Greedy Texas Churches Sue FEMA Over Hurricane Harvey

According to the Christian bible, Christ’s followers are supposed to be humble, obey the laws of the land, not be greedy, and pay taxes. No doubt there are plenty of Christians who do adhere closely to those commands, but it is not always the case with “houses of worship and clergy;” especially the “pay taxes” command. Churches have become moneymaking enterprises and a significant reason is because they are greedy, do not obey the laws of the land, and they definitely don’t pay taxes.

In an audacious display of greed and disrespect for the law of the land, three Texas churches are suing the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) demanding taxpayer funds to rebuild their churches after flood damage from Hurricane Harvey. The reason they are suing the federal agency is because FEMA disaster relief “explicitly excludes facilities primarily used for religious activities.” Churches are not entitled to any taxpayer funded disaster relief money; it is a longstanding rule based on the Separation Clause of the First Amendment and FEMA policy.

According to a Reuters report:

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has been sued by three Texas [evangelical] churches severely damaged in Hurricane Harvey, over what they called its policy of refusing to provide disaster relief to houses of worship because of their religious status.

In a complaint filed on Monday in federal court in Houston, the churches said they would like to apply for aid but it would be “futile” because FEMA’s public assistance program “categorically” excludes their claims, violating their constitutional right to freely exercise their religion.

Now, this is nothing short of abominable. Not forcing taxpayers to fork over their hard-earned dollars to pay for a church project is not “violating the churches’ constitutional right to freely exercise their religion.” They can still pray, support Republicans, read their bibles, sing Psalms, and proselytize to their collective hearts’ content.

Taxpayers, however, are already having their “constitutional rights” violated by being forced to hand churches well over $82.5 billion annually (In 2013) and that doesn’t include the tens-of-billions of dollars annually in taxpayer funded faith based initiative “money.”

The legal outfit suing FEMA on behalf of the three evangelical fundamentalist churches, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, issued a statement about how unfair the law is and claimed the government is being unreasonable. A counsel at Becket, Diana Verm, argued that it is only fair that the evangelical churches should receive even more taxpayer money to rebuild their churches. Verm stated:

After the costliest and most devastating natural disaster in U.S. history, the government should come to the aid of all, not leave important parts of the community underwater.”

Whether those churches are important parts of the community is debatable, but what isn’t debatable is that those three churches don’t care about the Constitution or FEMA policy, or that they already receive tax-free status at taxpayer expense; but it is not enough.

They want taxpayers to fund their rebuilding efforts after taxpayers fund everything else the churches use without ever contributing a penny. This move is more than just greedy Christian churches; it is an ongoing attempt by Christian Dominionists to overturn myriad legal precedents and abolish the First Amendments’ Separation of Church and State.

It is noteworthy to mention that if attorney general Jeff Sessions has any input, FEMA will be forced to violate its own longstanding rule and the Constitution. Sessions has stated categorically that the Constitution’s Separation Clause is “unconstitutional and unhistorical;” he claims the ACLU made it up in the mid-twentieth century.

The churches are hoping to use the recent Supreme Court ruling, Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia Inc v. Comer, which forced Missouri to fund a church’s private school playground as precedent to force taxpayers to rebuild their churches.

However, the Trinity decision was narrow and about a playground the court ruled “could have” a secular purpose. In that case the church “could have used its tax-free money” to pay for playground upgrades itself, but the conservative majority didn’t see it that way. However, in an “important and powerful dissent,” Justice Sonia Sotomayor expressed the sentiments of many Americans and Founding Fathers Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. Ms. Sotomayor wrote:

If this separation means anything, it means that the government cannot tax its citizens and turn that money over to houses of worship.” (author bold)

Justice Sotomayor is right, of course, and her statement parrots that of Thomas Jefferson who saidno man shall be compelled to support any place of worship.” However, Sotomayor stopped short of adding that the government is already taxing its citizens and turning over extremely significant amounts of “that tax money” to houses of worship, and they are doing it every stinking year. Not just with taxpayer-funded “faith-based initiatives,” but with literally tens-of-billions of dollars every year via tax-exemptions. Churches pay no taxes and clergy receive extraordinary tax breaks simply because they are clergy; but it isn’t enough.

There are several biblical violations in this latest church atrocity, but that isn’t really news to any American. The churches are greedy, refuse to “obey government authorities” and don’t pay taxes as directed by their Christian bible. And now they are suing FEMA to support their churches and biblical violations.

