Theocracy Alert: LGBT students forced to read bible as punishment

No doubt human beings read the Christian bible for various reasons whether it is to learn how to live according to Stone and Bronze Age sensibilities in the 21st Century, or to verify that America’s bastardized version of the faith is founded on fantastical lies, or for academic studies into archaic mythology and superstition. For some people it is probable that reading the Christian bible is sheer torture, and it may explain why an Oregon school forced LGBTQ students to read Christian bible scriptures as punishment.

First, although America officially began lurching towards becoming an evangelical theocracy shortly before Trump’s poorly attended inauguration, it is still patently unconstitutional to insert any religion into public education – regardless what “preacher” Pence or Education Secretary and evangelical extremist Betsy DeVos believe. It almost certainly occurs often but is hardly reported for a couple of reasons. Either because victims are terrified of the theocrats, or because there are far too many evangelical extremists in power who regularly flout the U.S. Constitution by inserting and promoting some form of the Christian religion in public schools they refuse to accept or believe that their Christian bible is not the Constitution and ultimate law of the land and they will inflict damage on anyone claiming otherwise.

It is noteworthy that the evangelical extremists who reject the Constitution as heretical also believe that the Constitution imparts religious liberty authorizing evangelicals to single out women and members of the LGBTQ community for “special treatment” regardless of equal rights laws or federal protections against discrimination. Of course it is abominable and contrary to the Constitution to discriminate against any American, but to discriminate against gay students and then use the Christian bible for punishment in the public schools would be criminal if America wasn’t creeping towards theocracy.

In a rural region about 200 miles from Portland Oregon the North Bend School District is facing what are being termed “serious discrimination” charges for “forcing at least one LGBTQ student to read the Christian bible as punishment.” The discrimination aspect entails allegations that the district singles out LGBT students for  “separate or different rules of behavior, sanctions, or other treatment;” such as a school administrator “forcing LGBT students to read the Christian bible while they were being disciplined.

Of course the district, and likely the culprits, summarily denied the allegations because like all common criminal they knew they were violating more than a few rules. However, it seems certain that at some juncture someone in authority actually scanned the Old Testament and read “Number Nine” of the BIG Ten Commandments prohibiting lying under pain of death. Possibly then the theocrat using their bible for punishment realized they were courting death according to Old Testament rules if they continued lying. The administrator in question, although not contrite, confessed to the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) investigators that the allegations were indeed true. It also was revealed that another teacher was reported as equating same-sex marriage to marrying a dog — during taxpayer-funded public school lessons.

Part of the Oregon Department of Education investigation is whether the “forced Bible reading violated the student’s First Amendment rights, including the Establishment Clause which recognizes the separation of church and state.” Obviously, any introduction of religion in public school violates the Constitution, so there is no question that punishment by bible is a serious violation; obviously forcing any student to read it is violating the students’ rights.

The ODE letter to North Bend School District Superintendent Bill Yester said in part:

There is substantial evidence to support the allegation that the district subjected LGBTQ students to separate or different rules of behavior, sanctions, or other treatment… The department finds that discrimination on the basis of sex and sexual orientation may have occurred.”

Coos Bay World provided excerpts from a “detailed account” of the three primary allegations lodged against the district.

Under the matter of “using the bible as punishment,” the ODE noted that:

The District allegedly treated students differently on the basis of sex and sexual orientation when imposing discipline.”

The district also “failed to respond to sexual harassment complaints when those complaints were made by LGBTQ students.”

And finally, “District  failed to take appropriate action to remedy a hostile environment after complaints had been made by LGBTQ students alleging that students and district staff had sexually harassed other students.” (author bold)

This incident should raise myriad red flags and incite outrage about the increasing imposition of religion occurring at the state and federal level, but it has not. It is likely increasing because at one time only an evangelical extremist would disagree that using the Bible for anything in the public schools violates the First Amendment; now the minority die-hard evangelical extremists run the government as an extension of their version of “the Church” in a burgeoning evangelical theocracy.

