Do Right-Wing Christians Want People to Be Destitute?

This article was originally published on AlterNet in 2014.The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, is now in its fourth year, and the numbers point to a solid success. Thanks to Obamacare, millions of people can afford health insurance for the first time, and millions more still have health insurance because now they can't be dropped by their insurance company for getting sick. The once-astronomical growth of costs has slowed substantially, and in some markets is even … [Read more...]

The Barbarism of Religious Honor Codes

You may have a mental image of Mormons as relentlessly nice, polite to a fault, persistent but basically harmless. But underneath that carefully crafted facade, they're just as regressive and misogynist as all the other major religions. In 2017, the Salt Lake Tribune won won a Pulitzer Prize* for an article series that proves the point: examining "the perverse, punitive and cruel treatment given to sexual assault victims at Brigham Young University, one of Utah's most powerful … [Read more...]

Letter-Writing Wednesday: Three Cheers for Free College

[I sent a copy of this letter to Gov. Cuomo, my state senator and state representative.]To whom it may concern:I'm writing to applaud New York State's successful passage of a budget measure that makes tuition free for qualifying students at two-year and four-year public colleges. Our governor and our legislative leaders deserve the credit for making this happen. It's a a smart and generous political idea that I hope other states adopt, and I'm proud to see New York in the vanguard of … [Read more...]

Fear of Female Friendship

Since these are the beliefs now running our country, there's renewed interest in Mike Pence's rule that he'll never be alone with any woman who isn't his wife. Supposedly this is called the Billy Graham rule, after the famous evangelist who lived by a similar precept, as a hedge against temptation. (Yes, this man willingly chose to work for President Grab-Her-By-The-Pussy. Christian hypocrisy knows no bounds.)Several pundits noted that it would be impossible for a woman to have a career in … [Read more...]

Dystopia Journal #4: Incompetence Trumps Evil

This isn't really what I'd call a victory, but I'll take it.On election night, I was sure that Obamacare was doomed. It seemed certain that the safety net would be ravaged, that all our painfully hard-won gains would be rolled back. But just a few months later, that's looking a lot less likely. I didn't expect to hear, from Paul Ryan of all people, that "Obamacare is the law of the land" after a Republican-controlled Congress failed miserably in their attempt to replace it and then … [Read more...]

Evangelicalism Returns to Its White Supremacist Roots

Since the election, my post on the white supremacist roots of evangelical Christianity has been getting a lot of hits, and no wonder. In retrospect, it was the key to understanding the transformation that this election cycle has wrought in the country.And that change is continuing, as argued in an article by Sarah Posner with an unsurpassable title, Amazing Disgrace. Posner traces the resurgence of what she calls "alt-right Christianity" - the marriage of convenience between white … [Read more...]

The Hypocrisy of Geert Wilders

I've written before about Geert Wilders, the right-wing firebrand (and ex-Catholic agnostic) Dutch politician who infuriated Muslim governments worldwide with his anti-Islam film Fitna. The kingdom of Jordan demanded that the Netherlands extradite him so he could stand trial under their blasphemy law. While the Netherlands rightfully refused this chilling request, they also charged him under the country's own anti-hate-speech law, which I opposed for the same reasons. (He was later … [Read more...]

#800deadbabies: The Grim Conclusion

In 2014, I wrote about the Magdalene laundry in the Irish town of Tuam, one of many institutions where the Catholic church imprisoned and tortured innocent women. Catherine Corless, a local historian, uncovered death certificates for almost 800 children who died there under the harsh and abusive hand of church overseers.Corless embarked on a search for these children's graves. While she had no direct evidence of where most of them were buried, there were no burial records for them in any … [Read more...]

Evangelicals Cement Their Bigotry

The new administration's Muslim travel ban has inspired vehement protests across America. Even if the courts uphold it, which seems unlikely, the fear and dismay it's caused in immigrants throughout the land will have a lasting effect. In a black irony, its most salient effect may be to chase away skilled workers of all types - including immigrant doctors from Muslim countries who work in the underserved regions of Appalachia and the Rust Belt. (Once again, you get what you vote for.)The … [Read more...]

Dystopia Journal #3: The Unamerican President

Last month, when I wrote about the unprecedented badness of the Trump administration, I neglected to mention something else unique and terrifying about his presidency. Namely, it's that he seems to value the goodwill of foreign autocrats above the well-being of America.This was, of course, brought forcefully to my attention by the news that Attorney General Jeff Sessions secretly had contact with the Russian ambassador during the campaign and lied to Congress about it during his confirmation … [Read more...]