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The Mahablog

The Christian Nationalists Think They’re Winning

Yesterday the Southern Baptist convention voted to oppose in-vitro fertilization. They didn’t call for a ban — yet — nor did they forbid Southern Baptists from using IVF. Instead, they passed a resolution that calls on Southern Baptists “to reaffirm the unconditional value and right to life of every human being, including those in an embryonic stage, and to only utilize reproductive technologies consistent with that affirmation, especially in the number of embryos generated in the I.V.F. process.”

I interpret that to mean that it’s okay to use IVF to achieve pregnancy as long as no surplus fertilized zygotes are created as a result. Which means the odds of success will be very low.  (And for the record, the SBC narrowly failed to pass a ban on women pastors. This tells me they recognize a public relations disaster when they see one. But just before this vote the SBC voted to expel the First Baptist Church of Alexandria, Virginia, because the church allows women to serve even in senior pastoral roles. This suggests some ambivalence about women pastors.)

IVF was an issue in the Senate yesterday. Chuck Schumer and the other Democrats have been challenging their Republican colleagues to go on the record on women’s health-related issues, such as protecting a right to birth control. This week Chuck and the gang proposed a bill to protect access to IVF. So then this happened:

In response, Republicans have clung to two legislative gambits of their own that they say are just as good. Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) offered a simple resolution demonstrating the Senate’s “support for Americans who are starting and growing families through in vitro fertilization.” Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Katie Britt (R-AL) put forward a bill that would make states ineligible to receive Medicaid funding if they ban IVF.  …

… Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) blocked the Republican bill, calling it a “PR tool.”

“[This is] just another way for Republicans to pretend they are not the extremists that they keep proving they are,” Murray said on the Senate floor as she objected to unanimous consent. 

“The bill allows for states to push for regulations that could severely reduce the standard of care for IVF treatment, such as restrictions on how many embryos are created and what individuals can do with these embryos — decisions that should only be made between patients and their doctors, based on science and clinical guidelines,” she added of the Cruz-Britt bill.

Limiting the number of fertilized eggs produced in IVF and limiting what can be done with those eggs seems to be where the Right is coming down on IVF. Medical experts say limiting the number of fertilized eggs produced will make it much more difficult to achieve a successful pregnancy with IVF.

Yet there’s more. The Christian right is coming for divorce next writes Anna North at Vox.

Before the 1960s, it was really hard to get divorced in America.

Typically, the only way to do it was to convince a judge that your spouse had committed some form of wrongdoing, like adultery, abandonment, or “cruelty” (that is, abuse). This could be difficult: “Even if you could prove you had been hit, that didn’t necessarily mean it rose to the level of cruelty that justified a divorce,” said Marcia Zug, a family law professor at the University of South Carolina.

Then came a revolution: In 1969, then-Gov. Ronald Reagan of California (who was himself divorced) signed the nation’s first no-fault divorce law, allowing people to end their marriages without proving they’d been wronged. The move was a recognition that “people were going to get out of marriages,” Zug said, and gave them a way to do that without resorting to subterfuge. Similar laws soon swept the country, and rates of domestic violence and spousal murder began to drop as people — especially women — gained more freedom to leave dangerous situations. 

Well, forget that. Republican lawmakers in several states are working to abolish no-fault divorce and go back to the bad old days.  “Conservative commentators and lawmakers are calling for an end to no-fault divorce, arguing that it has harmed men and even destroyed the fabric of society,” Anna North writes.

Michelle Boorstein and Hannah Knowles write at WaPo about what the Christian right wants from a second Trump term.

Should Trump reclaim the presidency in November, they say, it would represent a historic opportunity to put their interpretation of Christianity at the center of government policy. …

… Among the proposals being pushed by the Christian right’svariousgroups and leaders:

  • Removing the words “gender” and “abortion” from federal program documents, as well as the related funding.
  • Imposing new restrictions on abortion pills, perhaps through the authority of the Food and Drug Administration.
  • Carving out greaterexemptions to anti-discrimination laws intended toprotect LGBTQ people.
  • Establishing a more visible role for Christianity in public schools, including more prayer led by both teachers and students.

There was some good news on the theocracy front today. The Supreme Court unanimously rejected the bid to restrict distribution of mifepristone, the main abortion pill. And it was unanimous. The court found that the plaintiffs didn’t have standing to sue, because they couldn’t prove they had been personally harmed. Okay. But Justice Kavanaugh dropped big hints that maybe someone else could sue.

In other news: Trump wants to eliminate most federal income tax by just adding tarrifs to all imports. Basically, he wants to go back to the antebellum economy.

Trump is getting called out for his stream-of-consciousness ramblings. Apparently he was so inchoherent at a closed-door meeting with House Republicans it was “like talking to your drunk uncle.” See also Eugene Robinson, Is Donald Trump okay? and Tom Nichols, Let’s talk about Trump’s gibberish.

5 thoughts on “The Christian Nationalists Think They’re Winning

  1.   <i>. But just before this vote the SBC voted to expel the First Baptist Church of Alexandria, Virginia, because the church allows women to serve even in senior pastoral roles. </>


    It seems the SBC is regressisg fast.  Perhaps the 1st Baptist should try to join the Greek Rite of the Catholic Church.  Think of all the fun and chaos we would see in Rome. :). And the consternation in the SBC.

