Preacher Pence Was Behind Trump’s Transgender Ban

When Trump attempted to set Department of Defense policy in a tweet, it most certainly took military leaders at the Pentagon by surprise despite the fact that the pathological liar said he had “conferred with the generals;” a claim that was immediately debunked by those same generals. However, Trump did not come up with the idea of his own accord and he did, in fact, confer with someone but it wasn’t anyone in the military – it was aspiring preacher-in-chief Mike Pence and alt-right hate-monger Steve Bannon.

As this column noted a couple of days ago, it is highly likely that preacher Pence was instrumental in “Jesus Jeff” (Sessions) decision to interfere in a private labor dispute to bolster the argument of a nasty evangelical bigot employer. Pence is well-known as one of, if not the most, aggressive anti-LGBTQ evangelical Republicans in the nation and he’s brought that bible-inspired hatred to his leadership post as head of Trump’s domestic and foreign policy.

Since taking over running the country in January, preacher Pence has been working tirelessly to abolish protections for the LGBTQ community and he began making transgender soldiers serving in defense of the nation a major target since day one. Foreign Policy reported that Pence and his evangelical staff were pushing Republicans in the House to insert language in defense spending bills prohibiting “federal dollars from being used to enable gender transitions.” That’s how badly Pence and his evangelical cohorts want to purge transgender soldiers laying their lives on the line serving in the military.

Bannon too, has been working tirelessly behind the scenes, but for a complete ban on transgenders serving their country and “defending Americans’ freedom.” In fact, it was the concerted effort of preacher Pence and barbaric Bannon that gave them the idea to take their case to Trump and convince him that those transgender service members were the only thing preventing federal dollars from funding Trump’s wonderful border wall. Naturally, Trump took the bait and limbered up his tiny little hands to tweet some presidential defense policy to the generals running the Pentagon.

The evangelical hater class has been violating the Ninth Commandment by lying about the projected costs for transgender soldiers claiming it would exceed $3.7 billion over 10 years. However, according to a pair of independent studies from the New England Journal of Medicine and the Rand Corporation, the real projected costs would more likely fall between $24 million and $84 million over that same 10 year period.

Even at the top of that range, the price tag is still less than one-tenth of the cost to the Pentagon to provide boner pills (Viagra) for male soldiers in need of a “lift” during sex. And for a different perspective, the costs of Trump’s taxpayer funded golfing trips to his Florida resort exceed the cost of transgender troops’ medical costs. Democratic Underground (DU)  reported:

Transgender troops’ medical care: $2.4-$8.4 million/year. Trump trips to Mar-A-Lago: $20 million in first 80 days.”

Obviously the evangelicals’ transgender ban has nothing whatsoever to do with cost or the Department of Defense would have weighed in and joined the evangelicals’ claim that the military readiness and “lethality of force” is weakened by allowing transgenders to fight and die for their country. It is a claim that opponents of Pence’s spending amendments rightly say is not an issue and will not be affected by continuing the current policy.

According to the executive director of OutServe-SLDN, Matt Thorn:

The Department of Defense does not want these [anti-transgender] amendments, and neither do we. Transgender service members have been serving, openly and authentically, with no impact on readiness or lethality of the force.”

And, according to a real military leader, and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,  Admiral Mike Mullen; any attempt to stop military treatment for service members would be “unprecedented.” Admiral Mullen said:

The military conducted a thorough research process on this issue and concluded that inclusive policy for transgender troops promotes readiness. I urge the Congress to respect the military’s judgment and not to breach the faith of service members who defend our freedoms.” (author bold)

To further bolster the argument that this hateful attack on dedicated transgender service personnel is driven purely by preacher Pence’s evangelical hate, there was an immediate round of celebratory praise for Trump from every Christian hate organization after his official military policy tweet.

As Michael Stone at Patheos noted, “conservative Christians took delight in Trump’s transgender troop ban and celebrated the president’s cruel bigotry.” For example, the president of the Family Research Council, Tony Perkins, released a statement praising Trump. Perkins wrote:

I applaud President Trump for keeping his promise to return to military priorities – and not continue the social experimentation that has crippled our nation’s military.  The military can now focus its efforts on preparing to fight and win wars rather than being used to advance the Obama  social agenda.”

Another evangelical hater, Bryan Fischer tweeted remarks near and dear to preacher Pence’s evil evangelical heart:

A huge, huge win for sexual normalcy in public and military policy. And a win for national security.”

And, RightWingWatch reported on a reaction that likely made preacher Pence wet his evangelical underpants just thinking about how vile and deadly barbaric some of his closest evangelical cohorts and counselors can be towards the entire gay community. The purely evil anti-gay extremist Theodore Shoebat used Trump’s “official defense policy tweet” to advance his belief that banning transgenders from the military is not nearly harsh enough to meet his, and likely preacher Pence’s, biblical  belief that “gay people should be exterminated.” Shoebat said directly after Trump’s tweet that, “While this is great news, what really needs to be done is the death penalty for sodomites.

