BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
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Hillary Clinton may have made a huge rhetorical gaffe when during the campaign she labeled more than half of Donald Trump's supporters as occupying a "basket of deplorables." That term, however, may be much more applicable to some of the people heading up Trump's transition team. As proof that Trump intends to consummate his affair with conservative Christian evangelicals, he has named Kenneth Blackwell, the senior fellow for Human Rights and Constitutional Governance at the Family Research Council -- an organization named as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center – to head his domestic transition team.
Blackwell, the former mayor of Cincinnati, UN Ambassador, and Secretary of State of Ohio, is a controversial figure, in part stemming from being accused of voter suppression while Secretary of State of Ohio and honorary chair of George W. Bush's 2004 re-election campaign.
While not quite channeling the late Rev. Fred Phelps – he of "God Hates Fags" infamy -- Blackwell is as anti-gay as it gets. According to People for the American Way's Right Wing Watch, "In a 2006 newspaper interview, when he was running for governor of Ohio, Blackwell called homosexuality a sinful 'lifestyle' that 'can be changed,' like that of kleptomaniacs or arsonists:
'I think homosexuality is a lifestyle, it's a choice, and that lifestyle can be changed,' Blackwell said in response to the question 'Is homosexuality a sin, and can gays be cured?' according to published transcripts. 'I think it is a transgression against God's law, God's will.'
"He continued: 'The reality is, again…that I think we make choices all the time. And I think you make good choices and bad choices in terms of lifestyle. Our expectation is that one's genetic makeup might make one more inclined to be an arsonist or might make one more inclined to be a kleptomaniac. Do I think that they can be changed? Yes.'"
In September, the Family Research Council's Mandi Ancalle pointed out that the FRC was working on a comprehensive set of policy recommendations that could be implemented within the first 100 days of a Trump residency.
According to Right Wing Watch's Miranda Blue, at September's Value Voter's Summit, the FRC indicated that it was developing its priorities, and amongst them are:
- "Rescind the Department of Housing and Urban Development's guidance assuring that federally funded emergency shelters house transgender people according to the sex with which they identify"
- "Reinstate the Mexico City Policy, which bars U.S. foreign aid from going to groups that provide abortion-related services or advocate for abortion rights abroad, even when those services are not paid for by U.S. government funding. This so-called 'global gag rule' was rescinded by President Obama."
- "Reinstate a rule instituted by President George W. Bush that provided broad "conscience protections" for health care workers refusing to participate in care for religious reasons. According to the Washington Post, the rule "was widely interpreted as shielding workers who refuse to participate in a range of medical services, such as providing birth control pills, caring for gay men with AIDS and performing in-vitro fertilization for lesbians or single women." In 2011, the Obama administration rescinded much of the Bush-era regulation but maintained conscience protections for health care providers who do not want to perform abortions. Ancalle noted that the FRC wants to make sure that new regulations allow physicians not to care for transgender patients by providing hormone therapy and other treatment.
- "Reinstate Bush's ban on federal funding going to embryonic stem cell research."
- "Rescind President Obama's executive order banning federal contractors from engaging in anti-LGBT discrimination."
When asked by the Cincinnati Enquirer about his role, Blackwell explained that he had signed a non-disclosure pact and declined to talk about his role.
According to a document obtained by Politico, Blackwell is listed "as overseeing the transformation of nine federal agencies -- including the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Labor, and the Department of Health and Human Services." He is "one of six senior advisers listed on the chart as charged with revamping the federal bureaucracy."
"Donald Trump's historic victory, coupled with Republicans maintaining a Senate and House majority, unequivocally demonstrates that the American people love freedom, religious liberty, and despise political correctness and Obamacare," Blackwell wrote on Facebook Wednesday.
Just to give you a taste of Blackwell's Christian character, the following memes have been posted on his FaceBook page:
"It's so quiet at the Clinton headquarters, you can almost hear an email being deleted."
"Coddled, liberal sissy alert! Yale professor makes midterm optional for students distraught over Trump win."
"I wonder if Hillary is going to refund the bribes paid to the Clinton Foundation for access to the White House."
"Share if Obama is the Worst President."