After reading this article it becomes apparent to me again what President Trump is using, once again, his constant tactic of “Disrupt and Divert”. We see this in our daily lives every time Trump begins to be under the magnifying glass of Special Investigator Robert Mueller and new leads break or are leaked to the news. Trump has to come out with another new attack on the “Fake News”, making malicious attacks on MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski of “Morning Joe” calling her “low I.Q. Crazy Mika” and said she was “bleeding badly from a face-lift” or firing FBI director coming out publicly and calling him a liar and leaker of information. Trump is always trying to distract from failures or facts emerging about himself.
One of the issues that concerns me greatly after hearing his speech at Kennedy Center Honors hosted by Robert Jeffress, Pastor of First Baptist Dallas, Texas, who introduced the president as a personal friend who “has exceeded our expectations, in reviving the economy, rebuilding our military, respecting our veterans, and restoring the greatest freedom of all — the free exercise of our faith” is how Jeffress is only talking about one of many faiths practiced in the United States and around the world.
As Jeffress went on to introduce Trump he continued with”Millions of Americans believe that [Trump’s victory] represented God giving us our next chance, perhaps our last chance, to make America great again,” Jeffress said.
Trump’s comments at this event showed that his quotes on religious liberty only apply to one religion. You see under Donald Trump’s reign of terror he is once again trying to make Evangelical Christianity the national religion of the United States. Our Constitution exactly prohibits this in the first Amendment. The First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, ensuring that there is no prohibition on the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble, or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances. It was adopted on December 15, 1791, as one of the ten amendments that constitute the Bill of Rights.
The Establishment Clause: “The Anti-Establishment Clause is a limitation placed upon the United States Congress preventing it from passing legislation respecting an establishment of religion. The second half of the Anti-Establishment Clause inherently prohibits the government from preferring any one religion over another. While the Anti-Establishment Clause does prohibit Congress from preferring or elevating one religion over another, it does not prohibit the government’s entry into the religious domain to make accommodations for religious observances and practices in order to achieve the purposes of the Free Exercise Clause. Together with the Free Exercise Clause form the constitutional right of freedom of religion that is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. The relevant constitutional text is: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”
The problem is that when Trump speaks as he did at the Kennedy Center in honor of our Veterans and says “Since the signing of the Declaration of Independence 241 years ago, America always affirmed that liberty comes from our creator. Our rights are given to us by God, and no earthly force can ever take those rights away. That is why my administration is transferring power out of Washington and returning that power back where it belongs to the people,” Trump said.
Trump continued “Our religious liberty is enshrined in the very first amendment in the Bill of Rights. The American founders invoked our creator four times in the Declaration of Independence. Benjamin Franklin reminded his colleagues at the Constitutional Convention to begin by bowing their heads in prayer. Inscribed on our currency are the words: ‘In God We Trust.” One of the issues of “In God We Trust” is that many claiming it is a religious reference that violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment and should be removed from coins and currency. “In God We Trust” was not even chosen for the U.S. Motto until 1956. It was adopted as the nation’s motto in 1956 as an alternative or replacement to the unofficial motto of E pluribus unum, which was adopted when the Great Seal of the United States was created and adopted in 1782.
“In God We Trust” first appeared on the Two-cent piece in 1864 and has appeared on paper currency since 1957. A law passed in a Joint Resolution by the 84th Congress (P.L. 84-140) and approved by President Dwight Eisenhower on July 30, 1956, declared “In God We Trust” must appear on American currency. This phrase was first used on paper money in 1957, when it appeared on the one-dollar silver certificate. The first paper currency bearing the phrase entered circulation on October 1, 1957. The 84th Congress later passed legislation (P.L. 84-851), also signed by President Eisenhower on July 30, 1956, declaring the phrase to be the national motto.
Most of the time it’s quite apparent that Trump does not know his facts or history of the United States or our Constitution. As we have learned over these first 6 months of his presidency, alternative facts seem to be the only reality that Trump knows.
