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Sunday, July 7, 2024

Sen. Elaine Morgan goes to summer school to learn how to be an even crazier right-wing nut

Anti-LGBTQ extremist group sending RI Senators to D.C. for training


The Rhode Island Family Institute (RIFI) “is part of the Family Policy Alliance (FPA) and each year FPA runs a Statesmen Academy in Washington D.C. to help train and equip legislators to have a Christian Worldview as they carry out their legislative duties. 

This year we will be sending three Rhode Island Senators: Elaine Morgan (MAGA-Charlestown), Anthony DeLuca, and Jessica de la Cruz to attend the Academy along with a potential future candidate, Gerry Leonard. Gerry ran for Congress last year and although did not win, he loves Rhode Island and wants to stay involved in Rhode Island politics.”

This was the opening paragraph of a fundraising email I was recently forwarded. On their website, RIFI describes themselves as a “part of a national alliance with a presence in 42 states. We are networked with three other well-known and effective Faith and Family ministries: Focus on the Family (FRC), Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), and the Family Research Council located in Washington D.C. Our mission statement is to make Rhode Island a state where God is honored, religious freedom flourishes, families thrive, and life is cherished.”

Let’s take a look at the “Faith and Family ministries” RIFI is networked with:

The Family Research Council (FRC) has been labeled an anti-LGBTQ extremist group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). 

“FRC often makes false claims about the LGBTQ community based on discredited research and junk science. The intention is to dehumanize LGBTQ people as the organization battles against LGBTQ rights. In the past, this included stances against same-sex marriage, hate-crime laws, anti-bullying programs, and the repeal of the military’s ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy. FRC continues this work but has also revived long-debunked pedophilia and grooming myths in its work against transgender rights, opposition to drag performances, and support for conversion therapy…”

The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) has been labeled an anti-LGBTQ extremist group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). 

"Founded by some 30 leaders of the Christian Right, the Alliance Defending Freedom is a legal advocacy and training group that has supported the recriminalization of sexual acts between consenting LGBTQ adults in the United States and criminalization abroad; has defended state-sanctioned sterilization of trans people abroad; has contended that LGBTQ people are more likely to engage in pedophilia; and claims that a ‘homosexual agenda’ will destroy Christianity and society. ADF also works to develop ‘religious liberty’ legislation and case law that will allow the denial of goods and services to LGBTQ people on the basis of religion. Since the election of President Trump, ADF has become one of the most influential groups informing the administration’s attack on LGBTQ rights.”

The Family Research Council (FRC) has been labeled an anti-LGBTQ extremist group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). “The Family Research Council (FRC) bills itself as “the leading voice for the family in our nation’s halls of power,” but the group’s real specialty is defaming LGBTQ people.”

The RIFI fundraising email continued:

“The Academy is a wonderful opportunity for them to meet seasoned Christians in offices all across the country. They can build ongoing relationships and glean from their experiences. They will get to hear what legislation is working relative to important issues affecting faith, family, and freedom, such as life, marriage, and morality. They will meet people from states across the political spectrum, from Blue to Purple to Red states and they can tap into those relationships throughout their time in office. It is your giving that enables us to send these four to D.C.”

RIFI’s Executive Director is Reverend David Aucoin, who once ran as a Republican for the Rhode Island Senate in District 32 against then-Senator Cynthia Armour Coyne. That seat is presently occupied by Pamela Lauria. Aucoin’s twitter, as expected, is full of anti-abortion and anti-trans links.

Michelle Cretella, a “RIFI Contributor” is the former executive director of the American College of Pediatrics (ACPed), identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as "a fringe anti-LGBT hate group that masquerades as a premier United States association of pediatricians to push LGBT junk science…” In January, Cretella spoke against the lifesaving Transgender, Gender Diverse, and Transitioning student policy at the Westerly School Committee. Here’s a Mother Jones piece about Cretella.

Robert Chiaradio is a RIFI Board member, described as a “a key part of the RIFI team” who is currently on a tour of all school committees in the State of Rhode Island to testify against the life saving Transgender, Gender Diverse, and Transitioning student policies as mandated by Rhode Island Department of Education policy and state and federal law. Chiaradio also spearheaded book banning efforts in his hometown of Westerly.

As for the three Republican State Senators (and Gerry Leonard) being flown to Washington D.C. to learn about legislating with a Christian Worldview - Elaine Morgan (District 34, Charlestown, Exeter, Hopkinton, Richmond, West Greenwich), Anthony DeLuca II (District 29, Warwick), and Jessica de la Cruz (District 23, Burrillville, Glocester) were three of the four Senators flying far-right Christian Nationalist Pine Tree flags on their desks during that last days of session earlier this June.

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