This is another case of evangelical churches filing a lawsuit that should be summarily dismissed on grounds the churches are asking the courts to violate the Constitution and decimate the Separation of church and State. It is also a violation of the churches’ own biblical commands to not be greedy and obey the government authorities that have made clear that FEMA is not robbing taxpayer-funded disaster relief money to fund a “house of worship.”

There is a very simple solution that will allow churches access to disaster relief funds and give evangelical clergy free rein to campaign from the pulpit to their greedy hearts’ content; cut off the free church welfare and start taxing the churches. No doubt the tens-of-billions in “free money” could be put to better use actually helping American communities.

Image: Patheos

Evangelicals Promise Civil War if Trump is Impeached

 

Anyone familiar with the Christian religion should be aware that world domination is one of its ultimate goals. Any Christian who argues otherwise is either violating the Ninth Commandment (lying) or they never opened their mythological holy book. Jesus did command his disciples to “go make disciples of all the nations,” and if they reject Jesus, he will return and send them to everlasting Hell. If they are already dead, he’ll resurrect them and send them to Hell. World domination is a Christian thing the clergy hardly ever preaches.

America’s bastardized Christians, the vaunted “religious right, conservative Christians, and evangelical dominionists” have dreamt of the day they hold dominion over all aspects of Americans’ lives. They are the “Christian Reconstructionist” (Dominionist) movement and they have made slow but steady progress since George W. Bush’s administration.

They are a relentless bunch who have worked tirelessly to undermine anything they believe is contrary to their distorted “unbiblical” worldview, such as spending thirty-plus years attempting to abolish abortion rights. They are a patient group that has caused a great deal of damage by incrementally undermining equal and civil rights in America with Republican assistance. They have been successful despite they have always been in the minority.

Now, although their numbers are dwindling, they see a veritable evangelical “god-king” in Donald Trump and they are terrified at the growing calls for his removal from the place he has no right visiting, much less occupying. No doubt even superstitious evangelicals have seen the reporting that a Trump impeachment is gaining support and nothing to dismiss out of hand.

Add to the evangelicals’ concern that their “messiah” in the Oval Office faces the prospect of being impeached, now they are worried he will be forced to resign to save the GOP from further humiliation. The thought of losing their god-king, and the free rein he provides the religious right to advance the Dominionists’ cause is not just disconcerting, it is a reason to send “an ominous warning;” impeach Trump and prepare for a violent civil war led by conservative Christians.

With all the “impeachment” talk, there is renewed interest in a warning a month or so ago from scandal-ridden televangelist Jim Bakker. Bakker echoed the sentiment of many in the alt-right movement, and the white evangelical right, that America desperately needs a second civil war to get America on the “religious right” track.

According to Bakker, conservative Christians are concerned they will be permanently “shut up” without their “god-king,” and will  “come out of the shadows” to start a civil war if Trump is impeached, or “forced” to resign. Last year Bakker warned his evangelical followers that the government would soon start “mowing down Christians for praying.” Evangelical clergy have been prepping their adherents for a final confrontation for ages, and people like Bakker see Trump’s removal as the catalyst for a violent confrontation.

The bible-clutching televangelist was speaking on his moneymaking “The Jim Bakker Show” when the topic of a Trump impeachment in the daily news came up for discussion. Bakker didn’t do much “discussing,” he just boldly declared:

“I predict if it [impeachment] happens there will be a Civil War in the US. The Christians will finally come out of the shadows, because we’re going to be shut up permanently if we’re not careful. God says that faith without works is death, we have to do things.”

 Bakker’s prediction was reiterated by one of Trump’s advisors, Roger Stone, who just last week warned that if Congress dares impeach the corrupt con man, there will be a violent, armed response from Trump’s devoted base. Stone said:

You will have a spasm of violence in this country, an insurrection like you’ve never seen. The people will not stand for impeachment. A politician that votes for it will endanger their own life. I’m not advocating violence, but I’m predicting it.

According to MediaMatters, another one of Trump’s advisors, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones said “he was told by Donald Trump that he ‘really liked’ [Roger] Stone’s comment.” Jones claims to have repeated communications with Trump on “certain topics” and boasts regularly about his influence over the corrupt narcissist. No doubt Jones is being truthful because some of the things Trump repeats could only have come from a lunatic conspiracy theorist like Jones.

There is no doubt that the white evangelical right are staunch supporters of the corrupt racist Trump. He garnered 81 percent of the evangelical white vote; more than any other Republican presidential candidate since poll watchers have been keeping track. It is frightening, but a fair percentage of that 81 percent will react violently if their god-king is removed, no matter the process or circumstances. Those religious maniacs, and they are maniacs, believe that biblical god sent Trump to be his mouthpiece and that he was sent as a 21st Century “messiah.”

