Thou Shalt Not Mix Church and State

On the same day that Louisiana Gov. Jeff Landry signed the new “Ten Commandments” bill into law — the one that requires a particular verson of the Ten Commandments be posted prominently in all classrooms in Louisiana — a Texas megachurch pastor and one time spritual adviser to Donald Trump resigned over sexual abuse allegations. Well, they aren’t really just allegations, since the pastor admitted to what happened.. When he was a young pastor in his 20s he repeatedly molested a 12-year-old girl. And if she was his only victim he’d be very unusual, but she’s the only one who has come forward that I know of.

Regarding the Ten Commandments law, the state representative who sponsored the Louisiana bill said that having the commandments posted would allow students to “look up and see what God says is right and what he says is wrong.” Maybe the Texas pastor should have posted them in his office.

I have said before, and I’ll say again, that this obsession with putting the Ten Commandments in everybody’s face has nothing whatsoever to do with good behavior. The 10 Cs are the Christian Right’s tribal totem. They are posted to proclaim that right-wing Christians are the dominant tribe.

The Louisiana law is nearly identical to a Kentucky law that was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court back in 1980. The current court might very well overturn the earlier decision. In which case most public schools in the South and in much of the Midwest will immediately turn into Jesus Camp. In most cases it won’t even be subtle.

I learned that Gov. Landy also signed a bill that allows public schools to hire or appoint volunteer chaplains to provide “support, services, and programs for students,” whatever that means. I found a copy of the bill online but can’t say if it’s exactly what was signed. This version of the bill doesn’t explicitly way they have to be Christian chaplains. But neither does it say they have to have any sort of training or credentials. The lawmakers did think to prohibit registered sex offenders from being school chaplains, but otherwise, whatever. I can see every relgious nutjob and not-yet-convicted pedophile in Louisiana lining up to be a volunteer chaplain. This coujld get very messy. And what happens if, say, a Rabbi or a monk from one of Louisiana’s Buddhist temples offers to volunteer as a chaplain?

On to politics … everybody is panicked. I see in Politico that Biden’s biggest fundraisers are depressed and disappointed because Trump is on a fundraising blitz and has erased a large part of Biden’s war chest advantage. But at the same time, “across the country, the mood of Republicans has dimmed, according to nearly a dozen Republican operatives, county chairs and current and former GOP officials,” also says Politico. Some polling numbers have been moving in Biden’s favor since the conviction. Yes, let’s all just panic.

Worth reading — I Know What America’s Leading C.E.O.s Really Think of Donald Trump by Jeffrey A. Sonnenfeld, who is the president of the Yale Chief Executive Leadership Institute.

Recent headlines suggest that our nation’s business leaders are embracing the presidential candidate Donald Trump. His campaign would have you believe that our nation’s top chief executives are returning to support Mr. Trump for president, touting declarations of support from some prominent financiers like Steve Schwarzman and David Sacks.

That is far from the truth. They didn’t flock to him before, and they certainly aren’t flocking to him now. Mr. Trump continues to suffer from the lowest level of corporate support in the history of the Republican Party. …

... If you want the most telling data point on corporate America’s lack of enthusiasm for Mr. Trump, look where they are investing their money. Not a single Fortune 100 chief executive has donated to the candidate so far this year, which indicates a major break from overwhelming business and executive support for Republican presidential candidates dating back over a century, to the days of Taft and stretching through Coolidge and the Bushes, all of whom had dozens of major company heads donating to their campaigns.

They aren’t entirely happy with President Biden, either, but think Bicen is “tolerable.” Trump has them scared.

A reminder that Trump is not normal. Trump taunted Jewish employees with jokes about Nazi ovens: Ex-Trump Org VP.

7 thoughts on “Thou Shalt Not Mix Church and State

  1. Trump came out and endorsed the Louisiana law on Friday. My guess is that the law will be upheld by the 5th Circuit because they are completely untethered from the law. It will go to the Supreme Court next year and I predict they will strike it down. In the meantime, it will provide political fodder for Republicans, including Trump who want to keep the fetus people riled up and engaged.

    Isn't this Supreme Court likely to uphold the LA requirement? I think no, based partly on the recent 11-1 decision that upheld the right of government to disarm abusive partners. IMO, too much overreach on top of the known corruption could set the stage for reform that the majority on the court do not want. The court is stunned by the opposition they are facing, including facts of financial corruption. Again, my opinion, the court wants to keep the status on Roe, generally allow gun ownership with minimal restrictions and survive without changes in structure. The biggest threat to the high court is a Biden win, plus a legislative move to expand the court for the purpose of protecting women's rights and the rights of people with non-traditional sexual inclinations. 

