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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Taylor University is one of America’s oldest, private, evangelical colleges. In 2017 the Indiana-based university was ranked first among 94 midwestern schools. Its motto, Lux et Fides, means, “Light and Faith.”

But it is Vice President Mike Pence‘s undying faith in President Donald Trump that has led the 2019 graduating class to demand the school rescind its invitation to Pence to deliver the commencement address.

“Inviting Vice President Mike Pence to Taylor University makes our alumni, faculty, staff and current students complicit in the Trump Administration’s policies, which we believe are not consistent with an ethic of love,” the students and their supporters say via a Change.org petition, as Newsweek reports.

In just a few hours the petition has earned hundreds of signatures.

Many might think, given Pence was the governor of Indiana – where Taylor University is located – that the invitation might not cause concern.

They would be wrong.

Here’s a sampling from some of those who signed the petition, explaining why:

“I’m a husband of a Taylor alum and suggest that if Taylor is looking for a Hossier Christian politician for the commencement they might consider inviting Pete Buttigieg.”

“Shame on you. He’s not a Christian, and any university that invites him to speak has no institutional commitment to fact or Truth.”

“If Mike Pence thinks that RFRA was a good ‘Christian’ direction for the state and nation, then he is missing the point of Christianity. Now he is trying to do it nationally. He is the wrong person to deliver your commencement speech. Perhaps Pete Buttigieg would have a more appropriate message for your graduates.”

“There are many marginalized students and staff who live, work, and study in a gray area. The University offers kind words of support to these populations, but then engages in actions that place students on the fringe of Taylor’s community. Inviting Pence is one of those actions. Pence’s Values (political or personal) are not congruent with that of Taylor or Christianity. Pence’s values align with the administration (Looking at you president haines.) So out of touch with the needs of your students – ALL your students. POC, LGBTQ+ (especially Transgender students), Women, Immigrants – they are apart of the Taylor community too! Pence’s presence and Taylor’s support of Pence enforces the idea that these communities are the outcast.”

“The fact that Taylor would invite Pence as a speaker honestly kills me a little bit. I can’t imagine what it must feel like for lgbt students to have to see this man’s harmful bullshit be honored on the Taylor stage. Really disgusting stuff, Taylor. Really ashamed to be an alum right now.”

“Class of ’95. This link is embarrassing in every possible way. Forget any future support from me if this is the direction Taylor wants to go.”

“As an alumna of Taylor University, I’ve never been so disappointed in my college’s behavior. Taylor claims to be dedicated to love and truth. Mike Pence is a man who has worked to sew seeds of division and hatred in this country and has continued to support an administration that openly and blatantly lies about matters large and small, every single day.”

“Mike Pence has supported and advocated for harmful, deceptive policies that are in direct contradiction to the Bible’s teachings and Taylor’s heritage.”

IMAGE: Republican vice presidential nominee Indiana Governor Mike Pence speaks at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, July 20, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Actor as Donald Trump in Russia Today video ad

Screenshot from RT's 'Trump is here to make RT Great Again'

Russia Today, the network known in this country as RT, has produced a new "deep fake" video that portrays Donald Trump in post-presidential mode as an anchor for the Kremlin outlet. Using snippets of Trump's own voice and an actor in an outlandish blond wig, the ad suggests broadly that the US president is indeed a wholly owned puppet of Vladimir Putin– as he has so often given us reason to suspect.

"They're very nice. I make a lot of money with them," says the actor in Trump's own voice. "They pay me millions and hundreds of millions."

But when American journalists described the video as "disturbing," RT retorted that their aim wasn't to mock Trump, but his critics and every American who objects to the Russian manipulations that helped bring him to power.

As an ad for RT the video is amusing, but the network's description of it is just another lie. Putin's propagandists are again trolling Trump and America, as they've done many times over the past few years –- and this should be taken as a warning of what they're doing as Election Day approaches.

The Lincoln Project aptly observed that the Russians "said the quiet part out loud" this time, (Which is a bad habit they share with Trump.)