Trump Legitimizes The Evangelical Hate Movement

Donald Trump is hate personified and it would be nearly impossible to think there were very many Americans who don’t believe that is the case; including no small number of his zealot devotees. They support Trump because like them, he is not the least bit bashful about exuding rage towards the people he hates; a group of Americans that is growing at about the same rate a productive hen lays an egg.

Fortunately for Trump, there is an honest-to-dog hate conference sponsored by several bonafide evangelical hate groups that welcomed him with open hearts last week so he didn’t have to hate alone. In fact, Trump was so enthused at being amongst a throng of religious hate mongers that he stopped talking about himself for a minute to say what an honor it was to be among “his” people. Sadly, “his” people make up a larger segment of the population than most Americans want to admit.

The Values Voter Summit is put on annually by several religious right hate groups led by the Family Research Council; an officially-designatedhate group.” Trump was the first White House occupant to address the hate group and he promptly told the cheering evangelicals that their racist, anti-women and anti-LGBTQ views would “no longer be silenced;” they would be administration policy because he pledged to “defend and protect” the evangelical hateful.

While any self-respecting human being would avoid commiserating in public with a movement renowned as a “hate group,” Trump delighted in being admired and praised by “his people.” He said:

I am honored and thrilled to be the first sitting president to address this gathering of friends, so many friends.  I pledged that in a Trump administration, our heritage would be cherished, protected and defended like you have never seen before. We are returning moral clarity to our view of the world.”

When Trump said “our view of the world,” he meant the Family Research Council’s evangelical view founded on pure hate against everything LGBT, women’s rights, and racial equality as evidenced by the white supremacist presence at the hate convention. Of course Trump couldn’t address anyone without addressing his own awesomeness and with a captive audience as dripping with evangelical hatred as Trump has for everything America, he let loose with a few of his most hateful actions to date.

Anti-LGBT groups like the FRC exerted a fair amount of pressure on, and plenty of evangelical prayers to, Trump for a sweeping federal license to discriminate against women and gays according to their evangelical hate standards. So Trump praised himself for directing his equally hateful evangelical attorney general to issue a “bombshell directive” giving evangelicals a ‘’religious exemption” from abiding by any and all anti-discrimination protections for women, gays and people of color.

He also boasted that he gave churches the right to violate campaign finance and tax laws to help elect Republicans and give dark money donors like the Kochs and Karl Rove untouchable religious Super PACs. Not only do churches not have to be accountable to campaign finance or tax laws, the wealthy donors like the Kochs can write off their campaign donations as charitable contributions to churches.

Trump said:

To protect religious liberty, including protecting groups like this one, I signed a new executive action in a beautiful ceremony in the White House on our national day of prayer.

Among many historic steps, the executive order followed through on one of my most important campaign promises, important to so many of you. To prevent the horrendous Johnson Amendment interfering with your First Amendment rights.

We will not allow government workers to censor sermons or target our pastors, our ministers, our rabbis. These are the people we want to hear from and they’re not going to be silenced any longer.”

When Trump said people “we” want to hear from, he meant Republicans want to hear evangelical clergy campaigning from the pulpit to expedite their hate crusade against women and LGBT people; a crusade that already gave religious Republicans control of all three branches of government.

Trump also boasted that he did precisely what the evangelical hate movement demanded by appointing an anti-women’s rights and anti-LGBT equality conservative to the Supreme Court. In a nod to the FRC hate group’s dream of “banning gay sex,” Trump bragged that “I appointed and confirmed a Supreme Court justice in the mold of the late great Justice Antonin Scalia.” In 2002 Scalia dissented on the High Court decision to strike down barbaric religious laws banning gay sex in the United States just 15 years ago.

It is noteworthy that at least two of Trump’s “great friends” speaking to the Hate Voters, as well as the Family Research Council’s president, are violently opposed to anything remotely LGBT and women’s rights. Trump’s newest love-interest Roy Moore allegedly is not publicly certain that gays should be allowed to live; but he is publicly certain that his bible is the law of the land and it does call for killing gay people. Another man equally as enamored with Trump as Trump is of him, Duck Dynasty malcontent Phil Robertson, addressed Trump’s “great friends;” Robertson often makes it perfectly clearhe wants to rid the Earth of wicked gays.

