Making Gilead a Reality

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Alabama TalibangelistsAmerican Talibangelists recently took a giant step towards creating Gilead in the USA when the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that frozen embryos were due the same legal protection as real children (although children there have less protection because Repugnicans care little about actual children than embryos). It extended the the legal definition of a human life to start at conception.* This 131-page ruling includes 41 references to god, flipping the bird to even lip service to the separation of state and church. And so the Talibangelists moved Gilead closer to reality.**

Rightwing Canadians and PoiLIEvre supporters are watching closely to see what they can copy here, especially in Albertabama where the Canadian Talibangelists have long had a hold on provincial politics and played a major role in the insurrectionist convoy assault on Ottawa.

Gilead is, of course, the fictional republic from Margaret Atwood’s novel, The Handmaid’s Tale. It is a military state run by an extremely oppressive authoritarian patriarchy in which women are reduced to property, with no rights or freedoms. Women in Gilead cannot own money or property, nor are they allowed to read and write. They exist as either ornaments or baby factories legally subject to rape. While liberals read Atwood’s dystopian novel with horror and despair, conservatives and their Christofascist supporters read it as a blueprint for the world they wanted to bring about.

On Al.com the story about this travesty of justice noted Chief Justice Tom Parker “utilized multiple Biblical references in his search for the definition of the “sanctity of life” to come to the conclusion that an embryo fits within the definition of a child.”  His medieval-level ruling summarized his pseudo-Christian fervour for oppressing women’s rights and enabling the patriarchy:

In summary, the theologically based view of the sanctity of life adopted by the People of Alabama encompasses the following: (1) God made every person in His image; (2) each person therefore has a value that far exceeds the ability of human beings to calculate; and (3) human life cannot be wrongfully destroyed without incurring the wrath of a holy God, who views the destruction of His image as an affront to Himself. Section 36.06 recognizes that this is true of unborn human life no less than it is of all other human life — that even before birth, all human beings bear the image of God, and their lives cannot be destroyed without effacing his glory.

The decision was replete with this sort of self-serving, pseudoscience twaddle:

Unborn children are ‘children’ … without exception based on developmental stage, physical location, or any other ancillary characteristics.

Equally frightening, the decision quoted as authorities both Augustine and a 17th-century theologian. On Xitter, Brian Cohen tweeted “Alabama just ruled that frozen, unimplanted embryos are people. This petri dish is now more protected under law by Republicans than Alabama schoolchildren.”

Political commentator Jeff Teidrich noted on his substack blog that Parker was a “god-mad bible-humping zealots who want to turn America into a Christian theocracy.” He added that Parker had previously been interviewed on an online Talibangelist broadcast, saying “God created government, and the fact that we have let it go into the possession of others, it’s heartbreaking.” Tiedrich’s article is appropriately tiled “forced-birth fuckfaces say frozen embryos are children, and other christofascist horror stories.” He adds:

America’s forced-birth christofascists didn’t stop at outlawing abortion, and they’re not going to stop at declaring clumps of cells to be children. they’ve got a whole fucking agenda, and it’s not pretty.

Robert Reich also noted on his blog:

All of these private freedoms are under increasing assault from Republican legislators and judges who want to impose their own morality on everyone else. Republicans are increasingly at war with America’s fundamental separation of church and state.
According to a new survey from the Public Religion Research Institute and the Brookings Institution, more than half of Republicans believe the country should be a strictly Christian nation — either adhering to the ideals of Christian nationalism (21 percent) or sympathizing with those views (33 percent).
This point of view has long been prominent among white evangelicals but is spreading into almost all reaches of the Republican Party, as exemplified by the Alabama Supreme Court’s ruling.
It is also closely linked with authoritarianism. According to the survey, half of Christian nationalism adherents and nearly 4 in 10 sympathizers said they support the idea of an authoritarian leader powerful enough to keep these Christian values in society.

