GOP Education Bill Gives Religious Bigots License To Discriminate

Republicans have had a field day with a rubber stamp in the White House, and besides handing the treasury to the rich and corporations, they have handed social and domestic policy over to bigots under the guise of protecting religious liberty. And it is noteworthy that they have acted stealthily while the happy fascist in the Oval keeps the people mesmerized with social media distractions.

Last week House Republicans introduced a “massive” 542-page “higher education” bill that gives bigots steeped in evangelical fundamentalism a free pass to discriminate if they do so according to their deeply-held religious beliefs and part of their religious practices. The bill, H.R. 4508, authored by Representative Virginia Foxx (R-NC), contains a pair of provisions that “enables discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity” without saying it is legal to violate the 14th Amendment on religious grounds. By not specifically mentioning sexual orientation or gender identity the Republicans left room for religious fanatics to discriminate against any group they choose.

The inaptly named bill, “Promoting Real Opportunity, Success, and Prosperity through Education” Reform (PROSPER Act) gives the impression that Trump’s America creates opportunities for Americans, but like nearly everything else in Trump’s America, it is a gift to evangelical bigots. Don’t believe it? In a section titled “Campus Access for Religious Groups” a provision guarantees that students can be discriminated against if the bigotry is founded on “religious beliefs or religious standards of conduct.

The offending provision states:

None of the funds made available under the Act may be provided to any public institution of higher education that denies to a religious student or organization any right, benefit or privilege afforded to other students or organization because of their religious beliefs, practices, speech, membership standards or standards of conduct of the religious student or organization.”

What that really means is any person or any group can discriminate against anyone based on a deeply-held religious belief and their religion’s standard practices without repercussions from the “place of higher learning” or state policy forbidding discrimination; it obviously neuters the 14th Amendment to sate religious bigots.

It is yet another Republican religious license to discriminate that taxpayers and tuition-paying students will have to fund and like it; it is how theocratic governments operate and Americans better get used to it.

Prior to this GOP theocratic legislation, the only way to prevent blatant discrimination was by withholding funding from institutions of learning, or by denying religious organizations campus funding for violating nondiscrimination policies they are obliged to uphold as recipients of free money. That concept is unacceptable to religious Republicans and their radical evangelical supporters. So they inserted language allowing the free flow of campus funding to evangelical bigots so they can discriminate against whatever kind of person they regard are “undesirable.”

Apparently there have been institutions of higher learning and governments that have withheld funding for groups that reject LGBTQ students’ membership or participation because “those kind of people violate the religious tenets of the group.” Despite non-discrimination policies at higher-learning institutions and the state and the federal government, the religious groups expect to be funded like every other campus organization that adheres to the U.S. Constitution and campus non-discrimination policies. With this hideous abomination of a bill, Republicans are ensuring that taxpayers and tuition-paying students will have to support bigoted religious groups whether they like it or whether it violates their humanitarian beliefs that discrimination is vile and unconstitutional.

Another section of the “PROSPER Act” protects universities that encourage and enact blatantly discriminatory policies with language virtually mirroring the religious Republicans “First Amendment Defense Act.” That “Act” is a federal Republican license to violate the 14th Amendment with impunity by protecting any businesses and organizations that refuses to serve LGBTQ people; it is the religious bigots’ version of the former Confederacy’s “whites only” laws and religious Republicans love it.  That provision states:

No government entity shall take any adverse action against an institution of higher education that receives funding under title IV, if such adverse action… has the effect of prohibiting or penalizing the institution for acts or omissions by the institution that are in furtherance of its religious mission or are related to the religious affiliation of the institution.”

Some of what religious Republicans call adverse actions to prevent discrimination are:

Denial or threat of denial of funding, including grants, scholarships, or loans; denial or threat of denial to access to facilities or programs; withholding or threat to withhold licenses, permits, certifications, accreditation’s, contracts, tax-exempt status or exemptions; or any other penalty or denial, or threat of such other penalty or denial of an otherwise available benefit.

The two provisions combined mean that institutions of higher learning cannot legally enforce their own non-discrimination policies, and states cannot enforce state or federal discrimination laws on offending schools. This hate-policy is typical of Virginia Foxx who said in 2015 after the Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality that it was a threat to the rights of religious bigots and their organizations. She pledged at the time to “do everything in my power to defend these rights;” she followed through with a religious license to discriminate tucked into an education bill.

These religious impositions legalizing discrimination are a growing trend now that the religious right co-owns the federal government. And as the folks over at the Human Rights Campaign noted, this particular “higher education bill is rife with other troubling aspects that should concern both LGBTQ students and all other students.” It is a continuation of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ effort to dismantle protections for victims of campus sexual assault targeting women and endemic in her crusade to use the Department of Education to “advance the kingdom of god.”

Since Trump’s poorly-attended inauguration there have been nonstop attacks on the rights of Americans, primarily women and members of the gay community, founded on evangelical fundamentalism. And those attacks are always justified as promoting religious freedoms despite they violate the U.S. Constitution; something that should horrify any American who still thinks they live in a free democratic society. Americans’ equal rights are being whittled away by religious Republicans and it is a tragedy that there is absolutely nothing any American can, or is willing to, do to stop the rush towards theocracy. For dog’s sake, most Americans are too afraid to even whisper that all of the Republican attacks on equality are founded on America’s bastardized version of Christianity and it’s exactly why the religious right is running the government.

Bishops Advise Republicans and Parents to Reject Trans Children

There is relatively solid proof now that all of the Republican negative ranting and raving about transgender people is driven by the historical bane of human decency, freedom and equality – religion.

First, when this column cites a religion as “fanatical, radical, or extremist,” particularly Christian denominations, it is not using a “broad stroke to portray” all Christians as fanatical, radical, extremist or bad. The same is true regarding criticism of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) or the Vatican or the Pope or any of that ridiculously rich syndicate’s bizarre dogmata; it is never about “all Catholics.

There are myriad reasons to attack many members of the clergy and none deserve more than the USCCB; if for no other reason than they implanted the “religious liberty” idea in the evangelical Republican lexicon. That American group of Catholic bishops are guilty of a world of offenses against women particularly, but also against members of the LGBTQ community.

At issue is an “open letter” issued by the USCCB, with many other religious leaders as signatories, “rejecting the legitimacy of transgender identity.” The theme of the letter on families is that parents have to “reject their transgender children” because god, bible, and social conservative (church) norms.

The open letter, “Created Male and Female” asserts that “transgender” is a “false idea that goes against reason;” and it is a “deeply troubling notion that a man can be or become a woman or vice versa.”  It was once a false idea and deeply troubling to “the Church” that the Earth orbited the Sun, but the Church still exists although it imprisoned and killed a few heretics for spreading a false and deeply troubling idea — heliocentrism.

The bishops failed to provide a link to any empirical data as to why transgender identity is a false idea or deeply troubling; just that a parent’s job is rejecting their child if they identify as transgender. The bishops attempted to validate their position by claiming ”transgender children are ‘harmed’ when they are affirmed in their identities,” but no-one with a pulse believes these former priests have any regard for children being “harmed.

One particularly offensive section of the letter states:

“Children especially are harmed when they are told that they can “change” their sex. Parents deserve better guidance on these important decisions, and we urge our medical institutions to honor the basic medical principle of “first, do no harm.” Gender ideology harms individuals and societies by sowing confusion and self-doubt. The state itself has a compelling interest, therefore, in maintaining policies that uphold the scientific fact of human biology and supporting the social institutions and norms that surround it.

