The Banned CDC List is Religious Right Terrorism

Donald Trump has reportedly banned the CDC from using the following words in their policies, budgets, and communications:


This is not exactly true.

This is not Donald Trump’s handiwork.
He is not the author of this list.
He isn’t smart enough to come up with a combination of words so perfectly synchronized to hurt and silence marginalized people.
Only Evangelicals can do that.

As a Christian and twenty-year pastor, one who’s served for much of that time in the American Bible Belt—the list is eerily familiar.

It’s the extreme Evangelical Christian Right’s signature mix tape, the careful curated playlist they’ve had on heavy rotation in their indie gatherings for the past 60 years—only now it’s getting wide release, thanks to the monster they’ve aligned with; one who’s perfectly happy to disseminate it to keep their union intact.

Every sick, perverse Right Wing religious line of attack is there within those words:

A disregarding of scientific fact in favor of necessary religious mythology.
The unrelenting demonizing of the LGBTQ community.
The hyperbolic vilifying of those defending a woman’s right to choose.
The neglect of the poor and marginalizing and coddling of the wealthy.
Open contempt for people of brown skin, foreigners, immigrants.
Historic misogyny and raging white supremacy.

The list is a bulleted seven-point Sunday sermon outline, the kind that’s been given every weekend in pulpit pounding churches by spitting, sweating, furiously angry white men—who tell people the sky is falling and assure them only a vengeful white God can hold it up. They’re a list perfectly designed to leverage the fear Bible Belt Evangelicals work specifically and almost solely in.

These seven words are not the work of Donald Trump. He can barely craft a coherent Tweet, let alone compose a brilliant bit of subtle violence like this. This list is a wicked witch’s brew, crafted by the preachers and pastors and religious universities who’ve sold their souls to this President in order to get the market share that their extremism wouldn’t allow naturally. These words are written in the unmistakable hateful hand of the Pences, the Falwells, the Dobsons, the Grahams, the Southern Baptists, pro-lifers, and Family Values crusaders—and they’re tailor-made to legislate the Evangelical’s elevation of cisgender, white, wealthy Americans. It is mass murder without truck bombs and AK-47s. It’s domestic terrorism, just with less obvious weapons.

And it’s the kind of thing that would make Jesus turn over damn every table in sight, were he able to stop vomiting long enough to do so.

America is not a theocracy but it soon will be, unless people of faith and those who hold no spiritual tradition who recognize and abhor such religious extremism—oppose it loudly and continually. That this kind of forced compliance is the antithesis of the life and teachings of Jesus, as well as the Constitution. Both argue loudly against what’s happening here.  

We cannot allow faith-based bigotry to become the law of the land here or we no longer need claim this nation a place where Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness matter. We can give up that whole Land of the Free, Home of the Brave garbage. 

This CDC list is not random, it’s not impulsive, and it’s not the work of a bumbling, unintelligent, fraud like Donald Trump.

It is a deliberate, careful-crafted, dangerously precise work of white Evangelicals who aren’t going to watch their faith tradition die without taking out a whole lot of innocent people as it does.

This is what terrorists do.

And it’s what good people need to stop them from doing.


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119 thoughts on “The Banned CDC List is Religious Right Terrorism

  1. Thank you for this excellent article, which is spot on, though I believe a small clarification is in order. The people referenced in your article aren’t actual evangelicals, but instead have co-opted the title of “evangelical.” Let me refer you to a source, because I’m not an evangelical (I’m an atheist). The following piece recently came to my attention:

    Of particular note are the following points: #3 (Not everyone who calls himself an evangelical is an evangelical), #6 (Evangelicals love LGBTQIA people), #8 (Evangelicals are pro-science), #9 (Evangelicals value quality education for all) and #10 (Evangelicals are diverse and tolerant).

    I find zero of these ideals (or any of the others on the list) in the behavior of, as you so aptly put it, religious terrorists. IMO, this is more like the Tea Party, an original group that was co-opted and turned it into the prosperity crap that led to even more extreme right-wingers in our politics.

    Isn’t there some way we can expose the fake evangelicals for who they really are? I often wonder if people knew what real evangelicals stood for, would they support phony ones?

    • I’m not so inclined to take #6 at face value – the wording is highly ambiguous.

      “6. Evangelicals love LGBTQIA people.

      We are not homophobes. We are homophiles. Our churches welcome LGBTQIA people with the same message we present to all others: ‘Come as you are . . . but leave transformed.'”

      “Leave transformed” has a lot of wiggle room to mean “change your sexuality.” I have learned the hard way that one can never trust any Christian’s words to mean what they appear to mean on the surface. The well is so polluted that it takes time to determine which Christians are to be trusted, which ones actually DO welcome you as you are with no demand to change. It’s too dangerous to merely take the Christian’s word for it.

      • You want a church that accepts adulterers and fornicators as they are? You want a church that accepts sinners AND condones their sins? That does what to make the sinner holy?

