Barabbas, Trump, And The Death Of The Right-Wing Jesus

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I will begin this post with a note to my religion-minded readers. I’m not opposed to religious belief. I’m not opposed to spirituality. I’m not opposed to faith in a higher power. What I am opposed to is the cult of certainty that surrounds so many religions or belief systems. I’m opposed to fundamentalism, to the kind of beliefs that lead to the beheading of infidels in Syria and to the murder of abortion providers in Kansas.

I also want to say that I’m not even opposed to belief in Jesus. Even though I am a former conservative evangelical Christian, I don’t get too worked up over anyone who still does believe, who holds on to the idea that Jesus was killed and then awakened by God as if he were merely sleeping. Such beliefs are your business, as far as I’m concerned. If they motivate you to do good, all the better. If they motivate you to put down others and condemn them, shame on you.

But because I am a former conservative evangelical Christian, because I still closely follow the Religious Right and its attempt to influence, if not control, public policy, this post is about the Jesus of the conservative evangelical movement, the Jesus who conservative Christians say we all should follow and submit to as we await his promised return. This post isn’t necessarily about your Jesus, the one you worship in your church. It is about the Jesus I grew up with, the one I worshiped as an evangelical right-winger, the one that so many prominent evangelical leaders present to us from their pulpits, or on television or through the radio or the mail or, these days, online. And that “family values” Jesus—the Jesus of Pat Robertson, James Dobson, Tony Perkins, Jerry Falwell, Jr., Ralph Reed, and other prominent Religious Right leaders—is at this very moment hanging on a cross, a Trump cross, being tortured to death in a way even Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ understates.

The New Testament tells us that Pontius Pilate, the governor of Roman-occupied Judea from AD 26-36, observed the alleged Jewish Passover custom of allowing the public to commute the death sentence of one prisoner held in custody. According to the biblical accounts, Pilate offered to the crowd a man named Barabbas, who was an anti-establishment revolutionary, or Jesus of Nazareth, who claimed to be the son of God. Unfortunately for Jesus, the crowd chose Barabbas. I thought about that story when I read this morning about yet another evangelical pastor who is endorsing Donald Trump. We can add Reverend Tony Suarez to a long list of evangelical Christian leaders who have chosen their Barabbas over their Jesus.

Three months ago, a prominent and influential conservative theologian, Wayne Grudem, authored a piece for Townhall called, “Why Voting for Donald Trump Is a Morally Good Choice.” Grudem’s intellectual credentials are sterling: the man graduated from Harvard (BA), Westminster Seminary-Philadelphia (MDiv. DD), and took a PhD from Cambridge (yes, that Cambridge). In his pro-Trump article, Grudem says he “has taught Christian ethics for 39 years.” In other words, he’s no Jimmy Swaggart from Ferriday, Louisiana.

Grudem told us in July that, despite Trump’s many, many flaws, voting for him “is the morally right thing to do.” Here is a stunning paragraph from a professor of conservative Christian ethics:

He is egotistical, bombastic, and brash. He often lacks nuance in his statements. Sometimes he blurts out mistaken ideas (such as bombing the families of terrorists) that he later must abandon. He insults people. He can be vindictive when people attack him. He has been slow to disown and rebuke the wrongful words and actions of some angry fringe supporters. He has been married three times and claims to have been unfaithful in his marriages. These are certainly flaws, but I don’t think they are disqualifying flaws in this election.

Please note something very important: Grudem categorized Trump’s infamous call for the murder—the murder—of the families of terrorists as just one of several “mistaken ideas.” To Grudem, Trump’s call for murdering innocents was not a morally disqualifying policy statement, not a terrifying glimpse into Trump’s terrifying mind, but merely a mistaken notion that can easily be overlooked because Trump abandoned it (well, no he hasn’t). If such reasoning represents Christian ethics, then there are no Christian ethics.

Grudem came to regret that article, after Trump’s “pussy” recording came out. Suddenly, our pedigreed professor of ethics found his moral footing. Writing again for Townhall, he said,

I previously called Donald Trump a “good candidate with flaws” and a “flawed candidate” but I now regret that I did not more strongly condemn his moral character. I cannot commend Trump’s moral character, and I strongly urge him to withdraw from the election.

