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.

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.