There is so much inherently wrong, and revealing, in that section of the letter that it boggles the mind until one remembers who issued the ‘open letter’ in the first place and who the signatories are; a bunch of religious fanatics controlling the Republican social agenda. Republicans have hewed closely, and dutifully followed, the real meaning of the USCCB’s theocratic dictate:

The state has a compelling interest to maintain [church] policies and support the social [church] institutions and [church] norms that surround it.

Now, this holy edict that children especially are “harmed” if their transgender identity is affirmed is pure bovine excrement. According to several studies’ results, “the way parents respond to their child’s gender identity can have drastic consequences for their mental health.”

Parents that heed the USCCB’s advice and “reject their children for being transgender significantly increases depression and suicidal thinking.”  Conversely, one of the single most effective  “buffers against those negative consequences” is affirming the child’s identity, “allowing them to be as happy and healthy as their peers.”  What these bishops are advising is exactly what “sows self-doubt and confusion and can be remarkably damaging;” including causing depression and suicide.

The bishops also used a favorite religious right claim that the faithful who condemn transgenders are the “true victims.” They claim:

The movement to respect transgender people is ‘deeply troubling’ and compels people to either go against ‘reason’ or face ridicule, marginalization and other forms of retaliation.”

If the bishops contend that calling a dirty bigot a dirty bigot is “deeply troubling,” then they are no different than the dirty bigots in Trump’s Alt-right Nazi movement.  What the bishops never mention is the hate, “retaliation,” and discrimination that transgender people suffer in “employment, housing, health care, education, the justice system, and public accommodations.

Something that should raise red flags, even for people unsure about what “transgender” means, is this bizarre concept that a bunch of old white guys decked out in Goth-gear and claiming to be celibate get an opinion on parenting when they have never “had” children. Oh it is true that a terrifying number of those “holy men” have “had” plenty of children, but not in the sense that normal, decent or real “god-fearing” human beings ‘have’ children.  These are the same control-freaks who claim to have profound and godly expertise in women’s reproductive science as well as OB/GYN bona fides that Republicans use to control women’s reproductive rights.

What is particularly dangerous about this USCCB “open letter” is that Republicans will seize on it as overwhelming proof that restricting transgender people’s equal rights is justified. Remember, both houses of Congress summoned the same male religious leaders to give expert testimony to restrict women’s access to contraceptives. To think they won’t reference this letter as justification for denying transgenders’ rights is the height of naïveté; the letter tells Republicans that “the state has a compelling interest to maintain church policies and support church institutions and church norms that surround it.” The only group Republicans are more obedient to than the Koch brothers is the religious right and all it entails – particularly the USCCB.

It is one thing for the bishops, priests, reverends and ministers who signed on to the USCCB letter to control Republicans and their radical evangelical supporters; stupid people are easily manipulated. But they have no right to insert their perverted opinions on child-rearing into any family; especially when there is legitimate research demonstrating that the quickest way to harm transgender children, or adults for that matter, is to follow the bishops’ teachings.

It is noteworthy that there are a significant number of religious leaders, including Catholics and Baptists, who are strong advocates on behalf of transgender people; they at least act like “real Christians” and real “followers of Christ.” They are also not enamored with the USCCB for using religious dogma to put children at risk of depression and suicide; something the bishops apparently don’t regard as important. In fact, according to one of the signatories representing the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission;  “trans people are responsible for their own suffering for rejecting God.” As Zack Ford over at ThinkProgress noted, it is a sentiment the USCCB letter strongly implies.

This “parenting” letter from a bunch of old “celibate” white guys is further proof that the force behind most GOP attacks on Americans’ equal rights is driven by religion. That might be acceptable in theocratic regimes such as Iran and Saudi Arabia, but it is an atrocity in America. Not because they are attempting to control the people, that is what religion does. The real atrocity is that Republicans are dutifully following their edicts to the letter.

If that is unbelievable, think back to the GOP’s claims during North Carolina’s “trans toilet” controversy and then note the USCCB’s letter demanding enactment of “policies that uphold the truth of a person’s sexual identity as male or female, and the privacy and safety of all.”

It is true these bishops are hateful religious leaders to even suggest that parents should reject trans kids, but they represent a controlling religious syndicate that would not exist without using hate to control their sycophants – like the Republican movement. That they would endanger children by fundamentally saying they are “deeply troubling and false” as if they don’t exist is par for the course and something Republicans will repeat ad nauseam.

Image: Patheos

Armageddon Is Why Evangelicals Cheered Trump’s Jerusalem Speech

For normal people, the concept of sitting in safety and watching an event that wipes out most of the Earth’s population is certainly nothing to be excited about or celebrate. But no-one in their right mind has ever labeled evangelical fanatics anything remotely resembling normal people. On Friday during a Trump event and as a welcome to Florida, a Republican state senator gave an almost uneventful “introductory speech” for the Oval Office crook, and then he incited the audience to religious zeal with a statement that is beyond the pale, but typical for America’s theocrats.

The Florida Republican, Doug Broxson, represents Florida’s panhandle and he obviously knew his audience well because he gave them something horrific to cheer about and they delivered. Broxson said:

Now, I don’t know about you, but when I heard about Jerusalem — where the King of Kings [wild applause] where our soon coming King is coming back to Jerusalem, it is because President Trump declared Jerusalem to be capital of Israel.”

Ignoring the absurdity, audacity and danger of a foreigner “declaring” where a sovereign nation’s capital is, and the sovereign nation celebrating the intrusion into is “sovereignty,” there is a disturbing aspect of Broxson’s religious declaration.

There are millions of Trump supporters praying for, and highly anticipating, what a highly-respected theologian labeled the “climax of human history” in a globally devastating war. It doesn’t matter whether sane people believe the biblical prophesy of a global apocalypse or not, there are a very significant number of people within Trump’s administration, and likely all of his most fanatical evangelical supporters, who not only believe in “End Times” destruction, they want it to come tomorrow. And they will do whatever it takes to make it happen.

These people are inherently evil because they expect to be “raptured” away and given a “heavenly” seat to witness the extermination of humanity in a global god-war. That war, the dreaded “Armageddon,” will end in global conflagration that the Christian bible claims will occur around the time the faithful “rebuild the Temple” in Jerusalem. This is exactly why there were evangelical celebrations at Trump designating the city that is Israel’s new capital.

A little background on Broxson may shed some light on why he celebrated the idea of the new Israeli capital that leads to global devastation, the end of human history, and the extermination of human beings unwilling to bend to the will of the biblical god. And yes, even “regular Christians” have to admit that their holy book describes the end of non-compliant humanity at the biblical End Times.

Broxson attended a private Christian university with an embedded seminary located in Springfield, Missouri. The “Evangel University” is affiliated with the Assemblies of God Christian denomination that seriously believes End Times prophecy and looks forward to Jesus’ return to lay waste to the non-compliant in a globally devastating war.

Broxson is obviously not alone in his glee at Armageddon and that anticipation is widely shared among Trump’s religious supporters. That is particularly true for Trump’s most trusted “spiritual advisor” Robert Jeffress who believes the biblical “End Times” prophecy is the immutable word of god. Jeffress celebrated Trump “officially” designating Jerusalem as Israel’s new capital because it is where Jesus is rumored to return to wipe out evil. He said in a statement:

It is the place where Jesus, a Jew himself, was crucified and where he was resurrected. It is the place where he will set foot again on earth at his second coming.