Under Supreme Court interpretations of the Constitution’s Establishment Clause, educators cannot use the Bible as a moral authority in public schools because it is an “establishment of religion” that violates the separation between church and state. The concept of separating church and state, although enshrined in the First Amendment of the Constitution is an abomination and “unconstitutional” according most religious right fanatics, including Mike “preacher” Pence and J. Beauregard Sessions.

The ODE’s letter to the District also noted that one school counselor the students appealed to for assistance faced retaliation from the district officials after he began advocating for LGBTQ students. The counselor said:

These students have required quite a bit of support, but luckily they have some good family and friends. A lot of students who have been involved didn’t come forward or remained anonymous so it’s two main students who spearheaded the appeal. They had the courage to do this.”

No-one should be surprised at this latest imposition of religion in the public school system, or that LGBTQ students have been singled out and “openly discriminated against and forced to read the Christian bible” both as a form of punishment and to “demean LGBTQ students.” There is a crusade at the federal level to force evangelical teaching on public school students as the be all, end all “national moral authority,” as well as to inculcate America’s youth into the superstitious worldview of bigots according to a religion.

Another aspect of this atrocity in a secular nation is that, save a few local and regional media outlets, this all-too-common story has been woefully under-reported, if reported at all. That dearth of reporting is part and parcel of why evangelical extremists, religious right activists, and Republicans nationwide continue flouting the Constitution with veritable impunity. Sadly, although they only make up a minority of the population, the evangelical theocrats now co-own the federal government with the Kochs and corporations and if Republicans are not thrown out of power quickly, this particular incident is going to be a regular occurrence. And if the Christian Dominionists achieve their goal, it will not be unconstitutional, it will be the law of the land and reporting it as discrimination will be a crime.

Image: Patheos

“Wrong” Kind of Christian Chaplain Fights Back and Rescinds Resignation

As America continues its abominable spiral towards a dominionist theocracy, the news that some members of the House were angry at Speaker Paul Ryan for forcing out the “wrong” kind of Christian as House Chaplain was somewhat surprising. It is not shocking that Ryan forced the “wrong” kind of Christian out of his position; only an ignoramus is unaware that there is a “purity” movement in the religious Republican movement. What is curious is that both Democrats and some Republicans were “upset” as if Ryan’s move took them by surprise.

The minor furor last week was over Ryan unilaterally “firing” the Reverend Patrick Conroy, the highly-respected Jesuit House chaplain and warmly-regarded spiritual counselor to members of Congress. There are conflicting reports, and conjecture about why Ryan forced Reverend Conroy out, but it seems relatively clear what prompted Ryan’s action. Unwilling at first to cause any more conflict, the obedient servant Reverend Conroy succumbed to Ryan’s pressure and submitted his resignation.

That action vexed a bipartisan group of House members who demanded that Ryan explain his justification for what is certainly a rare move. In a letter to Ryan, the bipartisan group of House representatives wrote:

We are seeking additional information regarding your decision to request the resignation of Reverend Patrick J. Conroy, the 60th Chaplain of the House of Representatives. The sensitive nature of this situation requires a description of the process followed to arrive at the decision and a justification for that decision.”

One Republican who was particularly revolted at Ryan’s action, Representative Peter King (R-NY), told reporters:

“To be the first House chaplain to be removed in the history of Congress, in the middle of a term, raises serious questions. I think we deserve more of an explanation of why. Was there political pressure?

To answer Mr. King’s question; of course there was  “pressure,. But it was not necessarily “political pressure;” it was theocratic pressure. And it surrounds two specific “incidents” that devotees of America’s bastardized version of Christianity are not going to comport in their Christian Dominionist theocracy.

However now, the Reverend Conroy is not going to comport being “pressured out” and on Thursday he rescinded his resignation. As Conroy noted, in agreement with a gang of Democrats and Republicans, he did not do anything wrong and expects any action taken against him to be done correctly; no matter the outrage from evangelicals for being the “wrong kind of Christian.

Ryan and the Republicans’ evangelical caucus took umbrage at Reverend Conroy’s prayer appealing for members of Congress to follow the “structure” of the nation that guarantees equity for all Americans; including those who are “struggling.”  It is noteworthy that Mr. Conroy was also appealing to members of Congress, primarily religious Republican members, to follow mythological Jesus Christ’s teaching to help all people, especially “those who continue to struggle.”

