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NORTHWEST NEWS

Portland Police Declare Unlawful Assembly During Protest

Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley and Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty addressed event organised by NAACP focused on Black Lives Matter

Shootings Increase During Portland Protests

Between June 1 and end July 31, 2020 there were 125 reported shootings compared to a total of 59 shootings in 2019

Portland Protest Scene Relatively Calm After US Drawdown

Under the deal announced by Governor Kate Brown, the federal agents will withdraw in phases.

Portland Approves $114 M Relief Budget with Focus on Communities of Color

Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty voted no, arguing for better houseless resources.

NEWS BRIEFS

New Rule by The U.S. Department of Education Would Misdirect $11M from Oregon Public Schools

U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, and Reps. Peter DeFazio and Earl Blumenauer called a...

Barbara Bush Foundation Partners with Barbershop Books and Penguin to Provide Child-Friendly Reading Spaces in Baltimore and Detroit Barbershops

Developed in Harlem, Barbershop Books is a community-based program that leverages the cultural significance of barbershops in...

All Classical Portland Awards Grant to Support Emmanuel Henreid's 'Livin' in the Light'

Livin’ in the Light documents Onry’s experience as a Black, male, professional opera and crossover singer in Portland, Ore. ...

House Approves Legislation to Stop Trump Attack on Fair Housing

Ocasio-Cortez, Blumenauer amendment would block rollback of anti-discrimination rule ...

Louis Mair Named as New Principal at Harriet Tubman Middle School

Louis comes to Harriet Tubman from Georgia, where he was a leader in building an inclusive and supportive learning community. ...

Inslee advances to November ballot in governor's race

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Democratic incumbent Gov. Jay Inslee easily advanced through Tuesday’s primary, and Republican police Chief Loren Culp took a strong lead over other Republican challengers who were vying to join Inslee on the November ballot.And in the race for lieutenant...

Seattle mayor, police chief urge slow down of police cuts

SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and police Chief Carmen Best said Tuesday they are against proposals by City Council members to reduce the police force by as many as 100 officers this year through layoffs and attrition.In a remote news conference, Durkan and Best urged the council...

Missouri's Drinkwitz takes side in mask-or-no-mask debate

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Eli Drinkwitz has been the head coach at Missouri for just over seven months. He has yet to lead the Tigers onto the football field, much less win a game, yet his role in the community already has forced him to take some important stands.First, it was supporting his new...

Iowa defensive back Jack Koerner hurt in jet ski accident

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Iowa defensive back Jack Koerner sustained serious injuries when he and a passenger on a jet ski collided with a boat on the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri.According to a police report, Koerner and Cole Coffin were hurt at about 6:30 p.m. Friday when their watercraft...

OPINION

Da 5 Bloods and America Abroad

Even before I returned to the United States from my combat tour in Vietnam, I had decided that we were fighting an unjust war. ...

Falling Behind: COVID, Climate Change, and Chaos

Multiple Crises, Multiple Obstacles ...

Bill Deiz urges Oregonians to Defend their Constitutional Rights

Elements of federal police, sent in by our president, are nightly tormenting our citizens with tear gas, impact munitions, kidnappings and beatings, and other criminal acts, in order to suppress our rights of free speech and free assembly ...

The Power of Love

Powerful lessons for me today on forgiveness. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

St. Louis prosecutor chided by Trump wins primary race

ST. LOUIS (AP) — St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, whose job performance has been lauded by some civil rights activists and criticized by President Donald Trump and other leading Republicans, held off a challenge from a former homicide prosecutor in Tuesday’s primary...

Police facing scrutiny in Elijah McClain case get new chief

DENVER (AP) — The interim chief of a suburban Denver police department has become the first woman to permanently lead the agency that's looking to regain public trust following a tumultuous year since the death of Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old Black man officers stopped on the street and put...

Washington lawsuit says protective gear costs impede protest

SEATTLE (AP) — A lawsuit filed in Washington state claims the costs of protective clothing and equipment has impeded the civil rights of Black Lives Matter protesters.The lawsuit filed by five plaintiffs in U.S. District Court in Seattle alleges their right to peacefully demonstrate is hurt...

ENTERTAINMENT

Review: More supernatural horror from ‘The Strain’ writers

“The Hollow Ones: The Blackwood Tapes Vol. 1,” by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan (Hachette Book Group)The writing team behind “The Strain” trilogy is back with a new evil incarnate. This time it’s more demonic than vampiric, possessing bodies and driving them...