Now, it is no revelation that Trump is the embodiment of hate, or that the FRC’s Values Voter Summit typifies American evangelical hate, there are likely hate groups in every society and most are driven by radical religious beliefs. However, only a minority of the world’s nations are in the thrall of an administration founded on hate with veritable universal support from a small, but very vocal radical religious minority.

The seriously damning indictment of America is that 60-plus million Americans’ supported Donald Trump or he would be pandering to some second-rate cable network for another reality show gig. Throughout the presidential primaries and general election, Trump exuded hatred for every and anything and no American of voting age can say they didn’t know what kind of hate monger he is.

It is a damn sad state of affairs, but now that monster and his hate-infested evangelical cabal are running the nation, and Trump legitimized the hate movement by boasting about every hateful action he directed according to the evangelical’s demands. There are plenty of commentaries claiming the hate groups in America are a small minority, but don’t believe the sophistry. Instead, believe the numbers of Americans who spent six or seven months hearing and seeing hate incarnate on a daily basis and then voted for that incarnation to run the nation and legitimize evangelical hate as an integral element of “his government.”

DOJ Issues Religious License To Discriminate Against Women and Gays

The corrupt and radical religious cesspool known as the Trump-Pence administration ushered America one step closer to an extremist evangelical theocracy and assaulted the secular U.S. Constitution and federal laws in the process on Friday. The good news for evangelical fascists panting to punish Americans who fail to hew to the religious right’s nasty worldview came courtesy of Trump’s racist attorney general, Jeff “sermonizer” Sessions.

As a man who claims the religious “separation clause” in the U.S. Constitution’s is patently unconstitutional and unhistorical, Sessions laid down the evangelical law that going forward, no government employee, agency, or contractor has to adhere to anti-discrimination laws or the 14th Amendment if they claim doing so offends their religious beliefs.

This ultimate “license to discriminate” has been pushed in red religious Republican states since 2010, but prior to the last election there was a firewall at the federal level protecting equal rights. And no, the firewall was not the U.S. Constitution or federal anti-discrimination laws; they still exist but religious Republicans ignore them. The firewall was an administration that hewed closely to the Constitution replete with a Justice Department defending all Americans’ right to protections outlined in the 14th Amendment. It should be obvious by now that the Trump administration players have as much respect for the Constitution as they do veracity, or tolerance for Americans unwilling to subject themselves to radical evangelicals’ nasty form of “Christianity.”

According to the Trump administration’s latest theocratic edict, all it takes is a claim of “violating religious freedom” to “override any anti-discrimination protection for LGBT people, women, and many, many other Americans.” In fact, as the Associated Press noted:

The guidelines are so sweeping that experts on religious liberty are calling them a legal powder-keg that could prompt wide-ranging lawsuits against the government.”

The reality is that with a theocratic administration, Justice Department, Congress and Supreme Court, those “wide-ranging” lawsuits will be shut down with extreme prejudice. The DOJ under Sessions and Trump has already inserted itself into employment lawsuits on behalf of radical evangelicals who claim their religious liberty makes them immune to the Constitution’s equal rights provisions, employment laws, and anti-discrimination laws.

The humanitarian folks over at LGBT Weekly performed a preliminary analysis of this newest Trump-Pence theocratic assault on Americans and although they focused on the LGBTQ community and women, every demographic and American citizen are at risk. After all, the concept behind an overarching evangelical “license to discriminate” is providing radicalized Christians uncontested federal government authority to punish any American they believe violates their “religious freedom.”

Just a sampling of the horrors of the latest evangelical edict may provide a preview of what American citizens can expect with a federally-enforced “license to discriminate” declaration from Trump’s justice department. For example:

A Social Security Administration employee could refuse to accept or process spousal or survivor benefits paperwork for a surviving same-sex spouse. Government contractors will no longer be legally bound to  provide emergency services to unmarried women or members of the LGBT community because the risk of losing federal, state or city contracts no longer exists.

Organizations that receive federal tax dollars, like every church in America, that was at one time prohibited from demanding that all of their employees adhere to the tenets of the organization’s religion could now legally discriminate against LGBTQ, single women, and the non-religious by not providing employment benefits or employment.