After a few years on the job, Reverend Conroy was aware that Republicans intended on heaping more wealth on the rich at the expense of “those who are struggling” under the guise of “tax reform.” He likely hoped a “prayerful” appeal might convince some religious Republicans to harken to Christ’s teachings about helping those who are struggling. It was a valiant effort, but Republicans are never going to consider the plight of any American who is not rich and they damn sure are not going to abide a Chaplain appealing to them as Christians.

It is glaringly apparent that Paul Ryan and his heretical evangelical cohorts are apostates to the “Christianity” Jesus preached; they are fierce adherents of “prosperity gospel” that particularly targets “those who are struggling” to enrich the already wealthy. Even atheists and agnostics are likely aware that the mythical Jesus of the Christian bible spent the majority of his time preaching that helping those who are struggling at any cost is paramount to being a “follower of Christ.”

The prayer that offended Paul Ryan and his band of evangelical heretics occurred during last November’s tax reform debate and included an appeal for members of Congress to be fair and consider the plight of all Americans – including those who are suffering. Reverend Conroy prayed thusly:

“Bless the members of this assembly as they set upon the work of these hours, of these days.  Help them to make wise decisions in a good manner and to carry their responsibilities steadily, with high hopes for a better future for our great nation.

As legislation on taxes continues to be debated this week and next, may all members be mindful that the institutions and structures of our great nation guarantee the opportunities that have allowed some to achieve great success, while others continue to struggle. May their efforts these days guarantee that there are not winners and losers under new tax laws, but benefits balanced and shared by all Americans.”

Ryan was irritated over the prayer and bluntly told Reverend Conroy, “Padre, you just got to stay out of politics.”

If a Christian prayer for fairness for Americans who “continue to struggle” is wrong, then mythological Jesus Christ was a criminal of epic proportions. If Paul Ryan or any prosperity gospel devotees had ever opened their New Testament, they would be well aware that Reverend Conroy was not being political – he was being a “follower of Christ” who commanded his disciples to teach and preach about helping those who are struggling.

Ryan said  that “a few” Republicans complained that they wanted “a more active Pastor.” No doubt a few Republicans complained that Reverend Conroy prayed like a “Christian” by appealing to Republicans to consider the plight of “those who are struggling.”

It is noteworthy that he also did the unthinkable in the GOP’s aspiring Christian theocracy by inviting a Muslim to offer a prayer. However, it is almost certain the real issue was the Christian clergyman calling for consideration for those who are struggling – something that is anathema to Republican evangelicals promoting the heretical “prosperity gospel.” It is “gospel” that uses Christianity to justify living to attain “personal empowerment, personal wealth, and personal health.” Prosperity gospel is, no matter what Christian cult one subscribes, contradictory to everything the religion’s namesake, Jesus Christ, preached incessantly while he was alleged to live as a man on Earth.

Although it damn sure should be as unconstitutional to employ a “House Chaplain” as it is to designate a national day of prayer, or claim all Americans “trust in god,” or pledge allegiance to a flag “under god,” it is an abomination that a chaplain was forced out because he was the wrong kind of Christian. And by dog, that is the real reason Ryan pushed Reverend Conroy to “resign.” Because since Trump’s poorly attended inauguration, the religious right has pushed its agenda down the American people’s throats with valuable assistance from that dirty lying sinner Donald Trump, his equally despicable underling Mike “preacher” Pence, and the nasty Republican evangelical caucus.

It is worth noting that Republicans who claim Christianity as the be all, end all to the world’s woes were vicious in a months-long set of attacks on Pope Francis because, like Reverend Conroy, he followed his namesake’s teachings and appealed for attention to income inequality and “those who continue to struggle.” Those same religious Republicans love the Pope and Catholic clergy when they support the GOP effort to control and dominate women, but praying for fairness for “those who are struggling” crosses a “prosperity gospel” line they will not accept without a fight.

As Representative Steve King said, Ryan ousting Reverend Conroy in the middle of the term, the first time in American history, does raise serious questions, but he surely knows all the answers. Reverend Conroy is the wrong kind of Christian and he committed a major sin by praying for so-called Christian Republicans to do something they consider an atrocity – give consideration to Americans who are struggling.