This evangelical promise of a civil war join a growing series of second civil war predictions by “far-right media figures” who want nothing less than a bloodbath. It is not entirely clear who the conservative Christians are going to wage war on, or if they believe their god will intervene Old Testament style and snuff out everyone but the faithful. That is, of course, what the Christian bible says, but even if someone believes the mythos they cannot possibly believe that biblical god will support another American civil war if Trump is removed.

Admittedly, it is comical to think that any sane human being ever takes “predictions” and “warnings” from the likes of a televangelist seriously, but the raging animus among the religious right for anyone failing to conform to their worldview is at a fevered pitch. Add to that long-simmering rage, the thought that a legislative body might have the audacity to remove the white evangelicals’ “voice of god,” and the idea of armed violence from the religious right is as real as it is distressing.

Christians are, as alleged “followers of Christ,” supposed to seek peace and love their fellow man, but the white evangelicals are not Christians by any stretch of the imagination. Those bastardized Christians are armed, fanatical and have been indoctrinated to believe they are in an existential fight for survival. Now that they see an opportunity to seize control of the nation with their “god-king” in the White House, it is likely they will go “Old Testament” biblical on the country if their messiah is impeached.

Image: Patheos

Poll: Majority Of Trump Supporters Say Christians are Most Oppressed

By now it should not be a revelation to any American that it was Adolf Hitler’s propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels, who said:

If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the consequences of the lie. Thus it becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.

The relevance of Goebbels’ statement today in America is that it has become a universal truth among ignoramus conservatives. There is a significant percentage of the population that lusts to have their personal biases confirmed with BIG lies from what they regard as legitimately “official” pronouncements. And for the past year-and-a-half, Trump has been the “official voice” confirming his base’s unfounded biases; since January he has acted on each one to the detriment of equality and the U.S. Constitution.

Donald J. Trump is taking the lead in maintaining two specific lies his base clings to, but he is making no effort to “shield the people from the consequences of acting on those lies” because his base desperately wants those consequences to reach fruition.  In fact, he is using his executive power to create the consequences to maintain support from, and pander to, his devotees’ worldview that they are facing an existential crisis over their beliefs.

Over the course of the past couple of decades, Republicans have repeated a few select lies that their base believes as if uttered by their biblical deity – some character named god. It’s true the GOP’s most popular lies regard helping the rich get incredibly richer, and that the federal government is the people’s greatest adversary; but it’s the most recent lies that Trump is using to keep his base sated. A recent poll reveals how Goebbels’ comment is not only true, but that it works best on stupid religious and racist white people who support Trump.

Trump’s election has given unwarranted credence to two completely absurd beliefs among the GOP faithful and it explains why he still has firm support from angry white people and angrier evangelical fanatics.

According to the PPP poll, a majority of those angry Trump supporters believe Christians are the most oppressed groups in America, with white people close behind. The poll’s results explain the motivation behind a fair number of Trump’s executive orders and policies and prove that, although he is a mindless imbecile, he knows exactly who he has to punish to please his white evangelical base.

The Public Policy Polling survey revealed that 54 percent of Trump’s “disciples” said Christians are being singled out for vicious discrimination. The Trumpites say the poor evangelicals are being oppressed and discriminated against more than Muslims, Jews or any other religion in America.

The same poll revealed that 45 percent of those same Trump supporters actually believe that white people in America are facing more oppression and discrimination than any other racial group in the nation. This is a significant point because the Public Policy Polling was conducted after the Nazi “white nationalist’ riot in Charlottesville where Trump’s Nazi and white supremacist acolytes killed an innocent protester and injured several others.  It is why Trump rushed to defend his Nazi fascist supporters and lashed out at the Americans who protested against racism and white supremacy.

These statistics aren’t the least bit surprising. Trump not only won the white evangelical vote by the widest margin of a Republican presidential candidate since “they have been tracking the numbers,” he based his campaign on the lie that elevating whites to their rightfully superior role and being the champion the religious right demanded would make America great.

In fact, a fair share of Trump’s executive orders and administration policies “seem” to have come directly from white supremacists and the evangelical right. He did promise to execute their demands if he was elected.  It is why, for example, he overturned President Obama’s orders to protect the LGBTQ community from discrimination by government contractors, and just recently banned transgender people from serving in the military. It is noteworthy that while the rest of the country, including the military, railed against his transgender ban, his fanatics in the evangelical right celebrated wildly.

