Trump’s America Votes Against Condemning Death Penalty for Gays

America under Trump distinguished itself again late last week at the United Nations by opposing a simple resolution condemning an archaic Old Testament edict calling for the death penalty for committing a “capital crime” the Christian god says is “detestable.” It is no coincidence that under an extremist evangelical administration, the Trump ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, toed the evangelical line and voted with other religious regimes opposing a U.N. Human Rights Council resolution condemning the death penalty for homosexuality. It is important to note that Trump just endorsed evangelical malcontent Roy Moore of Alabama who has intimated often that according to his religious belief, homosexuality should be criminalized – gays have to be punished because “it’s in the bible.”

America was one of 13 nations in the minority voting against the United Nations resolution that condemned the practice of killing human beings because they love someone of the same gender. The so-called “land of the free” joined extremist religious nations such as Iraq, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar, and Saudi Arabia to vote against the U.N. resolution condemning the execution of human beings for whom they love.

It is noteworthy that the U.N. resolution  stops far short of actually calling for an end to the death penalty because that is a bridge too far. The resolution simply condemns its use “in a discriminatory fashion;” such as singling out members of the LGBTQ community and executing them for not adhering to archaic religious rules.

As noted by the “International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex Association” (ILGA), besides targeting gays for death, the U.N. was condemning the death penalty to punish adultery because it is regularly and disproportionately imposed on women. America voted against condemning executing people for adultery, blasphemy, apostasy and homosexuality; all designated as sins against the god of the bible and embraced with religious fervor by extremist theocratic nations.

The ILGA’s executive director, Renato Sabbadini, remarked in a statement just how atrocious some countries’ laws against being gay are. Mr. Sabbadini said:

It is unconscionable to think that there are hundreds of millions of people living in States where somebody may be executed simply because of whom they love.”

A spokeswoman for the Trump State Department, Heather Nauert, attempted to assuage the shock and outrage the vote engendered and gave a bizarre explanation for why Trump directed his U.N. Ambassador to vote with theocratic nations stuck in the Bronze Age. Besides opposing any criticism for the death penalty, Ms. Nauert said:

The United States unequivocally condemns the application of the death penalty for conduct such as homosexuality, blasphemy, adultery, and apostasy. We do not consider such conduct appropriate for criminalization. Okay? I hope that’s clear.”

That remark is not clear, it is a giant pile of bovine excrement and stunning the State Department would dare issue such a remark.  If the United States “unequivocally condemns” killing people for that conduct; why did Haley vote against “unequivocally condemning” killing people for that conduct? And the “official” Trump State Department claim that they were opposing “condemning the death penalty in all circumstances” is just more bullshit after being railed on by civilized human beings.

The director of the Human Rights Campaign Global, Ty Cobb, issued a “scathing statementsaying:

Ambassador Haley has failed the LGBTQ community by not standing up against the barbaric use of the death penalty to punish individuals in same-sex relationships. While the U.N. Human Rights Council took this crucially important step, the [extremist evangelical] Trump/Pence administration failed to show leadership on the world stage by not championing this critical measure. This administration’s blatant disregard for human rights and LGBTQ lives around the world is beyond disgraceful.”

What was beyond disgraceful was Nikki Haley following her boss’ lead and lying in defending the vote, but only after harsh criticism. She even used Trump’s media outlet, “Twitter,” to claim the Trump administration “have always fought for justice for the LGBT community.”

Not content to lie just once, Haley also lied in saying that:

The vote that took place in Geneva is the same US vote that took place under the Obama admin. It was not a vote against LGBT.”

More bullshit and two more easily debunked dirty lies. First, during the Obama Administration the United States “abstained” from voting on a similar resolution because America as an institution just enjoys killing people. And second, there was no reference to gays in previous resolution; the “LGBT language was newly-added this year.

Haley was also lying when she said the Trump administration has “always fought for justice for the LGBTQ community” and she knows she was lying. Trump has rolled back protections for LGBTQ people quietly and in the case of transgenders, it has been very public. In fact, the Trump administration has already won the distinction as being the most “anti-LGBTQ administration” in modern history. When the Trump administration did have an opportunity to demonstrate fighting for justice for gays on the world stage, especially to condemn the practice of applying the archaic Old Testament death penalty, they said no.

Although the “no” vote rankled no small number of Americans, it likely thrilled Trump’s supporters in the extremist evangelical sector. There are still five states in America that carry anti-blasphemy laws on the books, and plenty of extremist evangelicals would be thrilled to see the death penalty imposed for being gay; Trump just endorsed one of those extremist evangelicals to represent Alabama in the U.S. Senate.

When given an opportunity to join 27 civilized nations in condemning application of Old Testament punishment for being gay, apostasy, blasphemy and adultery, Trump’s America “officially” said no; we won’t condemn it. Lying after the fact that Trump’s America condemns killing people who fail to conform to archaic bible edicts doesn’t change the fact that “officially” America does not condemn killing people for being gay. That official stance portends bad things for all Americans who think they are not living in an aspiring radical evangelical theocracy.

Image: Patheos

SCOTUS Aids Theocratic Coup d’état

 

As America nears another anniversary of its Declaration of Independence from an empire heavily influenced by a powerful theocracy, advocates for America under a theocratic government celebrated a major step towards their goal; a nation of the bible, for the evangelicals, and governed by the Christian religion. There is little doubt that the Founding Fathers and Constitution’s Framers would be appalled that the deliberately secular government they created inched closer to officially compelling Americans to support a religion. Indeed, it was the Declaration of Independence’s author, Founding Father, Constitution Framer, and  3rd President Thomas Jefferson who said that “no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever.”