There is another message for Americans who still refuse to see the creeping evangelical theocracy threatening this country, especially Americans who are Christians. When the evangelical fundamentalists take control of the government, something they are on a crusade to complete by 2020, there will be no safe “Christian.” If any American doesn’t believe it, consider the plight of the “wrong” kind of Muslims in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan or any country controlled by religious extremists. The only difference in America, at least for now, is that the “wrong kind of Christian” serving as House Chaplain can rescind a forced resignation and avoid being beheaded.

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

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.

DeVos Embraces Misogynists “To Advance God’s Kingdom” Against Women

Anyone remotely familiar with the Christian bible, or the evangelical faith, is aware the religious mythology is as steeped in misogyny as it is brutal and deadly punishment for non-compliance to its edicts. In fact, nearly all religions are misogynistic in varying degrees, but “all religions” aren’t the purview of public school enemy Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. She is a dyed-in-the-wool evangelical whose stated goal in decimating public education is using her cabinet level position to “advance god’s kingdom.”

Since advancing her evangelical god’s kingdom has to include advancing the bible’s misogynistic dogma, it was no surprise that DeVos reached out and invited to some decidedly misogynistic men’s groups, replete with accused rapists, for a meeting at the Department of Education; apparently for misogynists’ guidance on how best to deconstruct as much of Title IX as possible in as short amount of time as possible. The misogynists know this is the best chance they have to turn back the clock on women’s rights and no better advocate for their cause than an evangelical fanatic with a powerful cabinet position than DeVos.

Title IX is a federal law as part of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 that states:

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”    

It is noteworthy that this is the second time DeVos “reached out” to evangelicals to address their biblically-informed discriminatory needs. The first time was less than three weeks ago when she invited, commiserated, and pledged support for evangelical anti-LGBTQ hate groups as part of her effort to “advance god’s kingdom.” Having assured the religious that she will use the Department of Education to assist their anti-LGBTQ discriminatory lust, she turned her attention to the men’s misogyny clubs.

There is little doubt that men’s misogyny clubs believes DeVos will aid them in putting women in their place as defined by the Christian bible; in subjection to a man’s will. It is apparent that DeVos wants to help the misogynists because they have been overtly critical of Title IX policies with a particularly rigorous bent toward those enacted to help colleges and universities staunch the epidemic of campus rape. The policies the “National Coalition for Men” want eliminated were put in place by real President, Barack Obama because although he is a Christian, he understands the need to protect women on college campuses from sexual assault.

The National Coalition for Men has been around since the 1970s as part of the so-called “men’s rights” movement. And like the name suggests, the coalition exists solely to promote misogynistic ideals and wage war against women and their struggle for equality. Obviously, women wanting equal rights is one of many mortal sins among the evangelical movement.

For an example of the group’s intentions and glaring animus towards women in general, and their fight for equal rights, on the group’s North Carolina website it offers legal guidance for rapists and publishes photographs of rape victims claiming they are liars. Of course the tactic serves one purpose; to warn rape victims that if they report an attack and rape, they will be publicly besieged, exposed and intimidated. The message to women is clear: if you are attacked and brutally raped, you stay silent or face more attacks from the men’s rights movement.

For an idea of the mindset of  the “men’s misogyny club,” five years ago it gave its overwhelming endorsement and support for the Republican House version of the Violence Against Women Act because it eliminated protections for the LGBTQ community. It has also been “lawsuit happy” any time it notices an event organized specifically for women.

For example, it sued a strip club for allowing women in free during a “ladies night” promotion, as well as suing a company for not allowing men to attend an event organized to assist women’s networking. The “coalition” president, Harry Crouch, regularly lashes out at women for surviving domestic abuse that he claims is always their fault. He also vehemently defended former football player Ray Rice after he knocked his then-fiancée unconscious in an elevator and dragged her out like so much refuse. According to Crouch:

If she hadn’t aggravated him, she wouldn’t have been hit. They [women] would say that’s blaming the victim. But I don’t buy it.”

