In her talks, Donahue dishes out vast amounts of medically inaccurate information to kids and uses broad, simplistic analogies that convey stereotypical images of what boys’ and girls’ personalities are like. She includes liberal doses of religiously-based, guilt-and-shame to frighten students out of having sex before marriage.

Delta County School District Has Lots to Answer For

DDServicesThe Delta County School District is in serious need of help.

The recent exposure of the extent of Christian proselytizing in the Delta County school system has not just raised eyebrows locally, state-wide, nationally and internationally. It has encouraged Delta area residents to come forward with their own personal stories of proselytizing and discrimination in Delta public schools and their workplaces, and how it has affected their lives.

More Info Surfaces on Delta County School District’s Promotion of Religious Ideology

Shelly Donahue, an abstinence-only teacher from Elevate Youth, a religious ministry based in Plano, Texas, who was hired to give trainings to Delta County School District Students last October

Shelly Donahue, an abstinence-only teacher from Elevate Youth, a religious ministry based in Plano, Texas, who was hired to give trainings to Delta County School District Students last October. The sole funder of the program was a religious ministry.

News about the pending distribution of atheist and Satanic literature in Delta County schools April 1 is encouraging more students, parents and even teachers to come forward with information about what they say is a persistent pattern of state/church violations, religiously-based discrimination and even outright bigotry, harassment and demeaning of atheist and non-believing students occurring within the Delta County School system.

Parents from Delta County contacted Western Colorado Atheists and Freethinkers (WCAF) Tuesday morning (3/22/16) to alert the group to what they feel is pervasive Christian proselytizing occurring in Delta County Schools. They say they and their child have suffered to a great extent from the school district’s persistent embrace of religious promotion.