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The Dangers of Project 2025: A Call to Protect Civil Liberties

Yes it’s July and we have a special announcement about our Winter Solstice event in December. Then we take a long look at Project 2025 a political agenda chock full of bigotry and Christian Nationalism that if implemented will end Democracy as we have known it and hurt many of our friends and loved ones.

Episode 81: The Dangers of Project 2025: A Call to Protect Civil Liberties

We have a special announcement about the upcoming winter solstice potluck event in December. We reflect on the challenges the group faced during the pandemic and the excitement around reviving this tradition. The decision to have a potluck instead of a catered banquet is discussed, highlighting the importance of inclusivity and removing financial barriers for attendees.

Excitement peaks when plans to invite Gloria Steinem as a keynote speaker for the event are revealed. Douglas shares the process of reaching out to Steinem’s team and the unexpected acceptance of the invitation. This news brings immense joy and pride to Douglas as he admires Steinem for embodying humanist values and principles.

Shifting gears, We delve into the alarming details of Project 2025, a conservative agenda outlined by the Heritage Foundation. We unpack the extensive proposals that threaten civil rights, democracy, and promote Christian nationalism. From implications on government employees’ rights to reproductive health policies and LGBTQ rights, Project 2025 paints a grim picture of potential future governance.

We emphasize the urgency of being informed about Project 2025 and encourage listeners to seek varied sources to grasp the magnitude of its impact. We shed light on the unsettling provisions targeting marginalized communities and undermining fundamental rights. The episode ends with a call to action, urging listeners to educate themselves further on these critical issues.

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SHoWLE is raising money to pay Gloria Steinem’s speaking fee. If you can help out click this link

Extras:

Media Matters: A guide to Project 2025, the extreme right-wing agenda for the next Republican administration

John Oliver Explains Project 2025

Project 2025 Searchable PDF

Democracy Docket: What is Project 2025 and Why Is It Alarming?

Project 2025 Presidential Transition Project (trigger warning this is the actual website)

Transcript:

Click Here to Read Full Transcript

[0:01] This is Glass City Humanist, a show about humanism, humanist values, by a humanist. Here is your host, Douglas Berger. Yes, it’s July, and I have a special announcement about our winter solstice event in December. Then we take a long look at Project 2025, a political agenda chock full of bigotry and Christian nationalism that if implemented will end democracy as we have known it and hurt many of our friends and loved ones. Glass City Humanist is an outreach project of the Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie, building community through compassion and reason for a better tomorrow.

[0:43] Music.

[0:59] Welcome to another edition of the Glass City Humanists. I am your host, Doug, and hope everybody’s having a good day today. I have some really good news for people who follow my group, the Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie. One of the things that I have always wanted to do since I founded the group in 2018 is host a winter solstice, some kind of dinner, potluck, banquet, whatever. And when I was in my previous group in Columbus, we had a winter solstice banquet every year, and it was always a good time. It’s a good time for humanists to celebrate the holidays. It’s on solstice, the winter solstice. And so that’s something I’ve always wanted to do. Well, you know, we were pretty small when we started out, and then the pandemic hit, and I really didn’t know if the group was going to survive. We lost quite a few members, not necessarily from COVID, but, you know, a lot of people that had been part of our group dropped out and have not come back. So it’s taken this long, it’s taken a couple years to try to get the momentum back. And I feel that we have.

[2:20] We’ve had plenty of turnout for our meetings. The average attendance is up. Our donations are up. And we have about the same number of people, paid members, that we had shortly before the pandemic hit. And so one of of the things that I was talking to my board about was I want to have a winter solstice event. And we settled on potluck. And the reason why I settled on potluck was because when I was in my Columbus group, we had a banquet and it was catered. And it originally was for a fundraiser for the group. And so what you would do is you would have a caterer quote you, I don’t know, $10, $12 a plate. You would charge $20 to $25 a plate and pocket the difference. And that would be the fundraiser. And by the time that I left Columbus in 2014, it was no longer a fundraiser because we were barely breaking even because of the costs. The costs for the dinners were going up, and we couldn’t in good conscience charge more. You know, because there’s a trade-off that you have. If you are doing a fundraiser and you’re trying to be inclusive of everybody that’s in your group, you’re going to have people that can’t afford it.

[3:45] I know in Columbus, I was one of those people that had trouble affording the banquets. And so when I was thinking about doing a winter solstice event for our group here in Toledo, that’s something I wanted to factor out. I didn’t want to have to worry about charging $40 for somebody to show up. And then they not show up because they can’t afford it or having to have two or three tiers of admittance. You know, if you have a low income or or somebody could could what we did in Columbus is we had somebody donate a certain dollar amount, dollar amount, and then that would cover so many people. You know, we could do that, too. But I just I didn’t want to do that. And a potluck, you can make it. It can be free to attend. All you need to do is just bring a dish to share or a salad or a dessert or even a bag of potato chips. You know, it’s up to you. And also, a potluck is a little less formal.

