In yet another despicable move to sate evangelicals crusading towards transforming America into an evangelical theocracy, Trump continued 2017’s pandering to the religious right with another attack on a greater number of the people. Anyone still curious about why the evangelical right adamantly supports a proud sinner who blatantly rejects the concept of repentance and contrition, Trump’s prioritization of evangelical’s freedom to control the rest of the population should explain why bible-thumpers love what decent human beings consider to be a seriously evil man.
For an administration allegedly opposed to federal regulations and federal government agencies, Trump announced some new federal regulations and created a new federal government “division” to protect evangelical workers who refuse to do their jobs and provide medical care. That medical care can be anything that offends the “conscience” of the evangelicals who are cheering Trump for finally “prioritizing” their religious freedom to discriminate according to their religious conscience. Make no mistake, this new “division” and “new regulations” are specifically protecting evangelicals who intend to discriminate primarily against women and gays by refusing to provide medical care and services that are required as part of their jobs.
If an atheist public school teacher refused to teach any student who was an evangelical Christian on the grounds it violated their conscience, religious Republicans would go ballistic and attack that teacher mercilessly; despite the teacher was immediately terminated for refusing to do the job they were hired to do. Likewise, if a Jew or Muslim worker claimed it violated their conscience to accommodate an evangelical or Catholic because they ate pork products, then they would be summarily fired and Republicans and the evangelical right would go ballistic and attack them mercilessly.
But when pharmacists refuse to fill a physician’s prescription because the medication offends their morality, or the patient is not in compliance with the evangelical’s religious edicts, there is a new Trump-created federal agency to protect their jobs; because Trump is all about “prioritizing” conscience protections for evangelicals that allow them to violate anti-discrimination laws.
Many have warned for years that so-called “conscience protections” for evangelicals pose a serious danger to the population, and now there is an official division in the Department of Health and Human Services. It is not, as Trump or the White House claim, about protecting healthcare workers opposed to abortion or assisted death based on their “religious” or “moral beliefs;” it is another Republican “license to discriminate” with lifelong, and possibly, life-threatening consequences for a large percentage of the population. Basically, any American who fails to hew closely to religious edicts evangelicals believe should be federal law is open for trouble from the faithful who work in the healthcare industry.
The new theocratic agency, the Conscience and Religious Freedom Division, is a monumental victory for evangelicals who complained bitterly for eight long years that President Obama failed to give evangelicals what they demanded – much more authority under the guise of “religious freedom.” And it is noteworthy that in 21stCentury America, religious freedom means federal power for evangelicals to impose their religious beliefs on the nation to control women and impose some biblical punishment on members of the LGBTQ community.
The language in the new regulations is so broad that only an idiot cannot see that the “rule” is a veritable license to discriminate and withhold “access to medical care” from anyone if the religious worker does not approve of that “medical care” or the patient’s lifestyle. It is about more than just evangelicals opposed to abortion or birth control, it will lead to legalized discrimination on the basis of sex, gender identity, lifestyle, marital status, and sexual orientation; the main categories evangelicals firmly believe fall under their purview as theocrats running the government.
In keeping with the “poor persecuted Christian” sentiment based on the inability to control the population, the “poor persecuted” president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s lobbying arm said:
“I am thankful that [Trump’s] HHS recognizes how imperiled conscience rights have been in recent years in this arena and is actively working and leading to turn the tide in the other direction.”
It is important to note that this new theocratic solution for persecuted evangelicals and their wicked imperiled consciences is about much more than giving pro-life healthcare workers the religious right to refuse performing an abortion or sterilization as HHS claimed. The Obama Administration left in place the decades-long federal protections for evangelical healthcare workers who objected to performing abortions or sterilizations. President Obama’s HHS also kept the George W. Bush rule’s formal process for workers to file complaints if they were expected to do the job they applied for and were hired to do, and then refused according to their “godly morality” or “deeply-held beliefs.”
This latest theocratic advancement is primarily an attack on women’s right to self-determination regarding their reproductive health, but no American is safe from evangelicals who believe their “conscience rights” have been “imperiled” for too long; now they want revenge and Trump willingly complied. What is new in 2108 is a full frontal assault on transgenders to bolster the already vicious religious attacks on the LGBTQ community based on evangelicals’ morals and their renowned Christian consciences.
Here’s the thing, if any of these cretins had a conscience, especially a “follower of Christ” conscience, they would never support Republicans who are gleeful at taking away healthcare, food, retirement, and housing from Americans to enrich corporations and the wealthy. Their objections to providing healthcare services, whether it is contraception, abortion, or transgender hormone therapy are not founded on their morality or religious conviction. They object to being prohibited from controlling other Americans who fail to toe the religious right line; it is the only reason why evangelicals vote for Republicans religiously. If they were “followers of Christ” or “Christians,” they would oppose Republicans like plague.
It is a dangerous sign that despite at least four or five Trump administration actions legalizing discrimination against women and the LGBTQ community in 2017, now the religious people who provide healthcare services possess their own federal license to discriminate. Trump’s Department of Justice and Education have openly legalized discrimination against women and the LGBTQ community under the heading “protecting evangelicals’ religious liberty,” and last month the Republican Congress followed suit in an education bill. This latest move at the start of 2018 is the result of an executive order Trump signed last May. As noted by Sarah Warbelow in the U.S. News and World Report, “Trump’s executive order directed Attorney General Jeff Sessions to seek a license to discriminate in agencies across the federal government.”
There has been a deliberate and concerted effort to impose religion as governance and law for a couple of decades, but now that Christofascists co-own and co-control the federal government, the theocrats are having a field day. All the while, Americans await Trump’s next “tweet” with bated breath and many could not possibly care less because they are not women or members of the gay community. Remember, religious zealots are not known for restraint when they are empowered and when Mike Pence and his religious right fanatics finish putting women and gays in their “biblical” place, they will turn their attention to the rest of the population. If anyone is not terrified at the idea of medical professionals refusing to treat anyone based on conscience objections, then maybe understanding that now fire fighters, police officers, and paramedics can refuse to do their jobs according to their consciences represents a clear and present danger to all Americans.