According to theological scholar Dr. Diana Butler Bass, there is a reason, although a damn bizarre one, why recognizing Jerusalem is so crucially important to evangelicals lusting for “the apocalypse” and the end of the world. Ms. Bass said, and anyone familiar with the psychedelic book of Revelation is aware, that Trump’s announcement was important because “rebuilding the Temple” in Jerusalem “sparks the events of Revelation and the End Times.

Ms. Bass said:

Of all the possible theological dog-whistles to his evangelical base, this is the biggest. Trump is reminding them that he is carrying out God’s will to these Last Days. They’ve been waiting for this, praying for this. They want war in the Middle East. The Battle of Armageddon, at which time Jesus Christ will return to the Earth and vanquish all God’s enemies.”

It is important to note, and a point Bass warned was a real danger, is that for the evangelical fanatics supporting Trump, including Pence, Sessions,Ted Cruz, Roy Moore and countless other of the “frighteningly devout,”  Trump’s decision will hasten the “climax of history” and expedite their trip to proverbial Heaven to watch humanity’s destruction.

Professor Bass continued:

Trump is taking them there. To the promised judgment, to their sure victory. The righteous will be ushered to heaven; the reprobate will be banished to hellfire. People believe this. Really believe this. Have given their lives to these ideas, sing about them in their churches, evangelize others, teach them in Sunday schools. And, this morning, with the news of Jerusalem, these people are ecstatic. This is the fulfillment of biblical prophecy. And Donald Trump is not only acting on a campaign promise, but enacting a theological one.

They believe that Donald Trump is God’s instrument to move us closer to the Rapture, the Judgment, and the End. Because to them, that’s actually the beginning — the beginning of their reward and heavenly bliss.

What matters is that Jesus comes back in Judgement. To these sorts of Christians, that Judgment is the only true peace. Everything is phony, deceptive, even evil. Millions of American Christians believe all this. Millions of Trump voters. Sacred history is unfolding right now because of Donald Trump and God. They’ve based their faith, their identity, their purpose, their eternal lives on these ideas. Trust me. There’s no arguing with any of it.”

It is likely that “regular Christians” are as appalled at cheering for alleged “planet-wide”  destruction only possible in a biblical fantasy story, as non-believers. But Trump’s evangelical fanatics are as far from being “regular Christians” as Earth is from the edge of the observable universe; so this is not an indictment of “all Christians” or “using a wide brush” to portray all Christians as fanatics.

Even the Israeli media outlet Haaretz recognized that Trump’s “Jerusalem declaration” was driven by “evangelical forces” as well a to please Netanyahu. Only an idiot believes the declaration had anything to do with establishing Middle East peace. It has everything to do with inciting Muslims to violence, possibly to initiate the End Times to “bring on Armageddon” like so many evangelicals yearn for.

At this point no American should be confused about why “the faithful” support  a consummate sinner like Trump and it is apparent it is not all about abortion. The religious right has even started an organization, “POTUS Shield” to protect what evangelicals claim “is the anointed by god” so he can fulfill god’s will and bring about the End Times. Trump fulfilled his godly role by designating Jerusalem as Israel’s new capital and sane humans await the impending violence in response to another American’s interference in the Middle East.

For Trump’s evangelical supporters, that “interference” and impending violence is what they pray for because they are certain it is what god wanted Trump had to do to force the biblical destruction they get to watch from on high. If America was a secular democracy and not in the clutches of a seriously demented group of evangelicals, this entire story would be amusing. But it is not funny and it is certainly nothing for civilized human beings to celebrate.

Image: Patheos

Religious Leaders Arrested For Protesting Republicans’ Tax Bill

In a new low, even in Trump’s America, a group of faith leaders representing every major religion showed up at the Senate to protest the Republican tax reform legislation and for all their godly effort they were detained, handcuffed, and arrested – while they were praying.

It isn’t often that organized religious leaders join forces in opposition to Republicans, but in another sign the GOP’s tax reform giveaway to corporations and the ultra-wealthy is highly unpopular, another group of “faith leaders” joined a chorus of criticism against the Republicans. One thing that is universal in the great majority of religions is the idea of protecting the poor and the vulnerable, it was a major theme of Jesus Christ’s teaching and something ‘religious” Republicans vehemently oppose as un-American.

On Thursday, a group “faith advocates” gathered to protest the GOP legislation at the Hart Senate building. The head of a Christian social justice group “Sojourners,” Jim Wallis was joined by Barbara Williams Skinner of the National African American Clergy Network and a large group of clergy to pray and condemn “unjust rulers” using religious ideology right from the scriptures. The theme of the criticism was that the “bill is an assault on the poor and vulnerable” the multi-denominational clergy “are sworn to protect.”

Mr. Wallis actually quoted a passage from the GOP’s favorite part of the Christian bible, the Old Testament, that fairly describes what Republicans are attempting to do to the American people who aren’t corporations or members of the one percent. Wallis recited Isaiah 10:1 saying:

Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees, to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people.”

Police waited until after several other members of the clergy spoke out against the tax bill and then “detained, handcuffed, and escorted them away while they prayed.”  So much for the GOP’s high regard for “religious freedom.”

The previous day a group of “more than 2,400 faith leaders” representing Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Sikh, Buddhist and many other “faith traditions” signed a letter to Republican leaders in the Senate slamming the bill as “unjust.” In fact, the “clergy” listed several issues they opposed with special emphasis on how it was created to “disproportionately benefit the wealthy,’ explode the deficit and increase the number of uninsured Americans by millions.” The letter read, in part:

As people of faith, we view decisions about tax policy and the federal budget as moral decisions. Simply put, this proposed legislation is fundamentally unjust. If it becomes law, it will result in harmful consequences for those most needing support so as to benefit high-income earners and big corporations.”

Several high-profile religious organizations, including the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and surprisingly, even the president of the National Association of Evangelicals joined the CEO of Catholic Charities USA and Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church to condemn the cruel bill. The National Council of Churches summed up briefly why a majority of Americans, whether they are religious or not, oppose the GOP’s tax reform bill:

The tax bills currently before the US Congress are designed to make the rich richer and the poor poorer; and add $1.5 trillion to the national debt. These tax plans cannot be biblically defended.”

The tax bills cannot be “fiscally defended” either; but that isn’t stopping the Republican march towards transferring the treasury to corporations and the wealthy and burden the poor and middle class in the process. It is noteworthy to remind the clergy that their bible has no place in whether a tax plan can be defended; that theocratic remark ruined whatever positive “optics” the group hoped to shine on their worthy effort.

Now, although the faith leaders coming together to oppose this tax reform abomination is a kind gesture, as was the same group’s opposition to Trump’s immigration ban, repeal of DACA, and attempt at ending the Affordable Care Act, it is only a gesture and the religious leaders know it. The question a majority of those leaders have to answer before they will be taken seriously is why do they predominately support Republicans when they are well aware this particular “unjust” tax plan is the same as every other “unjust” Republican tax plan.

Without the reliable religious vote, Republicans would not control the House or the Senate or a growing majority of state legislatures. The only one reason the faithful support Republicans is because they pander to every faith and denomination that opposes women’s right to make their own reproductive choices. A fair number of the religious leaders condemning the Republican tax scam were also instrumental in aiding those same Republicans attack women’s rights over using birth control.