Any agency, including churches and tax-exempt non-profits that receive federal aid in any form, and even those organizations’ individual staff members could refuse services for LGBTQ children in crisis. And they now have something they have fought tooth and nail to see implemented; unilateral authority stop  “placing adoptive or foster children with a same-sex couple or transgender couple;” or non-Christians and people of color if they claim doing so offends their religious sensibilities.

Women will face as much discrimination as LGBTQ people and that is part and parcel of the evangelical edict. The religious right Republicans have attempted to pass legislation forcing women to reveal if they use contraception, and organizations that receive federal funding have, in fact, attempted to require women, not men, to sign employment documents pledging to adhere to the organization’s owners religious standards on pain of employment termination.

This new theocratic edict will affect more than just “federal” agencies and contractors. There are very, very few state and local entities serving the public that do not receive federal funds whether they are public utilities,  public schools, police and fire departments, churches, hospitals and clinics, and emergency service providers. And it is noteworthy that this theocratic expansion of “conscience laws” now has the full weight and authority of the federal government based on religion. This is the new “religious liberty” radical evangelicals have lusted for and if any American thinks they are immune because they aren’t gay, aren’t women, or aren’t people of color, they are phenomenally stupid.

Of course the Trump administration’s latest theocratic edict elicited outrage from advocates for equal rights, but it is probably far too little far too late.

The president and CEO of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) commented thus:

Today’s guidance by Jeff Sessions proves this [theocratic] Administration will do anything possible to categorize LGBTQ Americans as second-class citizens who are not equal under the law. Freedom of religion does not give people the right to impose their beliefs on others, to harm others, or to discriminate. Nothing could be more un-American and unholy than using religion to justify harm and discrimination to others.”

The president of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Chad Griffin said:

Today the Trump-Pence administration launched an all-out assault on LGBTQ people, women, and other minority communities by unleashing a sweeping license to discriminate. This blatant attempt to further Donald Trump’s cynical and hateful [theocratic] agenda will enable systematic, government-wide discrimination that will have a devastating impact on LGBTQ people and their families. Donald Trump and Mike Pence have proven they will stop at nothing to target the LGBTQ community and drag our nation backwards.

It is noteworthy to remind the naysayers that religious freedom in 21st Century America is the freedom to impose the radical evangelical worldview on all Americans and punish those unwilling to comply with the bastardized version of Christianity. And yes, it is bastardized because the religion’s namesake, Jesus Christ, preached against everything the religious right stands for and promotes.

This latest theocratic assault on America and its Constitution will affect more than just the LGBTQ community and women; although they will bear the brunt of the attacks first. Like previous state-level “license to discriminate laws,” anyone remotely connected to an organization or agency receiving federal taxpayer dollars, can refuse to provide a service or assistance to anyone they claim violates their deeply held religious beliefs, even if they aren’t religious or affiliated with a religion. Bigotry is now a religious faith in America so everyone is a target.

This is not, as was once apt to say, ‘the way theocratic tyranny begins.” Theocracy is here in 2017 in the form of a federally-enacted “license to discriminate” and is not simply an invitation to discriminate, it is a signal to the extremist evangelical right that their “religious freedom” now includes federal protection to flout the equal rights of all Americans and the U.S. Constitution.

Tragically, with radical evangelical extremists running all three branches of the federal government, no American is safe. And there is no longer any freedom from imposition of religion by government fiat; something the Founding Fathers and Constitution’s Framers thought was so important they included it in the First Amendment.

Image: Gage Skidmore

Republicans Announce Another Extremist Evangelical Attack On Women

Republicans in the House announced yet another plan to ban women’s constitutional rights, and like everything driving the GOP’s war on women, the assault is driven by Christian extremists’ lust for control and dominance over women’s reproductive health. Although there is nothing in the Christian religion justifying these relentless attacks on women’s reproductive rights, Republicans all but admitted this is simply remuneration for the evangelicals’ electoral support.

The legislation, the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” written for the anti-women’s choice sector by Representative Trent Franks (R-AZ) is founded on Vatican dogma, not science. It is another attempt to ban abortions after 20 weeks. The legislation does provide exceptions (with conditions) only “to save the life of the pregnant woman” or in the case of “rape and incest.” However those exceptions are only applicable if the woman “obtains counseling and treatment” for rape at least 48 hours prior to the procedure.

