Putin Warns Americans To Stop Disrespecting Trump

In case there were any doubts about Trump’s close relationship with Russia’s president, Putin’s recent directive to Americans to stop disrespecting Trump should clear up any misconceptions. It is not entirely clear if there is a concerted effort among Trump’s supporters and the Russians to stop criticism of the moron in the White House, but by joining the chorus of evangelicals and conservative pundits condemning criticism of Trump, it appears to be the case. It also is a sign that this administration is serious about crushing dissent. That a hostile foreign leader is joining Trump’s tyrannical effort should put to rest any doubt that Putin is still supporting the man he put in the White House.

As reported by the Russian news agency Tass, Trump’s love interest Vladimir Putin told American citizens to “stop disrespectingPresident Donald Trump. Then the dirty Rusky insulted Americans by claiming the only reason the people are exercising their constitutional right of free speech and criticizing Trump is because of the United States has a “poor political system.” Putin, like Trump, doesn’t like democracy or America’s constitutionally guaranteed freedoms.

Putin was speaking at the Valdai Discussion Club in Sochi, and took some time to deny that Russia interfered in last year’s presidential elections. While he was at it, Putin defended his “political ally” from what he claimed was “unfair criticism.” Putin lied and said Trump “won honestly” and that Trump and his devotees are “behaving legitimately” in response to the current climate in America.

Putin said:

Inside the country, disrespect is shown for him. This is a regrettable negative component of the U.S. political system. One can’t show disrespect, even not for him personally but for those people who voted for him.”

Maybe in Putin’s dictatorial Russia no-one is allowed to criticize the ruler, or his supporters, but America is not yet under a dictatorship; although Trump is making a serious effort to make it one.

Putin also spent time defending Trump’s “controversial approach” to running the country. According to Putin, Trump’s “unpredictable decisions” are the only “reasonable response” to “great domestic resistance,” especially from the media. Putin argues that “resistance” is preventing Trump from doing what he wants without resistance. In America, and around the world, that “resistance” is part and parcel of what it means to live in a free democratic society and the primary reason Putin is calling for Americans to shut up and conform. He, like Trump, cannot countenance a free democratic society and they damn sure can’t comport a free press.

Putin’s assertions are precisely the same arguments Trump proffers in his never-ending attacks on the press. Trump claims the media is busy promoting an “overtly negative portrayal of his administration” instead of praising his every dictatorial move. No, the media reports the truth about his “overtly negative administration” and that is exactly why Trump and Putin claim America is governed under a “poor political system.” Remember, Trump made no secret he is not a fan or devotee of the United States Constitution he claimed is bad for Americans because it prohibits him from ruling like Putin; at least for the time being.

According to Putin, there is nothing negative about the way Trump is attempting to rule and not only does he not deserve criticism, he is too smart to need any advice; except from Putin of course. Putin said:

The president of the United States does not need any advice because one has to possess certain talent and go through this trial to be elected, even without having the experience of such big administrative work.”

No doubt Putin supports Trump’s effort to dismantle America’s government and sever long-standing relationships around the world; that was, after all, the motive behind installing Trump in the White House. It was no coincidence that Putin “authorized” Russia’s official news agency to report the pro-Trump “segment” of his speech; he was sending Americans a message to end any dissent and send an “I got your back” message to his BFF Trump..

The implications of Putin’s remark is that a free democratic society is bad, and that constitutionally guaranteed freedoms of expression, speech and the press represent a “poor political system.” It is precisely what Trump has been preaching and implies that despite what Putin or Trump claim, transforming America into a Russian-like dictatorship was part and parcel of Putin’s interference in the last election.

There is no doubt Putin’s remarks will be hailed by Trump and his dirty supporters. Trump’s latest love interest, Alabama bigot Roy Moore is so enamored with Putin that he recently told the Guardian that “Maybe Putin is right. Maybe he is more akin to me than I thought.”  

 Trump’s friend, ally and advisor Rudy Giuliani gushes about Putin and it explains why he loves Trump. Giuliani said:

 “Putin decides what he wants to do, and he does it half a day.”