[4:50] When we had the banquets in Columbus, you know, people had an expectation. They had an expectation of what the food was going to be like. And I had to be on particular plates and there was tablecloths and things like that, the whole accoutrement of a banquet, a formal banquet. And I just want to get away from that. And so we’re going to have this winter solstice banquet. It’s going to be on Saturday, December 21st.

[5:22] Not sure on the time right now because we’re still working out the details, but it’s going to be at the Jaeger Center at Swan Creek Metropark. And it’s most likely going to be in the evening, probably after four o’clock. And basically it’s going to be open, free to the public. And, you know, you can bring a dish or, you know, and also we’re not going to require that you bring a dish. You know, if for some reason you’re not able to do it for, you know, for whatever reason, you know, just you can let us know ahead of time or, you know, we’re not going to hassle you. If you show up and you’re not sharing any food, we’re not going to hassle you. We really aren’t because we’ll probably have way too much. So we’re doing that. And the other thing that I wanted to do with it was I kind of wanted to have a program for it, Not just not just showing up and eating and talking and socializing, but I wanted to have like a if we weren’t going to have a formal dinner, then we could have like a formal program. And one of the things that I was mulling around besides doing door prizes or having like a silent auction for maybe like a gift basket or some something like that.

[6:40] Was that I kind of wanted to have a keynote speaker. speaker, somebody that we wanted to hear from that would just say a few words and thank everybody for being there or whatever. And I assumed it was going to be me.

[6:57] Um, because we have almost no budget to hire a speaker because usually that’s what you have to do nowadays. If you want some, if you want a name, they usually charge a speaking fee, even in the freethought community. A lot of the freethought community, uh, celebrities, as it were, uh, they charge a speaking fee and that’s perfect. You know, I don’t have a problem with that, but I know, I knew we wouldn’t be able to afford to bring somebody to Toledo. So it would have to be on Zoom.

[7:30] And so I assumed that I would be the keynote. And then one of my board members suggested, hey, why don’t we invite Gloria Steinem? And for those that don’t know, Gloria Steinem is a Toledo native. She’s a well-known and famous feminist. She founded Ms. Magazine back in the late 60s, early 70s. And she is also a humanist. She was awarded the 2012 Humanist of the Year Awards by the American Humanist Association and she’s talked, frankly, in the past, in public, about humanism and being a humanist. And, in fact, she is one of the humanists from the greater Toledo area that we highlight when we do presentations to other groups about our group. The other two are Madeleine Murray O’Hare, who is the founder of American Atheists. She graduated high school at Rossford.

[8:32] And then the other person that we talk about is Edward Lamb. He was a labor lawyer during the Autolite strike in the 30s. He made his money owning TV and radio stations. And he fought a court case that I think went to the Supreme Court with the SEC because he was accused of being a communist back in the 50s. And he eventually won that case. He signed the Humanist Manifesto II that was published in 1973. And he was good friends with Corliss Lamont, who wrote the book Philosophy of Humanism. And Corliss Lamont also had a run-in with the government concerning his politics. And so they kind of were friendly about that. Edward Lamb is also the one that hosted Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. When he came to Toledo and was staying overnight. night, he stayed at Edward Lamb’s house in Maumee. And I have a picture that showed up in the Toledo Blade with him beside Dr. King. And so, you know, those are the three humanists, well-known humanists that we talk about when we do presentations. So my board member said, why don’t we invite Gloria Steinem? I’m like, yeah, sure. You know, we’re a tiny group, still new, relatively new, even though we’ve been around since 2018.

[9:57] And so I got on Gloria Steinem’s website and went to the contact page. And she has a booker. A lot of these well-known people that do speeches, they have a company that handles their bookings. So you deal with the company and then they arrange it. That way the speaker doesn’t have to deal with any of that stuff. And so she had a booker. So I sent an email, filled out a form to the booker.

