Where Does It End???

Perhaps there is some confusion on the meanings of certain words and phrases.  At the beginning of Trump’s ‘Reign of Bigotry’, Kellyanne Conway, referring to the number of people who attended the inauguration, introduced the term ‘alternative facts’.  It would seem that now there is some general confusion, particularly among those tied to the Trump administration, about what words mean.  Let us take a couple of examples:

Religious freedom: the freedom to practice and observe your religion of choice, or none at all, without interference.

Civil rights: the rights of citizens to political and social freedom and equality.

Conscience: an inner feeling or voice viewed as acting as a guide to the rightness or wrongness of one’s behavior.

Of course, we can expand on these definitions, but these are the base, the foundation, and for the purpose of this conversation will serve quite nicely.

Donald Trump has once again found a way to circumvent Congressional approval and make law himself by creating a new division within the Civil Rights office of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).  The name of this new division is “Division for Conscience and Religious Freedom”. It might just as well be the “Division for Discrimination”, for that is precisely what it is.  The sheer irony is that it is a division within the Civil Rights office, and yet it threatens to take civil rights from both the LGBT community and any who have had or seek to have an abortion.

severino

Roger Severino

The head of the Civil Rights office within HHS is headed up by one Roger Severino, a man who has been extremely vocal in his opposition to abortion, same-sex marriage and anti-discrimination protections for transgender people.  The purpose of this new division is to “defend healthcare workers who, on religious grounds, refuse to treat patients or take part in procedures”. Severino claims this division will “protect people from unfair treatment”.

It seems to me that health care workers are there to serve the public, not to pick and choose which members of the public are worthy of being helped.  Think about this one for a minute.  Say I had an abortion six years ago (no, I didn’t) and it is in my medical file.  Today, I wake up with severe chest pains, and I call for an ambulance.  The driver comes, checks my vital signs, then asks if I have ever had an abortion?  ‘Oh, I’m sorry, I cannot transport you to the hospital, for abortion is against my religious beliefs.’ Extreme example?  Maybe, maybe not.  I can see it happening, and that is the part that should frighten us all.

Severino says the goal is to ‘protect individuals from unfair treatment’.  I ask you, which is more unfair:  denying life-saving medical treatment to a sick person, or asking a health care professional to treat each patient as a human being, nothing more?

“No one should be forced to choose between helping sick people and living by one’s deepest moral or religious convictions, and the new division will help guarantee that victims of unlawful discrimination find justice,” said Severino.  VICTIMS???  Excuse me, but did he say victims?  The nurse who is asked to draw blood from a gay person is the victim here?  I think not.  The victim is the person who is being refused life-saving medical treatment because of his gender identity.  The victim is the one who is being discriminated against, and that is not the nurse who is simply being asked to do her job! This division is nothing more than a vehicle to use religion as a justification for discrimination.

In addition to my absolute fury over this division and its likely policies, I also have a fear about what other doors this opens.  Think about this … we have a hell of a lot of white supremacists in this nation, it seems.  What happens when they claim their rights are being violated by having to serve black people in restaurants, or white supremacist doctors feel it is unjust for them to have to treat African-American patients?  Or what about the anti-Semitic doctor or nurse who is opposed to treating Jewish patients?

Now, back to the definition of religious freedom for a moment.  If you don’t believe that abortion is right, then do not have an abortion.  That is your right, your freedom to choose not to have an abortion.  However, if I do choose to have one, it is not your right to choose for me, it is not your right to prevent me from having one.  You follow your conscience and I will follow mine.

Louise Melling, deputy legal director at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said, “Religious liberty doesn’t include a right to be exempt from laws protecting our health or barring discrimination. It doesn’t mean a right to refuse to transport a patient in need because she had an abortion. It doesn’t mean refusing care to a patient because she is transgender. Medical standards, not religious belief, should guide medical care.”

The division speaks of ‘conscience’, yet perhaps these people who are so offended by treating a gay or transgender person ought to examine their own consciences a little closer and see their own bigotry and narrow-mindedness.

Yesterday, a press conference was held with a series of speeches celebrating the new division.  Severino led the event and at one point, referring to health  care professionals who refuse to treat LGBT people, he  compared their situation with that of Jews who were slaughtered during the Holocaust and Martin Luther King Jr. in his quest for racial justice. Seriously??? The Nazis, he said, had forced Jews to wear a certain type of insole in their shoes with Hebrew writing on them, “so that every step they took, they would be violating their conscience….I could see the common humanity of why someone is forced to violate their conscience with every step they take, how it’s an attack, really, on their human dignity.”