Trump has also perpetuated the dirty lie that white people are being oppressed and discriminated against by directing his administration to target affirmative action, and most recently praising the alt-right Nazis and white supremacists as “fine people.”

And to further prove his racist bona fides, Trump’s voter integrity commission’s primary function is eliminating voting rights for people of color; Trump still claims that he lost the popular vote because millions of undocumented immigrants (brown people) illegally voted for his opponent despite the facts that voter fraud is, for all intents and purposes, non-existent. And, Trump’s savage immigration policy is remuneration to both evangelicals and white supremacists who expected him to fulfill his pledge to make America white and Muslim-free.

As a secular humanist, although this “white people are oppressed and discriminated against” is just beyond comprehension, it is the evangelicals’ claim that they are oppressed and discriminated against that inspires true ire.

Christians are not in any way discriminated against, or oppressed In America. It is true that the U.S. Constitution forbids them from forcing their religion on the government or forcing the population to toe the evangelical line, but that is not being oppressed or discriminated against. It may be why Trump claimed the Constitution is “bad for the American people;” it protects them from religious oppression by Christian fanatics. Of course, evangelicals believe anything that prevents them from forcing their religion on the population and running government is oppressive and discriminatory, and Trump is gladly perpetuating that belief in action and speech. But it is still a bovine excrement claim.

Trump has pandered to the “poor oppressed” Christians by appointing evangelical extremists to high level cabinet and agency positions, and targeted the people and agencies the religious right says keeps them from controlling the government and dominating the population. It is exactly why Trump issued a direct order to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to stand down on even thinking about enforcing the Johnson Amendment; a policy and law Trump said discriminated against and was oppressive to his loyal Christian zealots.

Americans should expect to see an increase in propaganda and executive actions from Trump pandering to white supremacists and evangelical malcontents; they are his most ardent supporters. And as his popularity continues to decline, he will move the proverbial heaven and Earth to maintain the support of his white evangelical deplorables.

This is particularly true now that the PPP’s poll results are publicized and it will not be a surprise if Trump “Tweets” the results as justification for more executive atrocities to satisfy what is becoming a terrible stain on America; white supremacists and evangelical extremists. Both groups are Trump supporters who relish the idea of “victimizing everyone who is not a white, conservative Christian” even as they claim to be the most oppressed groups in America – a belief Trump intends on perpetuating to maintain what little support he still has.

Image: Smoloko.com

Pat Robertson’s Christian Network Is Trump’s New Propaganda Outlet

 

Apparently Donald Trump is dissatisfied with Fox News, Breitbart, and Twitter as his primary propaganda outlets crucial to push his fascist agenda, so he is reaching out to an organization with much more experience at propagandizing Americans and spreading lies. Of course the widely unpopular Trump did not have many options available, but he does have a reliably despicable group happy and ready to do his bidding for an entirely self-serving reason. Unfortunately for the people of this country, Trump’s choice is yet another sign that America is on a path towards being controlled by an evangelical theocracy.

Unlike every democratic leader on the planet, Trump has spent the entirety of his time on the national stage demonizing the national media as “America’s greatest enemy;” not unlike the faithful claiming Satan as their god’s greatest adversary.  In Trump’s fascist mind, the media are “enemies” because they report facts as they happen; it’s what Trump labels “fake news.”

It is because the media has used Trump’s own words in fair and accurate reporting that prompted him to threaten creation of his own news network. He desperately needs an established organization to validate every fantastical utterance from his mouth as if they issued forth from the biblical god.  As it turns out, there is already an established network-in-waiting to do what the real media refuses to do and tout everything Trump does as good and godly. It is precisely what anyone with a brain expects from Pat Robertson’s evangelical Christian Broadcast Network (CBN) to do to promote theocracy, portray Trump as godly.

In particular, a partnership between the lying Trump and a CBN program, “Faith Nation” is being heralded as “a faith-based alternative to the mainstream media as well as a mouthpiece for an unfairly maligned administration to get out its ‘true’ message.” In Faith Nation’s premiere episode, hosts David Brody and Jenna Browder introduced the pro-Trump “news program” and immediately hewed to a Trump mainstay – media is fake, deliberately misleading, and can’t be trusted.

“In an age when there’s so much mistrust in the mainstream media, Americans are looking to news outlets like CBN News — and this administration is looking our way, too.”