It is quite troublesome for a secular humanist to give much credence to some of these religious leaders because most of them know their efforts helped give Republicans control of Congress; all in a religious crusade to control women because doing so is “biblically defensible.” However, it is refreshing  to see Republicans being assailed by their staunchest supporters for a change; not that it matters to Republicans who no doubt had some input in having the protestors arrested while they were praying for the wrong issue.

Nothing To See – Roy Moore’s Pedophilia is Bible Approved

There are some acts that most civilized human beings consider beyond abnormal and one particularly obscene and heinous act is an when an adult male sexually abuses a child; unless they are an evangelical fundamentalist from Alabama. A state where political support for pedophiles is justified according to the Christian bible.

After revelations that Roy Moore sexually abused young girls, the alleged super-Christian doing his god’s will by attacking women and members of the LGBTQ community won praise from Alabama Republicans for modeling his pedophilia on biblical characters. Although it is true some Republicans in Congress were less than enthused that another one of their own is as immoral as their hero in the White House when it comes to sexually abusing women, Moore garnered enthusiastic support from his evangelical Republican home-boys back in Alabama.

Apparently, the thought of a 32 year-old Christian man forcing a 14-year old girl’s hand down his pants is not only acceptable in Alabama, it is a holy act that produced icons of the Christian faith such as John the Baptist and Jesus Christ. Seriously, no wildly imaginative science fiction writer could make this up. The wild fiction is not that an alleged uber-Christian is a pedophile, but that his actions are considered bible approved. These are some seriously sick, twisted individuals and they are running the government.

Alabama’s Republican State Auditor, a vile individual named Jim Ziegler, ardently defended Senate candidate Roy Moore’s sexual abuse of a 14-year old girl and sexual pursuit of at least four other Alabama teens. Ziegler “justified the GOP Senate candidate’s deplorable behavior” by citing examples from the Christian bible and offering proof that they produce good results.

What Ziegler is defending with his bible is what normal human beings consider sexual abuse and pedophilia. It is noteworthy that Ziegler never denied Moore’s guilt and why should he? According to Ziegler, Moore didn’t have sexual intercourse with the 14-year old girl;  he is only accused of  “kissing her, undressing her, touching her over her bra and underpants, and guiding her hand to touch him over his underwear.” Ziegler said:

There is nothing to see here. The allegations are that a man in his early 30s dated teenage girls. Even the Washington Post report says that he never had sexual intercourse with any of the girls.”

Then Ziegler cited scriptural evidence that Moore’s criminal behavior was “nothing to see” and certainly nothing any respectable Christian fundamentalist would ever consider wrong, immoral, or criminal. He claimed, in fact, that Moore’s pedophilia was practiced in the bible as a means of producing some relatively famous Christians. He continued defending Moore saying:

He’s clean as a hound’s tooth. Take the bible. Zachariah and Elizabeth for instance. Zachariah was extremely old to marry Elizabeth and they became parents of John the Baptist.

 Also take Joseph and Mary. Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus. There’s just nothing immoral or illegal here.”

Although Ziegler stopped short of saying Moore’s pedophilia was a  holy attribute to be admired because Jesus and John the Baptist, he did the next best thing. Not that it will impact Moore’s assured victory on Tuesday, it appears that like Trump boasting about grabbing women by the vulva (pussy), Alabama voters will overlook sexual abuse and pedophilia if one of their champions promises to continue waging religious war against women and gays.

One Republican county party chairman, Riley Seibenhener, said that “Mr. Moore was not guilty of ‘forcible rape,’” and that “I know that 14-year-olds don’t make good decisions.”

Another party chairman from Bibb  county, Jerry Pow, said he would continue to support Moore:

Even if the candidate had committed a sex crime. I would vote for Judge Moore because I wouldn’t want to vote for Doug [Moore’s opponent]. I’m not saying I support what he did.

Notice that like the Republican state auditor, Mr. Pow does not deny Moore’s guilt, just that he doesn’t support sexual abuse and pedophilia. He will support Moore no matter what he did, but he didn’t say whether he would change his mind and support pedophilia and sexual abuse because it was scriptural.

It is noteworthy that citing the Christian bible to support sexual abuse is highly selective, and blatantly hypocritical. Republicans, particularly Alabama Republicans, are vehemently opposed to legal and medically safe abortions, and yet right there in the same bible that apparently condones pedophilia, the “loving” Christian god commands his followers to “rip open pregnant women’s wombs;” and he commands it more than once.

One never hears an anti-choice Republican cite the bible when they attempt to ban women from legally terminating a pregnancy because there is no biblical justification for opposing a woman’s right to choose, but it is all “Jesus and John the Baptist” when one of their own sexually abuses a 14-year-old girl and who really knows how many others; only four have come forward.

What these dirty Republicans do know is that it doesn’t matter how badly a candidate acts, including being accused of sexual abuse of minors; the voters will still support them. However, citing their alleged holy bible as a precedent, and justification, to defend one of their most ardent fundamentalist Christian crusader’s pedophilia is beyond the pale. No doubt Alabama evangelicals will flock to the polls to vote for Moore despite being accused of sexual abuse by at least four minor girls simply because it cannot possibly be a crime if it produced a couple of highly-regarded and popular paragons of the Christian religion.

This absurdity founded on the bible is an incredibly dangerous portent of what American women and girls have to look forward to now that the religious right controls all three branches of government. The idea that there are any justifications for an adult male sexually abusing a woman is an atrocity, but it is already gaining acceptance in Trump’s administration. Remember, it was just recently that Education Secretary held closed-door counseling meetings with anti-feminist male groups and then made sexual abuse on college campuses the woman’s fault and rolled back protections because the men’s groups complained they were treated unfairly.

That Moore garnered immediate support after being accused, by four women, of sexual abuse is just more proof that there is an ongoing Republican war on women founded on religion. Whether it is forcing women to be perpetual birth machines, or making them culpable for being raped, or using the Christian bible to justify sexual abuse of a minor, women are being assaulted by Republicans and their fundamentalist base will continue supporting them because Jesus and John the Baptist.

God and Prayers Will Not Prevent More Gun Massacres

Most Americans are familiar with the term talk is cheap, and after another regular occurrence in America, they should be aware that Republicans talking about prayer isn’t just cheap, it’s utterly worthless; and that is precisely what it is meant to be.

It was interesting to see, yet again, that after the mass shooting at a Baptist church in Texas, a comedienne was raked over the coals for “talking politics” in the aftermath of a massacre. Apparently, Chelsea Handler should have followed Republicans’ lead and talked about prayer as if it is going to have any impact on stopping these uniquely American events. After several mass shootings every year and every Republican alive offering prayers for the victims, one can say without hesitation that prayers are not and will not stop senseless gun massacres; only politics will. Even Republicans’ base comprehends that flagrant truth.

Ms. Handler was assailed for writing:

Innocent people go to church on Sunday to honor their God, and while doing so, get shot and killed. What country? America. Why? Republicans.”

Like plenty of other Americans, this wasn’t Ms. Handler’s first attack on Republicans over their rejection of gun safety measures, but to be criticized for calling out the real source of the problem is, in part, why these senseless massacres will continue unabated and result in more calls for “praying” from Republicans who are complicit in the proliferation of guns in the population. The gist of the criticism Handler received is as common as American mass shootings:

The bodies aren’t even cold yet and you are politicizing them. You really have a dark heart.”