    • Dear Melanie,
      Is there a place you trust me to contact you? I just wrote a response, and it turned into a book chapter. I wasn’t sure if John needed me to use that much space on one response. Can you follow me on Twitter? Jfish, have an email that is more public? Part of WordPress? Messenger? Let me know. I think you’ll find it interesting.
      In the meantime I’ll ask John about long replies.
      I just thought you deserved a real answer.
      IF you find me on Twitter I’m not sure how I’ll know it’s you. I know you’ll be creative.
      You should understand what’s happening to my religion.
      I’m as John, I’ve been ministering, actually teaching for close to 30 yrs. I hope to help.
      p.s. If you’re part of WordPress my address is (an acct is free if you just wanna visit).

  2. I think the religious right is destroying our country and it’s destroying Christianity and what Jesus has done it’s a disgrace with the Christian Coalition has done to this country up to the faith of Jesus Christ twice

  3. The Christian Coalition is not the body of Christ it’s a right wing of the Republican Party and it’s destroying our country let the people of faith lying about Jesus Christ and the love he has for everyone judge the people in the church we’re not supposed to charge the people outside the church damn you Christian Coalition

  4. so true! they warn against Sharia laws being imposed on us but they are busily working to impose “Christian Sharia” bit by bit. i don’t believe Trump is capable of composing such an insidious plot on his own.

  5. I do so agree with this. Before I even read this, I had also decided Trump was not intelligent enough to even pronounce the words on the list, much less be the creater or writer of the list.

  6. The judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift… resulted in justification. For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. — Romans 5:16-17
    Christ’s death saved us from God’s wrath. We now live with hope of eternal life rather than under the curse of death. We rejoice in God who, in His Son, atoned for our sins. Our justification is complete and irrevocable; there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus. And Paul confidently wrote that “he who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6). What a marvelous gift!

    I dont think it really matters , since the lies are flying high and the deception is great in america.
    Keep your eyes on Jesus Christ , the author, and finisher of Faith , God is Still in charge
    Mankind is being or getting ready for judgement for rebellion against God.

  7. Would like to know why the U.S. have such large swaths of extreme right wing evangelicals. We do have such sentiments in Canada ..but people tend to hide them or it’s in rural areas where journalists /writers aren’t writing about it.

    Horrible as it may seem, it’s better still such extreme views are out in the open for everyone to hear.

    My best wishes in your work with communities.

  8. If you ARE a pastor, as you say you are…then SHAME ON YOU! Insulting OUR president in such an ignorant manner. For if you have read your Bible, you would know that Romans 13:1 states that the authorities exists by God’s appointment! Thus deserving our respect!

    • The “authorities” are not specific people. they are “positions” of leadership. These positions are sometimes occupied by extremely evil men like Trump. Just because Trump occupies a God-established “position,” it does not mean that God put him there and it does not mean that God is the author of his evil.

      Quit trying to defend evil incarnate.

    • Respect is earned. So is contempt. 45 is contemptible beyond words – and to say he is installed by god makes your god equally contemptible.

    • Pauline,

      Strange. I don’t remember this Scripture being quoted by evangelicals when Bill Clinton was impeached or Barack Obama was called “Not My President!”

      I guess you also believe the Declaration of Independence and the Revolutionary War were contrary to God’s will, since George III was appointed by God. Also, the Second World War, since Hitler was appointed by God. Or maybe St. Paul forgot to say that it only applied to democratically elected rulers. Or do we perhaps pick and choose who to apply Romans 13 to, according to our politics?

      But finally, Romans 13:1 doesn’t say that we have to agree with our rulers, or even to respect them, just to “be subject to them”. I don’t believe John P is advocating any illegal activity.

    • Pauline,

      I’ve just thought of some even better examples: the Old Testament prophets who railed against the corruption and idolatry of the kings of Israel and Judah, even though they were literally the Lord’s anointed ones. I doubt John P would accept the title of “prophet”, but I see him as fulfilling a similar ministry: speaking truth to power.

      Now, I grant that you probably don’t accept that most of what John says is “truth”, and that’s your right; but if so, I suggest you make your argument in those terms, rather than using Romans 13 to discredit discussion of the actual issues.

  9. It’s Newspeak! It’s Thought Police controlling American speech, or attempting to do it. Don’t let them get away with it, no even a little bit. It all begins with one small step, and eventually leads to total repression.

  10. Wow…As a 50 year old Black man who no longer believes in the Christianity, I can say with all my heart this article is the root of why I walked away. The hypocrisy and white supremacist underbelly became so painfully obvious with the election of Pres Obama. I had people..
    Friends who for years professed, “We are brothers and sisters of Christ” Yet the cognitive dissonance they showed was world shattering for me. I was so confused…here was a Man doing all the things Jesus told us to do, yet he was called the Anti-Christ. The open racisim by pastors I respected as Generals in God’s Army crushed me. I took all of those attacks very personal. Then when I saw 12 years a slave my whole perspective of how Africans where indoctrinated by their Opressors with that same bible to make them worship their god and by default worship them….crushed everything in me. It all came full circle. At that point I mustered up the courage to take a Religious Studies class. I was as if the blinders came off. But I had been prepared for the once considered evil alternative source if information and facts. …..I don’t know how much longer true followers of the spirit of the teachings of Jesus can or will be allowed to be associated with the term Christian. …..Guess I have a whole new level of empathy for “Moderate Muslims ” you know we are all expecting them to police the Jihadist with their Religion and come down hard on them as we associate those terrorists with them. Our chickens have come home to roost. Thank you sir for your courage…. This is not going to end well.

