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North Carolina goes on offense in fight over ‘bathroom’ law

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North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory answers a question on HB2 during a question and answer session at the N.C. Chamber Annual Government Affairs Conference at the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh, N.C., last week. (Ethan Hyman/Raleigh News & Observer/TNS)

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory answers a question on HB2 during a question and answer session at the N.C. Chamber Annual Government Affairs Conference at the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh, N.C., last week. (Ethan Hyman/Raleigh News & Observer/TNS)

In response to U.S. Justice Department pressure to rescind its “bathroom” law, North Carolina has gone on the offensive, accusing the Obama administration of attempting to “rewrite” federal civil rights law:

RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory’s administration sued the federal government Monday in a fight for a state law that limits protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.logo-all

The lawsuit seeks to keep in place the law, which the U.S. Justice Department said last week violated the civil rights of transgender people against sex discrimination on the job and in education.

The Justice Department had set a Monday deadline for McCrory to report whether he would refuse to enforce the law that took effect in March. McCrory’s defiance could risk funding for the state’s university system and lead to a protracted legal battle.

Federal civil rights enforcement attorneys focused in their warning letters particularly on provisions requiring transgender people to use public restrooms that correspond to their biological sex. The letters threatening possible federal lawsuits were sent to McCrory, leaders of the 17-campus University of North Carolina system, and the state’s public safety agency.

McCrory’s lawsuit, filed in federal court in North Carolina, asks a judge to block Justice Department action that could threaten billions of dollars in federal money flowing to the state.

The lawsuit called the law a “common sense privacy policy” and said the Justice Department’s position was a “baseless and blatant overreach.”

“This is an attempt to unilaterally rewrite long-established federal civil rights laws in a manner that is wholly inconsistent with the intent of Congress and disregards decades of statutory interpretation by the courts,” the lawsuit said.

McCrory has become the public face of the law called House Bill 2, which has been the subject of fierce criticism by gay rights groups, corporate executives and entertainers demanding the law’s repeal. North Carolina has already paid a price for the law, with some business scaling back investments in the state and associations cancelling conventions.

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Over the weekend, we told you that the Southern Baptist Convention has been asked to endorse a ban on public display of the Confederate battle emblem. One of those quoted in the column was Russell Moore, president of the SBC’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. As an aside, Moore told me he had an op-ed coming out in the New York Times that touched on Donald Trump and the 2016 presidential race.

If you live in the South, it should be required reading. Three choice paragraphs:

This election has cast light on the darkness of pent-up nativism and bigotry all over the country. There are not-so-coded messages denouncing African-Americans and immigrants; concern about racial justice and national unity is ridiculed as “political correctness.” Religious minorities are scapegoated for the sins of others, with basic religious freedoms for them called into question. Many of those who have criticized Mr. Trump’s vision for America have faced threats and intimidation from the “alt-right” of white supremacists and nativists who hide behind avatars on social media…

The Bible calls on Christians to bear one another’s burdens. White American Christians who respond to cultural tumult with nostalgia fail to do this. They are blinding themselves to the injustices faced by their black and brown brothers and sisters in the supposedly idyllic Mayberry of white Christian America. That world was murder, sometimes literally, for minority evangelicals.

This has gospel implications not only for minorities and immigrants but for the so-called silent majority. A vast majority of Christians, on earth and in heaven, are not white and have never spoken English. A white American Christian who disregards nativist language is in for a shock. The man on the throne in heaven is a dark-skinned, Aramaic-speaking “foreigner” who is probably not all that impressed by chants of “Make America great again.”

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Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump may not have the blessing of U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, who will double this summer as chairman – something like masters of ceremony – of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. But if/when Trump carries the day in November, we know who’ll head up his transition team. From The Hill newspaper:

Donald Trump has tapped Chris Christie to lead his transition team, which would prepare the political neophyte turned presumptive GOP nominee for the White House if he wins in the general election.

“Governor Christie is an extremely knowledgeable and loyal person with the tools and resources to put together an unparalleled Transition Team, one that will be prepared to take over the White House when we win in November,” Trump said in a quote released Monday morning as part of a campaign statement.

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State Rep. Tom Taylor’s charm offensive after his embarrassing DUI arrest continued this week with a spate of ads in local publications, like this one from the Dunwoody Crier at right:

Meanwhile, Taylor’s sole GOP opponent in the May 24 primary, Tom Owens, who has had his own problem with restraining orders, has established his own social media presence. Note the cheeky bio below:

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