Standing alongside the proud religious Republicans during a press conference announcing the vote next were anti-women’s choice, and rights, group leaders. Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the anti-women’s group Susan B. Anthony List was joined by National Right to Life’s Jennifer Popick who boasted that the religious legislation is a replica of her evangelical group’s model legislation attacking women’s rights.

The bill, a wet-knicker experience for Dannenfelser, is likely not biblically severe enough for her liking. During the House GOP fetal pain attempt in 2015, Dannenfelser was appalled at the rape exception. She said it was “abominable” and “regrettable”  that Republicans included it for “reasons of political feasibility.

She wanted a bill that hewed more closely to the religious Republican assertion that “the method of conception doesn’t change the definition of life” in the attempt to ban abortion. An Oklahoma religious Republican went a step farther and saidgod uses rape to bring beauty from ashes” in his argument that there can be no exceptions to abortion bans.

Dannenfelser did what the religious right typically does and lied vy claiming her advocacy against women’s reproductive rights is helping women, but in order to really help “the woman” the anti-women’s rights movement really needs a law for the children. She said:

We want to be there for the woman, and we know we need a law to protect the children.”

This author is getting damn sick and tired of reiterating that a fetus, an embryo and a zygote are not “children;” regardless what the Vatican or religious right says. And to repeat for the ten-thousandth time; according to the religious right’s holy bible, there is no child, no infant, or no “living being” until the fetus exits the womb and breathes air sans medical intervention.

This entire issue is another religious attempt to control women and it is founded on an oft-debunked claim by evangelical know-nothings who claim a fetus feels pain at 20 weeks of gestation. That is literally and physically impossible. According to decades of medical and biological science, anatomy, physiology, and scientists who actually know of what they speak; a fetus at 20 weeks cannot possibly feel pain. Simply because the neurological development to sense pain does not occur until “about’ two months later, at 27 weeks. Still, a bunch of religious fanatics have convinced Republicans that they are better qualified than the preponderance of pathological evidence and the science.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) said it considers the case to be closed as to whether a fetus can feel pain at that stage in development.

Kate Connors, a spokeswoman for the ACOG, explained what medical professionals and scientists have know for ages: “The science shows that based on gestational age, the fetus is not capable of feeling pain until the third trimester.” The third trimester begins at about 27 weeks into the pregnancy.

Now, the religious right, the “Christ-centeredpersonhood movement, and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) representing the Vatican all claim science and medical professionals are wrong. Their claim is not founded on their bible, but on the 1968 papal encyclical on life, physiology, and apparently gynecology, “Humanae Vitae;” a document they believe supersedes all known medical science and physiological facts because god.

Anti-choice religious extremists damn sure couldn’t use their ‘holy bible’ as evidence to support the claim because their god says there is no living being until the fetus exits the womb and draws breath under its own power. If their god says there is no living being until after birth, then why are these vicious and unrelenting religious attacks on women continuing unabated? Because Republicans, like religious right extremists, want women where the religious right says they belong; birthing little Republicans, cleaning a man’s chamber pot, and remaining silent like the religious right’s bible commands.

A fair share of the blame for these unconstitutional attempts to legislate the establishment of religion on women’s rights belongs to Democrats, the media, pro-choice organizations, women’s advocacy groups, and Americans terrified of using the word “religion.” Oh, opponents of these horrendous attacks on women’s rights come up with all the popular and politically correct reasons to oppose these religious impositions, but not one of them ever cites the only reason they exist – evangelical extremist religion. If those opponents weren’t cowards, they would tell the people Republican legislation is precisely what the First Amendment of the Constitution prohibits: legislation establishing religion.

Even the man proudly announcing the anti-woman legislation didn’t dare admit it is founded on a bastardized version of Christianity or a 1968 papal encyclical. Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) could have been honest and said the purpose of the legislation was to punish and control women on behalf of the religious right; instead he said:

Not only will passing this legislation keep a promise we [and Trump] made, but all the work is for the same goal: ending suffering and helping people live.”

The legislation will levy a penalty, including a fine and up to five years in prison, on any woman even “seeking” an abortion after 20 weeks; the medical professional performing the legal medical procedure will face the same punishment.