 As Jeremy W. Peters opined a couple of months ago, the reason conservatives love and respect Putin as much as they do Trump is because, “ he personifies the qualities and attitudes that conservatives have desired in a president: respect for traditional Christian values, a swelling nationalist pride, and an aggressive posture toward foreign adversaries.”

 Now one of America’s foreign adversaries is issuing directives to Americans to stop disrespecting a man fully intent on ruling America like Putin rules Russia; especially after Putin went to great lengths to install Trump in the White House. Americans should be acutely offended that after installing a Russian sympathizer in the White House, Putin is now telling Americans to sit down and shut up. If they aren’t infuriated it is either because they are a Trump acolyte or a Russian sympathizer like a growing number of conservatives.

Image: Slate

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

Strip Tax Exemption From Churches – Not the N.F.L.

Apparently the petulant brat in the White House is butt-hurt that he has been unable to bully the National Football League’s team owners in his fabricated outrage over athletes exercising their constitutional rights. To further rile up his base, Trump came up with some “fake news” that brings up a point of contention, and a cost of hundreds-of-millions of dollars, among many American taxpayers; churches’ tax exempt status.

After scheduling a propaganda plot with his evangelical buddy Mike Pence, Trump took to Twitter to ramp up his base’s animosity toward the N.F.L. to portray the wildly popular sports league as unpatriotic “takers.”

Trump said Congress should eliminate a law that allowed the N.F.L. central office to avoid paying taxes as a nonprofit entity. It is important to note that “only the central office” was tax exempt, like every church in America has been for far too long. The teams, players, and team owners all pay taxes and Trump knows it.

Another bit of news Trump is aware of is that the N.F.L. “voluntarilygave up its tax exemption in 2015; there is nothing Congress can do to eliminate the N.F.L.’s tax exemption they no longer have. Trump is guilty of fabricating “fake news” that he projects on every news outlet on Earth that fails to praise him as a Republican demigod.

It is important to note that the N.F.L. central office’s tax exempt status didn’t bother Trump when he was trying, and failing, to buy an N.F.L. team in 2014. As an aside, many pundits assert that Trump’s current attacks on the league are, besides a distraction from his glaring incompetence, retribution because the league didn’t accept his bid to buy the Buffalo Bills because it was considerably lower than billionaire Terry Pegula’s.

On the only media outlet that Trump has a semblance of control over, his Twitter account, he tweeted:

Why is the NFL getting massive tax breaks while at the same time disrespecting our Anthem, Flag and Country?” Change tax law!

Ignoring the fact that the N.F.L. is not getting any “massive tax breaks,” there is more “fake news” from Trump that the 32 teams that make up the “league” are disrespecting “our anthem, flag and country.” Neither the “league” nor any one of the 32 teams are disrespecting a song, a flag or America any more than the players exercising their First Amendment rights are. The players are protesting racial injustice and they are paying taxes; something no-one knows if Trump is doing because he is too corrupt to release his tax returns. Everyone knows churches are not paying taxes.

One would support eliminating the N.F.L. central office’s tax exempt status if it still existed on one condition; first strip the tax exempt status from every church in America and do it with extreme prejudice.

According to the last time an organization “estimated” how much church tax exemption is costing American tax payers, that free welfare amounted to about $8.5 billion annually in 2013.  It is noteworthy that the $8.5 billion does not include tens-of-millions in “faith based” initiative money or the double-dipping members of the clergy enjoy on what little they claim on their personal income tax returns. Added in those number are religious organizations exemption from paying sales tax, property tax, federal, state, and local income tax, or investment taxes.

Trump’s claim the N.F.L. Is disrespecting “our country” applies “bigly” to evangelical and Catholic Church organizations. According to their namesake Jesus Christ, and  “their” almighty god’s immutable words, Christians are commanded to pay taxes as well as obey the government on pain of everlasting damnation in eternal Hellfire.

Instead, primarily evangelicals and Catholics regularly violate federal and state laws they claim don’t comport with their “religious beliefs;” even though those “deeply held beliefs” are not part nor parcel of either faith. Those groups also disrespect the United States Constitution by denying other Americans their constitutional equal rights or freedom from religious imposition. It is a monumental form of “disrespect” to other Americans and the Constitution to violate their equal rights and still take the “violated people’s” tax dollars in the form of a tax exemption.