  2. There's a bunch of stuff at play with the USSC. They landed the big fish by reducing abortion legislation to the state level. I'm not sure if the high court knows that they're just trying to hang onto that. Even Trump today was asking the GOP to soft-pedal abortion and not go further. And if Trump is incapable of nuance, others around him know they want the Evangelical votes but the GOP does not want to be blamed for what the Evangelicals want to enact. Case in point is the GOP voting against clear protection for IVF while proposing non-binding "support" for IVF. 

    If the states can ban IVF locally, the GOP (nationally) will not alienate the fetus people by interfering. But at a national level, they will disagree with publicly the IVF bans that they won't prohibit at the national level when the threat is clear. Yes, the Democrats are capable of hypocrisy and playing politics, but not at this level.

    As reality is developing, I'm heartened by the potential for the debate to change the trajectory of the election. The most recent shoe to fall is Hunter Biden's conviction. IMO, Trump can't back off on the accusation that Biden is behind Trump's legal problems. Public statements to MAGA make it incumbent on the moderators to ask. (I think.) And the second half of the question has to be a demand for proof. Biden's rebuttal ought to be a slam dunk. There is NO evidence of any kind that the Biden Administration (at the WH level) has played ANY part in the federal investigations of Trump's crimes. That's why Jack Smith is running the show as a special prosecutor, a link removed from the DOJ and a long link removed from the WH. Regarding the NY conviction of Trump, that's not Biden's decision or doing. I'd like a question to Biden on Hunter Biden's conviction – I'm not sure if CNN will consider the issue related to the debate, but they should. Biden could have killed the investigation three years ago and did not. IMO, because Biden does not think the WH should use executive power to hurt or protect the enemies of friends of the president.  Which leads to recent quotes from Trump about using the WH to get revenge. Trump the Impaler plays well with MAGA but this will be entirely a TV/Internet audience with no MAGA crowd to cheer Trump. As I read the dynamics of Trump rallies, he thrives on the venom of the audience when he delivers a hate line. But there will be no audience and I'm not sure Trump perceives that the rhetoric that works in a monologue to a receptive crowd will fail with a serious audience less motivated by "owning the libs." I hope Biden mentions the ads (I think his campaign did them) of foreign leaders laughing at Trump behind his back when they forgot (or did not care) the cameras were running. And Biden has spent time in Europe recently and can testify the low regard he's held in EXCEPT for autocrats the US can and should regard as rivals and potential enemies. We're talking two weeks. 

  3. No, the Cristian Nationalists do not think they are winning, and they never will.  No amount of control or forced subservience will ever be enough for them as it never was for any religious based group with political power in history.  Not even the power of public torture or burning at the stake would satisfy their obsession with controlling others, it never has, and it never will.  

    So too will Donald Trump ever think he is winning.  No amount of control is enough, as was demonstrated yesterday with the congressional lackeys.  Why his neurotic fear of sharks and electricity?  He only sees power he cannot control he cannot dominate in electricity or sharks. Is he OK as the one author asks.  Hell no.  He is bat shit crazy and will make any republican a RINO if they use his craziness against him.  In the process they will be painted as crazier than he is and they will be the one who suffers, not him.  Does it bother him he is crazy. Not in any way that motivates him in a civil fashion.  We see all the time how he deals with those who do not kiss up.  We also see how he exploits and mistreats those who do.  

    He represents the perversion of power most of us can see with even a bit of education about human history.  Unfortunately, those republicans who have this ability, this talent, this perception, have been saddled with the label of RINO.  Those, like Liz Cheney, who rightfully see it as a disqualifier for power in the United States. are thrown under the bus.  

    So too with Christian Nationals.  If any of them have even the slightest notion or perception of an ideal or human behavior that is characteristic of being labeled a Christian, they go under the bus also in a Trump world.  He will treat them as the fealty he made them to be.  What a perversion of elitism is he?  How blind can people, in a large group, get?  Trump knows.  He was involved in "professional" wrestling. 

  4. I guess we have a different definition of winning. Being in a red state rural area, I see win after win where no matter the race/culture, I see that hard-right views are the norm. And then the old white men are totally Looney-Tunes crazy with flat-earth as GOP loyalty tests and Jesus was a badass warrior king that turns the other cheek to square up and smite. And this is normalized. I do not see their opposite have a method of de-escalating what their victory looks like — a scorched earth, anti-science, Road Warrior world. Listen to the Hank Williams, Jr song "A Country Boy Can Survive" and that will tell you that they think that they can live off the land while the cities burn. So they don't care if the economy crashes because a country boy can survive. Losing to me looks like a politics where a near plurality is content to re-fight the battles of Copernicus, the Enlightenment, the Renaissance, republican democracy, the Green Revolution and the Civil Rights movement. Any moderate voice that calls for discussion and sound public policy is roundly labeled a pedo-guy, RINO or whatever. This does not look like a victory for the forces of reason.

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