It’s possible these religious attacks on women will never cease; religious extremists never relent or ISIS and the Taliban would be long gone. However, it is damn high time that Democrats, women’s advocacy groups, pro-choice organizations, women and the men who care about them start calling these Republican attacks what they are; unconstitutional legislation imposing an extremist religious dogma. Maybe if the Republicans were exposed as a religious extremists attacking American women, the population may take countermeasures to put a stop to a nasty theocratic takeover. But if these religious Republicans continue being allowed to establish religion unimpeded, American women will have a legitimate reason to commiserate with women in Saudi Arabia, Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, and ISIS. The only difference will be American women will complain about life under an evangelical theocracy dominated by radical “Christian” extremists.

Image: Eclectablog

California Bill Bans Employers From Firing Women Who Use Birth Control

Trump’s election was wildly celebrated by evangelical fanatics across the nation, and that cheering was certainly related to their potent new weapon in the Republican war on women. Having an anti-women’s rights and misogynist in the Oval Office is a serious threat to women at the federal level, but possibly more so at the state level. Women who are unfortunate enough to live in GOP controlled states are in serious trouble because with an anti-women’s rights administration appointing an anti-women’s rights religious attorney general, it is  certain the DOJ will always support anti-women legislation. Women who live in solidly red states are in the deepest  trouble, but only if they object to religious Republicans aiding evangelicals’ efforts to control their reproductive health choices.

Women in California are a governor’s signature away from receiving a lifeline in the form of legislation that forbids religious employers from forcing women to sign religious “statements of faith” or “codes of conduct” in order to keep their employment. The legislation also prohibits employers from retaliating against a [female] worker for making reproductive health decisions contrary to religious employers’ objects to. The truth is that the religious fanatics generally object to women making any reproductive health decisions that prevent them from becoming perpetual birth machines.

The legislation, AB 569 (Discrimination: Reproductive Health), was introduced by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego) who said religious employers have been regularly discriminating against female workers’ based on their reproductive health-care decisions in California. The legislation was sponsored by NARAL, Pro-Choice California, and California Latinas for Reproductive Justice, and sixteen faith-based groups signed a letter supporting the anti-discrimination legislation.

The legislation simply “protects workers from discrimination or retaliation for using any medications, medical service, or device related to reproductive health.” The legislation is particularly necessary now because a few months ago Trump signed an executive order  greatly “expanding religious imposition” authority while surrounded by that misogynistic group of Catholic nuns still furious that the Affordable Care Act contained contraception coverage; coverage they still assert is a violation of their religious freedom to control women’s reproductive health.

The bill’s sponsor said the legislation was necessary to stop religious employers from “infringing on a woman’s right to make personal decisions about birth control and pregnancy.” Religious employers, and not just “church-affiliated” organizations, are not shy about their intent to control women’s reproductive choices.

It is important to remember that the private company Hobby Lobby is not a “religious organization” or “church-affiliated.” And yet they convinced the conservative wing of the Supreme Court that contraceptives, including birth control pills, are “abortifacients” and tantamount to having an abortion. The Court’s “religious imposition” ruling was founded on Hobby Lobby’s owners’ “religious belief” that contraceptives are abortions, and since that was “their heartfelt religious belief,” they won the legal right to deny women’s access to contraceptives.

Ms. Gonzalez Fletcher wasn’t stretching the truth when she said religious employers discriminate against women’s healthcare decision. For example, a San Diego Christian College required a financial aid specialist to sign a document pledging to not to have premarital sex, and then fired her for “becoming pregnant” and using her “pledge” as proof she violated the employer’s religious code. In liberal San Francisco the Archbishop attempted to force teachers to sign a “code of conduct” pledging they would refrain from using birth control or attempting to conceive by artificial insemination; fortunately for female teachers in San Francisco the attempt failed, but the attempt should have incited a massive outrage. Instead, California Democrats had to pass legislation making those attempts illegal.

The bill’s sponsor said in a statement:

Women in this country have been fired for getting pregnant while unmarried, for using in-vitro fertilization and for other personal reasons related to their own reproductive health. No woman should ever lose a job for exercising her right to decide when, how, or whether to have a family.”

