Friday, May 05, 2017

Trump Punts on Anti-Gay "Religious Freedom" Executive Order

While the news of the House of Representatives vote on Trumpcare yesterday was depressing.  On a more positive note, the "religious freedom" executive order signed by Der Trumpenführer, while troubling, failed to include the license to discriminate demanded by Christofascists and their political prostitutes in Congress.  To say that the Christofascists and professional Christian class (who live well by peddling hate and division - think Tony Perkins and Brian brown as but two examples) are livid livid is an understatement.    Here's a taste of Brian Brown's shrieking:
This is the second time that President Trump has backed away from signing a comprehensive order protecting religious liberty after LGBT groups complained about the proposed actions. We cannot accept this capitulation on such a critical issue and must fight back. Will you help us insist that President Trump fulfill his repeated promises to protect the religious liberty of people of faith?

By "help us" Brown means send money so that he can continue to make over $500,000 a year. Brown was far from alone in his wailing and lamentations over Trump's failure to exempt Christofascists from non-discrimination laws and ordinances.  American Family Association hate monger Bryan Fischer was equally peeved and blamed Ivanka Trump and her Jewish husband for Der Trumpenführer's betrayal:
These are essentially hollow promises on the president’s part. No church has ever been deprived of its tax exempt status using the Johnson Amendment. . . . the gravest concern is aroused by what the president did not say. The draft of this executive order that was leaked to the liberal media in February contained robust protections for Christians engaged in business from being compelled by government to violate their own values and consciences in showdowns with the radical, vitriolic, and virulently aggressive LGBT lobby.  This morning’s empty and symbolic action on the president’s part most likely betrays the hidden hand of the president’s uber-liberal daughter, Ivanka, who likely leaked the February draft to a liberal rag (The Nation) in order to stir up enough intense outrage from the LGBT community to strangle this baby in the cradle. It worked. Ivanka wore out her red pencil eviscerating the original order, leaving us with today’s order which has very nice language but is virtually entirely lacking in substance. 

While Trump has delivered on some of his promises made to Christofascists, today's failure to include the much demanded anti-LGBT provisions underscores the reality that Christofascists and evangelical Christians are Motivated by two things: racism and homophobia.  In their strange bubble detached from objective reality and moral decency, they believe that the rest of society harbors similar hatreds.  That bubble is about to burst.  A full one-third  of the under 30 generation has left organized religion and many older Americans are following suit.  A piece in Sojourner looks at this reality.  Here are excerpts:

Last Friday, Jerry Falwell, Jr. took to Fox News to proclaim that in Donald Trump, “evangelicals have found their dream president.” Two years ago, this statement would have made virtually no sense, at least on the surface. To many outside the white evangelical world, it seemed — and still seems — inconceivable that a thrice-married serial adulterer, ultimate materialist, casino owner, habitual liar, and unprincipled deal-maker could ever become the standard bearer for a group that professes to base their vote on “family values.”
In the two years since Trump announced his candidacy, we have seen a remarkable moral unmasking of white Americans who call themselves Christian, and in particular those who claim the “evangelical” label. Eighty-one percent of white evangelical voters cast their vote for Donald Trump, and the most recent Pew Research poll puts Trump’s support after his first 100 days in office at 78 percent among white evangelicals (and 80 percent among white evangelicals who attend church once a month).
In supporting Trump’s crackdowns and, in Trump's words, “big" and "beautiful” wall that will keep immigrants out, Falwell is explicitly and proudly saying that white evangelicals voted for Trump not in spite of his racist and xenophobic rhetoric about undocumented immigrants, but because of this rhetoric. How that relates to Christians, including evangelicals, who are in direct relationship to the undocumented immigrants and refugees that Trump wants to deport or keep out of our country, Falwell didn’t say.
Falwell also didn’t mention that Trump’s agenda and proposed budget would brutally cut off vital support to all “the least of these” that Jesus asks us to protect in the 25th chapter of Matthew’s gospel. . . . . Jerry Falwell Jr. has once again shown himself to be nothing more or less than a Republican political operative, interested in advancing his preferred policy agenda much more than examining what it means to be a Christian.
This is about the moral hypocrisy of white American evangelical religious right leaders like Jerry Falwell Jr. causing a crisis in the church, dividing American Christians on racial lines, and astonishing the worldwide body of Christ — the international majority of evangelical Christians who are people of color — and whose leaders keep asking many of us what in the world is going on with white American evangelicals.
That number, 81 percent, has become an international symbol that tragically now represents what white American evangelicalism stands for. It dramatically and painfully symbolizes the white ethno-nationalism that Donald Trump appeals to and continues to draw support from among white American evangelicals. It is the most revealing and hurtful metric of what I will call the racial idolatry of white American evangelical Christianity . . . . .

Racism is not a gospel issue to the Falwells, and never has been. That Donald Trump began his political career with a racist lie about America’s first black president isn’t an issue for Falwell, Jr. That Trump opened his campaign by demonizing immigrants in calling them “rapists” and “criminal” doesn’t matter to Jr. either. And Trump’s xenophobic assaults on Muslims seems to be something that Falwell. also agrees with, as his comments at the Liberty University convocation in 2015 indicate. 

That Trump is the dream president for people like Falwell and such a nightmare for the vast majority of evangelical, Pentecostal, and Catholic Christians around the world, and our brothers and sisters of color in the United States, really says it all.
This stark contrast reveals white evangelical Christianity in America as a bubble — a very destructive one, and one that is about to burst.
I hope the bubble bursts soon and that it accelerates the de-legitimization of conservative Christianity as a positive moral force in society.  Conservative Christianity is a pestilence that needs to be removed from society.  No deference is deserved and the media needs to cease providing a platform to Christofascist leaders and granting a false equivalency to their beliefs. 

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