Winfrey picks Isabel Wilkerson's 'Caste' for her book club

NEW YORK (AP) — If not for the coronavirus, Oprah Winfrey says, she would be out in the streets and marching with the Black Lives Matter protesters. She has instead found other ways to add her voice. She is working with Lionsgate on a multimedia adaptation of The New York Times' “1619...

Review: A sweet fable in Seth Rogen’s ‘An American Pickle’

The funniest part of “ An American Pickle ” isn’t even really in the movie. It’s a little scene in the middle of the credits in which Seth Rogen’s Herschel Greenbaum, a 1920s laborer who wakes up 100 years after falling into a vat of pickle juice, watches...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Worries about 2020 census' accuracy grow with cut schedule

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The U.S. Census Bureau is cutting its schedule for data collection for the 2020 census...

Questions being raised after Kodak's stock has a big moment

Eastman Kodak's potentially lucrative deal to help the U.S. government make more generic drugs domestically is...

US sending highest rep to Taiwan since 1979 break in ties

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar is scheduled to visit Taiwan in...

Urgency to bear witness grows for last Hiroshima victims

HIROSHIMA, Japan (AP) — For nearly 70 years, until he turned 85, Lee Jong-keun hid his past as an atomic...

Hiroshima survivor recalls working on tram after A-bomb

HIROSHIMA, Japan (AP) — Tetsuko Shakuda was a frightened 14-year-old when she resumed her work as a...

AP PHOTOS: Kashmir schooling now more challenging with virus

SRINAGAR, India (AP) — Children in Indian-controlled Kashmir are no strangers to lockdowns. Curfews,...

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Michael Pearson CNN

(CNN) -- It's an online gallery of hate.

Here on the Southern Poverty Law Center website is Blood & Honour, a racist skinhead group with members who killed two homeless people they deemed inferior, according to police. A quick scroll away is the World Church of the Creator, which calls nonwhites "mud races" and preaches "racial holy war" that has, according to authorities, inspired some members to commit violent crimes.

Then there's the Family Research Council.

The SPLC says the conservative Washington policy group is listed as a hate group because "it has knowingly spread false and denigrating propaganda" about lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people.

The designation, in place since 2010, has ignited a fierce debate after an apparently politically motivated shooting Wednesday at the FRC's Washington offices.

A Virginia man who authorities say harbors "strong opinions with respect to those he believes do not treat homosexuals in a fair manner" is accused of shooting the manager of the council headquarters, wounding him in the arm.

The suspect was carrying 15 Chick-fil-A sandwiches, leading investigators to link the attack to recent comments by the restaurant chain's CEO defending traditional marriage and the Family Research Council's staunch defense of traditional marriage.

While the SPLC defended its label Thursday, saying it was about the "demonization" of gays and a long history of anti-gay activism, the FRC and its conservative allies struck back.

"I believe the Southern Poverty Law Center should be held accountable for their reckless use of terminology," FRC president Tony Perkins said.

In response, SPLC senior fellow Mark Potok said the FRC was looking to make gains from the tragedy.

"Perkins and his allies, seeing an opportunity to score points, are using the attack on their offices to pose a false equivalency between the SPLC's criticisms of the FRC and the FRC's criticisms of LGBT people."

The FRC, through spokesman P.J. Duffy, declined to comment for this article.

Outside opinions were, predictably, mixed.

Tufts University political science professor Jeffrey Berry said the council is a mainstream, if very conservative, public policy shop -- one of a multitude in Washington.

"I'm not comfortable calling them a hate group," he said.

"There's probably some things that have been said by one or two individuals that qualify as hate speech. But overall, it's not seen as a hate group," said Berry, who has written extensively about the influence of ideological and public policy groups in Washington.

Peter Montgomery, a blogger for the liberal think tank People for the American Way, said he backs the SPLC's designation.

"If you ask me, 'Does the FRC promote hatred towards gays and lesbians?' I would say yes it does," he said. "The FRC is not the KKK. But that doesn't also mean they deserve a free ride from being called out on their hateful rhetoric."

The FRC opened its doors in 1983, three years after founder James Dobson, now of Focus on the Family, held a prayer session with eight Christian leaders at a Washington, D.C., hotel, according to the FRC's official history.

"FRC's immediate goal was to counter the credentialed voices arrayed against life and family with equally capable men and women of faith," the group writes in its history.

According to its mission statement, the FRC "champions marriage and family as the foundation of civilization, the seedbed of virtue, and the wellspring of society."

"Properly understood," the mission statement continues, " 'families' are formed only by ties of blood, marriage, or adoption, and 'marriage' is a union of one man and one woman."

