Monday, February 13, 2017

The Frightening Ascendancy of the Christofascists Under Trump

Trump with white supremacist and hate group leader Tony Perkins

I have written about the Christofascists and the threat they pose to America for as long as this blog has existed and first came face to face with individuals like Pat Robertson and Ralph Reed back during the latter phase of my eight (8) year period  as a member of the City Committee for the Republican Party of Virginia Beach.  These people have a single minded agenda of making their toxic religious beliefs supreme in America.  They seek to end the separation of church and state and mold government policies and laws to their beliefs.  They have contempt for the religious freedom rights of others and, if give the opportunity, would make contraception illegal nationwide.  They are that extreme.  Sadly, most white, Christian heterosexuals are unfamiliar with the Christofascists' agenda. We in the LGBT community have battled them for years.  Now, Der Trumpenführer has surrounded himself with right wing Christofascists and has given easy access to a veritable who's who of hate group leaders who masquerade as proponents of "family values."  Not only are these folks religious extremists, but beneath the surface a majority are white supremacists as well.  The New York Times looks at the ascendancy of this dangerous and toxic element under Der Trumpenführer.  Here are highlights:
The people who filled the pews of St. John’s Episcopal Church for a private service on the morning of the inauguration were a testament to the ascendancy of the religious right in Donald J. Trump’s Washington: James Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family; Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council [a certified hate group]; James Robison, the Christian television preacher.
Right after Mr. Dobson blessed Mike Pence, and just before the congregation sang “Onward, Christian Soldiers,” Mr. Robison took to the pulpit and asked Mr. Trump to rise.
The religious right’s influence is evident in the policies the new administration has prioritized in its first weeks, from Mr. Trump’s clampdown on federal funding that could indirectly support abortion to his directive to give persecuted Christians special dispensation to enter the United States. His pick to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court, Judge Neil M. Gorsuch, has written opinions favorable to businesses that have religious objections to government mandates. And the White House has told leaders of the movement that the president will select nominees for the lower courts who are opposed to expanding abortion rights.
A group that has felt shunted aside by the Republican establishment is finding doors open more quickly and willingly than it did even under friendly presidents like Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.
Now that he has the movement’s support, he has good reason to keep its adherents happy. He needs them to preserve his cobbled-together base of voters. And given how few votes put him over the top in the Electoral College — 77,000 total in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, where socially conservative Republicans are a key constituency — he may indeed owe them the election.
This close relationship has consequences not only for how policy will be shaped over the next four years on issues like health care, education and free speech, but also for how the federal courts will decide cases for a generation or more.
What the religious right wanted, perhaps above all else, was the nomination of a solidly conservative judge to the Supreme Court. And Mr. Trump delivered with his selection of Judge Gorsuch, whom he picked from a list of 21 candidates blessed by conservative groups.
The Trump administration has moved fast to enact new policies that the religious right considers important, including vowing to “totally destroy” a law known as the Johnson Amendment that restricts the activities of tax-exempt entities like churches in politics.
Mr. Trump’s cabinet is filled with deeply religious people who hold conservative views on religion, morality and social policy.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a Methodist, has questioned the wisdom of separating church and state.
Mr. Robison, the televangelist who was among those who spoke at St. John’s, spoke later that day to a crowd gathered for the Faith, Freedom and Future inaugural ball. He told a story of how he had called Mr. Trump’s cellphone just to see if he would still pick up after he had won the election.  Mr. Trump, he said, answered.

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