Here is one thing few people are writing about*, I guess because they think Trump is not really a religious man, many of the policies that will come out of the Trump administration will be based on a very narrow view of religion. Not only did we get conservative economic ideology (also a religion**), but in many of the social policies, they will be heavily imbued with a religious belief. I guess because the media is afraid to point out or criticize religion and its influence in our government, this is just ignored. The idea is that we respect freedom of religion and attacking religious beliefs is really un-American. But what do we do when they define Government and our policies, and those religious beliefs are a narrow conservative evangelical Christianity?
Think about Betsy DeVos, nominee for Secretary of Education. She wants to basically end public education and fund religious schools and charters that, “will continue to advance God’s kingdom.” Note that while it barely came up in the hearings, she has given generously to groups “funding Christian schools, evangelical missions, and conservative, free-market think tanks like the Acton Institute and the Mackinac Center that want to shrink the public sector in every sphere, including education.” She has support groups who want to relax the boundary between religion and government. (Mother Jones). It’s all about getting our kids to be thinking right evangelical thoughts.
Think about the EPA nominee, Scott Pruitt. He is another conservative Christian who “as a state senator, proposed one of the most onerous anti-abortion laws in the country, and as attorney general, he helped lead the opposition to the recent Department of Education guidelines on transgender students using gender-appropriate bathrooms.” As the Daily Beast implied, he comes from the evangelical groups that believe, “Earth and its ecosystems — created by God’s intelligent design and infinite power and sustained by His faithful providence — are robust, resilient, self-regulating, and self-correcting, admirably suited for human flourishing, and displaying His glory. Earth’s climate system is no exception.” In other words, What Me Worry. Science is rubbish.
Think about the Vice-President, Mike Pence whose policies on abortion and gays is driven by his evangelical Christian views. Then there is Ben Carson, and like Pence, a creationist, or Rick Perry who has been quoted as saying evolutionists are “out there”. A more in-depth look at this comes from Israel’s Haaretz.com and I suggest you read it. Basically we are seeing an evangelical religious government being put in place. But what of the inclusion of so many Goldman Sachs alumni former generals and billionaires?
There is no contradiction here. The folks that come from conservative economic ideas have the same zeal as religious fanatics and approach other points of view with the same closed mind and sense of heresy. The market place is God, deciding winners and losers. the winners are the anointed people, and government intervention is heresy. Wealth flowing to the wealthy is a result of this system and is a system of right, wrong, punishment, and reward determined by their God, the market place which fits very nicely with evangelical Christian belief. If many suffer under this system, it is okay because they deserve it, just as those who don’t believe as the evangelical Christians believe, are doomed to hell. We are now living in a Theocracy of Economics and Religion.
So when you see the first policies coming out of the Trump administration, things like moving the embassy to Jerusalem, moving quickly on defunding Planned Parenthood, another round of attacks on gay rights, an attack on climate change, even defunding the Endowment to the Arts, it makes perfect religious sense. Wait till we see what Betsy DeVos does in the Education Department. It is about taking narrow evangelical Christian beliefs and forcing them on the rest of us (the Endowment to the Arts attack is because the arts challenges us to think about who we are as opposed to accepting scripture).
The Economic theology will come quickly enough as the attacks on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare, and of course using that money to fund tax cuts. Only the right people are rewarded. We are about to become a total Theology which has combined conservative economic ideology with evangelical religious beliefs.
The Constitution is clear about religion and government, but this flock sees no problem with using their religion to define the world and use government to inflict it on the rest of us. Rational debate need not apply. And that is what is happening. What will save us is that reality will run head long into ideology and finally something will have to give. But in the interim a lot of us are going to suffer and there could be violence and unrest as these failed ideas are put into policies around the world. We are entering a new Dark Age.
*I found the best coverage of this from all places, Israel in Haaretz.com which is an Israeli publication. I thank them for their work.
**I use the term religion to mean a set of beliefs not subject to rational debate, but accepted on faith. Not all religions are like this, but in this context, that is exactly what is going on.