That particular comment had to have come from a Republican and likely a gun-toting evangelical to boot. Handler wasn’t politicizing the “cold bodies;” she was rightly politicizing the massacre and putting the onus for the event on the politicians responsible – NRA-funded Republicans. They are the first to offer “prayers for the victims” because that is all they will do to protect the NRA. They bear the responsibility for creating a society that allows a former bible studies teacher to don “combat gear” and acquire an assault rifle in what will never be a civilized society as long as Republicans exist to serve the NRA.

What Ms. Handler knows, like even half-sane Americans, is that only Republicans can prevent more “cold bodies” as well as more worthless offerings of “prayers for the victims” that serve no purpose whatsoever. Let’s face it, if “prayers for the victims” were ever going to solve the regular gun massacres in America, the last mass shooting would have been in Sandy Hook; there were nationwide prayers, and calls for prayers for the victims after 20 children and six adults were slaughtered by a white guy with an assault weapon, but those prayers didn’t prevent any more. And, one adds that “praying for the victims” after they are slaughtered is not going to bring them back to their families.

Look you phony Christians, your religion’s namesake, Jesus Christ, specifically commanded you to go in your house, in a closet, and pray in private. For dog’s sake, if Jesus Christ condemned fake Christians for praying in public to put on a “showy display,” then he certainly condemns going on television or releasing “official” statements or issuing “Tweets” as a “showy display” of your fake “prayers for the victims.” The only thing Republicans are praying for, especially after another gun massacre, is a continued flow of campaign money from the National Rifle Association for not taking a political stance to protect the people they claim to be praying for.

It is noteworthy to mention, while “the bodies are barely cold,” that there is a completely different response from Trump and his Republican facilitators when a terror attack is committed by a non-white suspect. Three white guys within a month commit a mass shooting and it’s all about “praying for the victims.” And yet one Muslim kills several pedestrians in New York and there are immediate calls for harsh action to prevent any more senseless killings.

There have been no Republican calls for action on gun violence or the proliferation of assault weapons in the population no matter how many victims or how many times they issue “calls for prayer for the victims” to “stop the evil.” Curiously, there were even calls for more religion in America after Las Vegas becauseAmerica needs god, not gun control;” as if the innocent Texas victims were not in “their god’s house” sincerely “praying to their god” when they were killed with an assault rifle.

America does need gun control and Americans have to start politicizing the bodies ad nauseam; and they damn sure need to make it painful. Because several times a year Republicans call for and offer prayers for the victims of gun violence and nothing changes because the NRA doesn’t want it to. Don’t believe it?

Immediately after the Sutherland Springs massacre Texas attorney general Ken Paxton called for more people to buy and carry guns to church and for more liberal open carry laws. It is noteworthy that in 2014 the NRA proudly announced that its 5-million nationwide members were endorsing Ken Paxton in his campaign to be Texas’ attorney general.  It should be no surprise that Paxton was quick to offer his “prayers for the victims” just prior to calling for more guns in church and looser open carry laws.

Texas’ governor also got in on the “god and prayers” for the victims as if that is going to prevent more mass shootings. Gregg Abbott said what Texans need is more god.

Texans were asking for god’s comfort, for god’s guidance, and for god’s healing for all those who suffered.”

Abbott, like his NRA-funded attorney general just called for a temporary “no-cost license to carry” and in June signed every pro-NRA gun legislation he could get his hands on. And like Ken Paxton, Abbott garnered a coveted NRA endorsement during his campaign for governor that included “all 5-million nationwide NRA members” support to govern Texas and promote more firearms in the population; including assault weapons like the one that slaughtered 26 innocent Texans worshipping and praying to their god for comfort, guidance and healing. If Abbott cared about his constituents, he would stand up to the NRA instead of sitting there signing legislation putting more guns on Texas’ streets.

Exactly as happened after Sandy Hook, Orlando, Charleston, Las Vegas, and countless other mass shootings, Republicans will spend a day or two criticizing what they call  “politicizing the tragedy” even as they continue to offer meaningless “prayers for the victims” and more calls for “god.” Even though god or prayers have proven impotent to stop these preventable massacres, the only people who can help stop the madness continue praying and saying “more god.”

There will be more calls for some sane gun safety measures that an overwhelming majority of Americans ardently support, and the NRA will watch its industry sell more guns, likely more assault rifles. And those victims’ families will grieve and mourn the senseless gun violence that claimed their loved ones without wondering why their god is not listening to all the Republicans’ prayers. The insanity of this abominable and regular situation is that as absurd as it seems, every one of the victims’ families will likely rush to the ballot box to vote for Republicans, the NRA and more of their useless prayers.

GOP House Bill Bans Abortion Before Women Know They’re Pregnant

The horrendous saga known as the evangelical Republican war on women continues unabated with a simply horrific bill rapidly advancing in the theocratic House of Representatives. Every week there has been a new development informing the Vatican-influenced “Personhood” movement and evangelicals led by Mike “preacher” Pence have made their raison d’être banning all forms of birth control as well as bestow full constitutional rights on a single-celled organism that supersedes those of the impregnated woman. None of these vicious evangelical attacks on women are unexpected, and it is the primary reason a few journalists are heartsick after writing prolifically for years on the dangers of allowing theocratic-minded Republicans to take control of the government. It is with no satisfaction that those journalists can legitimately say “we told you so.”

The latest abomination is a bill banning abortion at six weeks, before most women know their egg was fertilized and they are pregnant. The religious zealots behind the bill are the “Personhoodmovement and their obscene claim that an embryonic heartbeat means an abortion is a federal crime and grounds for a fine and prison time.

It is noteworthy to reiterate for the ten-thousandth time that the Personhood movement bases its entire attack on women’s reproductive rights and self-determination on a 1968 papal encyclical, Humanae Vitae. In that Vatican document any attempt to prevent a male gamete (spermatozoa) from joining with a female gamete (oocyte) to produce a eukaryotic cell (zygote) is abortion and a mortal sin. It is precisely the stance taken by the evangelicals now running the United States government.

The bill’s sponsor, Representative Steve King (R-IA), said his legislation is purposely in opposition to “national abortion protections” he claims are patently unconstitutional; passing an embryonic heartbeat bill is the first step in criminalizing abortion. King said:

Since Roe v. Wade was unconstitutionally decided in 1973, nearly 60 million innocent babies’ lives have been ended by the abortion industry, all with a rubber stamp by the federal government. If a heartbeat is detected, the baby is protected. We think this bill properly applied does eliminate a large, large share of the abortions—90 percent or better—of the abortions in America.”

There is so much wrong with King’s statement. The idea that a Supreme Court ruling is “unconstitutional” because it contradicts a Vatican document and King’s religion should preclude him from ever serving in any capacity in any government entity. He can be a preacher with that mindset, but not a member of Congress. He did, in fact, take a “so help me god” oath to support the Constitution that says the Supreme Court is the arbiter of what is and is not constitutional. A Republican theocrat does not determine what is constitutional. But that is precisely what King claims and he admitted that his legislation is correcting the “unconstitutionality” of Roe v Wade; that is the purpose of H.R 490, the so-called “Fetal Heartbeat Protection Act of 2017.”