First of all let me say that the majority of people I know in Texas are Christian. The issue is that most of them are not Right Wing Republican Evangelicals that believe that their form of Christianity is the only version that should and must be followed. If our President was Muslim or Jewish and used those religious laws as the base for “Religious Refusal” what would the majority of Americans be saying “Blasphemy”, the Evangelical Religious Right would be rising up in rebellion.
The Evangelical Right Christians in Texas have become some of the worst as far as believing that their laws from God should be what Texas law is now based upon. With the passing of HB 3859 the “Religious Refusal” adoption which allows Christians to turn away LGBTQ, Muslims, Jews, other faiths, single parents, women who have had an abortion in the past that might be shown on their records, mixed race couples, the list just goes on and on.
With the case regarding the baker who did not want to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple before the Supreme Court it could allow religious refusal in the case of all businesses, county clerks, retail merchants, state or federal officials, individuals to refuse service to whoever they choose and just use the phrase “this is not in alignment with my religious beliefs.” It could allow discrimination and deny people any type of service. This could even be carried out as far as pharmacists, nurses and doctors who could refuse emergency services to anyone even in a life threatening situation.
We are at a time when all 3 bodies of power in Texas and the United States are controlled by Republicans. This country has never been so divided and seen the fruition of the GOP putting party over country at this very time with healthcare. With the new CBO score on just repealing Obamacare it would kick 33,000,000 off of health insurance and could lead to up to 200,000 deaths of those uninsured.
Here is just part of the CBO’s latest predictions if the latest suggestions on healthcare were to be put in place: Estimated Changes After the Elimination of the Medicaid Expansion and Subsidies
The bill’s effects on insurance coverage and premiums would be greater once the repeal of the Medicaid expansion and the subsidies for insurance purchased through the marketplaces took effect, roughly two years after enactment.
Effects on Insurance Coverage. By CBO and JCT’s esti- mates, enacting H.R. 3762 would increase the number of people without health insurance coverage by about
27 million in the year following the elimination of the Medicaid expansion and marketplace subsidies and by 32 million in 2026, relative to the number of uninsured people expected under current law. (The number of people without health insurance would be smaller if, in addition to the changes in H.R. 3762, the insurance market reforms mentioned above were also repealed. In that case, the increase in the number of uninsured people would be about 21 million in the year following the elimination of the Medicaid expansion and marketplace subsidies; that figure would rise to about 23 million in 2026.)
The estimated increase of 32 million people without coverage in 2026 is the net result of roughly 23 million fewer with coverage in the nongroup market and 19 million fewer with coverage under Medicaid, partially offset by an increase of about 11 million people covered by employment-based insurance. By CBO and JCT’s esti- mates, 59 million people under age 65 would be uninsured in 2026 (compared with 28 million under current law), representing 21 percent of people under age 65. By 2026, fewer than 2 million people would be enrolled in the nongroup market, CBO and JCT estimate.
According to the agencies’ analysis, eliminating the mandate penalties and the subsidies while retaining the market reforms would destabilize the nongroup market, and the effect would worsen over time. The ACA’s changes to the rules governing the nongroup health insurance market work in conjunction with the mandates and the subsidies to increase participation in the market and encourage enrollment among people of different ages and health statuses. But eliminating the penalty for not having health insurance would reduce enrollment and raise premiums in the nongroup market. Eliminating subsidies for insurance purchased through the marketplaces would have the same effects because it would result in a large price increase for many people. Not only would enrollment decline, but the people who would be most likely to remain enrolled would tend to be less healthy (and therefore more willing to pay higher premiums). Thus, average health care costs among the people retaining coverage would be higher, and insurers would have to raise premiums in the nongroup market to cover those higher costs. CBO and JCT expect that enrollment would continue to drop and premiums would continue to increase in each subsequent year.
Leaving the ACA’s market reforms in place would limit insurers’ ability to use strategies that were common before the ACA was enacted. For example, insurers would not be able to vary premiums to reflect an individual’s health care costs or offer health insurance plans that exclude coverage of preexisting conditions, plans that do not cover certain types of benefits (such as maternity care), or plans with very high deductibles or very low actuarial value (plans paying a very low share of costs for covered services).