    The flip side is that Evangenitals want to go full speed at anything that smells remotely like tolerance of minority views. These perverts want to be in everyone's bed authorizing how they copulate and with who. I can't cite any supporting poll, but I don't think most Americans will buy into that. My opinion is that conservatives on the court are aware – if the public decided that the court is in the service of a concept of justice held by a tiny minority of religious tyrants, the public will demand a new court – which CONGRESS IS EMPOWERED TO DELIVER. (if there's a Democrat in the Oval Office and a majority in the House and Senate who will approve legislation to expand the court by as few as two seats!

    I'm curious – who thinks Trump will show up for the Thursday debate?

    • I agree with this quote by Frank Wilhoit: “Conservatism consists of exactly one proposition …There must be in-groups whom the law protects but does not bind, alongside out-groups whom the law binds but does not protect.”

      I think it explains what's going on.

      And – I'll be absolutely shocked if Trump shows up.

      • FWIW, I'm hedging my bets:  I think TFG is unable to resist the lure of an audience that large, so he will show up at the debate in order to spew nonsense to all of the faithful, who, incidentally, enjoy seeing the federal government mocked, just for the fun of it.
        OTOH, if he doesn't show up, I'm prepared for some kind of WWE drama as the explanation… think of unexpected events happening in the hallways outside of the wrestling ring in whatever arena they are performing at.
        We are, after all, living in the TRUMANMP Show. 

  2. The 10 Cs are the Christian Right’s tribal totem. They are posted to proclaim that right-wing Christians are the dominant tribe.

    Exactly, and that is what makes these Ten Commandments as posted by "conservatives" the very graven images the commandments say God doesn't like.  

    They surround themselves with false prophets, grifting prosperity preachers, snake handling fools. They’ve cowed real Christians into silence; I wish they’d speak up.

    They don't understand what they claim to be "their" religion.  Considering the commandments, every fiber of their very essence is against God.

  3. Will "he whose name reminds me of a farting porker show up?"

    My wager will be yes.

    One, he thinks he has the smartest mind, despite the fact he rarely finds it. 

    Two, when he exhales the now poisoned air from his lungs he can out screech any nearby banshee and his voice can sterilize frogs at 300 yards.

    Three, debates have been dumbed down to theater bizarro. Thank you, almost all media outlets. The point is to get more quotes, outbursts, insults, ramblings and perfidious accusations than the other, so the meaningless dross can be used at the ten o'clock news teasers. 

    Then comes the idiotic "who won the debate show" when losers like marcolito rubio appear on screen to reveal not only he did pay no attention to the debate but declares trump the winner because reasons (please a VP for me ).

    Trump thinks he won every debate because he is the great force behind what a clown show debates have become. Prediction: trump screaming "I'm not convicted of 34 felonies, you're convicted of thirty four felonies."

    Debates were once the great information booths to ensure the American public was the well informed democracy envisioned by Thomas Jefferson. 

    Or am I wrong? 


    • To weigh in on my own question…

      Both Steve Bannon and Sean Hannity have suggested Trump should pass on the debate. Either of them is smarter than Trump (a low bar) and they calculate Trump is more likely to lose votes than win votes. Not that either of them was honest enough to admit that calculation but they're both aware – the election is the undecided voters in the swing states.

      Does Trump comprehend the risk? Heck, yes! Why else would he and his surrogates be screaming about drug testing Biden. Or there's a quote (recorded) of Trump saying he might deliberately lose the debate to ensure Biden stays in the race. 

      Will the debate change anything if Biden repeatedly hits it out of the park? Probably, it will make little difference if Biden aces the debate. But the debate could still cost Trump the election. Because of ego.

      Who has not seen "A Few Good Men" with Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson? The final scene is a truly epic scene, the confrontation between Colonel Jessup (Nicholson) and the young defense lawyer played by Cruise. All Jessup has to do is say, "I don't know." to any question about the Code Red (that he ordered) and he's in the clear. But Cruise gets under his skin and goads Jessup into taking full credit, "Damn RIGHT I ordered the Code Red!" Which ends his career as the judge and prosecutor have him removed after he's read his rights. 

      The dynamic is similar, though nobody here is young. (Hell, the entire cast is older than me and I'm 70.)  But Trump resents Biden very personally. Trump also has a twisted view of reality that Biden keeps attacking with the facts. (IMO, the election may hinge on the perception that low-info voters in swing states have of J6.) Trump WANTS to go there with the fantasy he has that the insurrectionists are patriots and victims of Biden's DOJ. If Trump oversteps in taking credit for J6 for what it WAS, an attempted coup with fake electors on one side and violent rioters on the other side, all acting at Trump's direction, the momentum shifts to Biden with persuadable voters.

      I think Trump will be there because it's imperative that his fantasy is presented in the debate for low-info voters who Trump thinks are stupid enough to buy into his hallucination. Others in Trump's orbit are concerned that reality will break through – that gives me hope.

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