    • Allen

      I’m so sorry you had this experience. As a white man, I can’t claim to have experienced as much cognitive dissonance as you did.

      However, I have experienced alienation from six different conservative churches, and walked out of them, usually because the pastor cut off communication with me, in some cases after insulting me, just because I challenged some of their assumptions or asked them awkward questions.

      I’ve written over 450 pages covering my points of disagreement with conservative Christianity, but I know that God is bigger than all their ideas, so I haven’t given up on him. Now I attend a church, probably much like John Pavlovitz’s, where I feel very much at home, where I’m not tempted to reply to sermons with complaints about self-contradiction, or political bias, or any number of hot-button, controversial, and divisive opinions, or where orthodoxy is held up as more important than love. I sometimes wonder how God sees those conservative pastors. If someone known to hate me was spreading lies about me, probably people wouldn’t believe them; but if someone who claimed to be my friend was doing so, I’d be pretty mad.

      You’re right: “Christian” and “Christianity” have acquired such negative connotations that we tend to drop these labels. I realize it may be too late for you to reconsider the claims of Jesus, but know that there are still good people trying to follow what he taught.

  11. The American Taliban has come under many guises since they landed on our shores prior to the Founding Father’s decided to create a secular non-theocratic society. Pilgrims, Conservatives, Moral Majority, Religious Right, Puritans, Family Research Council, etc. They are the most predictable group of people, more than any other group. Characteristics include: conservative, majority rule, theocracy, xenophobia, nationalism, racism, authoritarian, pro-military rule, censorship, martyrdom, and resemble dictatorships. Basically, all things the Founders DID NOT want the US to be. These people are Anti-American

  12. All these bizarre accusations – not one iota of evidence for your outlandish claims.
    The only hyperbole is from the “author” of this piece…not piece of journalism…piece of something extremely stinky!

  13. And now will come the people telling you to sit down and shut up because you don’t agree with them. They’ll quote selected bits of Scripture to justify their hatred of anybody not white, cisgender, heterosexual, and Christian.

    • It’s a matter of choice, we can please man and go with what the world thinks is right or we can believe in what God’s word says. I believe in God’s word, my desire is to please him . People, do not be led astray by false ideas, read your bibles and find real truth. The true church does not “hate” people of different races, homosexuals, transgender, and different religions. That is a lie! There is a big difference between right and wrong, there are those who would rather believe lies because the truth offends them, thus the false accusations are on display.

  14. While I agree with the gist of this article, we need to stop calling everything terrorism. Overuse and misuse of the word simply waters it down until it becomes, ho-hum, terrorism. Terrorists purposely injure and kill people to further their agenda.

  15. The ban of these 7 words is part of a bigger plan to push marginalized groups out. This, the repeal of net neutrality, the attack on free speech/ freedom of press, the attack on birth control, is all part of the Right Wing agenda. They cloak their discrimination in “biblical values” to get Christians to vote for them and endorse their platforms, all so they can continually strip away the rights of Black and Brown people, LGBTQ people, women, children, poor people, and anyone else who does not fit the Right White. We all have to be vigilant to stop these atrocities before it is too late. As the saying goes, you are doomed to repeat history if you do not learn from it.

  16. Hey John,

    I just wanted to give a couple of links here. I am no fan of this admin, and long for the day when we can wakeup and get rid of it, but I would rather our stance against it be made of stronger stuff and not easily debunked things. The CDC “ban” is only suggestions for budget narratives, nothing else. And, unfortunately, it is a common practice even among non-dictatorships in the making (such as France and England), for a lot of different reasons.

    Keep up the fight! Resist, and get the rest of us to wakeup! But, let’s make sure our reasons are unassailable.

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  18. I wonder if it is possible that if we all spoke up against this and our leaders refuse to listen. What happens when what we say is ignored and twisted to suit those in power because they feel immune to our protests? Beating Roy Moore is one thing but to bring down an incumbent is a totally different thing. Have we reached this point yet?

  19. Since the list wasn’t true are you going to issue another post? No one ever banned any words. This is why we must find the truth before we jump on a bandwagon.

  20. Right on all accounts but.. one exception if you please its not a “witch’s brew” of evil, as no self respecting Witch would do such a thing… Harm none is the law. Not to mention, that Karma is real and it remembers your name. May Karma find everyone involved in this travesty.

  21. You are always bad-mouthing Evangelicals and I don’t like being put down. I am a member of the ELCA and we are nothing like you describe us. We are open-minded, welcoming to all races, and don’t discriminate against the LGBTQ. Those you mention by name are not like us.

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