The respected evangelical theologian said Trump’s “vulgar comments in 2005 about his sexual aggression and assaults against women were morally evil and revealed pride in conduct that violates God’s command, ‘You shall not commit adultery.'” Yes! Finally, Grudem was on an ethical roll:

I have now read transcripts of some of his obscene interviews with Howard Stern, and they turned my stomach. His conduct was hateful in God’s eyes and I urge him to repent and call out to God for forgiveness, and to seek forgiveness from those he harmed. God intends that men honor and respect women, not abuse them as sexual objects.

Amen! All was right with the world after all. A prominent Christian professor of ethics had found his way back to the ethical! Thank you, Dr. Grudem!

But wait. What? He changed his mind again? Again? Yes. A week ago. He wrote:

I overwhelmingly support Trump’s policies and believe that Clinton’s policies will seriously damage the nation, perhaps forever. On the Supreme Court, abortion, religious liberty, sexual orientation regulations, taxes, economic growth, the minimum wage, school choice, Obamacare, protection from terrorists, immigration, the military, energy, and safety in our cities, I think Trump is far better than Clinton (see below for details). Again and again, Trump supports the policies I advocated in my 2010 book Politics According to the Bible.

Without Trump repenting, without Trump calling out to God for forgiveness, without Trump seeking forgiveness from those he wronged—in fact he’s called them all liars and threatened to sue them after the election—Dr. Grudem nevertheless has, again, chosen Barabbas. And that deplorable turnabout represents the Jesus I have known all my life being nailed to a Trump cross. Such tortured reasoning by a renowned evangelical theologian represents the slow torture of the right-wing Jesus, the one shoved down our throats election after election, the one used to trash Democratic candidates and Democratic policies, the one offered as condemnation of liberalism’s alleged moral failings, or of the real moral failings of liberal candidates.

The conservative-created Jesus is up there hanging on a cross in front of Trump Tower, where so many right-wing evangelicals have gone over the past year to cast their lots with the Republican candidate. The Trump-branded Jesus of conservative evangelicalism is dying before our eyes. And no matter whether Trump wins or loses the election, that Jesus will soon be dead and buried. Like the crowd who supposedly stood before Pontius Pilate so long ago, evangelicals on the Religious Right could have chosen Trump or they could have chosen their family-values Jesus. But they couldn’t choose both. Overwhelmingly, judging by the polls, conservative evangelicals have made their choice. And this time there will be no resurrection from the dead. There will be no Easter Sunday for the Jesus of Wayne Grudem or Jerry Falwell, Jr., or Pat Robertson. And I, for one, will be glad to see that Jesus gone forever.

Who Runs The Government Matters For Reasons Other Than National Security. Here Is Just One.

Back in 1997, after the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) was signed into law by Bill Clinton, some right-wingers were placing the blame on Hillary (surprise, surprise). But by all objective accounts, Mrs. Clinton did play a significant role as First Lady in getting her husband’s administration to not only push for the bill, but stay with a more generous version of it, after House Republicans had cut down its funding (surprise, surprise). Ted Kennedy, who was the leading legislative force behind the CHIP bill, gave Hillary credit for providing “invaluable help, both in the fashioning and the shaping of the program.” 

Today, according to the government, 8.4 million kids are enrolled in CHIP, which covers children whose parents make too much money to qualify for regular Medicaid but not enough to afford private insurance. The program provides qualified kids with health coverage and their parents with, well, some peace of mind. CHIP is funded by both the states and the federal government and likely would be insuring even more kids today if George W. Bush had not vetoed an expansion of the program in 2007 (surprise, surprise). Why did he veto it? Did he hate children? Nah. The bill contained a tax increase on cigarettes to pay for the expansion and Bush told Congress that he “was willing to work with its leadership to find any additional funds necessary to put poor children first, without raising taxes.” In other words, Bush put children second and lower cigarette taxes first (surprise, surprise).

As you can theoretically see, it matters who manages the government, both in Congress and the White House. Barack Obama signed an expansion of the program in 2009, which helped more children and pregnant women. The program was renewed again in 2015 with overwhelming bipartisan support (although there was a “discussion draft” created by right-wingers that was designed to reduce the number of those covered). But it is worth noting three of the eight Republicans in the Senate who opposed that renewal in 2015Ted Cruz. Marco Rubio. Jeff Sessions. All three have a Trump connection. Cruz and Rubio infamously ran against him and more infamously support Trump despite saying horrible things about him. And Sessions was the first big-timer to legitimate Trump and has been his most prominent defender on Capitol Hill.

