The Trump/Pence Regime Steps Up Support for Science-Hating Christian Fascist Forces—in Midst of Coronavirus Pandemic



Editors’ Note: In the overall context of the advance of fascism and its tightening grip in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are some specifically Christian fascist aspects to this move. Along with using the pandemic to ban abortions, which we covered several weeks ago in “Thirteen Ways the Trump/Pence Fascists Have Moved to Tighten Their Grip in Just the Last Month,” following are some other dimensions.

The alliance between Trump and America’s Christian fascist movement—represented by Vice President Mike Pence—has been at the very core of Trump/Pence fascism. Now, in the midst of—and in response to—the coronavirus crisis, the regime continues to step up its support for Christian fascist forces and to advance its agenda of reshaping government and society with fundamentalist Christianity at its core.

As we wrote last week, these “are not isolated outrages. They are components of an overall offensive by a fascist movement intent on complete domination. It must be stopped, and driven from power before it fully consolidates its rule.”1

Just in the last month or so:

Trump Department of Justice Moves to Intervene to Back Fascist “Open Up” Movements in States

On April 29, the New York Times reported that the Department of Justice (DOJ) under William Barr had been in close contact with “A network of conservative leaders, donors and organizations” that “has launched a legal onslaught against state and local restrictions intended to slow the spread of the coronavirus.” The paper then reports that “This week the Justice Department delivered the clearest show of support yet when Attorney General William P. Barr issued a memorandum directing two of his department’s top lawyers to lead an effort with other federal agencies to monitor state and local policies “and, if necessary, take action to correct” those that “could be violating the constitutional rights and civil liberties of individual citizens.”2

This means the U.S.’s most powerful law enforcement agency will bring its power to bear in support of Christian and other fascist forces and churches, as well as businesses and other right-wing groups protesting against state mandated health and distancing regulations.3

This will further embolden the lunatic, anti-science Christian fascists who took the first direct actions against these state health regulations and have helped fuel these protests. These include people like Jerry Falwell Jr., who opened Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, when most universities were closing and COVID-19 cases were beginning to surge in the area, and Pentecostal pastor Rodney Howard-Browne of Tampa, Florida, who has refused to close his church, claimed the virus is a hoax, that only supernatural forces can defeat it, and demanded “congregants embrace and shake hands, exhorting them that they were ‘revivalists, not pansies.’”4

Diverting Pandemic Relief to Right-Wing Private and Religious Schools and Churches

The New York Times (May 15), reports that Education Secretary—and hard-core Christian fascist operative—Betsy DeVos is “directing millions of federal dollars intended primarily for public schools and colleges to private and religious schools.”5

The paper notes that Congress and the law mandated monies—$30 billion for educational institutions which have been hit hard by the pandemic—be used for primarily those schools in need. Yet she used $180 million to create vouchers (“microgrants”) that can be used for private schools, and directed school districts to “share millions of dollars designated for low-income students with wealthy private schools,” which critics argue don’t necessarily need the money and that her actions have “nothing to do with Covid-19” relief, but are part of DeVos’—and the Christian fascists’—long-term agenda of undermining public education and strengthening Christian-based religious education and bolstering the social base of the Trump/Pence regime.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports that even as churches continue to claim tax-exempt status, “houses of worship have received hundreds of millions, and perhaps billions, of dollars in federal funding under the Paycheck Protection Program of the CARES Act (the main coronavirus stimulus legislation). This program treats churches like any other business or nonprofit employer that needs funds to continue to pay its employees’ salaries. Some 9,000 Catholic churches have had their applications for federal funding approved, according to CBS News reporting, and a survey by LifeWay Research found that 40 percent of Protestant churches had applied (and 59 percent of those applications were accepted). As a result, for the first time in our nation’s history, the federal government is affirmatively subsidizing the salaries of clergy across the country.6 (Emphasis added.)

This is further breaking down the separation of church and state, more openly giving government backing to religion, and explicitly reshaping the U.S. as a “Christian nation.”

Packing the Judiciary with Christian Fascist Supporters

As reported last week, Senate leader Mitch McConnell, a major Trump backer, reconvened the Senate to push through Trump’s judicial appointments. The first hearing is for 38-year-old Justin Walker, a McConnell protégé who has been nominated for the very powerful U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. It’s now been reported that Walker recently ruled in favor of keeping churches open during the pandemic.

“Judge Walker cited St. Paul again last month in a decision in favor of the On Fire Christian Church, in Louisville, which had sued Mayor Greg Fischer over his urging faith leaders to avoid large gatherings such as the church’s drive-in Easter services amid the coronavirus pandemic. ‘On Holy Thursday, an American mayor criminalized the communal celebration of Easter,’ Judge Walker wrote,” the New York Times reports.7


1. “Trump/Pence Move Aggressively to Consolidate Fascist Power,”, May 11, 2020.  [back]

2. “Trump Administration Signals Support for Allies’ Fight Against Virus Orders,” New York Times, April 29, 2020.  [back]

3. Last week reported that on May 7, as the official COVID-19 death toll in the U.S. reached 75,000, word leaked out that the Trump regime had rejected Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance on re-opening the country… a key factor in Trump’s rejection of the guidelines is that Christian fascist forces in and out of the regime do not want the government issuing even voluntary guidelines about people’s ability to gather in churches—even when doing so plays a role in spreading the disease to many others. The New York Times reported that a “senior official at the Department of Health and Human Services with deep ties to religious conservatives objected to any controls on church services.” Roger Severino, an official in the regime who previously directed the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at the right-wing Heritage Foundation, said, “Governments have a duty to instruct the public on how to stay safe during this crisis and can absolutely do so without dictating to people how they should worship God.”  [back]

4. “The rightwing Christian preachers in deep denial over Covid-19’s danger,” Guardian, April 4, 2020.  [back]

5. “DeVos Funnels Coronavirus Relief Funds to Favored Private and Religious Schools,” New York Times, May 15, 2020; see also, “Onward, Christian Fascists: Trump and DeVos Escalate Assault on Education,”, January 27, 2020.  [back]

6. “Churches have been hypocritical during the pandemic,” Washington Post, May 13, 2020.  [back]

7. “McConnell Protégé Takes Center Stage in Fight to Remake Judiciary,” New York Times, May 5, 2020.  [back]

“The Christian Fascists Now In Power”

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