There are many people who have asked for years; “Why are churches getting massive tax breaks while disrespecting the Constitution, other Americans’ freedoms and the secular nation the Founding Fathers provided? Change tax law!”

Trump doesn’t come up with great ideas often. For dog’s sake, he never comes up with even good ideas until now. It is an excellent idea, and time, to “change tax law.” However,  before even considering the N.F.L.’s non-existent tax issue, it is damned high time for Congress to strip tax exemption from every church in the land and save taxpayers what is certainly well over $100 billion annually.

It is possible that for some Americans churches provide a service of sorts, but they don’t deserve tax exemption for doing what their “holy books” command. School teachers, firefighters, military personnel, police officers, librarians, dog catchers and many, many other Americans pay taxes and they all actually provide crucial services to all Americans. For Trump to demand the N.F.L. lose a tax exemption it  forfeited voluntarily two years ago while not focusing on the unwarranted, and wildly expensive, church tax exemption is not only hypocritical, it is further proof that Trump is a punk-ass hypocrite looking for a reason to rile up his base and distract America from his criminal enterprise in the White House.

 

Trump Administration Says No Free Speech Rights in the Workplace 

 

With a fair number of Americans’ attention focused on Trump’s attack on professional athletes, primarily African American athletes, for exercising their Constitutional right to protest police violence, they may have missed a terrifying, and telling, statement from the Trump administration. According to Trump’s Treasury Secretary, Americans do not have First Amendment rights in the workplace. The possible repercussions of this mind-numbing proclamation are nothing short of horrifying, and if any American thinks this kind of prohibition will end in professional sports, they have no clue how fascism starts or that once put in place, no employee will be safe.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin was defending Trump’s assaults on professional athletes’ free speech on CNN when he explained where the administration is going with the issue and exactly what the administration thinks of the Constitution. Trump’s interpretation of the Constitution, and the First Amendment, is that “NFL players only have a right to free speech off the field.”

Apparently, after Trump’s nasty comments about American citizens exercising their First Amendment rights elicited a fair amount of outrage from decent Americans, Mnuchin had to explain where Trump intends to take this atrocity. He said:

The NFL has all different types of rules: you can’t have stickers on your helmet, you have to have your uniforms tucked in. What the president is saying — and I think the owners should meet and they should vote on a rule — this is about respect for our military, this is about respect for our first responders. This is not about Republicans or Democrats. Players have the right for free speech off the field. On the field, this is about respect for lots of people. And I don’t understand why there’s rules that when the Dallas Cowboys wanted to put stickers on their helmet out of respect for people there, they couldn’t do it, but now the NFL is saying people should be able to decide what they want to do and disrespect the United States flag.

Mnuchin is a liar; probably a requirement to serve under Trump. Because he knows, and those athletes have made it abundantly clear that “taking a knee” is protesting racial injustice; they are not disrespecting the military, first responders, Trump, any flag or any song. After Sunday’s display of solidarity and the weekend criticism against Trump’s attacks on athletes, now they are protesting against the fascist Trump.

These revelations by Mnuchin are the latest in a series of Trump’s attacks on the First Amendment and it informs that limiting free speech for private citizens is high on the Trump administration’s agenda. It has barely been two weeks since Trump’s press secretary called for CNN host Jemele Hill to be fired because she uttered a glaringly obvious truth in a “tweet;”  that Trump is a white supremacist. That alarming call for Ms. Hill’s firing proves Trump’s fascist assault on free speech is not reserved for professional athletes. Trump approves of free speech, and the First Amendment, but only when it agrees with, or praises, him.

The latest assault on the First Amendment is continuation of First attacks that began directly after Trump’s poorly attended inauguration. Eight days after that inauguration Trump acolytes Stephen Bannon and Kellyanne Conway said that “commentators should shut their mouths,” and that they “should be fired” if they made less than positive remarks about Trump.

In April, then-chief of staff Reince Priebus said Trump is “probably going to look at arresting or stripping the citizenship” from people the administration doesn’t think should be allowed to exercise their First Amendment rights.