There were also 33 Republicans in the House who opposed the renewal of CHIP. One of them was Jim Bridenstine, who essentially represents Tulsa, Oklahoma, in Congress. Bridenstine recently blasted Speaker Paul Ryan for not supporting Trump: “If Paul Ryan isn’t for Trump,” he tweeted, “then I’m not for Paul Ryan.” Well, we all know that Trump has repeatedly and forcefully vowed to get rid of the Affordable Care Act, which, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, helps “strengthen coverage for children and financing for CHIP.” Again, it matters very much who creates legislation, votes on it, and signs it into law—or doesn’t.

In the case of CHIP, most Americans may not care about who did what and who didn’t. Most folks don’t need the program and probably don’t know anyone who does. Thus, it is an abstraction, something that doesn’t necessarily matter all that much. Sometimes, though, people need a reminder of how much programs like CHIP matter to their fellow citizens and who it was out there fighting for them. Here is one such reminder:

Margaret Sanger, American, World Hero

“We should not have Planned Parenthood exist at all, because we should have a national health care system that covers men, women, and children, where they get full options for all their health care, including reproductive.” 

—Alex Sanger, grandson of Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger

Alex Sanger told Vox that he was twelve or thirteen years old when he saw his grandmother, Margaret Sanger, give her last speech in 1960. She was around 81. She “spoke for about 15 minutes about her struggles and about her vision,” he said. More Americans should know about those struggles and that vision.

You should read all of Vox’s interview of Alex Sanger to better understand how profoundly Margaret Sanger changed the world and how hard it was to do it. Along with her sister and a friend, Sanger—a hundred years ago—opened the country’s first birth control clinic in Brooklyn. That eventually led to the Planned Parenthood we know today. Here’s how the organization’s official website described what the courageous women’s rights activist faced in 1916:

In Sanger’s America, women cannot vote, sign contracts, have bank accounts, or divorce abusive husbands. They cannot control the number of children they have or obtain information about birth control, because in the 1870s a series of draconian measures, called the Comstock laws, made contraception illegal and declared information about family planning and contraception “obscene.”

Her grandson added this:

I mean, she saw women on the Lower East side of New York and in Brownsville, Brooklyn who were dying from self-induced abortions because they could not have any more children. They simply couldn’t. They couldn’t cope with the children they already had. She saw rampant infant mortality; the infant mortality rate was close to 40 percent in the slums of New York, and she considered this an affront to decency and civilization.

The city of New York’s solution was to open milk stations. And her solution was birth control.

Alex Sanger also remarked on what he called the “great universal among women,” even in 1916:

they wanted to make something of their lives other than childbearing. They wanted the chance to have their children survive. They wanted the chance to be good mothers and nurture the children they had.

Those things don’t at all strike anyone as outrageous demands here in 2016. And that is the point. That they don’t sound outrageous is due to people like Margaret Sanger. And it’s too bad that many young women today don’t fully appreciate that the long struggle to nImage result for margaret sangerormalize women and empower them was directly related to getting women the right to control their own reproductive lives.

And those same young women don’t seem to understand that there exists in this country a reactionary movement that has as its number one goal the limitation, if not complete restriction, of a woman’s right to make her own child-bearing decisions. Donald Trump has pledged to defund Planned Parenthood, often the only resource for poor women seeking birth control. Right-wingers in Congress are more than willing to make sure the defunding happens. That’s a far cry from the historical fact that it was both Republicans and Democrats who fought to liberate women and give them control of their bodies and thus control of their lives.

Margaret Sanger went to jail many times. At one time she was exiled from her country. She started “the first scientific journal devoted to contraception.” She spent half a century trying to change laws regarding birth control, finally and fully succeeding in 1965, a year before her death. And as her grandson Alex said,

It was her idea to create a birth control pill, and she found the scientists, put together the money. It took her almost ten years, but the birth control pill was the result. She did that in her 70s — it was really extraordinary.

Yes. Extraordinary. And she was able to move her liberating message and resources around the world—International Planned Parenthood Federation is working in almost 200 countries.

Like any of our cultural heroes, Margaret Sanger wasn’t without blemishes. Her flirtation with eugenics is something even her grandson cannot condone. But Alex Sanger is on solid ground when he says,

I’m obviously biased, but I can’t think of anyone who’s done as much for the welfare of humanity as my grandmother. A hundred years ago, women and children were dying in droves. And now they’re not. Women are in the workplace, and contributing to the fabric of our society and to the world, and hopefully a women is going to be our next president. This is made possible by women being able to control their fertility, have the children they want when they want them. And she was the one who started it.

