Last week Trump’s yes-man running the DOJ issued instructions to federal attorneys detailing their new job entailed serving as Inquisitors for the religious right in their Crusade to rule America. In this case the Crusade officially begins by using the Federal government, in concert with fundamentalist Christian conservatives, to punish state officials who dare to hold churches and religious leaders accountable to rules meant to preserve American lives.
Over the past four decades Christian fundamentalists have complained bitterly that the U.S. Constitution prevents them from forcing the rest of the population to comply with evangelicals’ religious edicts. Now that they have a so-called “god anointed” criminal in the Oval Office, and an honest-to-dog evangelical sleaze-bag running the Department of Justice, Christian fundamentalists are closer than ever to their goal of ruling America by Christian theocracy.
Although it is still in its infancy, the current iteration of American theocracy is run by a tyrannical dictator who certainly directed America’s top law enforcement officer to initiate a Christian Crusade and Inquisition. The initial steps include ferreting out state officials opposed to the evangelical belief that they, like their “anointed one” Trump, are above the law. It is the beginning of America under theocratic tyranny and sadly few Americans are appalled.
Anyone who believes Attorney General William Barr tasked federal attorneys with seeking out cases of so-called “religious persecution” due to the various shelter-in-place orders is an idiot. Barr has threatened to use the Department of Justice to enforce whatever the religious fanatics demand long before any shelter-in-place orders were issued and continued unabated even while Trump claimed the novel coronavirus was going to magically disappear.
According to Barr, there is a “militant secularist” movement intent on punishing evangelicals for no apparent reason; except to force Christians to abandon their beliefs. And, the dirty liar said that the poor beleaguered Christians never, never ever, try to force their agenda on anyone. Barr offered Cardinal Timothy Dolan, a fierce advocate for more religion in government, some Trumpian alternative reality. With a straight face Barr told Dolan:
“The problem today is not that religious people are trying to impose their views on non-religious people, It’s the opposite — it’s that militant secularists are trying to impose their values on religious people, and they’re not accommodating the freedom of religion of people of faith.
We believe in the separation of church and state. But what permits a limited government and minimal command and control of the population … is the fact that they are a people that are capable of disciplining themselves according to moral values.”
Now, setting aside the rank hypocrisy, and flagrant lie, regarding secular people imposing their will on evangelicals, what should enrage every American is that Barr, almost certainly at Trump’s command, is echoing the evangelical agenda from a federal government agency. And, it is noteworthy that Barr betrays the idea of church/state separation by claiming that people can only have freedom if they live according to moral values evangelicals are anxious to define and implement.
Since that January interview, Barr has joined Trump and consulted conservative Christians for directions on battling (Democratic) governors because they failed to exempt evangelicals from stay at home orders. Orders Barr is well aware exist to mitigate the transmission of COVID-19 to safeguard tens-of-thousands of Americans’ lives. Always persecuted Christians consider safeguarding American lives an infringement on their religious freedom and Barr is not going to stand for it. Especially since he is head of the powerful Justice Department with a criminal in the Oval Office supporting his Crusade and Inquisition.
Even before Barr directed federal attorneys to give a rapid response to complaints lodged by Christian fundamentalists who oppose their Bible’s command to “obey the government” (and pay taxes), he was threatening to join any evangelical group’s lawsuit against state governors, especially Democrats. Barr threatened:
“We’re looking carefully at a number of these rules that are being put into place. And if people bring lawsuits, we file statements siding with the plaintiffs.”
It is too bad Barr fails to spend as much time perusing legal precedent regarding religious freedom as he does conspiring with conservative religious groups to punish Democratic Governors for trying to protect their citizens’ lives. None other than now deceased uber-religious, and uber-conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia expressed the High Court’s ruling on religious freedom and obeying the law.
Like other large gatherings affected by shelter-in-place orders, religious services are governed by lawful directives. Longtime Republican David Frum noted over at “The Atlantic” that churches “are neither specially targeted nor specially exempted” from any valid State rules. Justice Antonin Scalia explained the High Court’s determination regarding the application of general rules to religious groups in a 1990 Supreme Court decision that neither Barr nor his evangelical masters believe is applicable in Trump’s theocracy. Scalia wrote:
“We have never held that an individual’s religious beliefs excuse him from compliance with an otherwise valid law prohibiting conduct that the State is free to regulate.”
There is little doubt that the various shelter-in-place rules are not only valid, all of the states are free to issue them – particularly to preserve human life. However, evangelicals are not interested in preserving human life; they exist to preserve fetuses and zygotes. In fact, their demand to gather in large groups informs they have little regard for their fellow congregants lives and apparently neither does Attorney General Barr or his corrupt boss Trump.
Most Americans are unaware that using the federal government to implement a Christian theocracy is a crusade most of Trump’s administration subscribes to. It is no coincidence that many of Trump’s closest advisors and cabinet members are members of The Council for National Policy (CNP) whose mission is enforcing “Judeo-Christian values” under the Constitution by 2020. Obviously, using the Justice Department to do the theocrats’ bidding is crucial to the Council for National Policy’s plan to advance its theocratic mission.
Barr’s DOJ’s actions are in concert with those of an ALEC-like religious movement known as “Project Blitz.” The highly secretive evangelical legislative movement is working in conjunction with CNP to advance legislation founded on using “religious freedom” as a trojan horse for a Christian theocracy. Like the American Legislative Exchange Council, Project Blitz works to pass state-level legislation in hopes of reaching the theocratic majority on the Supreme Court to make religion by government edict “constitutional.”
Of course Trump could not possibly care less about evangelicals’ plan for America, but he does care deeply about doing anything the evangelical right demands to sustain their undying electoral support. That includes using the White House to call for church donations, suing states to restrict abortion and contraceptive access, as well as politicizing the Department of Justice to punish, mostly, Democratic governors for protecting their citizenry instead of pandering to religion.
Now, Attorney General Barr has taken pandering to religion to the next level by conferring with evangelical leaders for direction on how best to use the power of the federal government to punish anyone who fails to toe the evangelical line; even if it means spreading an incredibly virulent disease throughout the population with fervent Republican support for their long-dreamt-of Crusade and Inquisition to transform America into Christian theocracy.
It is a horribly sad commentary, but evangelical Republicans will almost certainly succeed because most Americans are too terrified of standing up to the religious right.
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.