This past week should be proof enough even for the skeptic that with a cabal of Christian theocrats running the government, there is going to be an unrelenting assault on what evangelicals believe are “sinners worthy of death.” Besides Trump’s absurd tweet banning transgender people from serving their country, Sessions butted in to a private labor dispute claiming the 14th Amendment and 53-year-old Civil Rights Act do not apply to the LGBTQ community. And, in order to spread the evangelical hatred for gays across the planet, Trump appointed Kansas governor Sam Brownback, an acclaimed anti-gay evangelical bigot as America’s “religious freedom ambassador;” Brownback is renowned, as the New York Times noted, for being a very “vocal opponent of gay rights.”

Some Americans might believe that since they are not gay, or transgender, or do not serve in the military, that preacher Pence will not affect their lives; that would be a monumental mistake. These aspiring theocrats, led by the likes of the man in charge of domestic policy, preacher Pence, will not be sated with banning transgender people from serving their country or legalizing discrimination by employers.

History shows that the “faithful” will not be satisfied until they have absolute control over every aspect of Americans’ lives. If they don’t believe it they can peruse the policies and barbarism being imposed by ISIS or the Taliban. It is precisely where America is headed with cruel evangelicals like preacher Pence and his allies running the government.

Sessions Expands the Trump Administration’s Theocratic War on Gays

 

Many Americans familiar with Attorney General Jeff Sessions were befuddled at claims by other Republicans that the religious right sycophant was an acclaimed civil rights champion when he was tapped to lead the Justice Department. Those same Americans were well aware that Sessions is a harsh critic of civil or equal rights and complained that since it is the DOJ that is tasked with guaranteeing that all Americans enjoy the same rights, Sessions was not qualified to lead the department or protect Americans’ civil rights.

Late Wednesday, Sessions proved those skeptics right and waded into a private employment dispute litigation on the side of a bigot who believes it is legal to discriminate based on an employees’ sexual orientation. The bigot employer fired a worker on the grounds that he was gay.

The evangelical bigot Sessions used his position at the the Justice Department to file official federal government  court papers arguing that a major 53 year-old federal civil rights law does not protect employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation. As Scotusblog reported; the evangelical running the DOJ butted in on a case now being considered by a New York appeals court in what is regarded as “a rare example of top Washington officials weighing in on gay rights in a private dispute.” It is a portent of things to come with an administration rife with theocrats that demand god is given a supreme voice in public policy.

That is precisely what Sessions didn’t say, and something the media is woefully missing in reporting; Sessions’ official DOJ amicus brief in defense of discrimination is founded on a nasty archaic religious edict, and nothing else. Of course Sessions is attacking LGBT people’s civil rights, it is a hard and fast rule among the religious right that non-heterosexual Americans are not entitled to the same rights or protections as white evangelicals.

The case the theocrats running the federal government are interfering with involves a private labor dispute regarding a homophobic employer who summarily fired an employee simply because he is gay. That is contrary to the meaning of civil rights and “contradicts a federal agency, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which says that the 1965 Civil Rights Act does indeed protect gay and bisexual workers” from bigots in the evangelical movement. That position was upheld just three months ago in a major ruling by the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit that supported the concept that LGBTQ Americans, as American citizens, are entitled to civil rights and employment discrimination protections.

In April, US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit made a very important ruling in an 8-3 decision concluding that federal civil rights law — specifically, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 — does protect workers from discrimination based on sexual orientation. The court ruled that it is illegal in the United States for any employer to discriminate against gay workers because it offends their evangelical religion. It was the first federal court to conclude that gay people are real American citizens and therefore entitled to employment protections under existing civil rights law. The Trump administration, run by a theocratic cabal including Mike Pence and Jeff Sessions, disagrees and says gays are not real (white Christian) Americans and therefore not worthy of federal civil rights or employment discrimination protections.

The American Civil Liberties Union called the DOJ’s brief a “gratuitous and extraordinary attack on L.G.B.T. people’s civil rights.” The director of the organization’s L.G.B.T. and H.I.V. Project, James Esseks, issued a statement adding, “The Sessions-led Justice Department and the Trump administration are actively working to expose people to discrimination.” Although that is the case, it would be beneficial if the ACLU cited the real source of the administration’s push to legalize discrimination – the evangelical theocrats running the government.

It is noteworthy to remind Americans that less than two weeks ago Sessions gave a speech to an acknowledged evangelical hate group, the Alliance Defending Freedom, which claims “being gay is as sinful as bestiality.” That speech prompted U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, the first openly gay person to be elected to the Senate, to warn that Sessions’ speech  “sends a very troubling message that our Attorney General, America’s top law enforcement official, is not committed to standing up to anti-LGBT hate,”  

Based on Sessions’ interference in a private employment discrimination case on the side of the bigoted employer, Ms. Baldwin’s comment about Sessions’ lack of commitment to doing his job was prophetic. Not that any sane American expected anything different from an evangelical fanatic in charge of a powerful federal agency.