In May, Trump’s Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross, was fascinated that Saudi Arabia prohibited its citizens’ free expression and speech and he thought it was a better policy  because it kept dissenting voices, and protestors, silent. It is where Trump wants to take America.

All of these attacks on the First  Amendment began during Trump’s campaign when he called for the arrest of Americans protesting against his candidacy. Perhaps now is the time the people blowing off warnings that Trump was going to assault the Constitution if he was allowed anywhere near the White House should apologize for being stupid.

Trump signaled throughout the campaign exactly what he thought of the First Amendment and now his administration is not only assaulting it, they are restricting where and when it can be exercised.

There are no prohibitions on First Amendment rights in the Constitution, and it is noteworthy that the Supreme Court has even ruled that burning an American flag, although an idiotic form of free expression, is protected by the First Amendment. According to Trump, and now Mnuchin, the High Court is wrong and free expression does not apply at a person’s place of employment; this is how fascism begins.

The implications of a prohibiting Americans to exercise their constitutional rights in the workplace are terrifying. The risk to employees of the fanatical religious right under this “no rights in the  workplace” idea is epic, and particularly so since religious Republicans have attempted to violate Americans’ constitutional rights of privacy and freedom from religious imposition for quite some time.

Under this fascist idea that First Amendment rights are null and void in the workplace, women refusing to sign over their medical records and reproductive history can be fired because their constitutional rights to privacy will not apply in the workplace. Public school teachers refusing to teach the Christian bible and lead evangelical-approved prayers could be summarily fired because the “speech and religious freedoms” enshrined in the First Amendment would not apply on the job.

Now the Trump administration openly says free speech is restricted in the workplace, and plenty of Republicans have attempted to restrict dissenting speech in the public square; some going so far as embracing the idea of running over protestors. This latest development is, although frightening on its face, a signal from the Trump administration that the assault on professional athletes is a prelude to the assault on the general public. Regardless how far the Trump administration plans to take this fascist idea, Americans should be appalled that Trump’s administration is saying out loud that their constitutional rights do not apply in the workplace and there is no telling how long before the restrictions apply in the public square.

Trump’s Attack On Athletes Proves He’s Not “American”

It is being manifest more every day that the current White House occupant has little-to-no clue what it means to be American. He certainly lacks even a basic understanding of America, the nation. He made that crystal clear when he demeaned the U.S. Constitution and its rules he said were “bad for the country.” Add to that stunning declaration the fact that Trump has used his ill-gotten “authority” to systematically attack every right the Constitution guarantees to every American; even African Americans. And those are rights Americans have fought, bled and died to defend and preserve since the nation’s founding. That is what it means to be “American,” supporting and defending the nation’s founding document and law of the land. It is contrary to everything Trump represents.

When Trump attacked Colin Kaepernick at a campaign rally in Alabama, he not only attacked an American citizen exercising his constitutionally-guaranteed right to freely express himself, he veritably attacked the U.S. Constitution, the Constitution’s Framers and Founding Fathers, and every American who actually defends and respects America; a nation Trump neither understands nor has any affection for.

If Trump had even a modicum of respect for, or understanding of “America,”  instead of assailing an American citizen exercising their constitutional rights, he would either shut his sphincter mouth or tout the marvels of a nation guaranteeing that all citizens are free to express themselves. Regardless if he disagrees with Mr. Kaepernick or any other athlete that just happens to be an African American, Trump swore a “so help me god” oath to defend the Constitution and the rights it provides; not doing so is the ultimate display of “disrespecting America.”

It really isn’t worth wasting precious time or words on Trump acting like a punk-ass tyrant, but he crossed a line when he defamed an African American athlete, and his mother, for exercising his constitutional rights – what Trump asserted is “disrespecting the flag and our country, America.” If Trump was American, he would know intrinsically that not standing during a song is not disrespecting America or its flag. In fact, there is nothing more “American” than protesting injustice. The Founding Fathers began “founding” America by protesting an injustice when they held the so-called Boston Tea Party.

If Trump needs a lesson in what qualifies as disrespecting America, he should consider purposely violating its Constitution, using a political office for personal profit, restricting Americans’ constitutional rights, and colluding with a hostile foreign power. Kneeling during a song doesn’t qualify as disrespecting America or its flag.

