Thursday News: Enshrining bigotry


EVANGELICAL LEADERS SIGN ANTI-GAY "MANIFESTO" THAT LAMENTS DECLINE OF WESTERN CULTURE: The president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest and several faculty members have signed a statement from conservative evangelicals saying same-sex attraction and identifying as transgender are sinful and that supporting either is immoral. The 14-article manifesto, called “the Nashville Statement” for the city where it was ratified, was released late Tuesday by the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, an evangelical coalition formed in 1987. More than 150 people had signed the document when it was put online Tuesday, including Daniel Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Richard Land, president of the Southern Evangelical Seminary in Matthews. Through the day Wednesday, it garnered more signatures.

NC SENATE DEFENDS PREDATORY LENDERS AND PARTISAN PATRONAGE BY OVERRIDING VETOES: Sen. Jay Chaudhuri, D-Wake, ticked off a couple examples of high-fee loans during brief debate on the bill Wednesday, saying the new provision would contribute to the cycle of debt and prey "on our working-class and middle-class families." Supporters pitched the change as a needed updated for a 40-year-old set of regulations, and they stressed that credit insurance is an optional purchase. House Bill 770 deals with several sections of state code, but the controversy arose from language that will allow an employee at the state Industrial Commission, who's also a former general counsel for the state Republican Party, to draw a second state paycheck from the state's Property Tax Commission despite rules against salary double-dipping.

JUSTIN BURR POSTS PICTURE OF ELECTRIC CHAIR IN EFFORT TO BRING BACK EXECUTIONS: A state House member has posted an ode to the electric chair on his Facebook page, along with the suggestion that North Carolina start using it again. Rep. Justin Burr, an Albemarle Republican, posted a picture of an electric chair with leather straps draped around it. “The chair has been in the possession of our state history museum since 2000,” he wrote. “I think it’s time to put it back to work.” He concluded with the hashtagged slogan, #MakeTheChairGreatAgain, a play on President Donald Trump’s theme Make America Great Again. The state hasn’t executed anyone in more than a decade. The last was Samuel Flippen in August 2006. A series of lawsuits have created a de facto moratorium on executions. Burr said he’s been working in the legislature to get the death penalty “back on track and stop the delays.”

CHARLOTTE POLICE SAY THEY DON'T WANT OR NEED TRUMP'S SURPLUS MILITARY GEAR: Police in North Carolina's largest city say they don't need military equipment to do their jobs. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police spokesman Rob Tufano told local media Wednesday the city will not seek military gear available under an order this week by President Donald Trump. Trump's order Monday overturned an order by President Obama in 2015 that limited the kind of military equipment civilian police departments could receive from federal government. That came following the unrest that followed a police shooting in Ferguson, Missouri. Tufano said the city sees no reason to obtain military equipment to do its job. Congress created a program in the 1990s to allow local governments to obtain surplus military equipment. Tufano said the city did participate in the 1990s but no longer uses military gear.

AMIDST HARVEY RECOVERY, MASSIVE CUT TO FEMA DISASTER BUDGET LOOMS TO FUND BORDER WALL: President Donald Trump is promising billions to help Texas rebuild from Harvey-caused epic flooding, but his Republican allies in the House are looking at cutting almost $1 billion from disaster accounts to help finance the president's border wall. The pending reduction to the Federal Emergency Management Agency's disaster relief account is part of a massive spending bill that the House is scheduled to consider next week when lawmakers return from their August recess. The $876 million cut, which is included in the 1,305-page measure's homeland security section, pays for roughly half the cost of Trump's down payment on the U.S.-Mexico border wall that the president repeatedly promised Mexico would finance.