Monday, August 6, 2018
Atheists - And Other Minorities - Need A Heads Up On Sessions' "Religious Liberty Task Force"
"And ah will ensure Dotard's.....errr.....Donnie's....religious liberty guidelines are followed by sidin' with the Devil!"
Atheists and other unwelcome minorities ought to be filled with trepidation at AG Jeff Sessions' new steps to implement a "religious liberty" task force and "guidance document".
Unknown to many, on Monday, July 30th, the Department of Justice (DOJ) held a “Religious Liberty Summit” at which AG Sessions announced that the Department would be developing a “Religious Liberty Task Force.” Sessions explained that the task force “will help the department fully implement our religious liberty guidance” — referencing a DOJ guidance document on “Principles of Religious Liberty” issued in October of 2017 — “by ensuring that all Justice Department components… are holding that guidance in the cases they bring and defend, the arguments they make in court, the policies and regulations they adopt, and how we conduct our operations.”
Sessions noted that the “next step” for the DOJ and the Trump administration is to ensure compliance to the “religious liberty guidance” issued by the Department of Justice in the fall of 2017. The guidance document that the task force is charged with implementing was promulgated in accordance with Traitor Trump’s “Executive Order Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty.” Trump signed the Executive Order in question in a ceremony on May 4th, 2017, the “National Day of Prayer,” in the White House Rose Garden. The guidance document, “Principles of Religious Liberty” was issued by Sessions in a Memorandum for all Executive Departments and Agencies, on October 7, 2017, and is available here.
Let us take time to note here that Trump, a malignant, lying swine, has no more religious appreciation than a Satanic acolyte of the late Anton LaVey. This degenerate not only is an open traitor, hostile to his country's highest principles as well as the Constitution - but is also a demagogue on the level of Hitler as he seeks to foment internal civil strife, e.g.
'Blood on the President’s Hands': Conservative Writer Warns That Trump Will Get Someone Killed
His moral radar is so blunted it's allowed him to have cavorted with assorted nymphs and models even as his wife was caring for a newborn infant. And we won't even go into his self-admitted penchant for "pussy grabbing" and assaulting contestants for past Miss Universe pageants. So don't even hand me any blarney about this POS being "religious" or "moral". And if he isn't, his "Principles of Religious Liberty” are twaddle and worse.
While the idea of such guidelines, i.e. to ensure religious protections, may sound beneficial to the larger society - think again. First, look at the moral character of the reprobate signing the E.O. A confirmed carouser, pussy grabber, and serial female assaulter - as well as pathological liar - with the ethics of a slug. Second, look at the lot who this moral slug is appeasing: the amoral evangelicals, willing to even overlook child molesters like Roy Moore, to advance their sick, illiberal and anti-human, discriminatory agenda.
Break it down and you have a corrupt White House - and illegitimate (traitor) occupant - tossing another "plum" to the white, evangelical voters. This time by enabling faith -based organizations to ignore non-discrimination laws at their convenience while still receiving federal funding. Thus, while religious extremists cheered the announcement, [progressives, civil rights groups - including secular humanists and atheist organizations (including our local Colorado Springs Atheist, Freethinkers) saw a threat to a different kind of religious freedom: freedom from religiously motivated discrimination, i.e. for women, atheists, LGBT citizens, and non-Christian religious folk (Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists etc.)
As Rev. Al Sharpton correctly put it yesterday morning on his MSNBC broadcast:
"I am a Baptist preacher, but I do not believe I have the right to impose my beliefs on others, by law."
Exactly! Because his religious rights stop where my own begin. More generally, AG Sessions' manifesto for religious protections isn't worth an ounce of doggie lickspittle if my own non-religious are not also secured. The problem is that religious faith underscores the belief of evangelicals and other religious extremists in the superiority of their protections over mine, or over a Muslim's, or a young woman who needs birth control pills, or an LGBT person.
