We have an executive branch bursting at the seams with corruption. We have a man-baby tyrant as “president,” likely installed by Russia. And we have white supremacists emboldened by the highest reaches of government. Across the country bridges are crumbling, drinking water is poisoned, kids are being taken from their parents and put in cages, and people are still choosing between declaring bankruptcy or dying because of our health insurance system.
But don’t worry. If you’re a good Christian who wants to discriminate against gays and lesbians, the U.S. Justice Department has your back. Because of priorities.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a noted racist who is this nation’s top law enforcement officer, announced the creation of a so-called “religious liberty task force.”
According to The Hill, the task force “will help the department fully implement the religious liberty guidance it issued last year.” The guidance amounted to giving Christians full authority to discriminate against LGBTQ people. And other people they don’t like.
Think, if you will, of the guidance as a hammer. A hammer by itself doesn’t present much of a threat until a hand picks it up and swings it. The new task force is that hand. And the hammer is aimed squarely at the heads of LGBTQ people.
Behind this task force’s creation are many things, not least of which is this administration’s complete and utter disdain for civil rights. But there are two important myths at work.
The first myth is that Christians are persecuted in America. They aren’t. Jesus. Full stop.
The second myth is that LGBTQ people have power and dominance in this country that is used to “silence” Christians. Also not true.
The funny thing is, if you take those two myths and reverse them, you get closer to the truth. Because this task force is nothing more than Christian dominance in action, used to oppress with the full weight of the federal government behind it.
And the story out there to justify this whole thing is utter bullshit based on a lie that Christians are under attack in this current “cultural climate”. An all-powerful secular force where drag queens read to kids at local libraries; where a woman can choose whether or not to have children; where a man can kiss another man on the lips and say “I do”; and where the building of a mosque or temple in a community causes no more stir than the construction of a church. And where equality is an ideal we strive for, not something we fight.
“We’ve seen nuns ordered to buy contraceptives,” Sessions said while announcing the task force. “We’ve seen U.S. senators ask judicial and executive branch nominees about dogma — even though the Constitution explicitly forbids a religious test for public office. And we’ve all seen the ordeal faced so bravely by Jack Phillips.”
Phillips, as you remember, is the baker in Colorado who refused to make a cake for a gay couple. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court. As for nuns forced into buying contraceptives, maybe it’s to ward off the Second Coming because they fear embarrassment if Jesus comes back and sees so many of his followers be assholes.
“In short, we have not only the freedom to worship — but the right to exercise our faith,” Sessions continued. “The Constitution’s protections don’t end at the parish parking lot nor can our freedoms be confined to our basements.”
Anyone else wondering what the hell Jeff Sessions has going on in his basement?
Look, if you’re a member of a minority in this country, you are in trouble under this administration. White, heterosexual, cisgender, Christian and, especially, male, is America.
As Charlotte Clymer put it on Twitter: “The ‘Religious Liberty Task Force’ is a cynical and cruel attempt to enable discrimination against LGBTQ people. That’s all this is. It has nothing to do with ‘religious liberty.’ It’s about controlling the bedrooms and bodies of other people.”
She is, of course, right (also if you’re not following @cmclymer on Twitter, then you’re not doing Twitter right). This task force is yet another way for those in power to hurt the most vulnerable populations in the country.
Bottom line: We need to throw them out of office. You must vote. And you must vote for people who recognize you as a person. Republicans keep making it harder to vote because they know the real majority is not silent and is not with them.
D’Anne Witkowski is a poet, writer, and comedian living in Michigan with her wife and son. She has been writing about LGBT politics for over a decade. Follow her on Twitter @MamaDWitkowski.