In the story about the decision in The Nation, Jeet Heer wrote,

As worrying as the decision was, the theocratic logic used by the justices to justify their conclusions was even scarier. The judges in this case presented themselves as instruments of divine will rather than expositors of secular law. In his concurrent decision, Chief Justice Tom Parker wrote, “Even before birth, all human beings have the image of God, and their lives cannot be destroyed without effacing his glory.”
This theological language was no accident. Media Matters on Wednesday reported, “During a recent interview on the program of self-proclaimed ‘prophet’ and QAnon conspiracy theorist Johnny Enlow, Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Tom Parker indicated that he is a proponent of the ‘Seven Mountain Mandate,’ a theological approach that calls on Christians to impose fundamentalist values on all aspects of American life.” According to a faction of evangelical Protestant fanatics, Christians have the right and duty to impose their domination on the so-called “seven mountains” of American life: government, media, education, business, religion, family, and entertainment. During the interview, Parker said God “is calling and equipping people to step back into these mountains right now.” The judge added that God “is equipping me with something for the very specific situation that I’m facing,”

More Alabama memesThis wasn’t the first shot fired in the long-running Repugnican-Talibangelist war on women in the USA. Despite promises to the contrary, as soon as the serial liar Donald Trump’s far-right, pseudo-Christian, anti-abortion appointees to the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) could, they overturned Rowe v Wade, wiping out five decades of hard-won women’s reproductive rights, and showing no shame at having brazenly and openly lied in public about not doing so. Trump, ever pandering to the worst society has to offer, proudly boasted he was responsible for this misogynist act, and, although he had no part in making the decision (his cronies did it for him), said he was happy to set the nation’s laws back half-a-century.

Donald Trump’s MAGA Repugnicans have all become Christofascist suppliants now, desperate to gain his favour. They are pushing hard to establish their pseudo-Christian theocracy, replacing democracy, which, being good Putin puppets, they despise. Salon Magazine documented the rise of the Christofasicsts in the party earlier this year, noting how they simply ignored Trump’s blatant and unashamed immorality in order to grab power on his coattails. The article also noted that far too many Americans didn’t give a shit about democracy and were too ignorant or selfish to prevent its collapse:

Unfortunately, early polls show that too many everyday Americans (most of whom are politically unengaged and unsophisticated) are ready to put Trump back in the White House because democracy is something abstract and relatively unimportant to them and they find Trump’s chaos, destruction, and “excitement” (and hatred and rage and strongman thug appeal) more compelling than President Biden’s responsible and steady leadership.

A related article in Salon documented the rise of an even more insidiously evil group within the Talibangelist movement itself (emphasis added):

…a rapidly-growing, anti-democratic religious movement known as the New Apostolic Reformation, which few Americans have heard of, except in passing or by way of heated denials. But a new book from Canadian scholar André Gagné, “American Evangelicals for Trump: Dominion, Spiritual Warfare, and the End Times,” could change that, as the NAR seems poised to play an even bigger political role in 2024.
Rather than focusing inward on nurturing their local congregations under the guidance of elected church elders, NAR churches focus outward through networks in alignment with other churches, under the guidance of higher-up “apostles,” to engage in “spiritual warfare” against demonic forces, and conquer the “seven mountains of culture” and establish dominion over all the world.  As [John] Dorhauer says, it really is a conspiracy aimed at controlling the world — in the name of Jesus, of course, with the self-reinforcing network of apostles and prophets claiming authority in his name.

Let’s be clear: regardless of what they claim, regardless of how they wave their bibles about, Talibangelists are not about faith, and never have been. They don’t care about Jesus any more than they care about bicycle gear oil. Ever hear or see them quote the Beatitudes? Of course not: they always cherry-pick the most repressive, violent Old Testament laws to quote. These are pseudo-Christians: they care about power, greed, and controlling others, not faith.***

If Trump gets re-elected, expect a full-frontal assault on democracy immediately, and the implementation of Atwood’s Gilead to become a reality within his first years. Women will become, as they have always been in Trump’s own life, collateral damage. And, of course, he will overthrow the US Constitution to allow him to be dictator for life. Just like his mentor and puppet master, Putin, is.

Notes:

* I guess that means a blowjob is cannibalism.

