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Welcome to Gilead

Are you worried about the U.S. turning into the fictional country of Gilead? Then you’d better start working to stop it – because Gilead is already here.

I read The Handmaid’s Tale when it was first released in paperback in the 1980s. This fictional memoir from the future posits a post-apocalyptic America transformed into a Christo-fascist state rechristened the Republic of Gilead. As with our Christian Nationalists, the portions of the Bible that Gilead’s leaders highlight aren’t those of compassion, helping the destitute and oppressed, or inclusion; instead, it’s all about policing women’s fertility, public executions, concentration camps, and warring with the heathen. 

I was terrified in the 1980s that the so-called Moral Majority would bring about Gilead then. But with the disgrace of Ronald Reagan during the Iran-Contra affair, I no longer worried about American turning into Gilead.

I only started worrying again that we’d be turned into Gilead two years ago. 

But I realize now what a fool I’ve been. We don’t have to fear that the MAGA throng and their opportunistic leaders would turn the United States into the Republic of Gilead.

Why? Because Gilead is already here.

Doubt that? Then you haven’t been paying attention to what’s happened in Alabama. 

You probably know that Alabama’s Supreme Court has declared every zygote the equivalent of a born child. (In reality, Republicans give much greater rights to zygotes than actual babies, but that’s a conversation for another column.) But the corporate media has not shone a light on the text of that decision, which is loaded with Bible verses even before you get to the concurring opinion. Of course, Chief Justice Tom Parker went even further claiming that “life cannot be wrongfully destroyed without incurring the wrath of a holy God.” 

Now if citing the Bible instead of common law, federal or state laws, the U.S. Constitution, or precedent doesn’t sound like what a court ruling in the United States should sound like, you’d be right. It sounds more like what you’d see in Gilead, right? Which is what made me realize that, at least in Alabama, Gilead is already here. And how long before other Red States declare themselves Gilead also?

Parker has been open about subscribing to what’s called the Seven Mountains Mandate. That’s one flavor of Christian dominionism, the extremist belief that Christians should control everything: family, religion (natch), education, media, entertainment, business, and especially government. If you think that forcing everyone in America to abide by a miniscule group’s idea of what God wants is incompatible with democracy, congratulations! You’ve figured it out.

For decades, most dominionists didn’t spell it out on the record, but, thanks to Donald Trump and MAGA fever, more people are saying the quiet parts out loud. You can see conspiracy theorist and PizzaGate rabblerouser Jack Posobiec declare that American democracy needs to go (at the 6:10 mark) so that we can establish Gilead. It seems that the Puritans’ theocracy just didn’t go far enough. They fined people who didn’t go to church or had the nerve to celebrate the Godless holiday Christmas. On the other hand, Dominionists want to execute women who get abortions, gay people, Wiccans, and adulterers (although I’m sure they’ll make an exception for Orange Jesus, a serial adulterer).

Things have gone a lot farther than most of us had realized. For once, we should act before it’s too late.

Because if we don’t, Gilead is coming to your state – and ours.

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Ivonne Rovira

Ivonne is the research director for Save Our Schools Kentucky. She previously worked for The Miami Herald, the Miami News, and The Associated Press. (Read the rest on the Contributors page.)

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