And Donald Trump can be the one who ends it.

Trumpangelicals: Explain These To Your Sunday School Class

 

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Trump Jesus

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[H/T to New York Magazine. Photo credits from top to bottom: Michael L. Brown/Twitter; John Bazemore/AP; David Martosko/Daily Mail; Ben Jacobs/Twitter; Matt Stopera/BuzzFeed; Matt Stopera/BuzzFeed; Unknown; Unknown; M. Scott Mahaskey/POLITICO; CNN; Dennis Nett; Dominic Holden/ BuzzFeed; Chris Snyder/Twitter; Jenna Johnson/ Twitter; Heart of Platinum/Twitter; Molly Ball/Instagram; screen shot from MSNBC; Associated Press; Sally Kohn; James McLeod; Philip Rucker; Don Gonyea/NPR; Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images; Jim Acosta/CNN/Twitter (screen shot of video); Jim Acosta/CNN/Twitter]

Michelle. Barack. Period.

It would be hard to find two more powerful speeches given on the same day. I’ll miss them when they’re gone:


Trump Republicans: You’d Better Hope God Ain’t Real

Randolph Blake Farenthold, a Tea Party congressman from Texas who was elected in the we-hate-Obama election of 2010, was born in Corpus Christi, which in Latin means “body of Christ.” He attended a school in that city called Incarnate Word Academy. According to its website, one of the “core values” of the school is,

Belief in Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Word, and his message of love for the world.

Well, Mr. Farenthold, and those other Republicans selling their souls to Donald Trump, had better hope they never meet the world-loving Christ—in body or out. They’d better hope he isn’t real, that his life and death and resurrection is a fable, a figment of the collective imagination of his earnest followers. Because if they do meet the Incarnate Word, if he is who they claim he is, Trump Republicans will be greeted with a variation of these words, from Matthew 5:

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.

In light of the recent revelations that Donald Trump loves him some genital-grabbing assaults on women, do Trump Republicans think that committing those assaults, possibly including rape, fits into the “right hand” in this passage? The right hand that “causes you to stumble”? The right hand that Jesus suggests—no, demands—should be cut off and thrown away? That seems like an easy question, doesn’t it? But not for followers of the Cult of Trump. Congressman Farenthold is one of those cultists who, when it counted, found it hard to condemn the easily-condemnable. He appeared on MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes on Tuesday night. Here is how CNN reported the hell-worthy exchange:

Farenthold was interviewed by MSNBC host Chris Hayes on the political fallout from a leaked video showing Trump, among other things, saying he could grab women by the genitals.

Asking the Republican congressman about the recent wave of party leaders, like Sen. John McCain and Rep. Paul Ryan, pulling their support from Trump, Hayes tried to size up Farenthold’s commitment.

“Until he does something so bad to make him worse than Hillary, I’m still in,” Farenthold said.

Hayes posed a hypothetical: “If someone off the record, in a locker room — this was not in a locker room, it was a workplace — said, ‘I really like raping women,’ would that be locker-room talk?”

Farenthold answered, “Again, it depends, you don’t know the entire context of all this.”

“But you would be fine with that?” Hayes interjected.

“I don’t like what he said,” Farenthold began to answer.

So Hayes repeated his hypothetical: “If a tape came out with Donald Trump saying that, saying ‘I really like to rape women,’ you would continue to endorse him?”

“Again … that would be bad. And I’d have to consider it, but again, we’re talking about what Donald Trump said 10 years ago as opposed to what Hillary Clinton has done in the past two or three years,” Farenthold said. “She’s been a failure.”

Hayes returned to the question and asked if there was a single, conceivable thing Trump could do to earn Farenthold’s opposition.

“Absolutely, but I think actions speak louder than words,” Farenthold said, dismissing the controversy over the leaked tape as a “kerfuffle.”

Here’s a clip of the conversation:

Farenthold, a short time later recognizing that Jesus may be fitting him for a rather large millstone that would assure he was “drowned in the depths of the sea” (thank you, Matthew 18:6), took to Facebook to seek relief from either Americans or the Almighty or both:

I apologize for my failure to immediately condemn anyone who would say something as outrageous as they like raping women. During an interview on MSNBC with Chris Hayes tonight, I was thrown off by the anchor’s use of a hypothetical question. I do not, and have not ever condoned rape or violence against women.

Does it take a moral or theological genius, “thrown off” or not, to “to immediately condemn anyone who would say something as outrageous as they like raping women”? Of course not. Any normal and decent person would pass that test. So, what is going on here?