Sadly, the minority religious fanatics running the United States vehemently disagree with the legislation and one of the bill’s primary opponents is a revolting religious outfit, the California Family Council; It is the policy arm of the Family Research Council and its president was livid that pro-life employers may be prohibited from literally forcing their religious beliefs down their employees throats. Seriously, the California Family Council president, Jonathan Keller said:

“Every organization that promotes a pro-life message must be able to require its employees to practice what they [the employers] preach. It is unconscionable for any politician to attempt to abridge this sacrosanct religious liberty by inserting themselves into the employee-employer relationship.”

Keller, like his dirty theocratic ilk, firmly believes that evangelicals’ “sacrosanct religious liberty” includes controlling women by way of controlling their reproductive health. That bizarro-world version of “religious liberty” is fervently embraced by Catholic organizations and they present a monumental threat to women’s ‘personal liberty” to decide when, how, and if they give birth.

Over the last few years Catholic organizations have been buying up hospitals, clinics, medical networks, and physicians groups  and demanding absolute fealty to the Catholic Hospitals Association rules and regulations regarding women’s reproductive health choices. After coming under Catholic ownership, those physicians, hospitals, clinics etc. are required to abide by the United. States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services (ERDs). The Vatican-inspired ERDs strictly forbid abortions, even in the case of rape or incest,  and forbid access to contraceptives, sterilization procedures, in vitro fertilization or the use of sperm or egg donors.

If California Governor Jerry Brown signs AB-569, women will have a measure of protection from religious employers who believe infringing on a woman’s right to make personal reproductive decisions is just part of their “sacrosanct religious liberty.”

This dirty religious imposition situation is not going to get any better for women  and California women may want to put any wild celebrations on hold. No doubt if Governor Brown signs AB-569 there will be a flurry of church-funded lawsuits to protect employers’ right to impose their religion on their employees to control their reproductive lives. What should give every American pause is that in 21st Century America a state legislature has to pass legislation banning employers from attempting to control a woman’s reproductive life. It should also leave Americans asking what kind of leaders advocate allowing a fanatical religious sect to control women under the aegis of the federal government that is not the Taliban.

h/t Rewire

Rand Paul Beds Down With Organization Advocating Prison for Abortion

Republicans are being lured to do an anti-women’s choice organization’s bidding that includes advocating jail sentences for women who have an abortion. While the nation is mesmerized by a con man’s social media use and incompetence, the religious right is making unprecedented progress in the war on women while no-one is watching. Of course it is tempting to only monitor the criminal in the White House, but it is a distraction giving cover to religious anti-choice advocates and Republicans to pass legislation ending women’s reproductive rights and compelling them to become either birth machines or celibate.

It was reported that Rand Paul (R-KY) is pandering for donations for a personhood organization, the National Pro-Life Alliance, to give them more funding leverage to buy Republican support for Paul’s latest “fetal personhood” offering. The nasty religion-driven “non-profit” is making a major push to control women now because Trump signed a solemn pledge to support Paul’s “personhood legislation.” Trump also told the religious group that he supports a “federal” personhood bill, and they expect him to repay them for their ardent electoral support.

National Pro-Life Alliance recently sent out a letter supporting Paul’s “fetal personhood” bill bemoaning the fact that women who exercise their legal right to a medical procedure are not arrested, charged, prosecuted and sent to jail.

Rand Paul’s latestpersonhood” bill, “Life at Conception Act 2017” is short and says much more than it seems.

This bill declares that the right to life guaranteed by the Constitution is vested in each human being at all stages of life, including the moment of fertilization, cloning, or other moment at which an individual comes into being.”

What the bill doesn’t say is that anything the religious right deems an “unnatural interference” with that “moment of fertilization” will be considered a crime. Paul did add a “provision” to make his bill palatable to more senators, but it means nothing if the bill is passed and signed into law. The provision states:

Nothing in this bill shall be construed to require the prosecution of any woman for the death of her unborn child, a prohibition on in vitro fertilization, or a prohibition on use of birth control or another means of preventing fertilization.”