An excerpt from the Hippocratic Oath that is taken by all doctors reads, “I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings …”  Please note that it does not say “all human beings with whom I am in religious agreement”, but simply “all human beings”.  I read the entire oath, and did not find anything that indicates otherwise.

This entire scenario is surreal, it is chilling, for as I said, it opens doors to discrimination in every facet of our society, and against every group.  This, my friends, is not what this nation is, not what it was ever intended to be.  This is not a nation I recognize, as I have said more than once in the past year.  This is not a nation in which I can any longer have even a degree of pride.  Donald Trump promised to “make America great again”, but instead, he has made it terrible. Ruined it for people of true conscience, for humanitarians, for people who put others before themselves.  If Trump is allowed to stay in office beyond the end of this year, I predict there will be a mass migration out of the country, and I will be leading the way.

Note to Readers:  You may have noticed that I am slow these days in responding to comments, and have not visited your blogs as much as I would like.  Please forgive me, but I am having serious vision difficulties these days, and can neither read nor write without holding a magnifying glass in one hand.  As you might imagine, that slows me down quite a bit.  Please bear with me and keep commenting … I read them all, but simply have not been able to respond as timely as I would like. Hopefully my vision problems can be corrected soon, but meanwhile, thank you for your continued patience w!ith my slowness.  Love ‘n hugs to you all

47 thoughts on “Where Does It End???

  1. Pingback: Christian fundamentalists feeding Into the Toxic Partisanship and driving countries into the Dark Ages… #1 | Stepping Toes

    • Isn’t it amazing how quickly we can get so far behind? I’m still not caught up from Christmas, and in fact though we did take the tree down, we still have all the rest of the decorations up.

      Thanks, Mary. I admit that I am struggling, both physically and emotionally, but I’m hanging in. My appointment is in about 6 hours, so I will keep you posted. I still owe you a bunch of emails, just haven’t felt like writing lately. I’ll get there … I promise! Love you, my friend!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Firstly you must rest your eyes and spend more time focusing on distant objects. I have had my cataracts removed and plastic lenses now replace my human lenses by a scientific miracle. These are fixed focal length so I need reading glasses but my shortsight has gone except on ethical matters.
    Where would we be if we all were allowed the free exercise of conscience? I could carry out dog fighting in my backyard or even bear baiting.
    Already horses are bred and ridden over impossible jumps to line the pockets of the gambling fraternity, and in Spain bulls are stabbed to enrage them for human entertainment. Mr Trump wishes to return to a time long past when the law in western democracies closely followed the fundamentalist Christian principles. We have moved forward giving citizens much more freedom , and the only thing we must abide by is the democratically decided laws of the country we live in.
    I have often found that the conscience of us humans is not so absolute when our lifestyles are threatened and we compromise our principles.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I try, but I find that I cannot simply sit and look at the walls, so I am back on the computer or reading a book with the magnifying glass. My problem is partly cataracts, but also diabetic retinopathy from a lifetime of insulin-dependent type I diabetes. Fingers crossed that at least part of my vision can be restored, for without it, I am nothing.

      Your words are wise, but these days, I feel that our laws are not so much democratically decided as they are decided by the likes of the NRA and those who are in their pockets. Why, after all, in a nation that was founded , in part, on religious freedom, should the laws be made only by one single religion? What about Muslims, Jews, Hindi, and atheists … are we not considered part of the nation? It frustrates me … obviously.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hello Jill and everyone. Jill I am sorry to hear of your eye sight problem and please don’t worry about replying to my comment. I just wanted to add some things from my time working in a large hospital ICU’s. This licence to discriminate is worse than it seems on the surface. The wording “conscience rights” means anything you disagree with that violates your conscience. It is not just the LGBTQ community and woman that have had an abortion at risk. A person with tattoos or jewelry that someone objects to, an adulterer, someone overweight, someone belonging a club the person doesn’t like. My point is anything someone can object to is going to be an assault on their conscience rights, and moral objections. It doesn’t have to be based on religion or specific religious doctrines.

    Sadly I knew doctors and nurses in the ICU’s that would let their moral judgments of the patients interfere with the treatments and wishes. I seen one extremely religious doctor go to great lengths to disregard and shut out a same sex spouse from the patients treatment wishes, going so far as to call extended family members to try to over rule the spouse, refuse to give the spouse information or include the spouse in the daily medical briefings on the patient. Openly lie to both patient and spouse. When the legal department informed the doctor that he couldn’t do this and had to treat the patient and spouse as any other couple, had to respect their wishes, had to deal with the spouse, he refused and took himself off the case. He was the leader of the doctor team in charge of the ICU’s. When he refused to treat the patient they had to scramble to get a doctor qualified to be an ICU doctor to come in and be in charge of just that one Patient. What a mess. But it was happening all over in different departments. Nurses can be moved around, change assignments. But the doctor in charge of the floor is hard to by pass and replace.

