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Nicole Lafond

Nicole Lafond is a news writer for TPM based in New York City. She is also currently earning a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University and previously worked as an education reporter at The News-Gazette in Champaign, Ill. Follow her on Twitter @Nicole_Lafond.

Articles by Nichole

Freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) — who cooks dinner and talks tax policy on Instagram Live while her colleagues are busy carving press releases into stone tablets — is set to give some members of her party a few tips on how to be better online this week.

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The private Christian school that just hired second lady Karen Pence to teach art part-time requires all potential employees to affirm their belief in certain religious convictions that uphold the school’s policy to ban homosexual and transgender people from attending or teaching at the school.

The contract is part of the school’s employment application, as The Washington Post reported, and it asks applicants to sign off on beliefs that include recognizing marriage as having “only one meaning; the uniting of one man and one woman in a single, exclusive covenant union as delineated in Scripture.”

“Moral misconduct which violates the bona fide occupational qualifications for employees includes, but is not limited to, such behaviors as the following: heterosexual activity outside of marriage (e.g., premarital sex, cohabitation, extramarital sex), homosexual or lesbian sexual activity, polygamy, transgender identity, any other violation of the unique roles of male and female, sexual harassment, use or viewing of pornographic material or websites, and sexual abuse or improprieties toward minors as defined by Scripture and federal or state law,” the application says.

The language was first noted by HuffPost.

Pence likely had to sign off on those beliefs in order to gain employment at the school, where she previously taught for more than a decade while her husband served in the House. Pence’s spokeswoman told the Post that “attack(s)” on the “school’s religious beliefs” were “absurd.”

While similar mandates are common practice at many Christian-affiliated schools and universities, — as George Washington Law School professor Robert Tuttle notes — the employment clause is notable given the vice president’s storied past of support for the anti-gay agenda.

As governor of Indiana, Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law, effectively making it legal for businesses to discriminate against LGBT people because of the owner’s religious beliefs. As a congressman, he voted against the repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” rule and co-sponsored the proposal of an amendment to the Constitution that would define marriage as between one man and one woman. He’s also offered veiled support for gay conversion therapy, a psychologically damaging practice that’s banned in most states.

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Democratic Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL), who pushed for a formal censure of Rep. Steve King (R-IA), criticized Congress for passing an “obsolete” disapproval resolution against King, who he called “unrepentant racist.”

During an interview with CNN on Tuesday evening, Rush said he voted against the resolution because he felt it didn’t go far enough in condemning the congressman for his history of “vile” comments.

“It became obsolete before the ink on the paper dried,” Rush told CNN’s Erin Burnett. “So it certainly fell far short of what I think the action of the members of Congress should have been… in light of this unrepentant racist Steve King. He has a legacy and a history of saying the most vile things, condemning Americans, and using the official status as a member of Congress, using the well of Congress as a platform to promulgate his vile and racist commentary.”

The House passed a resolution disapproving King’s comments to the New York Times, when he questioned when the word supremacist became “offensive.” The only person who voted against the measure was Rush.

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