If anyone believes the measures Paul inserted to make his anti-choice measure palatable are legitimate, they are stupider than dirt. Remember, once theses religious fanatics get their foot in the door, women’s right to choose their own reproductive health is finished. In the Hobby Lobby ruling, although the conservative Justices acknowledged that according to all known medical and biological science, birth control is not abortion, still ruled for Hobby Lobby. They claimed that because according to Hobby Lobby’s owners’ religious belief that birth control is abortion, then it must be abortion to them. It was that “religious belief” aspect that gave Hobby Lobby and the religious right another means of banning birth control because it is unnatural and interferes with “the moment of conception.”

Now, it is getting old having to remind these “Christ centered” personhood malcontents that according to their god in their Christian bible, there is no “living being” until the moment the fetus leaves the womb and draws breath. The result of “the moment of fertilization” is a single-celled organism called a “zygote.” It is not a living human being and deserves no more constitutional rights than an embryo or a fetus. It is noteworthy that Republicans, particularly the evangelical Republicans, are immensely concerned about protecting the rights of a non-living human being, but the second that fetus exits the womb and draws breath they have no use or regard for its well-being whatsoever.

These “Christ centered” personhood advocates could not care less what their holy book says, and despite that a zygote, embryo, or fetus is not a human being, they hew closely to a document created by a Catholic they believe should be enshrined as the law of the land in America. And it is terrifying that there are religious Republicans who share their conviction and now have the means to make it law.

Most Americans who have heard about the Catholic “Personhood Movement” are either completely clueless to its purpose or laugh it off as just another bizarro-world religious right worldview. Although they didn’t start the personhood crusade, the religious right embraced it whole-heartedly to keep the “faithful” electing Republicans who do the movement’s bidding. Prior to being convinced by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops that birth control and abortion were brilliant emotional appeals to sway evangelical voters for Republicans, the religious right was not anti-women’s choice.

The ultimate goal of the personhood movement is to force legislation that conforms to the 1968 papal encyclical on human life known as Humanae Vitae. The movement adheres to the “encyclical” thesis that all “unnatural” forms of birth control are sinful and that sexual relations are for the express purpose of producing offspring; but only in marriage.

That is a loose summary of Pope Paul VI’s instructions to the Catholic faithful that the personhood movement has adopted as its raison d’être. Now that the personhood movement has a White House occupant’s signature on a document supporting any personhood bill,  they see an opportunity to finally succeed.  With Trump, and Pence who supports jail for abortion, on board, and two Republican versions of “personhood” bills in the works in Congress, it looks very bad for women and their constitutional right to control their reproductive health.

There has been a methodical effort by the personhood movement, with valuable aid from religious Republicans, to create a strategy to eliminate any and all legal protections for abortions, and eventually any and all “unnatural” forms of birth control. Central to that effort is building a body of laws that define zygotes and fetuses as full U.S. citizens with the same legal and constitutional rights Republicans want reserved for white evangelicals.

Women have never been in as much peril of being controlled by the religious right regarding their reproductive rights as they are today. Since Republicans control all three branches of government, there is no firewall against something as absurd as personhood legislation or the real risk of women being imprisoned for choosing a legal medical procedure. It is true a personhood bill on its own will not technically overturn Roe v Wade, but the result will be exactly the same.

If women, or the men who love them, think the religious maniacs will stop at jailing women for having an abortion, it is worth reminding them that there are pro-life personhood zealots who support charging women for murder for choosing a legal medical procedure. No one should be shocked if Republicans “compromise” and settle for just jailing women who have an abortion.

Misogynist Betsy DeVos To Use Title IX For Republicans’ War On Women

The religious Republican war on women was, although relentless, somewhat diminished during President Barack Obama’s 8-year tenure in the White House, but that firewall came to a screeching halt on January 21, 2017. It is an understatement to say Donald Trump is a misogynist of the first order, but no more so than the evangelicals he installed in his Cabinet.

Two of Trump’s evangelical department heads are mounting an attack on women in the form of assisting perpetrators of sexual assault to rape with impunity. In fact, it was announced recently that Trump’s unqualified evangelical Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is poised to do as she promised and roll back Title IX protections to better conform to what evangelical men believe is right and proper; free reign over women.

At issue for DeVos is “repealing and replacing” Title IX protections to make it more difficult for victims of rape get a semblance of justice on college campuses. Even before DeVos took aim at Title IX, a “leaked” Department of Justice (DOJ) memo issued exactly six days after evangelical misogynist Jeff Sessions was sworn in as attorney general sought to change policy to favor male sexual abusers.