I submit that it is way too easy to say Planet Trump poisons everything that wanders into its orbit, including a congressman from Corpus Christi. The harder truth is that people who are already poisoned with hate—for whatever reason—seek and fall under the nasty gravitational influence of a Trump. In other words, Donald Trump didn’t corrupt them. They were wounded, corrupt bodies chasing a Father Star. And, in Trump, they have found a home.

The Pain Of Sexual Assaults, “One Tweet At A Time”

As millions of Americans consider whether to put Donald Trump, a champion of sexual assaults, in the White’s House, perhaps they should consider the following:

Mike Pence: “It’s The Greatest Honor Of My Life” Being “Shoulder to Shoulder” With An Admitted Sexual Predator

At this point in this long and ugly campaign, what else can be said? If you watched that debate last night (not to mention the circus leading up to it) and believe Donald Trump is qualified in any way to be president of the United States, then, like Trump, there is something wrong with you that a stadium full of psychiatrists, or a coliseum full of priests, can’t fix. The man is a creep. A lie-stained lunatic. A dangerous authoritarian who would, as he openly stated last night, use his presidential power to jail his political enemies—and only Allah knows what else he would do.

Since there is almost nothing else left to say about Trump’s lack of character and his lack of class and his lack of competence, I do want to say something about his running mate, the Jesus-loving, God-fearing, family values-honoring, Mike Pence. This morning I heard Mr. Pence say, as he does all the time, that being Trump’s running mate is “the greatest honor of my life” and that he is proudly standing “shoulder to shoulder” with Trump, with the same Trump who, behind closed doors, admitted that sexually assaulting women—with impunity—is one of the benefits of being a “star.” And pence on cnn.jpgjust why did Pence say he still wants to shoulder-kiss a man who believes fame entitles him to freely fondle the genitals of, say, Mike Pence’s daughters? Because, as the born-again VP candidate told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota, Trump “said last night very clearly that that was talk, not actions. And I believe him.”

Let’s think about that for a minute. Pence said that he believes Trump when Trump finally denied—after trying to dodge the question from Anderson Cooper three times last night—he has kissed and fondled women without their permission. Let it sink in just how that must sound to children around the country. A presidential candidate actually has to tell us that when he bragged about being a sexual predator, he was essentially just having a good time with the boys on the bus and he didn’t really mean it. And his running mate actually has to tell us that it is okay with him that Trump lied about being a sexual predator because he was merely talking about being a sexual predator and not acting on the talk. It really is breathtaking.

Here’s an excerpt from Trump’s infamous bus conversation:

TRUMP: I’ve gotta use some Tic Tacs, just in case I start kissing her. 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.

BILLY BUSH: Whatever you want.

TRUMP: Grab them by the p***y. You can do anything.

Trump, according to Pence, was simply kiddin’ around when he said he was “automatically” prone to “just start kissing” women he found “beautiful.” That was “talk, not actions” said Pence. But what kind of man would pretend, while working on a TV show that highlights beautiful women, that he cannot control himself around them? What kind of man would lie to others about his inability to prevent himself from sexually assaulting women? Is that the kind of man that a born-again Pence wants to stand shoulder to shoulder with? Would he want his two daughters, or his wife, to stand shoulder to shoulder with Trump? Or does Pence believe that the women in his life are not attractive enough to trigger an “automatic” response from the Orange Groper?

We all have asked, when trying to comprehend Trump, what kind of a creep is this? But now, as we try to understand how Pence—who claims the moral high ground with every Christian breath—can proudly embrace Trump, it is time to ask, what kind of creep is Mike Pence?

Defending American Democracy On November 8

In a pretty amazing editorial, The Atlantic magazine—founded in 1857—endorsed Hillary Clinton. Only two other times in its long history has the magazine done such a thing. It preferred Abraham Lincoln in 1860 and Lyndon Johnson in 1964. You should read the entire piece for yourself, but I wanted to highlight one simple point the magazine’s editors made. Stating the obvious by calling Trump “the most ostentatiously unqualified major-party candidate in the 227-year history of the American presidency,” and by calling him “a demagogue, a xenophobe, a sexist, a know-nothing, and a liar,” the editors then say,

He is spectacularly unfit for office, and voters—the statesmen and thinkers of the ballot box—should act in defense of American democracy and elect his opponent.

