I have made no secret about my dislike of the current occupant of the Oval Office. I have been genuine of my dislike about his personality and actions, and like many others, have questioned whether he is playing a part in the Wizard of Oz, specifically the Scarecrow ("If I only had a brain.")
As of today, however, I realize I have miscast him in my reimagined telling of Frank Baum's timeless tale. This man is the Tin Man - he has no heart.
I have watched as he systematically picked on people he believes occupies a lower status than he, whether it's a disabled reporter, or a political adversary, or a former business associate, or a close trusted aide. I winced as he has turned the political process into a literal mud pit, and has shown signs of becoming a second rate replica of a third world despot. I witnessed, I noted, and I bemoaned. However, what he proposed today makes me ill, and sad, and worried - not just about others who would be impacted, but for me.
The Administration formally announced on January 18, 2018, the formation of a new "civil rights division" within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that allows discrimination against LGBT persons and pregnant women.
According to the Washington Post, the newly created division will be "responsible for handling complaints from health-care workers who do not want to perform a medical procedure like an abortion or assisted death because it violates their religious or moral beliefs... The new office called the Conscience and Religious Freedom Division, is seen by many as a win for conservative religious groups that complained President Barack Obama's administration did not prioritize religious freedom concerns. Critics, however, worry that the language is broad and could lead to discrimination."
That's the understatement of the year, and is totally unacceptable.
Imagine, if you will, an EMT refusing to provide critical assistance to a person because the injured is transgendered, and the person (and their body/identity) goes against their sincerely held religious beliefs. The person dies and their family files a civil rights complaint. If this office were to receive the complaint, the EMT would be exonerated, because they were standing in their religious freedom.
A woman needs to terminate a pregnancy because she's been raped by her father, but her doctor believes that something good can come out of rape, and refuses to perform the legally available medical procedure. He will be perfectly fine, because, well, Jesus.
I call bullshit.
If you are a medical professional, then do your job. If your religious beliefs force you to deny service to people you don't agree with, then you might want to find another position. And for the love of all that is holy and righteous, PLEASE leave Jesus out of this, because I think he would tell you to "love your neighbor as yourself" and, I would hope, to "mind your own damned business."
And if you don't believe that the two scenarios I described could happen, talk to the families of Tyra Hunter, Shaun Smith, or any person denied treatment at Georgetown Medical Center because of their trans status. If you don't believe me, former Indiana State Treasurer (and US Senatorial Candidate) Richard Murdock believes that "God Intended Rape Pregnancies."
Be blessed, but more importantly, be a blessing.