There is a good reason the National Coalition for Men and several other anti-women’s groups were invited to meet with DeVos; she appears more than willing to rescind the Title IX protections for sexual assault survivors.

When she sat in her Senate confirmation hearing and lied like a good evangelical, she said it “would be premature” for her to commit to upholding the federal protections for women. She claimed her reluctance is based on “conflicting opinions” about the need to protect women on college campuses from sexual assault. Obviously the “conflicting opinions” include those of the misogynist men’s groups with glaring animosity towards women; especially “those” women who believe they have a right to equality in education, or wages, or voting rights, or the right not to be raped at all, much less with veritable impunity.

There is also hope among the misogynists that DeVos will do their bidding because she has made donations totaling $25,000 to another anti-woman’s group, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) that regularly publishes articles “dismissive of sexual assault survivors.” One article stated:

Much of the feminist ‘war on rape’ has conflated sexual assault with muddled, often alcohol-fueled, sexual encounters that involve miscommunication.”

It is a typically male rape culture ploy to excuse sexual attacks, and as far as “involving miscommunication;” that is code for the attacker not accepting the word “no, please stop, don’t rape me.”

No matter what DeVos’ particular religious bent might be, it is abominable that she is using her cabinet position to “legitimize” hate groups whether it is anti-LGBTQ hate or misogynist groups fervently dedicated to “defending rapists, attacking female victims of sexual assault, and promoting the conspiracy theory that domestic violence is exaggerated.” But that abomination is exactly what the hateful evangelicals who put Trump in the White House expected as remuneration for their votes. Now with an evangelical monster like DeVos running the Education Department, those abominations are only going to get more ardently biblical; something anyone familiar with the Christian bible knows will be brutal.

Image: Elizabeth Brockway/Daily Beast

Ryan’s Christian Sharia Is Standard Republican Biblical Policy

Over the past decade or so, despite knowing nothing about the Muslim religion or their own religion for that matter, much less the U.S.  Constitution, the religious right and conservative movement has been on a foolish crusade to prevent some fantasy character from imposing Sharia Law on American citizens.

If the anti-Sharia Law idiots, all who are evangelical idiots, had ever read a word in that Christian bible they clutch to their bosom as they vote for Republicans, they would realize that Republicans in Congress and state legislatures have been and still are attempting to legislate according to their Christian version of Sharia Law.

Although it is not a “legitimate law” as such, when House Speaker Paul Ryan imposed a “modesty code” on any woman in or around his office or the floor of the House, he is following an edict in the Christian bible. Now, it is particularly noteworthy that Ryan did not invent the House’s “modesty code” for women, it “has been around in some form for centuries.”

However, the actual dress code for the House of Representatives is a real rule, but it is particularly vague and only states that women must wear “appropriate attire.” It is the evangelical Paul Ryan who used “a vague dress code” for women as a means of controlling them like his Christian bible and American patriarchy dictates. And that really gets to the point of this little screed; Republicans are imposing Christian Sharia Law on women and it is not just enforcing a modesty dress code. But there is no outcry from evangelicals who are just vulnerable as non-believers.

As remarked in the National Review, sleeves, or lack thereof, on women on the floor of the House was not necessarily considered “appropriate.” Ryan didn’t invent the “sleeve statute.” It wasn’t really approriate until former First Lady Michelle Obama wore a sleeveless dress during real President Barack Obama’s first address to the joint session of Congress. There may have even been some “shock” among the faithful conservatives, but everything the Obama’s did was “shocking” to the right.

After that “momentous breach” of one of the Christian Congress’ implied “modesty laws,” one that the patriarchal males enacted in the past, wearing “summer-compatible” attire became more widespread, and more widely accepted, in the House of Representatives. But then the theocrats took over the government on January 1, 2017.

Just because a century ago religious righteous men implemented an absurd “modesty code” for women in or around the House of Representatives, there is no excuse for Paul Ryan to start enforcing  his religious (Quiverfull)  version of that preposterous “modesty policy” now. And it is definitely a policy that is lifted straight out of Christian bible scriptures.