    As you say the way the new law is written it has no limits to the discrimination that can be evoked. I guess the side that lost the civil rights battle in the 1960’s did not give up their sick dream of gutting it and now they demand the right to freely discriminate against others or they feel they are the persecuted victims. If I take the club out of your hands that you are using to beat someone with , I am not persecuting you and you are not the victim. I wish they could see the deep darkness this will take us into. They see only their short time of victory over those they dislike. The long term effects with be a lot worse for everyone if we don’t’ find a way to honor equality for everyone. Hugs

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Scottie. But I want to respond to this comment, for what you have seen and what you relate here is very frightening, very sad, and while I never thought about it, I shouldn’t be surprised. I have seen people … waitresses, store clerks, etc. … give substandard service to people with, as you say, tattoos, facial piercings, etc. My daughter, who is a nurse, though with a private practice rather than a hospital, tells of doctors who treat patients differently based on income level or other criteria, and about how the doctors mock patients. She has never mentioned anything as blatant as what you refer to, but I’m sure a hospital is a different environment.

      Your example of the same-sex couple and the treatment they received in ICU infuriates me! You are right … the far right, the religious fanatics, and Trump are rolling back civil rights every day, and we have a Congress too wimpy or too greedy to stand up to Trump. The case of the Colorado baker who refused to bake a cake for a same-sex marriage is before the Supreme Court now and will be decided in the next few months. With Trump’s pick, Gorsuch, on the Court, I fear what their decision will be, and if they support the baker, it will send a big message to the bigots that it is oen season on the LGBT community. And what group is next, for bigotry knows no boundaries.

      Thank you for sharing the things that you have seen, my friend. Very disturbing, but we need to know. Hugs!!!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Dear Jill,

    This is again an example of President Trump crafting policies, establishing posts, doing whatever to cater to the Evangelical Christians who are a major part of his base.

    I hate when I see this, because these Christian folks turn so many off from ever wanting anything to do be with becoming a Christian. Instead of them stirring up antipathy to our fellow Americans, why don’t they try practicing the gift of kindness? No one is stopping them from practicing their faith as they see fit, but they sure are working hard to step on the beliefs of others. Their arrogance that theirs is the only right way is so off-putting.

    Many Evangelicals are in favor of DACA but I don’t see them lobbying, fighting for these young peoples as they do on these wedge issues, points of faith that they use as weapons to keep the sheep in line.

    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 1 person

  5. reblogged this on Suziland Too and stated that “this is simply outrageous”. I have heard NOTHING about this new “office’ on the news. trump’s defection program is working. All news was talking about the payment to a porn star while our rights were being thrown under a bus!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Many thanks for the re-blog, Suze!!! I appreciate it! Yes, this is disgusting and made me see red. I hope that the first time they attempt to defend someone for refusing treatment to a member of the LGBT community, the ACLU and other rights groups hit them with so many lawsuits their eyes spin in their heads! Thanks again!

      Like

  6. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    The name of this new division is “Division for Conscience and Religious Freedom”.
    I can’t say this any better …
    ‘This entire scenario is surreal, it is chilling, for as I said, it opens doors to discrimination in every facet of our society, and against every group. This, my friends, is not what this nation is, not what it was ever intended to be. This is not a nation I recognize, as I have said more than once in the past year. This is not a nation in which I can any longer have even a degree of pride. Donald Trump promised to “make America great again”, but instead, he has made it terrible. Ruined it for people of true conscience, for humanitarians, for people who put others before themselves.’

    Liked by 2 people

    • Many, many thanks for sharing this! It made me see red, and at that moment, I think that if I lived nearer to Washington DC, I would have gone and painted a huge rainbow on their building! I am still growling over this. Love ‘n hugs, my friend!!! ❤

      Liked by 2 people

      • I got you!! You know how this makes me feel, right?? I’ve been waiting for a full frontal attack to the LGBTQ folks since the ‘muslin ban’ … the full frontal isn’t there. The attack is … behind the scenes. This is one of the examples!! Jill … there are so many things that they are doing that are breaking me heart!!
        I want to leave this country … I want to go back home. And the US governance has managed to also damage my country!! I’m spent … 😦
        Hugs!!

        Liked by 2 people

        • I can only imagine, my friend. I read yesterday that the U.S. is cutting the aid to Puerto Rico because they say the country doesn’t need it, for they already have enough money. Bullshit! I had to toss a coin to decide whether to write about that or this, and I decided on this, for it potentially hurts so many people, and opens so many doors to other venues of bigotry. But yes, I know how both of these issues make you feel, and you know, I hope, that my heart goes out to you and all the others affected by this nightmare. Much love, my friend. And many tears shared with you.