Effects on Participation by Insurers. In CBO and JCT’s estimation, the factors exerting upward pressure on premiums and downward pressure on enrollment in the nongroup market would lead to substantially reduced participation by insurers and enrollees in many areas. Prior experience in states that implemented similar nongroup market reforms without a mandate penalty or subsidies has demonstrated the potential for market destabilization. Several states that enacted such market reforms later repealed or substantially modified those CBO
HOW REPEALING PORTIONS OF THE ACA WOULD AFFECT HEALTH INSURANCE COVERAGE AND PREMIUMS JANUARY 2017:
Reforms in response to increased premiums and insurers’ departure from the market. After weighing the evidence from prior state-level reforms and input from experts and market participants, CBO and JCT estimate that about half of the nation’s population lives in areas that would have no insurer participating in the nongroup market in the first year after the repeal of the marketplace subsidies took effect, and that share would continue to increase, extending to about three-quarters of the population by 2026. That contraction of the market would most directly affect people without access to employment-based coverage or public health insurance.
Effects on Premiums. In total, as a result of reduced enrollment, higher average health care costs among remaining enrollees, and lower participation by insurers, CBO and JCT project that premiums in the nongroup market would be about 50 percent higher in the first year after the marketplace subsidies were eliminated—relative to projections under current law—and would about double by 2026.
Sadly, it seems that at this current point in time the Republican Party is truly trying to ignore the 1st Amendment and force discriminatory laws onto the people of the United States as seen by example in Texas and several other states.
I grew up in the Southern Baptist Church. I was always told there was only one sin that was not forgivable and that was being homosexual. I was always confused how Ted Bundy and Charles Manson and other serial killers, rapists and murderers just pray to God and accept Jesus into their hearts and are forgiven all there terrible crimes but a gay man or woman sleeps with their partner, the person they truly love, and they are condemned to hell forever.
The Republican Party has become the “Party of Greed”. A party that does not care for those in need of Medicaid and assistance. Those living so far below the poverty line they cannot afford any type of healthcare for themselves and their families. The people working 3 jobs just to try to get by because they were not afforded the luxuries of people raised in the affluent world of Donald Trump, Betsy DeVos and so many other millionaire and billionaires in Trumps Cabinet.
In this day and age of so much hate and anger it seems the Republican Party has lost their way as far as concerns for “The Least of These” maybe a few verses from their bible would serve as a reminder of what most of them were taught in Sunday School.
31“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
41“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45“He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
1 John 3:17 But if someone who is supposed to be a Christian has money enough to live well, and sees a brother in need, and won’t help him–how can God’s love be within him? 1 John 3:18 Little children, let us stop just saying we love people; let us really love them, and show it by our actions. 1 John 3:19 Then we will know for sure, by our actions, that we are on God’s side, and our consciences will be clear, even when we stand before the Lord.
When I look at Trumps top 1% income level cabinet I always have to think back to Matthew 19:24 “What did Jesus mean when He said it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into heaven?” Jesus’ message is clear—it is impossible for anyone to be saved on his own merits. Since wealth was seen as proof of God’s approval, it was commonly taught by the rabbis that rich people were blessed by God and were, therefore, the most likely candidates for heaven. Jesus destroyed that notion, and along with it, the idea that anyone can earn eternal life. The disciples had the appropriate response to this startling statement. They were utterly amazed and asked, “Who then can be saved?” in the next verse. If the wealthy among them, which included the super-spiritual Pharisees and scribes, were unworthy of heaven, what hope was there for a poor man?
At a time when it seems America is coming apart at the seams with Donald Trump’s daily tweeting threats and distractions we must find a way to bring our country back together and realize that no one religion has the right to make the laws that rule our country. That no one religion has the right to discriminate against any other religion. And that America was based on freedom of religion for all to practice the religion of their choice or to have no religion at all. That is America.