This partnership is nothing to scoff at, and cannot be underestimated in the danger it portends for the nation’s imperiled democracy. Yes it is despicable and demonstrates how desperate Trump is to reach out to an apocalyptical faith-based “evangelical news outlet” to save his criminal administration, but it is also inherently dangerous. As noted in Vox, when Trump sat down with Hellfire-and-brimstone purveyor Pat Robertson a couple of weeks ago, the tone of the “softball” interview and embarrassing love-fest between the two confidence men informed that, “the intersection of faith, news, and propaganda make it one of the Trump administration’s most potent — and dangerous — mouthpieces.”

What makes the partnership extraordinarily dangerous is the increasing willingness of Trump to use his appeal with the evangelical malcontent class to delegitimize the media and the federal government from two directions; as inherently untrustworthy and now “implicitly ungodly.” It is likely why just recently Trump pandered to his nasty evangelical base when he took to Twitter and  tweeted, out of the blue, that “In America we don’t worship government, we worship god.

Trump’s pandering to the faithful at the same time his new evangelical propaganda network was doing an “exclusive piece about bible study for Trump’s Cabinet members” was no coincidence and likely planned well in advance. The Faith Nation’s special White House correspondent Jennifer Wishon’s “faith exclusive” report about the White House’s weekly bible study group was “explicitly designed to cast Trump and his administration as divinely ordained.

Wishon gave special attention to the Mike Pence-hired biblical leader, Ralph Drollinger of Capitol Ministries’ shame and his unbelievably bizarre comparison of Trump’s administration to Old Testament biblical characters. Ms. Wishon told her gullible audience that:

In [Vice President Mike] Pence, Drollinger sees many similarities to biblical figures like Joseph, Mordecai and Daniel — all men who rose to the No. 2 position in [biblical] governments at different times in history. … Like others, Drollinger compares President Trump to biblical strongman Samson.”

As an aside, it’s doubtless that Trump is furious he was not compared to biblical strongman god almighty, but not quite furious enough to risk alienating his evangelical base by saying out loud what he believes in his narcissistic black heart; that he is comparable to god or at the very least is “a god.

Of course it is obvious that by using a fake (religious) news outlet like Faith Nation, coupled with Trump enabling its religious sophistry, he is pandering to evangelical fanatics. That pandering includes giving the evangelical “propaganda network” exclusive “open door” access to the White House to more conveniently spread pro-Trump propaganda. It is a calculated means of “destabilizing the very idea of truth.

As noted in a recent special report by Peter Pomerantsev and Michael Weiss of the Institute of Modern Russia, Trump is following closely in the footsteps of his love-interest Vladimir Putin. The two journalists argue convincingly that Trump is using Putin’s tactics “that are central to the Kremlin’s diplomatic aims in Russia’s ‘misinformation’ war and use of blatantly fake news. The aim is not so much to persuade (as in classic public diplomacy) or to earn credibility, but to sow confusion and suspicion via conspiracy theories and to proliferate falsehoods.”

In Trump’s case the falsehood he and the Christian Broadcast Network are spreading is that only Trump tells the truth; the conspiracy theory is that mainstream media is not only untrustworthy, but ungodly. And, as is always the case with religious and fascist propaganda throughout history, if they repeat a lie long and loud enough, eventually greater numbers of people will believe it is true and offer their unconditional support. Unfortunately for a secular nation, that unconditional support can reach a fevered pitch and as Nazi Germany demonstrated, even “good people” can be caught up in religious fervor and commit horrendous atrocities. And like Nazi Germany, it all started by portraying the media as “ungodly and the enemy” and the fascist leader as the sole source of “godly” truth.

Many Americans are wont to blow off warnings about the threat of a theocratic cabal taking over America, but at this point they aren’t confused or ignorant, they are blind idiots. Trump is a lying sinner, but his religious right fanatics are true believers and his underlings are using their Cabinet level positions to “advance the kingdom of god” and preach that the Constitution’s Separation Clause is patently unconstitutional.

Now the White House is using apocalyptic Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcast Network as its premiere propaganda outlet to portray the media as of Satan (ungodly) and Trump as America’s messiah ordained by the biblical god. That is not a conspiracy theory, it is not fear mongering, not fake news, and not ungodly; it is straight from the lying evangelicals’ lips and gleefully sanctioned by their lying demigod Donald Trump.

Vatican Attacks America’s Evangelical Push Toward Theocracy

 

It isn’t often that any secular humanist can find a point of agreement with a religion, especially a religion with a sordid history of inhumanity in the name of god. Although there have been what appear to be reasons for hope with an alleged “liberal” Pope heading up the Catholic Church, it always turns out to be more of the same despite some hints things are going to be different. Last week was different, though, because in a “Vatican-approved and reviewed” article being hailed as “explosive,” two of Pope Francis’ closest allies lashed out with religious fervor at “the spurious alliance between politics and religious fundamentalism in the United States.”