If the bill becomes law, abortion will be banned “in cases where a fetal heartbeat is detectable” or in “situations where doctors intend to move forward without determining whether the fetus [embryo] has a detectable heartbeat.” The personhood zealots began the ‘fetal’ heartbeat assault on women’s reproductive rights when modern technology was capable of detecting an embryonic heartbeat at six weeks, before most women even know they are pregnant.

It is noteworthy that at six weeks, not only is there no baby and no “person,” there is no fetus; it is an embryo. King’s legislation can’t even get the biological terminology right due to his faith-driven stupidity.

There is also the issue of a zygote, an embryo or a fetus being “a baby.” For dog’s sake, even an imbecile understands what “a baby” is and they know it isn’t a stinking zygote, an embryo or a fetus. When the fetus leaves the womb and breathes air without medical intervention, then and only then is it “a baby;” or according to the god in Steve King’s holy bible “a living being.” That is his god’s determination and it was so important he made the remark several times in Steve King’s holy rule book and never once mentioned a zygote, embryo or a fetal heartbeat.

Religious Republicans have attempted these insane “heartbeat” bills at the state level only to see them either struck down as unconstitutional or shelved because the legal costs of losing in court was too great; and those unconstitutional ‘fetal heartbeat’ laws banned abortion at 12 weeks instead of six. The latest effort at the federal level is no less unconstitutional, but religious Republicans will go to insane lengths to impose a Vatican edict as American law. On Thursday NARAL Senior Vice President Sasha Bruce said:

The GOP’s crazy obsession with banning all abortions in this country knows no end, no boundary, and no common sense. Their latest crazy, and clearly unconstitutional, idea is a ban that applies to [people] who don’t even know they’re pregnant yet, intentionally preventing them from accessing care altogether.

Americans are clear: they want their elected officials addressing the crises our country faces instead of wasting time and taxpayer dollars attempting to ban abortion. The majority of Americans stand on the side of abortion access, and seven in 10 Americans believe abortion should remain legal and accessible.”

Although everything Ms. Bruce said is true, it is a monumental mystery why she still hesitates citing the “unconstitutional” source of all these “obsessive, crazy and unconstitutional” ideas is religion.

Of course it’s the GOP pushing the unconstitutional laws, but it is only because the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), the personhood movement and the Vatican are forbidden from passing and enacting theocratic legislation; that’s the job of their evangelical Republican surrogates. And it doesn’t matter what the majority of American want. This country is being run by a minority of evangelical fanatics who have as little regard for what Americans want as they do the Constitution or women’s right to self-determination about anything, but particularly their reproductive health rights. And those rights are closer to being abridged in a big way if King and his religious cabal have their way.

King and his personhood cohort want the legislation to pass and immediately face legal challenges all the way to the Supreme Court. King told the press that he does hope the bill makes it to the High Court noting that Trump already appointed anti-choice malcontent Neil Gorsuch to the bench and “hopefully” will appoint a couple more:

By the time we march this thing down to the Supreme Court, the faces on the bench will be different, we just don’t know how much different but I am optimistic.”

 This is the third flagrant religious attack on women’s rights to self-determination in three weeks and it is obvious it is not going to be the last by any means. All the while, most Americans are transfixed on Trump’s latest tweet instead of the non-stop attacks on over half the population’s constitutional rights.

The ultimate goal, of course, with all these “lesser assaults” on women’s reproductive rights is banning abortion and contraceptives. Don’t believe it? Just wait; because it is in the Vatican’s Humanae Vitae and every assault on women’s reproductive health since Trump’s poorly-attended inauguration have their foundation in this one religious document; something nobody wants to talk about as America inches closer to being a theocracy.

Image: Eclectablog

White House Memo Signals Massive Religious War On Women in 2018

Any American who believed the Trump White House was finished ravaging women’s healthcare after past two weeks was sadly mistaken. It seemed impossible the evangelicals running Trump’s America could get any worse after the Health and Human Service’s (HHS) declaration that a single-celled organism is a living person worthy of federal government protections. That biblically- and biologically-incorrect “myth” that the moment of conception is a person according to Vatican dogmata was a preview of what the Trump theocrats have in store for women in 2018.

A recently leaked White House memo portends an America in the image of the Emmy Award Winning HULU original series and 1986 dystopian novel “The Handmaids Tale” and the beginning of the end of birth control in America.

Two weeks ago Trump granted religious authority to all employers to withhold contraceptives from their employees according to their Vatican-inspired belief that “any artificial” means of birth control is an abortion and a mortal sin. Trump granted that religious authority to protect evangelicals’ religious liberty to control women.

One week ago, the Department of Health and Human Services “mission statementrevealed that going forward in the United States, a zygote is a living person the government exists to protect. Both of those actions insinuated exactly what the evangelicals Trump authorized to wage war on women and families are planning for 2018 according to the leaked White House document.

The memo was acquired by Crooked Media and it was almost certainly written by the evangelicals running domestic policy and prosecuting Trump’s war against women, families, and their freedom of self-determination; all to protect evangelicals’ religious freedom to control women.

The Trump administration’s policy agenda on women’s reproductive health “guts” funding for all evidence-based pregnancy prevention programs and transfers that  money directly to evangelicals’ failed  “abstinence only education” and “fertility awareness programs.” Fertility awareness is code for the only Vatican-approved form of “natural” family planning and birth control, the unreliable “rhythm method.” It is important to note for the ten-thousandth time the according to the 1968 Papal encyclical Humanae Vitae, using “unnatural” or “artificial” forms of birth control is a ticket straight to the biblical Hell; even though it doesn’t say that in any Christian bible.

Some of the “wish list’s” more offensive features are defunding “Title X” because it is the only federally-funded family planning initiative and it does not ban “artificial” contraception and it doesn’t  promote “abstinence only education” or “fertility awareness” programs as the only acceptable form of birth control. They aren’t promoted because they don’t work.

The “list” also included ending the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) budget because, that’s right, it doesn’t promote “ abstinence only and fertility awareness” as the only Vatican-approved form of “natural” birth control.

Also on the evangelicals’ chopping block is a federal Teen Pregnancy Prevention program (TPP) because it doesn’t mandate abstinence-only education. And just to demonstrate that the evangelicals are not content warring against American women, the World Health Organization (WHO) is on the outs because of the “Let Girls Learn” initiative that’s part of USAID.

The memo calls for cutting Title X fundingat least in half” because it helps low-income women afford “artificial” and “unnatural” forms of birth control banned by the Vatican. The evangelicals want the money diverted to what Republicans in Congress might allow to remain of “childcare programs” because according to the Guttmacher Institute, Title X is preventing at least one million unintended pregnancies every year.

The remaining Title X funds will go straight to “fertility awareness” programs; that is code for the so-called “rhythm method.”  It is the only Catholic approved “natural” form of birth control and relies on abstinence during the period a woman is fertile each month. But it is not dependable by any measure and that appears to be the point.

The “rhythm methodfails to prevent pregnancy over 25 percent of the time and was appropriate for 19th Century “family planning.” Conversely, Vatican-condemned “unnatural” and “artificial” forms of birth control have failure rates of between “less than one percent to one percent” when used correctly.  To make sure young women are ignorant of using any form of “unnatural” or “artificial” birth control “correctly,” the evangelical memo calls for completely wiping out the “Teen Pregnancy Prevention” program (TPP).