** These are self-described as “Christian nationalists,” a pro-fascist group Trump has openly aligned himself with. But as Michael Coren wrote in the Toronto Star in 2022, “Christian nationalism [is] not Christian, it’s not Canadian, or patriotic either.” He added:

The roots of this perverted idea are found in a specifically American notion of exceptionalism, the idea that the United States was and is chosen by God to be a light on a hill, distinct, special, and better. America, runs the ideology, has a God-given right and duty to shape and lead the world and anybody who opposes that isn’t truly American. Inevitably, that leads to a whole stew of repugnant beliefs. It may even lead to something resembling fascism.
Christian nationalism is an inherent contradiction, an oxymoron, in that Jesus stood in direct opposition to nationalism — both that of his own people, and as a wider concept. The essence of his teaching is that he came for all, irrespective of race or nation, and that one person could not have two masters. A Christian nationalist is merely a nationalist trying to disguise nastiness behind faith and religiosity.

But as Politico reported earlier this month, “Trump allies prepare to infuse ‘Christian nationalism’ in second administration.” The story notes:

An influential think tank close to Donald Trump is developing plans to infuse Christian nationalist ideas in his administration should the former president return to power…he effort is made up of a constellation of conservative groups run by Trump allies who’ve constructed a detailed plan to dismantle or overhaul key agencies in a second term. Among other principles, the project’s “Mandate for Leadership” states that “freedom is defined by God, not man.”
Trump is not a devout man of faith. But Christian Nationalists have been among his most reliable campaign activists and voting blocs. Trump formed a political alliance with evangelicals during his first run for office, delivered them a six to three conservative majority on the Supreme Court and is now espousing the Christian right’s long-running argument that Christians are so severely persecuted that it necessitates a federal response.

That would bring the USA perilously close to a nationwide Gilead. One has to wonder why real Christians are not in an uproar about these faux-Christians taking over their faith to use it for their own political ends. If Trump wins, real Christianity will likely be outlawed as dissidents in a Putinesque purge, along with other opponents and all other parties will be made illegal. This happened in Germany in 1934, and it will happen in the USA in 2025 if Trump wins.

*** Can you imagine a callous, narcissistic grifter like Trump quoting the bible, let alone the Beatitudes? Quoting the blessing for the poor, the meek, the merciful? HuffPost blogger Michael Stark created his own “Trump Beatitudes” to compare what Jesus reportedly said versus what Trump has said. Anyone who claims to be Christian should be horrified by Trump, which shows why his Talibangelist followers are merely pseudo-Christians looking for power. As Stark wrote:

Trump’s ideals and hateful rhetoric stand in direct opposition to that of the Jesus of the New Testament. As part of the Sermon on the Mount as depicted in Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus gives his listeners eight sayings, a series of blessings focused on those who, in that context, would not be considered powerful or worthy. These are exactly the demographics Trump seemingly finds deplorable.

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4 Comments

  1. https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/p/february-22-2024
    On her substack blog, American historian, Heather Cox Richardson made – as she always does – some cogent remarks about the Talibangelists in Alabama and those among Repugnicans trying to overthrow democracy in favour of their pseudo-Christian theocracy:

    In the United States, theocracy and authoritarianism go hand in hand.

    The framers of the Constitution quite deliberately excluded religion from the U.S. Constitution. As a young man, James Madison, the key thinker behind the Constitution, had seen his home state of Virginia arrest itinerant preachers for undermining the established church in the state. He came to believe that men had a right to the free exercise of religion.

    …Now, once again, we are watching a minority trying to impose its will on the majority, with leaders like House speaker Johnson noting that “I try to do every day what my constituents want. But sometimes what your constituents want does not line up with the principles God gave us for government. And you have to have conviction enough to stand [up] to your own people….”

  2. And from Popular Info:
    https://popular.info/p/alabama-infertility-clinic-stops
    In a 7-2 ruling, the Alabama Supreme Court found that the embryos were “extrauterine children,” which it defined as “unborn children who are located outside of a biological uterus at the time they are killed.” The court ruled that Alabama’s “Wrongful Death of a Minor Act applies to all unborn children, regardless of their location.” It found that considering a frozen embryo a “child” is a “natural, ordinary, commonly understood meaning” of the word.

