*The following is an opinion column by R Muse*
It is safe to say that there is only one group in America that detests the United States Constitution more than Republicans, and that is significant because as the past 8 years revealed, there is very little Republicans like about the nation’s founding document and law of the land. There is some correlation between the parts of the Constitution Republicans and the evangelical extremists hate most, and it is possible that if they weren’t intent on creating a theocratic government to maintain favor with their most reliable voting bloc, Republicans may relax their vicious opposition to equal and civil rights enshrined in the Constitution.
The news yesterday that the Trump administration rescinded protection for transgender students was not the least bit surprising to anyone remotely familiar with the alarming number of evangelical extremists serving in the Trump’s government. There is no doubt whatsoever that Trump’s preacher-running mate Mike Pence and preacher running the Justice Department, Jeff Sessions, played a significant role in the administration’s first theocratic edict; and make no mistake, it was only the first in what will be an avalanche of theocratic dictates to come out of this new government by bible.
The New York Times reported that the push to use religion to discriminate against transgender children was not universally supported among Trump’s cabinet. Stunningly, one of the principles that had to sign off on the theocratic edict, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, was opposed to the action because it was discriminatory. However, despite that surprising desire to protect all students from discrimination, DeVos prostituted her beliefs for her other desire to destroy public schools; it was either that or defy Trump’s powerful preachers and resign.
As is the case with Republicans, and particularly with Republicans associated with the liar-in-chief Trump, they offered a rash of bovine excrement excuses for why it was crucial to roll-back equal rights protections that affect school-age children. They never dared explain that it is a theocratic edict and nothing else because the people would protest; not that their protests would have any effect on the preachers driving the action. However, Republicans are apparently attempting to avoid socially provocative issues so they came up with a couple of absurd reasons for targeting school-age kids for discrimination.
“This [Obama Administration] interpretation has given rise to significant litigation.” And the preachers in Trump’s government also lied and said that school administrators, parents and students have “struggled to understand and apply the statements of policy” in the Title IX “guidance;” guidance informing that the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal treatment under the law applies to all Americans, including school-age children.
The Trump preachers also lied and said President Obama’s Title IX guidance was “improperly and arbitrarily devised without due regard for the primary role of the states and local school districts in establishing educational policy.”
Now, there are several issues with all of those statements other than they are just absurd covers for imposing evangelical edicts disguised as “states’ or school districts’ education policies.” The guidance had nothing whatsoever to do with education policies or states’ issues; it was about imposing religion to deny children’s civil rights, period. As a two-and-a-half decade-long educator, this author can state categorically that which toilet a student utilizes was never an “education issue;” it was and still is an issue of evacuating bladders or bowels and maybe sneaking a puff between classes.
There is also the issue of the rise in significant litigation that no-one wants to admit is a cabal of evangelical extremists going to great legal lengths to restrict other Americans, in this case young Americans, their constitutionally-guaranteed civil and equal rights. However, the evangelical fanatics controlling the Republican Party have never accepted equal and civil rights for anyone so maybe transgender kids shouldn’t feel too singled out, but it does inform the extent the administrations’ religious fanatics will go to impose religious rules.
One of the administration’s cabinet-level preachers, the racist running the Justice Department, has made little secret that he is an ardent opponent of any part of the Constitution that guarantees civil, voting, women’s, employment or any other kind of rights the evangelicals reject according to their bastardized version of Christianity. It was very telling that the administration’s reason for eliminating transgender student’s rights was about litigation because religious Republicans were going to lose in federal court; they were only suing to regain their right to discriminate against one class of Americans on the basis of their nasty un-Christian religious belief.
“As numerous cases have already recognized, the prohibitions on sex discrimination contained within federal civil rights statutes do extend to protect transgender individuals—irrespective of what the Trump administration may say about it.”
Something that Mr. Skinner-Thompson didn’t say was that President Obama’s “guidance” has not yet gone into effect. It puts to rest religious Republican claims that they “reclaimed their schools” by enforcing institutionalized discrimination against children. Of course they reclaimed nothing informing they are lying again, but it is a dangerous lie all the same. What the religious Republicans are doing is inciting a sense of victory to embolden evangelical fanatics’ in their next battle to impose religion by way of mandatory bible lessons and prayer in schools; a plan that is already awaiting Trump and DeVos’ implementation.
Over the next couple of days that this issue will stay in the news, there will be plenty of commentary and debate surrounding whether this is a civil rights or an education policy issue. It certainly is nothing remotely related to “education” and of course it is a civil rights issue. But only insofar as the religious right is Hell-bent and duty-bound to deny civil rights of transgender children because those “rights” are contrary to their dirty religious beliefs that are wholly unrelated to the teachings of Jesus Christ; what sane people call Christianity.
Some pundits and political commentators claimed this hateful repeal was part of preacher Jeff Sessions’ intent to overturn anything the Obama Administration enacted to extend already constitutionally-guaranteed civil rights universally to all Americans, and that might be true. However, it is more likely that it is the first of many actions to create a theocracy under the authority of the Department of Justice. Remember, Sessions has already made it abundantly clear that he thinks the 1st Amendment’s Establishment and Separation Clauses are not only “unhistorical,” he is convinced they are patently unconstitutional; something any one of the Founding Fathers and Constitution’s Framers would take him to task over.
Until the media, at all levels, and Democrats, at all levels, start citing these kinds of atrocities as establishment of religion, the people will not see the terrifying precedent each one is setting. Trump is a pawn of corporations and Russia, but he is also a puppet of the religious right or he would not have installed so many evangelical preachers in his administration. It is noteworthy that Trump, like his incompetent education secretary, did not have issues with transgender people or gays, but by following the administration preachers’ directive to legalize discrimination against school-age children, they have officially unleashed the theocrats on the nation and set a dangerous precedent that rivals allowing Vladimir Putin unregulated access to the White House.
**The above article is commentary by R Muse**
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.