Not content to enrage his racist base by attacking Mr. Kaepernick, Trump continued attacking professional Black athletes on Friday and Saturday by demanding that private companies fire athletes that Trump thinks are showing “insufficient respect” for what he thinks is America – a song. It is the action of a petty man with tiny hands and it is also a violation of  18 U.S. Code § 227; the same U.S. Code Trump’s lying press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders violated earning an ethics complaint just last week.

18 U.S. Code § 227 says:

Whoever, being a covered government person, with the intent to influence .. an employment decision or employment practice of any private entity shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for not more than 15 years, or both, and may be disqualified from holding any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States.”

It is worth noting that Trump’s attacks on a professional athlete as a “son-of-a-bitch” that should be fired is an attack on a growing number of athletes at all levels. And that includes children with a social conscience and awareness that they live under a Constitution that protects their freedom of expression; even if that “expression” doesn’t comport with Trump’s idea of America. Athletes at the high schoolcollege and even the Peewee level recognize racial and social injustice when they see it, and they recognize they live in a country with a Bill of Rights granting them the freedom to speak out against it; even if “speaking out” is kneeling during a song. They know they are the real Americans and they know it is why Trump is attacking them.

Now they understand for sure there is a racist dotard in the White House who not only opposes them exercising their constitutional right of free speech, he called them sons-of-bitches and demands they are thrown off the playing field for being “African” Americans protesting racial injustice. Trump stepped over a line and proved in broad daylight what at least half of Americans already know. He is a filthy racist; he is opposed to Americans exercising their constitutional rights; and particularly that he is not what any cognizant human being recognizes as “American.”

Military Chaplain Warns That Serving the Constitution Is Serving Satan

he evidence of the trickle-down effect of President Donald Trump’s relationship with the far fringes of the Christian Right is blatant and rampant, and now it is being exposed in the U.S. Military. Many Americans are unaware of the myriad times Trump has issued executive orders explicitly advancing the prejudices, hate and bigotry of the “far fringes” of the one of his last remaining support groups: the evangelical right. However, they have not gone unnoticed by an Air Force chaplain who is preaching that service members’ obedience to the U.S. Constitution over their Christian faith is serving Satan.

An article in Newsweek elucidated the ‘trickle-down effect” of Trump’s pandering to the religious right in reporting the practices of a United States Air Force chaplain at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. The chaplain who ministers to “thousands of men and women” at the Air Force base is blatantly asserting in an essay that “Christians in the Armed Forces serve Satan,” and are “grossly in error” for supporting other service members’ Constitutional right to practice other faiths. The chaplain, Captain Sonny Hernandez viciously criticized Christians in the service who “rely on the U.S. Constitution and not Christ.”

Hernandez posted an article on BarbWire and wrote:

Counterfeit Christians in the Armed forces will appeal to the Constitution, and not Christ, which means they have no accountability for their souls.  This is why so many professing Christian service members will say: We ‘support everyone’s right’ to practice their faith regardless if they worship a god different from ours because the Constitution protects this right.

 Christian service members who openly profess and support the rights of Muslims, Buddhists, and all other anti-Christian worldviews to practice their religions—because the language in the Constitution permits—are grossly in error, and deceived.”

Captain Hernandez is wrong on many levels, religious fanatics typically are, but he definitely knows exactly why “Christian” service members support the rights of other faiths and the U.S. Constitution. Like Captain Hernandez had to do, every member of the American Armed Services swears an oath, to the Christian god no less, to support and defend the Constitution.

“I , _____ , do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter; So help me God.’’

It is noteworthy that nowhere in that oath, or the Constitution, is there any reference to Christ, Christianity or swearing “true faith and allegiance” to religion whatsoever. Bear in mind that chaplain Hernandez swore the “so help me god” oath to support and defend the Constitution, and yet he is actively preaching to his charges that doing so is “grossly in error.” Hernandez’ actions have not gone unnoticed and they have elicited “many complaints” from service members according to the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF).

MRFF reported earlier in the year that the number of complaints it has received from servicemen and -women in the Army, Air Force, Marines and other branches has doubled since Trump’s election. Service members are reticent, no they are terrified, of lodging complaints with their superiors or the Department of Defense for fear of retaliation at the hands of firmly ensconced high-ranking evangelical fundamentalists in the military.

After fielding “multiple complaints” from service members specifically about Hernandez, MRFF finally filed an official complaint with the Department of Defense’s (DoD) inspector general in April urging the powers that be to investigate Hernandez. After writing the essay in BarbWire, MRFF filed a new complaint this week. As of Friday past, Newsweek reports that neither the Air Force base where Hernandez works nor the DoD’s inspector general has responded to requests for comment or to MRFF’s complaints.

According to MRFF’s most recent complaint, Hernandez’ article “blatantly and indisputably advocates the subordinating of the U.S. Constitution to his personal Christian ideology and violated his Oath of Office as a commissioned officer, as well as Title 18, U.S. Code § 2387.”

That section of the U.S. Code deals with “criminal prohibitions against counseling or urging insubordination, disloyalty, or ‘refusal of duty’ to other military members.” There is little doubt Hernandez has violated his own “so help me god” oath, as well as Title 18, U.S. Code § 2387, but there is little to no chance in proverbial Hell that the Defense Department will take action against a Christian chaplain for fear of inciting Trump’s wrath for “persecuting Christians.”

The founder of MRFF, Michael Weinstein, is a retired Air Force officer that directed blame for Hernandez’ public call to subordinate the Constitution to Christianity at Trump and his intent to always do the bidding of the fanatical evangelical right. Mr. Weinstein said:

America’s military members look to the president for direction and inspiration. Trump’s statements and actions have fully endorsed and validated this unbridled tidal wave of fundamentalist Christian persecution, which is now more inextricably intertwined into the very fabric of our Department of Defense than ever before.”

It is noteworthy that fundamentalist Christianity was already “inextricably intertwined” in the upper echelons of the military long before Trump; and it was heartily encouraged by the George W. Bush administration. The issue became much worse since Trump occupied the White House.

In May, for example, MRFF reported that with the advent of Trump as commander in chief, the organization experienced “a massive influx of new military and civilian personnel complaints of religion-based prejudice and bigotry, most of them coming from non-fundamentalist Christians being persecuted by their military superiors for not being ‘Christian enough.’”

As reported by MRFF, and well-acknowledged by members of the Armed Services, “the U.S. military has long been seeded with radical Christian fundamentalists,” sometimes called Christian Dominionists, who believe “Warrior Jesus” supports their fight against Islam. Like Trump’s choice for Education Secretary, Mike Pence and Jeff Sessions, the “Dominionists” fervently believe their task is establishing a “Kingdom of God” on Earth, starting with the United States. Apparently establishing that kingdom in America is predicated on establishing a fundamentalist military flush with “onward Christian soldiers” according to the Wright-Patterson chaplain.

Americans should be horrified that the military has been infiltrated by fanatical evangelicals who now have a champion in the White House. The idea of soldiers being preached at to put their religion above the Constitution and to stop supporting their fellow soldiers’ constitutional rights is, as MRFF’s Weinstein asserts, a glaring threat to national security. It is also a terrifying sign that theocrats have taken over the military.

Image: U.S. Defense Department

Trump Appellate Nominee Says Religion Supersedes Constitution

Anyone serving in the U.S. Government has to abide by the U.S. Constitution as the supreme law of the land, but that is not the ardent belief of Trump’s nominee to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

The idea that the Constitution is secondary to a judge’s religious belief has been a growing threat for at least a couple of decades or so, but now that threat is becoming reality as America lurches toward an evangelical theocracy. For far too long politicians have looked the other way as theocracy-minded evangelicals have infected the government hoping to spread their evangelical beliefs like an incurable cancer.

At least now some members of the Senate realize the danger of a religious fanatic serving as an appeals court judge, but it is likely far too little to stop a serious threat to the rule of law by a Trump nominee who said judges have a duty to put their faith above the Constitution.