To demonstrate how entrenched patriarchal religion is in conservative circles, women felt they had to justify that what they were wearing is due to the stifling hot weather. It is offensive that any woman would have to defend their attire in a fair and equal society with a deliberately secular Constitution. Of course no Republican will ever admit that a “modesty code” for women is justified because it is in the Christian bible because they would incur a great deal of pushback from Americans. It is safe to say that the great majority of Americans don’t want any religious laws forced on them, whether from Sharia or Judea by force of the government regardless of some so-called “legitimate” justification that “it’s a longstanding rule.”

There is no justification for a great deal of Republican policies based on ancient Jewish and Christian scriptures that Republican males are using to subvert women’s rights and control them in more ways than just control what they wear at the Capitol.

For example, Republican men in the Senate have regularly “silenced” women in the Senate as of late such as Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and most recently Kamala Harris (D-CA); just because it is written in the scriptures. It is likely that Senators Warren and Harris are victims of the bible’s edict in 1 Timothy 2:11-12 that says:

Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.

And in Titus 2:3-5, women are told that the only way to avoid blaspheming the word of god is to accept being admonished to “be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, and obedient;” because no woman can ever be equal to a man, any man. It is admonishment that Republicans in Congress and state legislatures have clung to, and attempted to enforce, since the nation’s beginning; even though it violates the nation’s founding document.

The GOP’s imposition of Christian Sharia goes far beyond just forcing women to be silent and dressed in accordance with the bible-Ryan’s “modesty clause.”  Many Americans act befuddled as to why Republican men are insistent that they, as religious Republican men, think they have a right to dictate rules concerning a woman’s body in a nation with a Constitution ensuring equal rights for all citizens, regardless their gender. Of course there is no constitutional law forcing women to cede control of their bodies to men, but by dog there is one in the Christian bible; the “rule book” Republican men use to control women. In 1 Corinthians 7:4, the “cherry-picked” passage driving the religious Republican’s belief that men have authority to control a woman’s body says:

“The wife does not exercise authority over her own body, but her husband does.”

That biblical edict coupled with those demanding that women are obedient to men, silent around men, and dress modestly according to men’s laws make it is impossible to argue that Republicans are not imposing Christian Sharia on American women.

There is a reason House Speaker Ryan began enforcing “his version” of a vague “appropriate attire” rule and it is not because he is phobic over women’s toes or biceps; it has everything to do with impressing his religious base and reminding American women they are subject to “a man’s” will according to the Christian bible.

Remember, when Republicans took over the entire government, the religious right became co-owners with the Koch brothers; something Donald Trump duly acknowledged by selecting cabinet nominees who are predominately hard-right evangelical fundamentalists and theocrats. Now that the religious right controls domestic policy, and they do control domestic policy, Americans can look forward to a very healthy dose of Christian Sharia and they had better learn immediately that it is going to be much worse than trying to avoid an encounter with religious  Republicans’ modesty police.

Image: Gage Skidmore/Patheos

Steve Bannon Joins Insurgency Trying To Topple Pope Francis

 

Any conscious human being should comprehend that there is a movement to re-order the world that includes tearing down established governments and institutions, and America is now leading the movement. The current administration has shown a marked desire to tear down long-established alliances and treaties and is basing its foreign policy on waging a religious crusade against a particular faith. The man considered the second most powerful person in America, Steve Bannon, was reported to have confessed to being a Leninist whose goal is taking down “the state establishments” worldwide; it explains the Trump administration. What Trump is too “functionally illiterate” to comprehend about Bannon is that his dream of tearing down the state includes the “American state,” and the Republican Party will not be spared. Bannon has inserted his particular brand of alt-right nativism throughout Eastern Europe and has made inroads into French politics by “advising” neo-Nazi groups on how best to effectively sow fear and loathing toward Muslims and the people and organizations working to promote tolerance and democracy; especially people like Pope Francis.

It was reported that Bannon’s assault on “the establishment” includes the Catholic Church’s Pope Francis; likely because he talks like Jesus Christ and embraces “the Messiah’s” teachings on tolerance and charity; even for Islam and its adherents. Bannon, the alt-right theocrat who wants America to be a serious Jude’s-Christian “state,” did what he does best and slithered his slimy self into a demoted neo-conservative Catholic cardinal’s confidence to assist him in undermining the Holy Father and his agenda of promoting Jesus Christ’s teaching of charity, tolerance and goodwill toward everyone; not just white racist greedy evangelicals.