One of the most salient and compelling references to the perversity of religious faith was rendered by Sam Harris in his superb book, The End of Faith (pp. 65-66):
"Faith is what credulity becomes when it finally achieves escape velocity from the constraints of terrestrial discourse – constraints like reasonableness, internal coherence, civility and candor…In the absence of evidence, to the highest place in the hierarchy of human virtues goes ignorance – the true coinage of the realm (e.g. John 20:29): “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed”. And so every child is instructed that it is at the very least – an option - if not a scared duty, to disregard the facts of the world out of deference to the God who lurks in his mother’s and father’s imaginations..
This is the very same faith that will not stoop to reason when it has no good reason to believe…".
In the context of the above, Harris is saying that such beliefs, if strong enough, have the power to convince the religious brain that - despite the U.S. being founded on "religious freedom" - certain elements (e.g. white Christians) have more than others.
But it gets worse given many believers from the Bible belt, namely hard core evangelicals of the type who supported Roy Moore in Alabama (for that state's special election last year), also accept their good book justifies slavery and worse. Some even want to return to bible -based morality. Sure, it's comforting for many of these yokels to crack open the King James Bible, turn to Psalms or some other book and mentally meander while delusionally believing one is suffused in righteousness - and has the god-ordained right to deny wedding cakes to gays or the sale of special coin collections to atheists. But in the end it's no more real than a coke addict's fantasies, because those rights are not inherent or fundamental in any religion. Thus, in the same way the deluded extremists believe they can withhold sales or services to fellow citizens whose lifestyles (or lack of beliefs) they don't like they similarly believe they can use a perverted, bogus law to impose their sexism, racism and xenophobia on the rest of us.
Clearly, the Bible - KJV or any other- can't be taken literally. Further, the fact that evangelicals don't carry out their "good book's" injunctions (say in Leviticus) shows they don't take its verses literally. Hell, they are even prepared to extol and seek comfort in an adulterer and pussy grabber like Trump! See e.g.
So why is this religious liberty twaddle being trotted out? Well, mainly to address the Bible punchers, namely white evangelicals, sense of grievance. As WaPo columnist Jennifer Rubin put it (see preceding link):
"These white Christians are now, for the first time, not in the majority of the American people. So they're no longer just leaders, they are grievance leaders. They feel this put upon, discriminated against, angry sentiment that their fellowship voices. They don't like being displaced from authority in society. They think women, they think immigrants, they think gays are somehow displacing them taking what is rightfully theirs. And these people are out to claim it. "
There you have it in a nutshell: these religious liberty guidelines are merely the means for a bogus law - not so different from the Reich laws of the Hitler era - to confer powers on the "besieged" bible punchers that they believe are rightfully theirs. Don't buy it? Then you need to peruse the work of Andrew Whitehead, an assistant professor of sociology at Clemson University. He recently published a study titled Make America Christian Again which described the so-called quest for “dominion” as the aim of Christian white nationalists who consider that the Christian faith and their particular interpretation should be imposed nation wide.
The worst part of this travesty is that the DOJ, Sessions and Trump actually think we - normal citizens - are to subsidize this B.S. with our tax dollars. Like we subsidized Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cake Shop who refused to sell a wedding cake to David Mullins and Charlies Craig.
As an ACLU civil rights lawyer appearing on "Politics Nation" put it yesterday, this case ought to have been a no brainer, given the precedent of a 1965 case where a barbecue pit franchise tried to refuse service to black diners. That was on the basis of invoking the Bible because it "forbids" racial integration. A religious excuse was tried, and found wanting, as it ought to have been in the Colorado cake case. That ought to have been a slam dunk given the operation of the law in the commercial trade sphere cannot be a free for all where everyone does what he wants. That is, selling services to some because they conform to notions of deserving one's "religious self expression", but rejecting others out of a sense of violating one's religious faith or personal dignity. That is a prescription for economic anarchy.
Since Sessions cited this case in justifying the religious liberty task force guidelines, people need to be made aware of its limits, and indeed how it can veer into lawlessness. The white religious extremists are making a final, desperate bid for a power grab - but they must be denied. It can't be on the back of a bogus law that endorses religious discrimination, or any other form.
Sessions’s “Religious Liberty Task Force” Sanctifies Discrimination