Amy Coney Barrett is a practicing conservative Catholic, and is an extraordinarily enthusiastic opponent of a woman’s right to choose. She has written extensively on the Catholic Church’s need to dismantle a long-standing legal medical procedure, Roe v. Wade. Barrett also does not subscribe to the idea of adhering to long-established legal precedents if they conflict with her religious belief that some laws, or Supreme Court rulings “were gross mistakes” because they are not founded on the Christian religion.

Barrett is a law professor at the Catholic Notre Dame University and except for serving as a “law clerk” for dead SCOTUS justice Antonin Scalia and appellate Judge Laurence H. Silberman, she has not served as a judge: and she damn well never should for one very good reason.

According to a recent report from the Alliance for Justice (AFJ):

As a judge, Barrett could be expected to put her personal beliefs ahead of the law. She wrote specifically about the duty of judges to put their faith above the law in an article entitled “Catholic Judges in Capital Cases.” Among other things, she strongly criticized Justice William Brennan’s statement about faith, in which he said that he took an oath to uphold the law, and that “there isn’t any obligation of our faith superior” to that oath. In response, Barrett wrote: “We do not defend this position as the proper response for a Catholic judge to take with respect to abortion or the death penalty.” (author bold)

If that is Barrett’s position, and she has written extensively that it is what she believes,  it automatically disqualifies her for any position in America’s judicial system. No judge, federal or otherwise, can blatantly disregard the only basis for law in the United States, the U.S. Constitution. Barrett claims the law of the land is secondary to a judge’s religious belief.

And, regarding Barrett’s nomination to a life-long position on a federal Circuit Court of Appeals, AFJ’s president Nan Aron said In a statement:

Amy Coney Barrett is a judicial nominee the likes of which we have rarely seen: a person who believes and has stated that judges can and should put their personal beliefs ahead of the law and Constitution when carrying out their duties. Specifically, Barrett has written that judges should put their religious faith ahead of the law in certain cases. She also has written that judges should not have to abide by precedent if they disagree with how past cases were decided. These views are so contrary to our system of democracy and justice that, in our view, they clearly disqualify her for the federal bench.

That AJF report elicited concerns in the Senate leading Utah Republican Senator Orrin Hatch to ask about her “questionable record” while quoting directly from the AJF report. But Barrett, a self-admitted “conservative Catholic” did what is becoming natural for so-called “conservative Christian” adherents;  she violated her Christian bible’s Ninth Commandment and lied by denying the AJF’s accusations. She responded to Senator Hatch saying:

That is not true. I totally reject and have rejected throughout my entire career the proposition that the end justifies the means or that a judge should decide cases based on a desire to reach a certain outcome.

Barrett’s assertion was quickly called what it was, a dirty lie, by the legal director for Alliance for Justice, Daniel Goldberg who asserted that Barrett’s testimony is “a point-blank lie.” He said:

Look at our report. It quotes Coney Barrett directly.”

California Senator Dianne Feinstein joined Senator Hatch in expressing her deep suspicions about Barrett’s religious extremism. She noted:

When you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you. And that’s of concern when you come to big issues that large numbers of people have fought for for years in this country.”

Minnesota Senator Al Franken actually did the right thing and questioned Barrett’s “fitness to serve” when she claims a judge’s religious beliefs trump the U.S. Constitution. He also rightly chastised “the conservative Catholic’s close ties and communication with the anti-gay Christian hate group Alliance Defending Freedom.”

It isn’t immediately clear who in the Trump administration directed Trump to nominate Barrett as an Appellate Court judge, but it was almost certainly either Mike “preacher” Pence or Jeff ‘bible” Sessions. It may have even been the Christian hate group Alliance Defending Freedom; they all believe the Christian bible supersedes the U.S. Constitution as the law of the land. There is no doubt that the idea of a conservative Catholic panting to overturn Roe on the federal bench almost certainly gave them a 19-year-old’s ‘boner.’

Barrett has no right serving in any capacity as a judge. And no, her religion is not the issue; nobody has any shit to give about what Psalms she sings, how she worships, who she prays to, or what Christian denomination she subscribes. However, every American alive should shudder that Trump is nominating Christian extremists who fervently believe that judges have “a duty to put their faith above the law of the land” because it is a direct line to an oppressive theocracy; exactly what whoever nominated an extremist like Barrett intended.

Image: Patheos