Friday, November 11, 2016

Emboldened by Trump, Ryan T. Anderson is back with his BS

Ryan T. Anderson as the Mad Monk
Ryan T. Anderson writes at Witherspoon Institute's blog: “Make Religious Freedom Great Again.” As you go through this, think about the LGBT-for-Trump morons. A Trump presidency is no longer an abstraction.

Two things set this up:
  1. Ryan T. Anderson is a fundamentalist Catholic and an anti-LGBT extremist. Anderson is also, I think, a pathetic self-loathing gay man who figures that other gays should pretend not to be gay, just like him. Religious Freedom to Ryan Anderson is defined as the right (perhaps obligation) to discriminate against LGBT citizens.
  2. Courts have overwhelmingly held that religious freedom is the right to worship as one pleases and does not extend to inflicting one's beliefs on others. Even in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Justice Alito explained: “the contraceptive mandate forces them to pay an enormous sum of money—as much as $475 million per year in the case of Hobby Lobby—if they insist on providing insurance coverage in accordance with their religious beliefs, the mandate clearly imposes a substantial burden on those beliefs.” In other words the Court was very clear about what constitutes a substantial burden.
Anderson writes:
Trump should commit to protecting the free exercise of religion for all Americans of all faiths. In her concession speech today, Hillary Clinton referred to the “freedom of worship”—piety limited to a synagogue, church, or mosque. But what the American founders protected was the right of all to live out their faith every day of the week in public and in private, provided they peacefully respect the rights of others.
No Mr. Anderson. That is not what the First Amendment says and that was not the intent. Many of our founders were deists and not very religious at all. Madison was protecting the freedom of worship. Madison was also a stickler for the Establishment Clause. In 1812 Madison yielded to congressional pressure and proclaimed a national day of fasting and prayer. He was so upset at having done so that he later rebuked himself for his poor judgment.
Andrew Seidel, an attorney with Freedom From Religion Foundation, often spars with Anderson. He explains:

After pro forma disparagement of Obamacare, Anderson continues:
The Obama Department of Health and Human Services has done the same thing: claiming a provision in Obamacare that forbids discrimination on the basis of “sex” means “gender identity”—and thus all healthcare plans have to cover sex-reassignment therapies, and all relevant physicians have to perform them.
This is utter nonsense which I wrote about this morning.  Anderson is also being dishonest. He is trying to give the impression that HHS has concluded that all healthcare plans have to include gender affirming surgery. They don't. In fact it is not covered by Medicaid. Sadly, I suspect that Trump will buy the bullshit. Not because he has studied the matter (he won't) but because he is a panderer. By the time his ass hits the seat in the Oval Office, Trump will be plotting a second term.
President Obama has also issued executive orders barring federal contractors and federal foreign aid recipients from engaging in what the government deems to be “discrimination” on the basis of “sexual orientation and gender identity”—where something as simple as saying biological males shouldn’t use female showers can count as “discrimination.”
Sadly, again, those executive orders are likely to be history. Anderson is also incapable of writing “transgender women.” The assertion of the Catholic Church — the current pope in particular — is that transgender people do not exist. Rather, there are “gender confused” people who need therapy. Of course the fact that the two peer organizations that might provide that therapy — the American psychiatric and psychological associations — disagree is irrelevant to the Church, the pope and Anderson. They all claim erudition that they do not possess.
All of this can be undone right away. Trump can rescind Obama’s Executive Orders, and he can instruct his Secretaries of Education and Health and Human Services and his Attorney General to interpret the word “sex” as Congress intended it—as a biological reality—not as “gender identity.” Congress can then make these orders permanent by enacting the Russell Amendment which protects freedom in religious staffing for religious institutions, and by passing the Civil Rights Uniformity Act which specifies that the word “sex” in our civil rights laws does not mean “gender identity” unless Congress explicitly says so.
The Russell Amendment  was tacked onto the Defense Authorization Act which is a must-pass bill. It would reverse the Obama executive order by statute. In a letter to the Senate Committees, Democrats write it: “would essentially sanction federally funded religious discrimination, contradicting the First Amendment which prohibits religious exemptions like this that result in harm to others.” It is still in committee and the mindless Trump would certainly sign it. The questions now are whether or not John McCain will do the right thing (he has his moments of sanity every now and then) and, if McCain gets this out of committee do Democrats have the courage to prevent passage which could have dire consequences to national security?

The Civil Rights Uniformity Act is a rather obnoxious bit of legislation:
In determining the meaning of any Federal civil rights law, and of any related ruling, regulation, guidance, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the words “sex” and “gender” and their equivalents shall not be interpreted to mean “gender identity” or its equivalent, and the words “man” and “woman” and their equivalents shall refer exclusively to a person’s sex.
In other words, this is the Equality Act in reverse. I am not sure if even the House is crazy enough to pass this thing and it has only four cosponsors (it was introduced in July).

Anderson is in his orthodox Catholic glory which makes him more odious than when Obama kept him and Opus Dei in check. The supposedly 13% of gays who voted for trump are obviously too insane to pull levers.
President-Elect Trump should also make it clear that under his watch the federal government will never penalize any individual or institution because they believe and act on the belief that marriage is the union of husband and wife. Trump can issue an Executive Order stating that when it comes to tax status, accreditation, licensing, government grants and contracts, no entity of the federal government may penalize someone for acting on their conviction on man-woman marriage. To protect a future president from undoing this, Congress can pass, and Trump sign into law, the First Amendment Defense Act. Indeed, Trump promised to sign this bill into law during his campaign.
FADA is unconstitutional per se which is probably why it has not gotten out of committee in the House or the Senate. Again, Trump would probably sign this odious measure. However, Democrats in the Senate could prevent passage unless Republicans can successfully change the rules on cloture which, for most measures, require a 60 vote majority.

If you are thinking that we might get some relief from the 2018 midterms, I am not terribly optimistic. Republicans will be defending only eight seats in the Senate while Democrats (including two independents who caucus with them) will be defending 25 seats. If we hold on to all 25, the only possible flip that seems even remotely possible would be to pick off Dean Heller in Nevada. However, that's a stretch and it would still leave GOPers in control. Other long shot possibilities to replace (and they are long shots) are Jeff Flake in Arizona and John Barrasso in Wyoming. Ted Cruz is up for reelection too. He should be vulnerable but I highly doubt it.

I hate to be pessimistic or to get blood boiling but between now and 2018 Republicans are going to make it increasingly difficult for Democratic voters to cast their ballots. In a sense, Trump was correct: The system is rigged.

We had our chance this week and we fucked up. 

If Democrats allow Trump to fill the Supreme Court with anti-LGBT ideologues we are going to be fucked for a very long time. Trump is not very likely to protect our interests. Democrats do have the power to keep the Court at its current composition. Let us hope that they show some backbone. But I digress. Anderson concludes:
Whether it be harassing an order of nuns, forcing doctors to perform sex-reassignment therapies, or preventing local schools from finding win-win compromise solutions that would respect all students’ bodily privacy, the Obama administration has waged an aggressive and unnecessary culture war. Because it has done so almost exclusively through executive action, a Trump administration can quickly undo this damage. And Congress can then ratify it permanently in law. That’ll go a long way toward protecting peaceful coexistence, making American truly great again.
Trump should just nominate Anderson's favorite bishop to the Supreme Court. That would solve all of Anderson's problems. Of course he will still remain a miserable, celibate, angry gay man in the closet. That is my definition of a forlorn faggot.

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