During the 2016 Presidential campaign, many pundits–and ordinary citizens–repeatedly asked: “Why are so many evangelical leaders supporting Donald Trump?”
Evangelical leaders like:
- Jerry Falwell, Jr., president of Liberty University: “Well, I think Jesus said we’re all sinners.
- “When they ask [if Trump’s personal life is relevant] I always talk about the story of the woman at the well who had had five husbands and she was living with somebody she wasn’t married to, and they wanted to stone her. And Jesus said he’s–he who is without sin cast the first stone. I just see how Donald Trump treats other people, and I’m impressed by that.”
- Ralph Reed, founder and chairman of the Faith & Freedom Coalition: “People of faith are voting on issues like who will protect unborn life, defend religious freedom, grow the economy, appoint conservative judges and oppose the Iran nuclear deal.”
- Mike Pence, Trump’s Vice President-elect. who identifies as an evangelical Catholic.
After all, evangelicals have long portrayed themselves as champions of “family values.”
And these aren’t exactly consistent with a man who brags: “You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful–I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the pussy.”
So why are they backing Trump?
Power to control the lives of those they have long hated and despised.
They expect Trump to sponsor legislation that will–by force of law–make their brand of Christianity supreme above all other religions.
A foretaste of what’s to come occurred on March 26, 2015.
That was when Mike Pence, then Governor of Indiana, signed into law the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
This allows any individual or corporation to cite its religious beliefs as a defense when sued by a private party.
Officially, its intent is to prevent the government from forcing business owners to violate their religious beliefs.
Unofficially, its intent is to appease the hatred of gays and lesbians by the religious Right, a key constituency of the Republican party.
Thus, a bakery that doesn’t want to make a cake for a gay wedding or a restaurant that doesn’t want to serve lesbian patrons now has the legal right to refuse to do so.
And a hospital can legally turn away a gay patient if it wants to.
The bill passed overwhelmingly by both chambers of the Republican-controlled state legislature. And was signed into law by the governor who is now Vice President-elect.
Indiana Governor Mike Pence
“Today I signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, because I support the freedom of religion for every Hoosier of every faith,” Mike Pence said in a statement on the day he signed the bill.
“The Constitution of the United States and the Indiana Constitution both provide strong recognition of the freedom of religion but today, many people of faith feel their religious liberty is under attack by government action.”
Bill-signing ceremonies are usually highly public events. Governors–and Presidents–normally want their constituents to see them creating new legislation.
Yet for all his praise for the bill, Pence signed it in a ceremony closed to the public and the press.
On June 22, 1941, German dictator Adolf Hitler ordered the invasion of the Soviet Union. Shortly afterward, he appeared to have second thoughts.
Turning to an aide, he said: “At the beginning of each campaign, one pushes a door into a dark, unseen room. One can never know what is hiding inside.”
Maybe Pence, like Hitler, sensed that he was pushing open “a door into a dark, unseen room.”
And this may well be the case.
Through that door has already marched the First Church of Cannabis, founded by Bill Levin. Its registration has been officially approved by the Indiana Secretary of State, and the IRS has granted the church tax-exempt status.
A mural in the church in the style of “The Creation of Adam” features two hands–where one is passing a joint to the other.
No doubt many Indiana legislators are furious that their effort to attack gays may have brought legal marijuana to their highly conservative state.
But worse may be to come.
Since 9/11, Right-wingers such as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity have warned that Muslims are trying to impose Sharia (Islamic law) on America.
And now Indiana’s legislators, in elevating religion above the law, have pushed upon that door “into a dark, unseen room.”
Actually, both the leaders of the Republican party and adherents of Sharia agree:
- Women should have fewer rights than men.
- Abortion should be illegal.
- There should be no separation between church and state.
- Religion should be taught in school.
- Religious doctrine trumps science.
- Government should be based on religious doctrine.
- Homosexuality should be outlawed.
Eventually, some Muslims in Indiana will claim their rights–guaranteed in Islamic religious law. One of these is to have as many as four wives.
And they will claim that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act protects those rights.
Imagine this happening on a national scale–and you’ll have the America that’s swiftly approaching.