Thursday, May 4, 2017

Backward Christian Soldiers

Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
✒May 4, 2017

Donald Joffrey Trump's nominee for Secretary of the Army is a Tennessee state legislator named Mark Green (R-Clarksville). Where Barack Obama opened the U.S. military to LGBTQ service members and appointed Eric Fanning to be the first openly gay head of any branch of the U.S. military, it is clear that Trump is issuing the military an about-face.

Green is a lead sponsor of a bill guaranteeing educators a right to discriminate against LGBTQ persons, and backs another bill allowing mental health practitioners to refuse to treat LGBTQ patients. The West Point graduate sponsored a Tennessee "bathroom bill," and another bill prohibiting local governments from enforcing antidiscrimination policies protecting LGBTQ citizens.

Green's bigotry comes cloaked in religiosity. He told a radio interviewer that because of St. Paul's letter to the Romans:
" a state senator, my responsibility very clearly in Romans 13 is to create an environment where people who do right are rewarded, and people who do wrong are crushed. Evil is crushed. And so I'm going to protect women in their bathrooms, and I'm going to protect our state against potential infiltration by Syrian ISIS people through a  refugee program." 
Speaking to a Tea Party Koffee Klatch in Chattanooga, Green said transgender persons are mentally diseased, deriding them as "guys and gals with question marks." He also told the group that legalized same-sex marriage might lead to using taxpayer dollars for infanticide.

His animus is by no means limited to gays, lesbian, and transgender persons. At that same Koffee Klatch, he enthusiastically supported a variety of other tenets of Tea Partisan faith:
To a questioner who worried about armed insurrection by people who “don’t belong here, like Muslims in the United States,” Green said it was a “great question.” Referring to the “Muslim horde” that sacked Constantinople five centuries ago, Green agreed that we must “take a stand on the indoctrination of Islam in our public schools”—even as he vowed to spread the Christian light into the military and the culture as he had as a young missionary in a Muslim section of Toronto.
Green agreed with a questioner that President Obama is not a citizen and he refused to answer whether the former president is really a Muslim. Asked what could account for a mysterious rise in Latinos registering to vote in Tennessee, Green theorized they were “being bused here probably.”
Green's confirmation is not a sure thing, given skepticism expressed by Senate Armed Services Chair John McCain and others.
“The statements he has made on a number of fronts — in particular to the LGBT community, to different minority groups, different religious groups — are a great, great concern toward military readiness,” said [Iraq War verteran Daniel] Feehan, who served as principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for readiness from 2015 until earlier this year.
It’s already hard enough to recruit a talented, diverse military to accomplish critical missions, Feehan said. Green’s record and public statements will make that job even more difficult by creating an environment in which potential recruits might feel unwelcome, Feehan said.
On the list of organizations opposed to Green's nomination are GLAAD, Outserve-SLDN, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Human Rights Campaign, the American Military Partner Association, and the Truman National Security Project, the last of which wrote:
"As every military leader knows, unit readiness at every level is built on mutual trust, often referred to as unit cohesion. When leaders denigrate service members on the basis of their personal characteristics, it undermines that essential trust. As several of you know firsthand, that can be the difference success and failure on the battlefield."
Reports earlier this week that Green might withdraw his nomination are so far being denied. If those reports prove correct, Green would be Trump's second Army Secretary nominee to pull out; billionaire Vincent Viola withdrew his nomination on the grounds that he couldn't extricate himself from several conflicts of interest with his family businesses. (Trump’s pick for Navy Secretary, financier Philip Bilden, also dropped out of consideration, citing similar business conflicts. President Trump Inc. could learn a thing or two from Viola and Bilden.)

Yet Republicans have been more than happy to stock all branches of government with reactionary right-wing apparatchiks, and party leadership is likely to pressure its wavering members to fall in line and approve whomever Trump wants. There is nothing the GOP values more highly than partisan unity.

Reversing any and all progress made by the Obama administration, however, ranks a very close second.

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