    The majority writes that “all members of this Court agree that an unborn child is a genetically unique human being whose life begins at fertilization and ends at death.” The majority is an extension of that belief, which is rooted in theology, not science.

    Alabama Chief Justice Tom Parker makes this explicit in a concurring opinion. Parker writes that the decision is grounded “theologically based view of the sanctity of life.” Frozen embryos must be considered children, according to Parker, because “human life cannot be wrongfully destroyed without incurring the wrath of a holy God, who views the destruction of His image as an affront to Himself.”

    Of course, many Christians in Alabama and elsewhere disagree that standard IVF treatment — which often involves the loss of some embryos — is an affront to God. But now Parker and the other members of the court majority are imposing their specific religious beliefs on millions of women in Alabama.

  3. https://www.jefftiedrich.com/p/republicans-kicked-a-hornets-nest
    And more from Jeff Tiedrich:

    allowing some god-mad judicial fuckface to jam his superstitious nonsense up women’s uteruses is political suicide — and they’re freaking out.
    boo fucking hoo.
    when the Alabama Supreme Court — led by their forced-birth christofascist Chief Justice, Tom Parker — declared that a microscopic clump of frozen cells had all the legal rights of a child, Republicans at first fell all the fuck over themselves in a mad dash to praise the ruling. it was only later that they realized this is exactly the kind of overreach that is going to get them buried at the polls this November.
    Nikki Haley, the gaffe-factory who talks first and thinks never, was the first Republican out of the gate to laud the decision.
    “embryos to me are babies.”
    three days later, she got all huffy on Fox News and tried to pull a how-dare-the-Democrats-use-my-own-words-against-me act.
    Republicans are going to try like hell to sweep all of this under the rug, and try to gaslight their own base into forgetting that they’re the ones responsible for this mess. they also want everyone to forget that they’ve put all pregnant women in danger by restricting access to medical care. don’t let them get away with it.
    reap. sow.
    these shitweasels have unleashed hell on themselves — and it’s up to us to make them pay this November.

  4. https://marytrump.substack.com/p/donalds-daily-nightmare
    From Mary Trump:
    The logical outcome of overturning Dobbs
    On June 24th, in its infamous Dobbs decision, the super-majority of the Supreme Court concluded that abortion is not a right protected by the U.S. Constitution. The Alabama Supreme Court ruling, that embryos and fetuses should be considered children and be afforded legal protections, is the logical extension of Dobbs.

    A phalanx of Republican members of Congress, who came out in favor of “fetal personhood” when they backed the “Life at Conception Act of 2021” cheered Dobbs, but are now trying to backtrack in the wake of the Alabama ruling. They loudly declare their support for IVF because, as Rep. Byron Donalds, (R-FL) said, IVF helps “breed great families.”

    Also, they know that the Alabama decision will be wildly unpopular among their voters.

    Sorry. You do not get to come out in favor of IVF when you’re on record supporting legislation in favor of “fetal personhood” (which is not a thing that exists in the real world).
    As disgusting as the Alabama Supreme Court decision is, it should surprise no one. It is the next step after overturning Roe v. Wade ended a women’s constitutional right to control over her own body, her right to make medical decisions in consultation with her doctor, and her right to be a full citizen of the United States.

    Donald Trump is responsible for the reactionary, anti-democratic super-majority on the Supreme Court that is systematically setting this country back decades, despite being at odds with over 70% of Americans on most social issues.

    He is proud of this. But you cannot get credit for having more-or-less sane views about IVF after you created that reactionary, anti-woman majority and after you said this:

    “After 50 years of failure, with nobody coming even close, I was able to kill Roe v. Wade; embryos and fetuses should be considered children and be afforded legal protections. Without me there would be no 6 weeks, 10 weeks, 15 weeks, or whatever is finally agreed to. Without me the pro-Life movement would have just kept losing.”

    DNC Chair Jaime Harrison released this statement:

    “Donald Trump is on a mission to make sure everyone remembers he is responsible for the most extreme abortion bans in the country. Trump’s record speaks for itself: He is an anti-choice extremist who is hell-bent on ripping away a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions.”

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