It certainly is overstating the case that American voters these days comprise “statesmen and thinkers.” Some are. Too many aren’t. But it is not overstating the case to suggest that a lot of what is at stake in this election has to do with defending American democracy, even if, paradoxically, it is defending it against a legion of angry and un- and ill-informed voters who think Donald Trump is the answer to America’s problems.

If you think I am being too rough on those angry low-information voters, watch the following five minute comedy piece—that isn’t all that funny when you think about it—produced for Samantha Bee’s “Full Frontal.” You won’t see any “statesmen and thinkers of the ballot box” in this segment, but you will see a very real threat to American democracy: the idea that our presidential election is “rigged.” Watch:

Mike Pence, God’s Menstruation Monitor

Vox published a story on Monday that, well, if you didn’t know who and what Mike Pence was, you’d be surprised. But if you did know something about Pence’s extreme religious conservatism, you wouldn’t be surprised. Here is the opening of the Vox story:

It’s no secret that Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, Donald Trump’s running mate, opposes abortion rights. Pence basically invented the Republican Party’s war on Planned Parenthood while he was in Congress. He wants Roe v. Wade to be overturned. He signed every anti-abortion bill that crossed his desk as governor of Indiana.

But Pence signed one anti-abortion bill in March of this year that was so extreme, even some pro-life Republicans opposed it. And it was eventually blocked from going into effect by a federal judge for violating women’s right to choose.

The law did something truly bizarre. It would have basically forced women to seek funerary services for a fetus — whether she’d had an abortion or a miscarriage, and no matter how far along the pregnancy was.

Mandatory funerals for fetuses. Mandatory funerals even for fetuses lost to miscarriages. Keep in mind that Pence signed that horrendous bill—the logic of which led to absurdities like menstrual monitoring—in March. In March of, uh, 2016. Before Trump picked him.

As Vox pointed out, the law Pence signed “would have required all fetal tissue to be cremated or buried.” All of it:

The wording of the burial provision meant that technically, even if a woman had a miscarriage at eight weeks of pregnancy at home, she would have to keep the blood and tissue, take it to a hospital or clinic, and have it buried or cremated by a funeral home.

I’ve written about abortion several times over the years, especially noting that many pregnancies are terminated by “God,” since miscarriages are common in nature. Vox says:

[S]ince about half of miscarriages happen shortly after a fertilized egg is implanted, and occur at roughly the same time a woman would expect her period, many women could be having a miscarriage and not even know it — and thus, technically be violating the law if they didn’t cremate or bury the resulting tissue.

As a protest against the new law’s extreme requirements, women who opposed the law started a Facebook group called “Periods for Pence.” Members of the group started calling Pence’s office in droves to tell him about their periods in graphic detail.

“Any period could potentially be a miscarriage,” wrote the anonymous founder of Periods for Pence in an introductory post. “I would certainly hate for any of my fellow Hoosier women to be at risk of penalty” if they don’t properly dispose of or report a potential miscarriage.

The idea of women reporting their periods as a legal precaution sounds absurd and Orwellian. But it’s also what happens when you take a law as bizarre and medically incoherent as Indiana’s to its logical conclusion.

It’s also what happens when religious zealots—a majority of them men—use extremist theology to control women’s reproductive choices. In this case, they claimed they were protecting “fetuses against discrimination based on disability”—which would have prohibited a woman from choosing to terminate a pregnancy involving a fetus with a Image result for mike penceserious genetic disorder. But like all fundamentalist zealots, what Pence and the Republicans in the Indiana legislature were really doing was forcing women in Indiana to live under the thumb of an extremist religious doctrine, of a wild-eyed religion-based morality, that, if Americans give Pence a chance, he will do his best to force on women everywhere in America.

Let me note here that the federal judge in Indiana who, for now, stopped this legislative nightmare is Tanya Walton Pratt. And let me further note that she was appointed by Barack Obama. And let me now state the obvious: if we don’t stop them, a Trump-Pence administration will bring us judges who will not do what Judge Pratt did. They will approve of it.

We hear a lot of talk, from people like Mike Pence, about “radical Islam” and “sharia law.” No doubt you will hear such talk coming from him tonight during the vice presidential debate. But know that it will be coming from a Republican who, just six months ago, attempted to impose on women in his state a radical form of Christianity, the Christian expression of sharia law. And like his fundamentalist Muslim brethren overseas, Pence is not shy about it. He admits it. He’s proud of it. And he wants to spread it and other manifestations of Christian sharia from sea to shining sea.

God help us if he gets his wish.

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