Republicans and their evangelical masters believe Thomas Jefferson was an abomination to theocrats everywhere. They also fiercely believe that despite the U.S. Constitution’s 1st Amendment, and well over two-thirds of state Constitutions’ blunt prohibitions on “spending any public money on any church, sect, or denomination of religion,” that Americans must be compelled by force of law to provide “support for religious worship, places, and ministries.

One of those states with prohibitions against using public money to support churches, sects and any denomination of religion is Missouri. Missouri’s Constitution, according to evangelicals, was abhorrent; especially after a few federal courts upheld the Missouri Constitution’s prohibition on using taxpayer money to support religion. So the aspiring theocrats appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court to rule that Thomas Jefferson, the Constitution, and thirty-six state constitutions are unfair to religious organizations because they cannot compel taxpayers to support places of worship.

It is noteworthy that although greed is a mortal sin in the Christian religion, the churches are not satisfied taking well over $82.5 billion annually (2013) on top of the over $28 billion in “faith-based initiatives” from taxpayers “compelled” to support religion. They demand that taxpayers pay for private religious schools and want more of their dollars.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court added to those horrific dollar amounts in what appears to be a small way, but they also opened the door for ungodly amounts of taxpayer money to be stolen from public eduction to fund private religious schools. The High Court ruled that it was unfair, and one seriously nasty form of religious persecution, for Missouri’s Constitution to forbid a religious school from taking taxpayer money to improve its playground. It may seem like a small thing, compelling taxpayers to fund improvements for a religious organization’s property, but it was the opening evangelical school choice advocates, and evangelical Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, demanded to compel public schools to “promote god’s kingdom” by government fiat and with taxpayer money.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos celebrated the Trinity decision as a victory for the taxpayer-funded religious school choice movement, which has gained momentum and stands to expand under the Trump administration.

Trump’s budget features a $1.4 billion religious school choice package that includes millions of taxpayer dollars for evangelical families to send their children to private, for profit religious schools.

DeVos is a staunch and lifelong advocate for compelling  taxpayers to fund private, for-profit religious schools. She is also a notorious evangelical and public education enemy who attended and sent her children to private religious schools; likely because they met her requirement that schools exist to “promote god’s kingdom.”

DeVos said the High Court decision affirmed her belief that  “religious discrimination in any form cannot be tolerated in a society that values the First Amendment;” unless of course religion drives discrimination against people of color and the LGBTQ community, then DeVos tolerates “religious discrimination.” She said after the Trinity ruling was announced:

We should all celebrate the fact that [bible-based] programs designed to help students will no longer be discriminated against by the government based solely on religious affiliation.”

DeVos wasn’t the only evangelical celebrating a ruling that opened the door for compelling Americans to support a religion, place, or ministry. The senior attorney for the Institute for Justice who represents evangelicals who couldn’t convince authorities in Colorado to compel taxpayers  to pay for religious school tuition through scholarship grants, Michael Bindas said:

This is a tremendous development for [religious] school choice. It shows the court takes the principle of neutrality toward religion in public benefits programs very seriously. We’re very confident that the Colorado Supreme Court may come to the correct decision.”

Evangelicals claimed that Colorado’s Constitution, and its Supreme Court’s judgement that the state’s Choice Scholarship Program’s  prohibited public funding to “ support or sustain any school that is controlled by any church or sectarian denomination” was patently unfair to evangelicals. The Colorado evangelicals are demanding the Colorado Supreme Court correct their error and start compelling all Colorado taxpayers to “financially support a religion, place of worship, and ministry.

It is always a mystery why so-called Constitutional advocates in the Republican movement are intent on compelling Americans to pay for religious instruction with money appropriated for public schools. This week Kentucky governor and evangelical malcontent Matt Bevin signed a bill into law legalizing bible-courses disguised as social studies in the state’s public school system. Bevin said at a signing ceremony:

The idea that we would not want this to be an option for people in school, that would be crazy. I don’t know why every state would not embrace this, why we as a nation would not embrace this.”

To answer Bevin’s question; every state and the nation is not embracing compelling taxpayers to pay for “religious instruction, places of worship, or bible classes” because it is patently unconstitutional, and not all Americans are religious welfare queens. The Kentucky religious imposition bill demands that religious classes “must discuss all aspects of the Christian bible because they are prerequisites to understanding contemporary society and culture.”

The evangelical zealots in Kentucky’s Republican legislature and governor’s office claim that teaching the Christian bible is the only way for students “to get a better insight on the structure of the country.” One Republican advocate for compelling taxpayers to  support “a ministrysaid the law will “help educate our kids on the background of how they came up with our founding documents.” Founding documents, by the way, that make absolutely no mention of the Christian bible, the Christian religion, or how religion was used in developing the “structure the country” because they did not.

The SCOTUS ruling this week, although seemingly harmless, is being touted as probably the most important High Court ruling all year and that is no exaggeration. It gave evangelicals the opening they have lusted after to tear down the wall of separation the Founders installed in the Constitution to protect the population from a theocracy. The immediate celebratory comments by DeVos and evangelicals intent on “compelling Americans to support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever” informs that not only was the SCOTUS ruling significant, it was a dangerous step towards a government ruled by an evangelical theocracy.