Thursday, February 2, 2017

How to Mask Theft of Hard-Won Rights

His gift for ventriloquism is serving Alt-Pres. Bannon well.  As inanities spew from the maw of his lap dummy, Donnie, attention is diverted from his real purposes and nefarious doings.

Occasionally, however, documents leak out from behind the curtain that provide a glimpse into how this new regime thinks and what it actually intends to do.

Such was the case this week with the Bannon-Trump plan to destroy forever the Jeffersonian wall of separation between church and state.

Alt-Pres. Bannon
A draft executive order called “Establishing a Government-Wide Initiative to Respect Religious Freedom” went public thanks to The Investigative Fund and The Nation magazine.  The title is alternative-factspeak for bigotry, discrimination and Christo-fascism.

The paper covers “any organization, including closely held for-profit corporations.”  It legalizes discriminatory practices “when providing social services, education or health care; earning a living, seeking a job or employing others; receiving government grants or contracts; or otherwise participating in the marketplace, the public square or interfacing with Federal, State or local governments.”

The idea is to erase all the recent progress involving reproductive rights, freedom of sexual orientation, fair employment practices or equal opportunity in housing — just for starters.  It opens the door for churches and pseudo-religious organizations to raise unregulated  hell in politics by in effect repealing the 1954 Johnson Amendment and demonically twisting the 1970- Supreme Court ruling in Walz vs. Tax Commission of the City of New York.

Currently, churches stand to lose their tax-exempt status if they blatantly indulge in political activity.  A few years ago, hundreds of people in our heavily-Catholic area received robocalls from a male voice who called himself “Bishop Ramirez” warning them that they would be excommunicated if they voted for a particular candidate.  The real Bishop Ramirez wet his cassock, rushing to deny that the robocaller was he.  “We don’t want to lose our tax exemption,” he declared.

The Bannon-Trump draft order would specifically protect the tax-exempt status “of any organization that believes, speaks, or acts (or declines to act) in accordance with the belief that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, sexual relations are properly reserved for such a marriage, male and female and their equivalents refer to an individual’s immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy, physiology, or genetics at or before birth, and that human life begins at conception and merits protection at all stages of life.”

It’s doubtful that this was an authorized leak from the Bannon-Trump White House.  The Alt-Pres. isn’t one to tip his hand to likely opponents.  There would be plenty of opponents to such an egregious assault on the establishment clause and years of settled law.

But once the leak was out, the master ventriloquist had Donnie go forth to boast about how tough he had talked on the telephone  to a couple of foreign leaders. Having used the tactic in the campaign, Alt-Pres. Bannon knows it plays well with the naive nerds who put them in the White House.  And so Donnie insulted the president of Mexico by threatening to send troops across the border, and rudely hung up the phone after spewing crudities to the prime minister of Australia.

Every ventriloquist knows that the dummy can get by with anything.

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