Wednesday, May 31, 2017

"Trump Administration Is Dismantling Its Predecessor's Moves to Protect Women, Minorities, the Poor, and LGBTQ People": Thoughts About the Morning's News

David Gushee, "The Most Fantastic Association of Men Imaginable"

In one morning, I read (1),

The Trump administration is dismantling its predecessor's moves to protect women, minorities, the poor, and LGBTQ people (Mark Joseph Stern).

(2) David Badash

The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, the most powerful religious leader in Russia, this weekend compared same-sex marriage to Nazism. Patriarch Kirill's comments come amid reports of kidnapping, torture, and murder of gay men in concentration camps in Chechnya, in the North Caucasus of Russia.

(3) Reuters

"No entry for faggots," read a wooden plate at the entrance to one of German Sterligov's shops in central Moscow. 
Sterligov, 50, became a millionaire by opening a mercantile exchange shortly before the Soviet Union's demise. Later in his career he turned devoutly religious [i.e., in his Russian Orthodox tradition] and retreated with his family to rural Russia to sell organic farm produce. 
"Our planet is full of filth and sick humans," Sterligov told Reuters Television at a country fair outside Moscow. 
"In front of our eyes is the historical experience of Sodom and Gomorrah when God burned these towns," he said, referring to a passage from the Old Testament. 
Addressing the farm fair through a loudspeaker, Sterligov praised U.S. President Donald Trump, who was swift to revoke his predecessor Barack Obama's landmark guidance to public schools allowing transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice. 
"We thank him. May God give him health," Sterligov said.

(4) Nico Lang:

The accused [two gay men in Indonesia], dressed in white, were caned 83 times. The men were originally sentenced to 85 lashes, but seeing as they had already spent two months in prison, authorities were lenient. The "executioners," as they are known, removed a blow for each month served. 
"Do it harder," an onlooker screamed, even though the lashings were so severe that aides had to bring water to ensure the men didn’t pass out from the overwhelming pain.

"There are two Christianities," [Mitchell] Gold [of Faith in America] said in a May 19 interview in Beverly Hills. "Good Christians use their religion to uplift other people, to be inclusive, to help poor people, to help disadvantaged people. They live in the love of God—versus people who live in the fear of God. They are so afraid that they're going to hell if they don't save you, if they don't stop a person from being gay, if they don't stop a woman from being in control of her own body. They live in this fear."
The "bad Christians" are professional haters like Cardinal Dolan, Franklin Graham, Jerry Falwell Jr., and Tony Perkins and his minions at the Family Research Council. These "power-hungry" leaders are "ruthless, willing to say and do virtually anything," Gold says. And they made a deal with Trump. They would overlook his serious character flaws if he gave them Supreme Court Justices, federal judges, and cabinet positions where they could "chip away" at LGBT equality and other protections. 
"What makes my blood boil," he says, "is that there are Catholic kids all around this country who are being taught by Cardinal Dolan—who comes across as some pious morally high-ground guy on TV—but he's telling these kids that they're broken, that homosexuality is a sin, it's an abomination. Dolan is the Big Dog in America and he puts out these words with a smile on his face. He loves the sinner, hates the sin. It is toxic for these kids."

The money the Knights [of Columbus] have poured into partisan efforts in the abortion wars is no small reason that much of the rest of the Catholic agenda has been sidelined and distorted in the public square for decades. The Knights have helped create what Pope Francis has termed an "obsession." The distortion that results is apparent in the assertion of Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, a former Republican political operative, that the election of Donald Trump as president has delivered the country to "a pro-life moment." 
"Not since the Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade in 1973," he declared in a May 1 posting, "has the United States government had so many high-ranking officials who are pro-life." 
We cringe for the future of the Catholic community having arrived at the point where the leader of one of the most influential Catholic organizations in the world can describe as "pro-life" an administration that, among other regrettable anti-life initiatives: 
• Brutalizes refugees and migrants, tearing families apart by deporting people who have no greater wish than safety, opportunity and hard work;
• Is willing to rip health care from tens of millions of people;
Denies climate change and jeopardizes creation itself with retrograde policies on the environment;
• Intends to increase defense spending more than $50 billion while cutting social welfare programs for the most vulnerable;
•And whose leader, the president, boasts openly of sexual conquests that many would describe as assault.

And then the NCR editorial goes on to note the huge amounts of money the Knights of Columbus have poured — with the blessing and active collusion of the U.S. bishops — into attacking the rights of LGBTQ citizens. 

There's a thread here, and it should not be overlooked, it seems to me — especially by "pro-life" Catholics who voted for Donald Trump while claiming that they do not intend harm to LGBTQ human beings in doing so, and that their votes for Trump have no basis in racism, though already in the thread developing at NCR to discuss this editorial about the Knights a former Knight, HnTn, notes that he has left the Knights after seeing that the group's politicization "was most egregious during President Obama's administration and seems to have relished the racist rhetoric from the right."

There's a thread in the preceding seemingly disparate statements from a morning's reading:

1. The Trump administration is dismantling its predecessor's moves to protect women, minorities, the poor, and LGBTQ people.

2. Russian Orthodox businessman German Stergilov, who has posted signs in front of his stores stating, "No entry for faggots," praises Donald Trump for revoking President Obama's protections for transgender youth and wishes blessings and long life for Trump.

3. Cardinal Dolan, Franklin Graham, Jerry Falwell Jr., and Tony Perkins "made a deal with Trump. They would overlook his serious character flaws if he gave them Supreme Court Justices, federal judges, and cabinet positions where they could 'chip away' at LGBT equality and other protections."

4. Supreme Knight Carl Anderson declares that the election of Donald Trump is a singular "pro-life moment" for the United States

"Pro-life" white Christians in the U.S. elect Donald Trump, and one of the immediate effects of this "pro-life election" and the singular "pro-life moment" in which we now find ourselves is that legal protections for LGBTQ citizens (and women — the two are always linked together and should not ever be unlinked) are being dismantled.

"Pro-life" white Christians in the U.S. elect Donald Trump, a man who appears closely allied to the Russian leader Putin, and a leading Russian businessman posts signs on his stores forbidding entrance to faggots, and praises Donald Trump — while the leader of his faith community compares LGBTQ people to Nazis. 

"Pro-life" white Christians strike a bargain with the devil in electing Donald Trump, and their immediate payoff is a new "pro-life" Supreme Court justice appointed to fill a seat that came open during the presidency of the nation's first African-American president, but was not filled due to the overtly racist and very ugly refusal of the Senate majority leader even to hold a hearing about the candidate that African-American president proposed to fill the vacant Supreme Court bench. The new "pro-life" occupant of the bench has a solid history of hostility to LGBTQ people and their rights, one pointing to the legacy of the "pro-life" Catholic whose place on the bench was vacant due to his death, Antonin Scalia.

There's a thread here, and I refuse to unsee that thread as "pro-life" white Catholics tell me that they chose the lesser of two evils in electing Donald Trump — but intend no harm to me or people like me. Or to women. Or to people of color.

Because they're "pro-life," for God's sake.

Pro-life my eye. 

Please stop lying to yourselves. You're mature human beings; many of you are advanced in years, and have every reason to know what you're doing. You and the man you have elected to the presidency of the United States are about as pro-life as a pickle is a pikestaff. 

I've had it with all of you and your "pro-life" Christianity.

I've had it with your Christianity. Period.

No comments: