% IssueDate = "12/13/02" IssueCategory = "Events" %>
are Apparently in the Same League:
'God Loves You and I Love You and You can Count on Us Both!'
Gives Tax Dollars to Religions; Ignores Congressional Opposition
"God loves you and I love you and you can count on us both!"
Americans United for Separation of Church and State, which has spearheaded the opposition to Bush's "faith-based" initiative, denounced the White House policy move.
Said the Reverend Barry W. Lynn, Americans United executive director, "Bush is on a crusade to bring about an unprecedented merger of religion and government. We will explore every opportunity to challenge this in the courts.
"Bush is giving his official blessing to publicly funded religious discrimination," Lynn continued. "He is rolling back all Americans' civil rights and civil liberties. Trent Lott seems to fantasize about rolling back civil rights protections, but the president is actually doing so.
"The Bush Administration is giving away special privileges to bigoted institutions," said Chad Johnson, Executive Director of the National Stonewall Democrats. "This rule opens the door for federally-funded charities to cloak anti-gay prejudice in the form of religious discrimination."
The language of the rule, issued in response to Executive Order 13198, allows for employment discrimination on religious grounds, which has historically served as a backdoor for anti-gay bigotry. The directive would allow an employer, receiving federal funds, to fire, or refuse to hire, a person who does not hold to the strictest form of the employer's faith. Therefore, even if gay employees share the same faith as their employer, religious institutions can assert that an employee's sexual orientation automatically disassociates the employee from that faith.
"Religious discrimination has traditionally served as a proxy for anti-gay bigotry, and taxpayers should not be forced to fund such discrimination," said Johnson. "Institutions can easily argue that employees' sexual orientation is incompatible with their faith. Therefore a gay Catholic can be fired from a Catholic charity if his or her employer happens to believe that homosexuality is inconsistent with Catholicism."
More alarming, the proposed rule specifically deals with the Housing Opportunities For Persons With AIDS (HOPWA) program and allows religious institutions receiving HOPWA funds to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.
The White House policy directive, say critics, is Bush's payback to fundamentalists, evangelicals and other religious zealots who, like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, comprise a significant number of his election-time ground troops.
Does Bush Imagine He's President Jesus?
Bush's latest gaffe, placing himself at God's side as equally trustworthy, should not be surprising if Mark Crispin Miller, author of the popular Dyslexicon: Observations on the National Disorder, a compilation of Bush gaffes, proves correct. Miller, a professor of culture and communication at New York University, began his collection of Bush-isms during the 2000 presidential campaign. Initially, he intended his book to be humorous. Now that he has conducted further research, however, the professor believes that Bush is not funny, but scary. Professor Miller does not believe Bush is a mere moron, a rumor bandied about Canada in recent weeks, but rather a crafty and punitive sociopath.
In a talk delivered recently in Toronto, the author/educator said:
"I think that Bush is a sociopathic personality. I think he's incapable of empathy. He has an inordinate sense of his own entitlement, and he's a very skilled manipulator…In all the snickering about his alleged idiocy, this is what a lot of people miss."
On Thursday, fancying himself disposing multiple favors at the right hand of God, "President Jesus" (as some have since referred to Bush) made his self-aggrandizing comment with a wall behind him that was plastered with the word "Compassion."
Two weeks beforehand, Miller had explained to his Toronto audience that Bush always performs best when he's recommending punitive violence and revenge, thus accounting for his successes as an orator in the wake of 9/11. "When he struts and thumps his chest," Miller said, "his syntax and his grammar are fine." "It's only when he leaps into the wild blue yonder of compassion," Miller noted, "or idealism, or altruism, that he makes these hilarious mistakes."
In September when Bush had attempted in Nashville to repeat the famous phrase: "Fool me twice, shame on me…" he was unable to complete the sentence. Instead he stumbled into incoherency and ended by saying, "Fool me…can't get fooled again…" "What's revealing about this," Miller told his Toronto audience, " is that Bush could not say 'Shame on me' to save his life. That's a completely alien idea to him. This is a guy who is absolutely proud of his own inflexibility and rectitude."
As a politician who places himself next to God as one of the two icons his constituents can count on, Bush seems to have verified Professor Miller's assessment of him.