Pope Francis’ allies, Antonio Spadaro and Marcelo Figueroa “called out” evangelical dominionist groups “composed mainly of whites from the deep American South” for rejecting the “global ecological crisis” and their dire “Armageddon-infused rhetoric.” The two authors were very adept at pointedly drawing parallels to Islamic fundamentalism. The two men charged the evangelical fundamentalist movement of seeking to control “the political and parliamentary sphere and in the judicial and education areas so that public norms can be subjected to [the evangelicals] religious morals.” (author bold)

The Pope’s allies had no qualms calling out the political organizations and networks feeding the “apocalyptic” politics polluting the entire American conservative movement. They specifically noted a nasty religious right conservative group, the Council for National Policy and the machinations of one of their exponents, Steve Bannon, as “staunch supporters of apocalyptic geopolitics.” And, they did not hold back attacking something this author has screamed about for a couple of decades in print and digital media; “Catholic Integralists” who are attempting to force their domineering “religious influence in the public sphere.” The article states:

Appealing to the values of fundamentalism, a strange form of surprising ecumenism is developing between Evangelical fundamentalists and Catholic Integralists. . . . Some who profess themselves to be Catholic express themselves in ways that until recently were unknown in their tradition and using tones much closer to Evangelicals. They are defined as value voters as far as attracting electoral mass support is concerned. . . . This meeting over shared objectives happens around such themes as abortion, same-sex marriage, religious education in schools and other matters generally considered moral or tied to values.

It isn’t exactly clear why it took the Vatican a couple of decades to figure out that, as this author has “screamed about forever;” the “defining feature of the Christian Right in America is the conservative evangelical-Catholic convergence.” Remember, it was in 1970 that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops that introduced the Southern religious right to their terrible “loss of religious liberty” to control the masses that threatens this nation more than ever today.

The two authors were spot on in identifying the “shocking rhetoric” of the “Church Militant” and other pro-Trump organizations that “are openly in favor of a political ultraconservatism and uses of Christian symbols to impose itself:

The American elections in this perspective were seen as a ‘spiritual war’ . . .  Church Militant asks if Trump’s victory can be attributed to the prayers of Americans. The response is affirmative. The indirect missioning for President Trump is clear: he has to follow through on the consequences. This is a very direct message that then wants to condition the presidency by framing it as a divine election.”

Naturally, an American Archbishop from Philadelphia, Charles Chaput, attacked the Vatican article as an “exercise in dumbing down and inadequately presenting the nature of Catholic/evangelical cooperation” against the U.S. Constitution’s attacks on the religious freedom of the aspiring theocrats. Chaput claims there is no “political warfare cloaked as spiritual warfare;” it is just the logical and necessary outcome of the Constitution’s attacks on “the traditional church.” Chaput claims that:

Their current mutual aid, the ecumenism that seems to worry La Civilta Cattolica, is a function of shared concerns and principles, not ambition for political power. . . . Dismissing today’s attacks on religious liberty as a ‘narrative of fear’—as the La Civiltà Cattolica author curiously describes it—might have made sense 25 years ago. Now it sounds willfully ignorant.  It also ignores the fact that America’s culture wars weren’t wanted, and weren’t started, by people faithful to constant Christian belief.”

Messrs. Spadaro and Figueroa call this nonsense from the American religious right Archbishop Chaput false ecumenism; this author calls it what it really is, pure unadulterated bullshit and a filthy dirty lie. The two Vatican allies accurately explained what it really is: “an ecumenism of conflict that unites them in the nostalgic dream of a theocratic state that ‘wants walls and purifying deportations.’” They also say that by stark contrast, Pope Francis’ ecumenism “moves under the urge of inclusion, peace, encounter and bridges.” (Author bold)

As noted at the beginning of this piece, it is extremely seldom that one can find anything to agree on with the Catholic Church, but by dog these two ‘Christians’ certainly nailed the religious right and Catholic crusade for “their dream of a theocratic state” smack on the head. Where they are confused though is underestimating the power of the religious right despite the cretins are in the minority.

They claim that Pope Francis seriously “wants to break the organic link between culture, politics, institution and the Church,” but “that link” underpins the entire conservative movement in America. It will take more than Pope Francis’ efforts to break that link because for some unknown reason Americans are terrified of uttering an unkind word about the ambitious theocratic takeover of America. If politicians, especially Democrats, would identify evangelical fundamentalists as the source of the danger to democracy and Americans as a free people, the Pope may see that dangerous link broken and theocrats in the conservative movement permanently put out of our misery.

