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Where Did All This Right-Wing Religious Nuttiness Originate, Then?

A 17-year-married couple was passing through Hayward, Wisconsin during the Fourth of July weekend when Jess realized she had forgotten to pack her birth control tablets.

As they parked, Jess reached for a box of condoms on a shelf and handed them to the cashier at the Hayward Walgreens pharmacy.

It appears that the word “manning” is appropriate here: “John,” the Walgreens employee, refused to ring them up.

Pointing to the shelf where she had taken the condoms, Jess asked him why looking perplexed.

With a smile, cashier “John” told Jess, “We can sell that to you, but I won’t because of my faith.”

Because there is no law in America prohibiting acting like an ass, the Walgreens employee has the right to act in such a manner.

However, with five Republicans on the Supreme Court, it has become difficult for Walgreens to fire him for “exercising his beliefs” while working in a pharmacy. If Clarence Thomas has his way, it soon may be against the law in all 50 states.

According to opinion polls, the vast majority of Americans find a situation like this ludicrous. In a piece about the Pentzes’ experience for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Jennifer Brooks makes the following observation:

Only 4% of respondents to a Pew Research Center survey on birth control opinions in Americans said that contraception was morally bad.

The use of condoms shields us against illness and stops unintended pregnancies. Why wouldn’t you like it?

The most astounding aspect of the entire scenario is that we haven’t arrived at this stage because the American people want religious doctrine to govern our laws or because the majority of religious people agree with a haughty jerk who works at Walgreens.

Instead, it’s due to a small number of right-wing billionaires who refused to pay taxes, wanted to get rid of their unions, and didn’t want the pollution from their refineries and other businesses to be regulated.

It was all about taxes, unions, and regulations, and they invested billions of dollars over five decades in a strategy to take over the majority of state legislatures, clog the U.S. Congress, and pack the Supreme Court.

So, from where did the religious nutjobs originate? The right-wing billionaires and the businesses and foundations supporting them understood that most Americans wouldn’t gladly vote to lower billionaires’ taxes, end unions and regulations of gun manufacturers, or increase the number of refinery poisons in our air back in 1971 when Lewis Powell outlined their strategy in the infamous “Powell Memo,” the year before Richard Nixon appointed Powell to the Supreme Court.

They, therefore, developed a fairly simple plan to seize power in our government:

convince people that paying taxes is not “the cost of a civil society,” but rather a burden they should not be forced to bear.

After winning elections on that tax-cutting platform, Republicans would drastically reduce the taxes paid by the morbidly wealthy while offering the typical citizen a meagre concession.

convince people that laws protecting the environment and consumers are burdens brought on by an unchecked “nanny state,” even though these laws save lives and provide far more benefits to people than they cost.


Convince Americans that unions aren’t “democracy in the workplace” that upholds workers’ rights, but rather that they’re a sophisticated heist designed to steal from employees’ salaries to benefit “corrupt union executives.”

They funded think tanks and policy organizations at the federal and state levels for five decades to pull these off; as a result, there is now a vast network of them spanning the entire country and producing press releases and policy papers at the rate of rabbits giving birth.

However, it wasn’t quite enough to give them the political clout they required.

Right-wing talk radio was heavily subsidized by them, receiving millions of dollars a year (Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity each received over a million), and Australian billionaire Rupert Murdoch launched Fox News to further the propaganda effort.

Later, thousands of new websites would appear that looked like local newspapers, along with social media trolls and bots.

They nevertheless lacked the necessary political clout as a result of that.

They teamed up with the NRA, which supported the Reagan Revolution and was richly rewarded with laws that prohibited the federal government from compiling gun death statistics and granted complete immunity to weapons sellers and manufacturers from legal action for any harm their products may have caused (the only industry in America that enjoys such immunity).

And thanks to the addition of a Christian “secret sauce,” they were able to convince many Americans to support their scheme. In a bit, more on that.

The Reagan administration was their first significant success; in just eight short years, he reduced union membership in America almost in half, lowered the tax rate on billionaires from a top bracket of 74 per cent to 27 per cent, and slashed thousands of protective regulations, particularly those about firearms and the environment.

We went from having almost the same rate of gun ownership as Canada (15 firearms per 100 people) to have the highest rate in the world over the 40 years of the Reagan revolution (over 120 guns per 100 people).

Guns murder more American children than drunk drivers or any other reason, and we’re now covered in blood.

Hating unions, taxes, and the environment while adoring firearms wasn’t enough to consistently win elections over the long haul, though.

They needed a louder bullhorn to reach the additional tens of millions of American voters who weren’t particularly interested in those topics.

Jerry Falwell and his friends stepped in to help in that situation.

Falwell was a ruthless thief who used Jesus as a pawn to amass wealth while neglecting Jesus’ teachings on humility, poverty, and the need to show compassion to others.

A new, powerful Jesus who supported assault rifles and private jets for preachers came to rule most of America’s Protestantism.

Riches, according to this Jesus, are proof of God’s blessing, and during the 1980s, the “prosperity gospel” and all its warped cousins were being preached on TV and in megachurches all over the country.

Millions of largely non-political churchgoers suddenly became evangelists not just for Jesus but also for the Republican Party as televangelists became multimillionaires, churches brazenly disobeyed IRS restrictions, and political sermons were delivered from the pulpit.

With their support base considerably increased, Republican lawmakers proceeded on a 40-year rampage of tax cuts, deregulation of polluting industries, gun smuggling, and union busting.

The Republicans on the Supreme Court had to occasionally dangle a carrot in front of the cretins to entice them to the churches where they would hear the GOP message.

One of them established the “religious right” of pharmacists to refuse to sell condoms by granting bakers the authority to tell homosexual customers ordering a wedding cake to screw off.

Most people were unaware of the symbiotic relationship at play as churches continued to become wealthier and Republicans continued to win elections.

Many Americans initially perceived things as troubling, however, like Pastor Niemöller, it only had a limited impact on us and was usually in ways that weren’t very noticeable.

Since the majority of the victims were marginalized minorities, everyone assumed that it was someone else’s responsibility.

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But now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned by the Supreme Court, people are realizing this unholy relationship between the GOP, the Supreme Court, and white evangelical swindlers.

They now have the entire population in their sights.

It’s not just a question of the $50 trillion wealth transfer from middle America to the top one per cent as a result of tax law changes, the fact that a few hundred thousand children downstream of coal mines suffer from permanent neurological damage or the fact that some workers believe they might have better pay and benefits if they were unionized.

With mass murders, medical bankruptcies, student debt, and homelessness, America is now clearly seeing the effects of the Republican coalition.

Literally, none of these issues were significant societal issues the year Reagan was elected; all are the direct result of Republican policies, and all were made possible, in part, by the unholy union of church and state that our country’s founders forewarned us against.

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