The New York Times reported that Bannon and conservative (American) Cardinal Raymond Burke became enamored with each other over their hatred of Muslims and “a changing worldview” they believe Pope Francis was working to spread. The Times reported that Bannon and Burke “…saw Islam as threatening to overrun a prostrate West weakened by the erosion of traditional Christian values, and viewed themselves as unjustly ostracized by out-of-touch political elites.”

In what seems like a damned bizarre statement from a Vatican-aligned member of the Christian faith, the man who arranged the commiseration meeting between the “onward Christian soldiers,” who have “sacrificed” and fought in the still ongoing culture war, Benjamin Harnwell said,

When you recognize someone who has sacrificed in order to remain true to his principles and who is fighting the same kind of battles in the cultural arena, in a different section of the battlefield, I’m not surprised there is a meeting of hearts.

As a former Christian minister, it is safe to say that every member of “the Christian clergy” is supposed to “act like Jesus” and is tasked with shepherding the flock to comport with Christ’s teachings; not fight battles against Islam, women and gays.

What has the “anti-Francis insurgency” inside the Catholic Church and Steve Bannon joining forces is their drive to put an abrupt end to “the direction” [Pope] Francis is taking the 1.2 billion Catholic flock. As the Times noted, the neo-cons in the Church agree with Bannon and believe that the Holy Father is a “dangerously misguided, and probably socialist, pontiff” who needs to be “toppled” along with democratic governments opposing neo-Nazis, evangelical fanaticism, and aggression towards Islam.

It is most certain that Cardinal Burke is carrying out a vendetta against Pope Francis for demoting him for being an intolerant ultra-conservative douchebag and expressing hate speech unbecoming of a civilized human being, much less a Catholic cardinal and representative of Christ. There is little doubt that Bannon’s vendetta is founded on the Pope “carrying out an inclusive agenda on migration, climate change and poverty,” a Papal agenda that has endeared him to Catholics and non-believers alike around the globe.

The good news for civilized human beings is that Pope Francis is undeterred in directing the Church to be more “Christ-like.” According to a Jesuit priest and editor of the Vatican-approved “La Civilta Cattolica,” the Reverend Antonio Spadaro, the Pope is not slowing down despite the machinations of people like Burke and Bannon. Rev. Spadaro, who is said to be very close to Francis, dismissed their (Vatican insurgents) criticism as the “stuff of a noisy but small ‘echo chamber.’” He also “played down the effect of Trump’s ascent on the standing of Francis’ opponents in the Vatican” and said it was only “propaganda.” He expressed a sentiment that most in the Vatican are already well aware of; the Pope is not about to be distracted by fights against those trying to topple his papacy. “He moves forward, and he moves ahead very fast.”

Rev. Spadaro said what is obvious to sane people: Trump’s ban on immigrants for “select” Muslim-majority nations is the “opposite” of the Pope’s vision for how best to “foster unity and peace” in nations and around the world.  The Pope is doing his level best to “avoid the clash of civilizations that both fundamentalist Muslims [ISIS] and Christians [religious right] want;” Bannon is chief among those wanting a Christian crusade against Islam led by America.

Look, Bannon’s dream of another holy Christian crusade against Islam cannot go forward with a Pope like Francis at the Vatican. Especially one who is having success at promoting being a follower of Christ and preaching tolerance and charity. Bannon needs the Vatican on board with his agenda, an agenda by the way that is Trump’s agenda, of creating the conditions to launch an all-out religious war against Islam, and any non-compliance to his dream of a world ruled by Judeo-Christian corporate regimes.

However, going after Pope Francis, a Pontiff that even non-believers embrace, is a sign that Bannon’s lust for power knows no bounds and demonstrates that he is deluded if he thinks working to undermine a beloved world leader like Francis is going to be anything but a giant struggle. It is also a sign that no one person or establishment in the world is safe from the “second most powerful,” and certainly the most dangerous, man in America and still a Breitbart punk named Steve Bannon.