According to IRS data, the group received nearly $12 million in revenue in 2009, the latest year for which data is available.

It works on a variety of topics, including anti-abortion policy, traditional marriage, educational choice, religious liberty and family tax policy.

What has raised the SPLC's ire is the Family Research Council's stance on homosexuality. The council calls it "by definition unnatural."

"We oppose the vigorous efforts of homosexual activists to demand that homosexuality be accepted as equivalent to heterosexuality in law, in the media, and in schools," according to the council's website.

"Attempts to join two men or two women in 'marriage' constitute a radical redefinition and falsification of the institution and FRC supports state and federal constitutional amendments to prevent such redefinition by courts or legislatures."

The group says it also supports programs to help people overcome "unwanted" same-sex attractions.

But the SPLC says the group goes further than simply promoting a conservative Christian perspective. It spreads lies in pursuit of its own political agenda restricting the rights of homosexuals, the group argues.

Among other things, the SPLC says the council uses dubious science to convince Americans that gays pose a threat to their way of life, particularly that gays are a threat to children.

In 1999, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, an FRC analyst co-wrote a booklet called "Homosexual Activists Work to Normalize Sex With Boys."

In the document, which is not available on the FRC website, the authors reportedly argued that "the primary goals of the homosexual rights movement is to abolish all age of consent laws and to eventually recognize pedophiles as the "prophets" of a new sexual order," according to the SPLC.

The group also was heavily involved in the effort to prevent the repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy prohibiting military service by openly gay men and women. Among other things, Perkins said, the change would force the military to pay for sex-change operations.

In 2010, the FRC was widely denounced after blogger Joe My God published documents that appeared to show the FRC provided $25,000 for lobbying efforts to defeat a congressional resolution expressing opposition to a proposed law in Uganda, which called for the imprisonment of gays and lesbians and the death penalty for those accused of spreading disease and other acts of "aggravated homosexuality."

The story was picked up by several news organizations and still appears in Internet denunciations of the group. In a 2010 statement, the FRC said that it did not support the Uganda bill or the death penalty for gays and lesbians.

In a statement published at the time, the group said it only wanted lawmakers to "remove sweeping and inaccurate assertions that homosexual conduct is internationally recognized as a fundamental human right."

Not long after that controversy, the SPLC added the FRC to its list of hate groups.

The FRC has been a "font of anti-gay propaganda throughout its history," the SPLC wrote.

However, unlike many of the groups listed in its "intelligence files," it does not accuse the group of any violent or illegal acts.

At the time of its designation as a hate group by the SPLC, the FRC called the label "slanderous" and "character assassination" in an open letter published in Washington newspapers.

"This is intolerance pure and simple," the ad read. "Elements of the radical Left are trying to shut down informed discussion of policy issues that are being considered by Congress, legislatures and the courts."

After Perkins' comments Thursday, the debate began to take off.

In The Washington Post, columnist Dana Milbank noted the controversy.

"I disagree with the Family Research Council's views on gays and lesbians," he wrote Thursday. "But it's absurd to put the group, as the law center does, in the same category as Aryan Nations, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Stormfront and the Westboro Baptist Church."

On the conservative website Newsbusters, a commenter posting as "Blonde Gator" said calling an organization a hate group doesn't make it true.

"Just because the FRC has a mission statement which doesn't align with your own agenda, does NOT make them a hate group," Blonde Gator wrote.

Elsewhere, a blogger going by the name of "Senator Blutarsky" said the designation lowered the bar for what constitutes hate.

"The Great Chicken War showed that in 2012, all one need do is subscribe to a conventional understanding of Christian teaching, and boom! You're a bigot," the commenter wrote, referring to the Chick-fil-A controversy.

On the website for "Truth Wins Out," which describes itself as a nonprofit "fighting anti-gay lies and the ex-gay myth," blogger Wayne Bessen wrote that the SPLC was "100% correct" in labeling the council as a hate group.

"As someone who reads Perkins' anti-gay fundraising letters -- make no mistake about it -- this group loathes LGBT people with a special passion," he wrote.

One commenter on the site said the shooting "was Lady Karma finally come a-calling on the FRC."

"GLBT people have put up with their hatred, beatings, burning, rapes, murder ... for centuries now," said the poster, writing as "Merlyn." "But the second something like this happen we are blamed and groups like the FRC ramp up the volume of their calls to incarcerate us. I'm not saying I approve of what the shooter did, but all things considered, the FRC got off very lightly."

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