This latest attempt to “rule” according to theocracy was not unexpected and in great part it is down to the media, Democrats, and all manner of equal, civil, and human rights organizations gross failure to identify the source of every affront to humanity and American citizens’ freedoms – establishment of the evangelical religion as the rule of law. No doubt if these attacks on American citizens’ constitutionally-guaranteed rights to equality were reported as unconstitutional imposition of religion, it is highly likely that people like Sessions, and preacher Pence would never be in a position of authority. Sadly, now the theocrats are the authority and just as sadly LGBTQ people are not going to be the only victims because as history proves, religious regimes will get around to attacking everyone sooner or later.

 

 

 

DeVos Embraces Anti-Gay Extremists At Education Department

 

It is probably true that normal people who are thrust into a high-level position requiring a specialized knowledge of a subject will gather as many preeminent experts in the field for advice as possible. That would be particularly true if the person in that high-level position has absolutely no experience in the field to avoid being a total and complete failure. Betsy DeVos, the filthy rich Republican contributor and avowed enemy of public education is not a normal person for myriad reasons, but primarily for her lack of even a rudimentary comprehension of the public education system she wants to transform into privatized evangelical madrassas. Besides her sworn intent to use public schools and public money to “advance god’s kingdom,” DeVos has refused, under oath no less, to commit to protect the civil rights of all Americans involved in the education system; whether students, teachers, administrators or college professors.

On Thursday last, a day before the Commission on Civil Rights announced it was initiating a comprehensive two-year investigation into the Trump administration, Betsy DeVos was convening a policy-planning meeting of the most radical religious right anti-LGBT extremist groups in the United States of America. If there were any lingering doubts as to why DeVos “refused repeatedly” to commit to protecting the Constitutional civil rights of anyone associated with education, especially students and teachers, DeVos huddling with notorious evangelical hate groups should clear up her “lack of commitment” to civil rights.

Two days prior to meeting with luminaries of evangelical hate such as Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council, DeVos held a “very private meeting” with a Missouri millionaire and renowned conspiracy theorist because he is openly committed to spending whatever it takes to aid DeVos in eliminating public education. And, it cannot possibly be overstated that besides contributing millions of dollars to Republican candidates, the only reason DeVos was nominated, and then confirmed, as Education Secretary is because she is committed to destroying America’s public education system.

First, DeVos deliberated with the Family Research Council, a bonafide hate group according to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), because it and the extremist evangelical group Focus on the Family ardently promote hate-driven anti-gay propaganda more than they promote the Christian bible. FRC president, radical fake Christian Tony Perkins, spent no small amount of time, and donor money, lobbying against anti-bullying initiatives in schools, and the effort to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” He also claims that the LGBTQ community is “disgusting” and exists solely to “recruit children” into the lifestyle – especially in public schools with anti-bullying programs. Perkins, a real pile of feces, heavily promotes programs that abuse LGBTQ children under the guise of “gay conversion therapy,” and appeals to white supremacists for support. Perkins did spend someone else’s hard earned money to purchase the mailing list of white supremacist and Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.

Perkins, the president of a hate group and a truly hateful evangelical, claims that Americans that support LGBTQ rights are:

Very aggressive, they’re intolerant, they’re hateful, vile, they’re spiteful. …. To me, it is the height of hatred to be silent when we know there are individuals that are engaged in activity, behavior, and an agenda that will …destroy our nation.

This is the mindset that the evangelical freak-of-nature DeVos, Secretary of Education, is intent on installing as education policy “to advance the kingdom of god” in the education system. However, “education system” under DeVos’ plans is a monumental misnomer; she promotes for-profit private and religious schools that can hardly be considered “an education system.” It is  a religious indoctrination system,  not an education system.  It is why she held a private counseling session with “Missouri-based” millionaire and heavy Trump supporter Rex Sinquefield.

Sinquefield is a noted conspiracy theorists who “despises public schools” and regards himself, like DeVos, as a major “school reform expert and advocate.” Like everything related to conservative use of the word “reform,” in Sinquefield’s mind reform means eliminate.

According to Sinquefield, the American public education system was a Ku Klux Klan plot created specifically to hurt African American children and claims it’s what drives his “personal mission” to rescue education from those teachers; especially those teachers represented by unions. He also donates heavily to the extremist right-wing Show-Me Institute, a really right wing “belief tank.” The Show-Me outfit “creates studies” to assail the public education system and promote policies that use taxpayer money to subsidize private and religious schools for the very rich who want taxpayers to fund their kids religious indoctrination.

DeVos claims she believes that “Discrimination in any form is wrong,” and that she “doesn’t support discrimination in any form,” but of course she said that at the same time she repeatedly refused to commit to deny funding to schools that do discriminate. DeVos is a dirty liar; and not just because she committed perjury under oath before the Senate during her confirmation hearing. But because she does not believe discriminationin any form is wrong” or that she doesn’t “support discrimination in any form.”

Her invitation to the extremely discriminatory Family Research Council and Focus on the Family at the Federal Department of Education belies her filthy lie that she opposes discrimination. And, her private meeting with another anti-public education extremist with an eye toward aiding her destruction of public schools, and creation of nationwide evangelical madrassas, belies her filthy lie that she cares one iota about America, its children, or its Constitution.