The DOJ memo’s authors “expressed concern” over the inequities faced by male students accused of sexual assault; one particular “policy shift” should please every misogynist alive and women should be absolutely terrified. The disconcerting recommended changes is that going forward during rape and sexual assault cases:

Every complainant’s sexual history may be introduced at the hearing. Currently, questions about the complainant’s (victim’s) sexual history with anyone other than the accused perpetrator are not permitted.”

That memo by Sessions is old-school misogyny when no matter the circumstances, it was always a woman’s fault that she was raped and men were always victims. The DOJ memo to the Education Department states its purpose is to rectify Title IX’s “disparate and unfair treatment and impact on male students accused of sexual assault.” That so-called “disparate and unfair treatment of male students is an oft-cited complaint of men’s groups renowned for harassing rape victims; the same groups DeVos appealed to for guidance and direction in her effort to “repeal and replace” Title IX’s protection for women.

It is noteworthy, but typical of this administration, that the DOJ’s policy shift violates every state’s rape shield law going back to the 1970s. Those laws were enacted specifically to prevent a male defendant’s attorney from airing a rape victim’s entire sexual history to portray her as a “slut” that deserved what she got. The DOJ’s recommendation also violates the federal version of a rape shield law known as the Violence Against Women Act (1994). The DOJ memo’s purpose is clear: shame rape survivors or shut them up to protect male assailants.

The concept of protecting men accused of sexual assault is most likely high on DeVos’s to-do list in unilaterally “repealing and replacing” Title IX to conform to an evangelical misogynist’s worldview. She has complained, often bitterly, that Obama-era directives gave the Civil Rights office at the education department intrusive and overreaching authority; likely because it enforces civil rights and women’s protections on college campuses.

DeVos gave an indication of how she will “replace” Title IX civil right protections early in her tenure when she met first with anti-LGBTQ activists for advice and recommendations. A month later she reached out and met with several “men’s rights groups” that harass rape survivors for advice on how best to change Title IX to stop them from being treated unfairly when they were accused of sexual violence. That “advice” is likely why DeVos says she wants to “rescind Title IX protections for women survivors of sexual assault.

During a speech Thursday at George Mason University’s Law School, DeVos proudly announced that “the era of rule by letter is over.” The “letter” reference is to a “Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) that was an Obama-era directive focusing on “how sexual harassment creates a hostile educational environment” that was officially part of “the 2011 Title IX Guidance.” According to the directive, for the purpose of a Department of Education (DOE) investigation, “one single instance of sexual violence is sufficient to qualify as creating a hostile sexual environment” that warranted an investigation.

DeVos laid out three reasons she is “repealing and replacing” sections of Title IX and they obviously came directly from the “counsel and advice” the men’s rights groups offered when DeVos “reached out” for their direction and guidance. She said that going forward “The accused must know that guilt is not predetermined;” school administrators can no longer be judge, jury and executioner when determining “whether or not” sexual abuse “really happened.” And she intends on putting the brakes on the “Office for Civil Rights” division practice of what she claimed was “terrifying schools and overreaching.”

Although DeVos has not yet issued her “repeal and replacement” of Title IX, it is almost certain to be as great a gift to misogynists as it will be a vile curse against women; particularly those who are victims of sexual harassment and rape. Coupled with the Sessions’ DOJ memo reversing course on “rape shield laws” and the Violence Against Women Act, and DeVos’ stated reasons for abolishing sexual abuse protections for women, her “replacement” will be devastating for women.

It is probably true that some Americans feared a Trump administration would wage a ferocious war on women, and not solely because there is no longer a woman’s rights advocate in the Oval Office. For dog’s sake, Trump is a serial misogynist and an admitted “pussy-grabbing” sexual predator, and his appointment of evangelicals with a misogynist bent to run the Education and Justice Departments almost ensured that misogyny would be rewarded and women would be in serious trouble.

DeVos’ announcement and the leaked Sessions’ memo nearly guarantee that the religious Republican war on women is escalating into a full-scale assault on women. Sadly, President Obama isn’t around to stop the dirty misogynists. This is not going to turn out well for whatever progress women have made over decades of struggle and as usual it is all down to religious Republicans’ who revel in waging war on women.