Evangelicals Rage At Failure To Force Child Rape Victim To Give Birth

In a story that explicitly explains why America’s quickening into theocracy is sheer evil rivaling the religious tyranny under Taliban rule, a pair of Alabama evangelicals lashed out at an appeals court decision and a barely 12-year-old impregnated rape survivor because god and Catholic Church dogmata. A young girl was raped several times by an adult relative and a former director of the legal staff under maniacal Christian Supreme Court Judge Roy Moore, and the director of an evangelical “pregnancy center” held a press conference to publicly blame and shame the now-12 year old child of committing an act of violence.

The anonymous child drew the wrath of the two religious extremists for seeking a waiver to get the result of several rapes (a pregnancy) terminated without parental approval. The pair of evangelicals were even more incensed that an appeals court agreed that the “tween” should not be forced to suffer the lifelong consequences of being repeatedly raped, impregnated, and then have to give birth. If one listens to the evangelical running the COPE pregnancy center, Lorie Mullins, and a Judge Roy Moore acolyte Win Johnson, the child chose to be repeatedly raped and now has to live with the consequences of either being a sixth grade child raising a child, or with the guilt and shame of committing willful murder.

The appeals court overturned a biblical ruling by an “anonymous” county’s district attorney who decided that the fifth grader had to carry that fetus to term and then work it out for herself how to attend the sixth grade in the fall with a newborn in tow. The appeals court noted there was no dispute that girl was impregnated by an adult relative who raped her repeatedly. They also noted that the child and her siblings were removed from her mother’s custody five times and placed in the care of the Department of Human Resources (DHR) because of repeated physical abusive and neglect.

The fifth-grader had to petition the local juvenile court for a legal waiver to have the pregnancy terminated without her abusive mother’s consent, and after hearing testimony from the child and a DHR caseworker, the court determined the circumstances justified a waiver. One wonders what kind of monsters enact laws that force a child to “petition the court” for a waiver after being repeatedly raped, but it is Alabama where one of the evangelicals railing on the court’s and child’s decision claims that it is high time judges and courts start “standing up for god;” not the secular law and certainly not the 12-year-old victim of repeated sexual assaults.

The attorney who lashed out at the secular (read legal) ruling said the appeals court decision was stunning because they ruled that “a 12-year-old was mature enough to murder her own child in her womb.”

Win Johnson must be one of those typical biblically-stupid evangelicals because according to his own bible’s almighty and never erring god, there is no child in any woman’s womb; the fetus becomes “a living being” only after it leaves the womb and draws “the breath of life.” Still, Johnson was irritated with rage that he or no other evangelical got the opportunity to berate and shame the 12-year-old child to impress on her that what she really wanted to do was commit murder. He said:

“Now, nobody has said that to her, I bet you, in any of her counseling. Nobody has explained that to her in its starkest, rawest form, like that. But what if it was, what if she really thought through it, even as a 12-year-old and said, ‘Gosh, I don’t want that on my conscience.’ “

The woman who joined Johnson in railing against the court and the rape victim, Lori Mullins, boasted that she counsels hundreds of pregnant women, including those considering abortion and those after abortions. She said the aftermath of abortion often leads to depression, substance abuse and difficulty with relationships. She also said that a “child entering the sixth grade should not be allowed to take that step.” Here’s a clue for Mullins: a child entering the sixth grade should not be forcibly and repeatedly raped or forced by compassionless evangelicals to carry the result of several violent crimes against her to term.

This incident is not about some evangelical public officials’ opposition to abortion, it is about evangelicals attempting to enforce the Catholic Church’s 1968 dogma on all women no matter if they are forty-two year-old wives and mothers or an innocent child getting ready to enter the sixth grade.

One thing is abundantly clear: these so-called pro-life Christians have no compassion whatsoever, not for the newborn or the soon-to-be sixth-grader. Despite gnashing their teeth and Hellfire and brimstone scare tactics, neither of the pro-life cretins ever considered the plight and life of the 12 year-old child being forced again to submit to the will of adults over “a belief.”   One thing is certain, neither one of the evangelicals offered to pay for and raise the child while the child mother finishes attending grammar, junior and senior high school. It would have been the Christian thing to offer if they were not heartless evangelical bastards.