That highly successful program initiated in 2010 is “evidence-based policymaking” and not founded on a 1986 papal encyclical, so Trump’s evangelicals say it absolutely has to be eliminated. Trump’s evangelicals said “the program has not worked and there is no positive evidence and some negative evidence.”

Trump’s lying evangelicals made an easily debunked and “categorically false statement” about TPP in their crusade to control women.  According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), just between 2010 and 2015 the teen pregnancy birth dropped a whopping 35 percent; currently the teen pregnancy birth rate is at “an all time low.”

Obviously the Trump administration is making it more difficult for women to access effective forms of contraception and want taxpayer dollars spent teaching women how to use the least effective method because it is Vatican approved. This is not a religious liberty issue, or a pro-life issue; it is a forced childbirth crusade and nothing else.

It is stunning, really, that few Americans recognize the pattern of attacks on women over the past seven years, or that it is a religious attack on women, and families. It should have been a clarion call to action when evangelical employers won the right to deny birth control access to their workers, but it wasn’t. Now, all employers can claim “religious freedom” to withhold contraceptives from their employees and the federal government says a zygote is a living person. This is an evangelical holy war against birth control and the religious right is winning with little to no opposition.

One would like to claim that it is high time for women to take to the streets to save their right to self-determination, and personal freedoms, but it is too late. The religious right controls the halls of power and they are using that power to control women and force them into perpetual childbirth to sate the whims of a religious edict with no scriptural basis; not that a “scriptural basis” would make these attacks any less of an affront. America is still a secular democracy, although a dying one, and there is no place for scripture in government policy.

If men think they aren’t affected by an evangelical administration they are stupider than the moron in the Oval Office. It’s likely there aren’t too many men that relish struggling to support a family of ten or eleven children, or remain celibate to avoid living in poverty, but that is precisely what Republicans and evangelicals are pushing to fruition. If nothing else, men should be enraged that a bunch of old white Republican guys with bibles and misogynists wearing funny religious costumes are crusading to control their wives, daughters, mothers and sisters, but it’s glaringly apparent they are not.

Most Americans with an ounce of awareness knew a Republican-dominated government would attack women’s rights; they have to pay tribute to their evangelical voting bloc. However, it is unlikely they were aware the attacks would come as fast and furious as they have thus far. If the Trump evangelicals get their way, and there is every reason to believe they will, 2018 will be the beginning of the end of women’s reproductive rights and they will have imposed a Vatican policy nationwide with little opposition. This is a monumental escalation in the war on women and a damn dark sign America is inching closer to being a theocracy where women are nothing more than birth machines. Still, there is more outrage over Trump’s tweets than the vicious religious assault on women.

Trump Legitimizes The Evangelical Hate Movement

Donald Trump is hate personified and it would be nearly impossible to think there were very many Americans who don’t believe that is the case; including no small number of his zealot devotees. They support Trump because like them, he is not the least bit bashful about exuding rage towards the people he hates; a group of Americans that is growing at about the same rate a productive hen lays an egg.

Fortunately for Trump, there is an honest-to-dog hate conference sponsored by several bonafide evangelical hate groups that welcomed him with open hearts last week so he didn’t have to hate alone. In fact, Trump was so enthused at being amongst a throng of religious hate mongers that he stopped talking about himself for a minute to say what an honor it was to be among “his” people. Sadly, “his” people make up a larger segment of the population than most Americans want to admit.

The Values Voter Summit is put on annually by several religious right hate groups led by the Family Research Council; an officially-designatedhate group.” Trump was the first White House occupant to address the hate group and he promptly told the cheering evangelicals that their racist, anti-women and anti-LGBTQ views would “no longer be silenced;” they would be administration policy because he pledged to “defend and protect” the evangelical hateful.

While any self-respecting human being would avoid commiserating in public with a movement renowned as a “hate group,” Trump delighted in being admired and praised by “his people.” He said:

I am honored and thrilled to be the first sitting president to address this gathering of friends, so many friends.  I pledged that in a Trump administration, our heritage would be cherished, protected and defended like you have never seen before. We are returning moral clarity to our view of the world.”

When Trump said “our view of the world,” he meant the Family Research Council’s evangelical view founded on pure hate against everything LGBT, women’s rights, and racial equality as evidenced by the white supremacist presence at the hate convention. Of course Trump couldn’t address anyone without addressing his own awesomeness and with a captive audience as dripping with evangelical hatred as Trump has for everything America, he let loose with a few of his most hateful actions to date.

Anti-LGBT groups like the FRC exerted a fair amount of pressure on, and plenty of evangelical prayers to, Trump for a sweeping federal license to discriminate against women and gays according to their evangelical hate standards. So Trump praised himself for directing his equally hateful evangelical attorney general to issue a “bombshell directive” giving evangelicals a ‘’religious exemption” from abiding by any and all anti-discrimination protections for women, gays and people of color.

He also boasted that he gave churches the right to violate campaign finance and tax laws to help elect Republicans and give dark money donors like the Kochs and Karl Rove untouchable religious Super PACs. Not only do churches not have to be accountable to campaign finance or tax laws, the wealthy donors like the Kochs can write off their campaign donations as charitable contributions to churches.

Trump said:

To protect religious liberty, including protecting groups like this one, I signed a new executive action in a beautiful ceremony in the White House on our national day of prayer.

Among many historic steps, the executive order followed through on one of my most important campaign promises, important to so many of you. To prevent the horrendous Johnson Amendment interfering with your First Amendment rights.

We will not allow government workers to censor sermons or target our pastors, our ministers, our rabbis. These are the people we want to hear from and they’re not going to be silenced any longer.”

When Trump said people “we” want to hear from, he meant Republicans want to hear evangelical clergy campaigning from the pulpit to expedite their hate crusade against women and LGBT people; a crusade that already gave religious Republicans control of all three branches of government.

Trump also boasted that he did precisely what the evangelical hate movement demanded by appointing an anti-women’s rights and anti-LGBT equality conservative to the Supreme Court. In a nod to the FRC hate group’s dream of “banning gay sex,” Trump bragged that “I appointed and confirmed a Supreme Court justice in the mold of the late great Justice Antonin Scalia.” In 2002 Scalia dissented on the High Court decision to strike down barbaric religious laws banning gay sex in the United States just 15 years ago.

It is noteworthy that at least two of Trump’s “great friends” speaking to the Hate Voters, as well as the Family Research Council’s president, are violently opposed to anything remotely LGBT and women’s rights. Trump’s newest love-interest Roy Moore allegedly is not publicly certain that gays should be allowed to live; but he is publicly certain that his bible is the law of the land and it does call for killing gay people. Another man equally as enamored with Trump as Trump is of him, Duck Dynasty malcontent Phil Robertson, addressed Trump’s “great friends;” Robertson often makes it perfectly clearhe wants to rid the Earth of wicked gays.

Now, it is no revelation that Trump is the embodiment of hate, or that the FRC’s Values Voter Summit typifies American evangelical hate, there are likely hate groups in every society and most are driven by radical religious beliefs. However, only a minority of the world’s nations are in the thrall of an administration founded on hate with veritable universal support from a small, but very vocal radical religious minority.

The seriously damning indictment of America is that 60-plus million Americans’ supported Donald Trump or he would be pandering to some second-rate cable network for another reality show gig. Throughout the presidential primaries and general election, Trump exuded hatred for every and anything and no American of voting age can say they didn’t know what kind of hate monger he is.