[10:26] And I get back an email a day or two later from the booker saying that they are considering it. And I was shocked because I wasn’t expecting that at all, that they were considering it. And I was actually expecting it to be rejected out of hand, you know, because who are we? You know, but I said, you know, we’re secular humanists. We’re in Toledo. We’d like to have her speak. And I said it’d be by Zoom. And so they said they were considering it. So several days later, several days go by. And I’m thinking, well, they’re probably going to reject it. They’re considering it. Well, they were asking for more details, like was it going to be a conversation or was it going to be a prerecorded message? I would be happy with any of that. And I said that. So then a few days later, then I get the email back that they agreed to it. I got, I’m going to tell you, I got a little choked up. I really did. Because Gloria Steinem is a hero of mine. She is just a prime example of humanist living. You know, it’s like, it’s like, if you want to see what it’s like to live as a humanist, that’s, Gloria Steinem is, is that and more.

[11:51] And, you know, I have always, I’ve always appreciated her. I’ve always thought that she was great, and they agreed. The booker said that she would do it. Now I have to come up with the speaking fee, but that’s going to be the fun part now. And so we signed the contract on July 1st, and it is official. So she is booked. Gloria Steinem is booked for the 2024 Sholi Winter Solstice potluck. And she will appear on a screen via Zoom, hopefully to greet us and say, you know, I’m a humanist and welcome and all that stuff. So that’s why you need to save that that date, December 21st on your calendar and become a member. And so we’re going to have Gloria Steinem as our keynote speaker. And I am so happy. I was doing cartwheels. Well, I can’t do cartwheels, but if I was going to do cartwheels, that’s what I would do. So that’s just some of the good news. I know there hasn’t been a lot of good news, both in the world and in the country lately. But in our little speck of Ohio, that to me is good news. And I wanted to share it.

[13:17] For more information about the topics in this episode, including links used, please visit the episode page at glasscityhumanist.show.

[13:27] Music.

[13:33] Hello, this is Douglas, host of the Glass City Humanist, inviting you to listen to selected segments of the Glass City Humanist on Toledo Community Radio Station WAKT, 106.1 FM, Tuesdays at 7 p.m. Eastern Time. If you can’t listen to us on the radio, you can live stream us on ToledoRadio.org or visit our On WAKT page on our website, GlassCityHumanist.show, for past episodes.

[14:07] Music.

[14:15] Episodes. I hope you’ve gotten your coffee or your other beverage, maybe an adult beverage, because you probably need to sit down while I talk to you about this particular topic. I’m going to talk to you about Project 2025. Now, I hope that many of you out there have heard about it. And if you have heard about it, I hope you’re checking into it because, you know, I don’t want you just to believe what I tell you. I want you to actually go out and search for it and read about it in different sources that talk about it, okay? Because this is a very scary prospect, you know, and it’s very close to happening.

[15:08] You know, we’re just one election away from this being put into practice, and that is very scary. So what is Project 2025? It is a comprehensive transition plan, government transition plan, organized by the right-wing think tank, the Heritage Foundation. So, I can tell you right now, anything that comes out of the Heritage Foundation is not good for progressives or people who support religious freedom and anything like that. Anyway, it is a guide to the next Republican presidential administration, whoever that is, and it’s the conservative movement’s most robust policy and staffing proposal for a potential second Trump White House.

[16:06] And its extreme agenda represents a threat to democracy, civil rights, climate, and more. The big takeaway from it, not only do they do the usual political conservative stuff like smaller government, do away with regulation, remove worker protections, etc., but they also do Christian nationalist stuff. Because they work with a couple of Christian nationalist groups in crafting some of this where they strip away protections for the LGBT people and they start targeting trans kids again like full on trans targeting and trying to wipe them out they go after anybody who is not white Christian nationalists, okay?

[17:01] It says, it starts out, it says, The plan aims to reinstate Schedule F, a Trump-era executive order that makes federal employees fireable at will, stripping tens of thousands of employees of civil service protection. Both Trump and others in the conservative movement have said they will clear out the federal government if he is re-elected. The project has even set up an online training and loyalty test to narrow down potential hires to those who will commit to follow Trump without question. And I do want to also let you know that even if, let’s say, Trump has a second term or whatever and he’s done, the next Republican will also follow this plan. So they’re setting this up for the long term. Anyway, the book that they wrote, the Heritage Foundation wrote, is 900 pages. And it’s titled, Mandate for Leadership, a Conservative Promise, and it describes the project’s priorities and how they would be implemented, broken down by departments.

[18:10] And so, I will have a link to a PDF file that is searchable by topics. So, let’s take a look at one of the topics here that’s kind of relatable to what we talk about here on this show, is Christian nationalism. And it says.