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

Missouri Allows Employers To Fire Women For Using Birth Control

For human beings that live in a free society, it is impossible to imagine how horrible it would be to live in an uncivilized Hell where it is necessary to pass a law to protect a woman’s personal freedoms and privacy. In a free society, those personal freedoms and privacy are generally guaranteed to all citizens, so it would never be necessary to even consider a law that protected women from being punished for anything legal, much less for their personal choices. Conversely, patriarchal theocracies controlled by a religious sect would likely forbid such a law from being considered in the first place, much less debated and passed.

In the American state of Missouri, when a city had to pass an ordinance that prohibited employers and landlords from punishing women for exercising their legal Constitutional right to use contraceptive birth control, the religious Republican legislature and governor reacted like the Taliban – minus the guns.

The religious Republicans running the state of Missouri, under direction from the religious Republican Missouri governor, are deep into the process of enacting legislation granting religious individuals authority to punish women if they dare exercise their Constitutionally-protected freedom to use birth control or have an abortion without facing the wrath of the religious right. It is important to note, this is Missouri in America, the Show Me State. And the religious Republicans are showing the nation they are doing exactly what this author has warned about for a decade; use their ugly, savage, insidious religion to control women by punishing them for disobedience. The Missouri Republicans initial form of punishment is being fired and homeless, or become a slave birth machine for evangelical Jesus and the Vatican.

The anti-women legislation was the subject of a “special legislative sessionconvened by Missouri Governor Eric Greitens to put a screeching halt to a recently-passed ordinance that “prevents employers and housing providers from punishing women for their “reproductive healthcare choices.” The focus of the special session was to, as quickly as possible, overturn what in a civilized society should have been a completely unnecessary ordinance. Apparently, the city of St. Louis must not feel Missouri is civilized if they had to pass a law to protect women’s personal privacy and freedoms already guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution.

The ordinance enraged religious Republicans in the governor’s mansion and both chambers of the state legislature that concurred with the governor; the St. Louis ordinance is “a radical attempt” to transform the area into “an abortion sanctuary city.” So the state’s House and Senate quickly passed SB5 on June 14  to put women back under religious men’s control. But still, the legislation wasn’t nearly harsh enough so six days later (June 20) the Republican House passed “an expanded version of SB5” awaiting Senate passage and the governor’s promised signature.

The new and improved SB5 authorizes any landlord or housing provider to refuse housing to any woman based on their reproductive health choices, such as using birth control or if they ever had or contemplate having an abortion. And a landlord can evict a woman for using birth control, having or had an abortion, or for “becoming pregnant while unmarried.

Employers will have the power to fire any “female staff members” who use birth control, or refuse to hire them for being “non-compliant” to a church-driven edict. And to skirt any federal or state privacy laws, particularly medical privacy laws, the theocratic SB5 authorizes employers and landlords access to “what forms of reproductive health care they are using.”  Obviously, men who have had a vasectomy or use “rubbers” are exempted from religious control.

This hideous religious legislation, and that is all it is, puts the great majority of Missouri women at risk of losing their employment or their residence according to data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) because,

99 percent of all sexually-active, reproductive-age women have used contraception.”

As Sejal Singh of “Feministing” opined, “whether or not someone is part of that 99% is none of their boss’ goddamn business.” Missouri’s religious right Republicans, like all nasty religious right Republicans, disagree that it is none of their business. They claim it is their biblical right to “invasively give employers and landlords power to police highly personal choices women make about their bodies and lives.

There is already a federal law, the Federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which prohibits employers from discriminating against women because they have had or considered having an abortion, but there is no specific federal legislation protecting women from being punished for using some form of birth control, or becoming pregnant while unmarried; in a free society there is no need for those kinds of legislation. However, in Trump’s savage America, his evangelical administration is frantically rolling back or stripping civil rights protections across the board, and with a conservative Supreme Court anxious to expand evangelicals’ religious liberty to impose biblical edicts as the law of the land, women are in serious peril and not just in Missouri.

Most Americans oppose being ruled by a theocracy, and yet that is precisely what is unfolding now that religious Republicans own the federal government. All of these anti-women’s choice measures are attempts by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to exert control over American women and impose the Vatican’s 1968 Humanae Vitae that forbids sexual activity not intended to produce offspring.

A major reason this religious savagery continues unabated is because the media, Democrats, and women’s rights activists and advocates are terrified to cite the only source of any and all of these anti-women laws. Until the media, women’s rights activists, and Democrats start citing the Vatican and evangelical fundamentalism as the only source of terror being inflicted on American women, legislation like Missouri’s SB5 will continue spreading across the land. And with an evangelical maniac like Mike Pence directing Trump’s domestic policy, Americans can look for more extreme versions of SB5 being enacted at the federal level.