The Crusades come to America

Under Trump, federal health agency seeks to follow dangerous evangelical doctrine

The author is a Chico State alum and former small-business owner.

There’s a crusade in this country and it’s the assault on the separation of church and state. During his campaign, President Trump promised he would work to repeal the Johnson Amendment, which bans tax-exempt churches from engaging in political campaigning. Encouraged by the president’s vow, House Republicans inserted a provision into the GOP tax bill to allow churches with a nonprofit status to engage in political endorsements from their own “bully pulpit” without jeopardizing their tax-free status. Fortunately, the Senate removed it.

Undeterred, the crusade continues as the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced a new rule that will allow any medical professional to refuse to treat a patient on “religious or moral” grounds—legalizing discrimination against women and the LGBTQ community.

HHS’s mission is to implement draconian measures in the rights of women for self-determination, in particular their right to determine healthy and intelligent decisions regarding their own pregnancy.

Such discrimination is not unheard of in the U.S. Take, for example, a same-sex Texas couple whose daughter was denied dental care because she had two mommies. Then there’s the Oklahoma case in which an emergency room doctor, citing religious beliefs, refused emergency contraception to a rape victim.

Many Catholic hospitals routinely turn away women suffering from miscarriage, subjecting them to infection or severe hemorrhage. This thoughtless religious doctrine, which harms tens of thousands of women, is being championed by HHS, which wants this practice to be legal in all hospitals.

HHS is proposing legalized discrimination: women denied birth control simply because their provider or pharmacist believes only in the “rhythm method”; a hospital administrator cancels a woman’s decision to have life-saving cancer treatment because it might harm her pregnancy; a child with same-sex parents is refused urgent treatment by a pediatrician or dentist; a mental health clinic refuses to see a woman in a same-sex relationship.

The Trump administration is sponsoring a dangerous evangelical doctrine that is immoral, unethical, and flies in the face of decency. The religious right has sold its soul to the devil, and the devil is in the White House. Jesus is weeping.