It is a damn sad state of affairs, but now that monster and his hate-infested evangelical cabal are running the nation, and Trump legitimized the hate movement by boasting about every hateful action he directed according to the evangelical’s demands. There are plenty of commentaries claiming the hate groups in America are a small minority, but don’t believe the sophistry. Instead, believe the numbers of Americans who spent six or seven months hearing and seeing hate incarnate on a daily basis and then voted for that incarnation to run the nation and legitimize evangelical hate as an integral element of “his government.”

Vatican Edict In Trump’s HHS Portends Extreme Danger for Women

When the right-wing screams they want to take their country back to a dark era when women were relegated to third class status, they likely didn’t count on going back to the 14th Century. That was smack in the middle of the seriously dark era when the Catholic Church virtually ruled the world by controlling nearly all of western civilization by imposing its theocratic will on leaders of most nations.

Now, the Catholic Church is influencing America’s leaders according to an abominable three words in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) draft mission statement. Although it defies science, the Christian bible, the Catholic and evangelical right’s almighty god and just plain common sense, Trump’s evangelical cabal inserted a purely religious edict as government policy to sate the religious right and United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). They are the two extremely dangerous groups that vehemently oppose a woman’s right to make any decisions about their reproductive health and lives. This is really that serious and a sign of terrible imposition of religion by government fiat.

Some Americans know there was a Republican war on women but it was really always “religious” war on women. Now that war is being conducted by Trump’s federal theocrats who inserted a Vatican phrase into the HHS mission statement lifted right out of the 1968 Papal encyclical on life –  Humanae Vitae subtitled “On the Regulation of Birth.”

During previous administrations, the HHS mission statement was:

HHS accomplishes its mission through programs and initiatives that cover a wide spectrum of activities, serving Americans at every stage of life.”

 Now, with an administration hewing close to the standard Catholic discriminatory religious orthodoxy on women’s health and personal life decisions, the HHS mission statement says:

HHS accomplishes its mission through programs and initiatives that cover a wide spectrum of activities, serving and protecting Americans at every stage of life, beginning at conception.”

Those three words, “beginning at conception,” are the sole basis for the Vatican’s unholy and unscriptural opposition to “any form of ‘unnatural’ or ‘artificial’ birth control.” It is noteworthy that the only form of ‘natural’ birth control that literally guarantees “birth control” is celibacy.

Some Americans are aware that under the Affordable Care Act birth control was required to be covered with no co-pay as a preventive health service for women and their families. It was an attempt to correct the bias against women in the insurance industry as well as provide Americans with valuable assistance in family planning. That “assistance” was too much for Republicans indebted to the radical evangelical cult that exists to control and dominate women. So Trump jumped at chance to repay the patriarchs in the religious right and scrapped the contraception mandate in a blatant religious attack on American women.

The new theocratic ruling will impact the millions of women who now receive contraceptives at no cost under the “former” provision and it was a ruling the evangelical fanatics and USCCB wanted to eliminate. The idea of women getting or using contraceptives at all is an abomination to the Vatican, so in conjunction with the religious right they tasked Republicans to oppose the mandate and Trump made it go away.

The new rules allow all manner of employers, including nonprofits, private companies, and publicly traded corporations to join radical evangelicals like Hobby Lobby’s owners and ban contraceptives in health insurance plans based on a “sincerely held religious or moral objection;” an objection founded on the Vatican’s 1968 “encyclical on life.”

Tragically, now that the evangelical extremist sect got the basis for the Vatican’s edict on life inserted into the federal Health Department’s mission statement, the stage is set for the personhood movement to abolish, not just restrict,  any form of ”unnatural or artificial birth control,” fertility treatments, abortion, or anything to do with stem cell research; all forbidden in the 1968 Roman Catholic encyclical on life and founded on the religious fantasy that “life begins at conception.”

The idea that life begins at conception is a Catholic construct with absolutely no scriptural, biological, or medical science basis whatsoever. In fact it contradicts what the Christian bible’s almighty god said several times about when life begins. As a reminder, according to the “immutable and unerring word of god” of the Christian bible; there is no life, or “living being,” until a fetus leaves the womb and draws “the breath of life.” No zygote, embryo or fetus can possible draw “the breath of life;” but that inconvenient truth doesn’t fit the Vatican, and now bastardized American Christians, plan to control women’s reproductive lives.

Of course the evangelical fanatics and Vatican control freaks know exactly what their god said regarding living beings, but they cannot control women’s reproductive health choices unless a single-celled zygote is a person; that is exactly what the Catholic ‘personhood’ movement claims. Now the United States federal government claims it as official policy.

It was that “life begins at conception” absurdity that Hobby Lobby used to convince the conservatives on the Supreme Court that birth control pills are “abortifacients.” For the uninformed, an abortifacient is a drug used to induce an abortion or cause a miscarriage after a sperm cell fertilizes an ovum; the definition of “ the moment of conception.”

Hobby Lobby, following the Vatican’s encyclical on life, claimed that using birth control prevents conception and is therefore abortion. Of course the conservatives on the High Court conceded that using contraceptives is not “an abortion,” but because it was contrary to Hobby Lobby owners’ “sincerely held religious or moral objections,” the Court acquiesced to the Vatican edict and ruled in Hobby Lobby’s favor.

It is likely that many Americans, including religious Americans and women, have no concept of the danger inherent in an extremist religious edict such as “life begins at conception;” it will have a deleterious impact on women and men. Remember, according to the Vatican edict, any unnatural form of birth control is strictly verboten on pain of everlasting torment in Hellfire; because birth control prevents “conception” the clergy claims is tantamount to murder. That means birth control pills, IUDs, diaphragms, tubal ligations, hysterectomies, vasectomies, condoms and any other “unnatural or artificial” form of birth control are abortion; because they all prevent “conception.”

Now that America is in the clutches of a cabal of radical religious extremists, every nightmarish scenario possible is just another executive order away from becoming reality. It is worth remembering that the religious right was not always opposed to abortion or contraception. They embraced the issue as their own after they lost the right to impose school segregation in the South on counsel and advice from the United States Conference of Bishops (USCCB). The religious right needed an emotional cause célèbre to garner electoral support for Republicans and the USCCB gave them one straight from the Vatican – “life begins at conception.”

To be perfectly clear, and head off criticism, this is not condemning Catholics any more than it is condemning Christians; just those extremists, organizations, and clergy forcing their dangerous pseudo religious dogmata on all Americans. It is almost certain that most Catholics and Christians would be appalled if they understood the danger of theocratic edicts like “life begins at conception” as a federal government policy.

As an aside, it is odd that a very high percentage of Catholic women have used birth control and it leads one to wonder if making it harder to acquire contraception in America is driving this bizarre fantasy that life begins at conception. According to the Catholic god’s immutable and unerring word, life begins when a fetus exits the womb and draws “the breath of life.”

The only thing that begins at conception is a diploid cell (zygote) resulting from the fusion of two haploid gametes; a sperm and an ovum. It is a basic biological fact that the Vatican, evangelical fanatics and Republicans refuse to grasp even though their god explained it so a three-month-old Rottweiler could understand it. Now America is in the grip of these religious maniacs, and it appears women are in the grip of the Vatican’s 1968 Humanae Vitae; a document well-suited for the 14h Century the Trump administration and evangelical right are imposing in 21st Century America.

Image: CNS/Bob Roller