          Liked by 2 people

  7. Jill, I am sorry for your vision difficulties. Best wishes.

    This concept of reverse discrimination has been built brick by brick in conservative news. The argument is lost when the majority or a plurality is claiming discrimination. The other point is subtle, but lost on too many. There is a difference between being discriminated against versus giving the right to discriminate. The latter kept alive the Jim Crow era or allowed gays to considered deviants and jailed.

    The question needs to be turned on these folks. Is it then OK for a Doctor to not want to facilitate treatment on people who are adulterers or promiscuous? Is it OK for a Doctor to say he cannot work on Christians or Jews?

    This is what this means, yet that argument is lost. Keith

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks Keith. Despite failing vision, I still think I see the world more clearly than some of these fools we have in Washington!

      Reverse discrimination, indeed … I don’t know why that term didn’t occur to me as I wrote this piece last night. I just cannot understand how any doctor or nurse can refuse to treat a person in need, regardless. What next? They treat only Christians? This new ‘division’ is likely to see numerous lawsuits, I’m betting, and I odn’t think it can last long, for in truth, it seems unconstitutional in my view.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. This is truly awful. Trump has become a magnet for every small minded bigot in existence. They whisper sweet nothings in his ear, put a spin on to their particular brand of nastiness and Trump laps it up like a cat with cream. It will take years to unravel his evil. 😦

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I wish I could say I’m surprised, but I’m not. Having heard more and more from Trump about his visions of America hemmed in by a bloody great wall and defending the good people of the far right whose religious beliefs should be anathema to any right thinking person. I’ve come to believe he’s capable of just about anything, whether he made election promises on this or not.
    Hopefully there are few nurses who would take advantage of his biased clauses to avoid treating people and their illnesses. Notice I say people and not ‘types’ like LGBT or of a particular skin hue or who might possibly have undergone an abortion by choice at some time in their lives.
    This is an evil division to have been created and another of his prejudiced friends to run it which could cause chaos if allowed to continue.
    Bear in mind Trump has no shame and soon he will have appointed bigots to every corner of the Government and maybe changed the rules on how long a President may serve, Life for instance.I can only hope that soon Mr Mueller will have enough evidence to rid your nation of this man and his little Trumpkins.
    Cwtch.

    Liked by 2 people

    • This one actually did surprise me … not so much the concept, but the blatantness of it, the boldness, as if there is no longer a reason to hide the bigotry. It is a sign of how much we have regressed in only one year. Trump has, it would seem, brought out the worst in our society, encouraged hatred, bigotry, racism, and every phobia known to mankind. What will another year of this man do to this nation? I only hope we don’t have to find out.
      xxx Cwtch xxx

      Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, I thought the name of the division sounded like something out of 1984. I foresee Mr. Severino spending most of his time in court this year, as the ACLU and other human rights groups will be filing lawsuits, no doubt. I think people have lost their bloomin minds, thinking that nurses and doctors can pick and choose who they will treat. Why, picture the nurse who is vegan refusing to draw blood from a person who eats chicken! Bah!

      Liked by 3 people

    • Ahhhh … while I hate to disagree with you, I find that I must. There is sometimes damage that cannot be repaired, and this administration is causing much damage that could be irreparable. They write their own rules, and circumvent the laws that were put in place to protect us from just such destruction. Eventually a new administration will take over, yes, but what will our nation look like by that time? I am not typically an alarmist, but I am alarmed this time.

      Liked by 2 people

      • This man has , in fact, cancelled and/or replaced almost all the executive orders of Obama ( clean air rules and regulations, etc. , even funding /subsidies of Obamacare ) But, the next president can undo those again…. they are after all, executive orders and can be reversed in no time. ( Obama had to resort to Executive Orders ) there;s nothing we can do right now. We can only hope. ( One thing that has been irrepareably damaged , in my opinion, is the Justice Depart. and the Supreme Court.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Well, I understand what you’re saying, but there ARE things we can do. We can inundate our members of Congress with emails and phone calls, letting them know how we, their employers, feel about the bills they are voting on and their actions. We can make our opinions known, loud and clear. And we can work toward educating friends and family and encouraging, urging them to vote the current bunch or rats out of Congress in November. We don’t have a lot of weapons, but we have our voices, so there are some things we can do. Hang in, my friend … I know this is a tough time, but … we fight for what is right.

          Liked by 2 people

      • I’m forcing myself not to think. I went into deep depression on Nov. 9, 2016. There was one blogger who wrote she was so depressed she wanted to kill herself…….. I believed her because I felt that way.

        Liked by 2 people

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