[18:44] Its right-wing policy proposal. In his foreword to the book, for instance, Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts claims that the, The left is threatening the tax-exempt status of churches and charities that reject woke progressivism, adding that they will soon turn to Christian schools and clubs with the same totalitarian intent. Project 2025 is partnered with the Center for Renewing America, the primary Christian nationalist political organization in the U.S., led by former Trump official and Heritage alumnus Russ Vought. And they also are partnered with Alliance Defending Freedom. They’re the ones that got Roe overturned with the Dobbs decision. And they also partner with Moms for Liberty, which just recently had an anti-trans webinar talking about how kids are being led astray by gender identity. So this information goes on. It says, Vought Center for Renewing America headed by one of Project 2025’s top advisers, reportedly listed Christian nationalism as one of the major priorities of a second Trump term.

[20:01] In discussing plans for the well-being of the American family, Project 2025 claims that centralized government subverts families by working to replace people’s natural loves and loyalties with unnatural ones, utilizing the biblical language of natural versus unnatural. natural. Roberts forward for Project 2025 attacking the noxious tenets of gender ideology similarly argues, these theories poison our children who are being taught to deny the very creaturelessness that inherits, inheres in being human, consistent in accepting the giveness of our nature as men or women. And so that’s a big thing that you’ll see in many of these right-wing organizations when they attack trans kids or transgender people in general, is they claim it’s unnatural and that children are being poisoned by it. And these are the same people that want to rip away all regulation so that companies can have unfettered ways of doing their business, you know, but they want to use the government to tell you who you can love and who you can’t love.

[21:24] In the chapter on the Department of Health and Human Services, former Trump HHS official Robert Severino advocates for a future conservative executive to maintain a biblically-based, social science-reinforced definition of marriage and family, while arguing that families comprised of a married mother, father, and their children are the foundation of a well-ordered nation and healthy society.

[22:10] Involve higher levels of instability. So, you know, they claim that unless you have a mother and a father, and you’re biblically married, then you are not a family and you’re going to cause problems. That’s what they say. Former Trump official Jonathan Berry’s chapter on the Department of Labor states that the Judeo-Christian tradition, stretching back to Genesis, has always recognized fruitful work as integral to human dignity, as service to God, neighbor, and family, and claims the Biden’s administration is hostile to people of faith. So there, again, they’re going to use the Bible to punish poor people. Because if they can’t work, then they’re going to hell. And then, of course, we know that they’re going to go after reproductive rights. It says, Project 2025 suggests the next conservative administration strike any mention of abortion from government laws, policies, and regulations. Because, you know, if you get rid of the word, it doesn’t exist. Right? Because that’s what President Trump said during COVID, that if we stop talking about it, it will go away. See how logical that works?

[23:24] Project 2025 suggests the next conservative administration reinstate the Comstock Act to ban and track and limit mail order abortions. So basically that’s a reaction to the Supreme Court case where they allowed the abortion pill to be sold and sent in the mail. The Comstock Act is still on the books, and that was used to keep people from receiving not only information about abortions, but also information about family planning and from receiving information to prevent pregnancy, like contraceptive. You couldn’t get information on contraceptives. What would happen would be under this Comstock Act, the post office, if they were informed that you were sending information about contraceptives to somebody, you could get arrested and jailed for it. Yeah, for information about contraceptive. Because they thought that that information was so dangerous, you had to be put in prison.

[24:43] Project 2025 would have the next GOP administration restructure Medicaid to avoid providing reproductive health care and penalize providers who do. Right, because, you know, women are going to need reproductive care no matter how much, you know, no matter what their social economic status is. And so they’re going to punish poor people for being poor, and they’re not going to get the reproductive health care that they need and many of them are possibly going to die because of it. But don’t worry, the affluent white women, Christian women, are still going to get their care in a hospital. It’s just not going to be called reproductive health care. It’s going to be called something else like a tummy tuck or a facelift.

[25:34] Project 2025 also suggests restoring Trump-era religious and moral exemptions to the contraceptive mandate through the Affordable Care Act that would allow employers to deny coverage. You know, so if you had a boss who was a flaming Christian and he didn’t want to pay for contraception coverage, then they could do it. And I think that they can still do that. The policy book directs the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to eliminate any programs or projects that are deemed pro-abortion. It says.

[26:29] That undermine family formation. This includes ensuring the CDC is not promoting abortion as health care and instead pivots to a research agenda that supports pro-life policies and explores the harms, both mental and physical, that abortion has wrought on women and girls. Because that’s the way the right-wingers look at abortion, is that it’s mental and physical harms that have been done to women. They also directs them to rescind policies that allow abortion access in some circumstances at VA hospitals it intends to undo Title 10 protections for reproductive health care it subtly promotes anti-surrogacy positions, writing that all children have a right to be raised by the men and women who conceive them them. Understand that. If you’re a woman or in a marriage where you’re not able to have biological children, you won’t be able to get them under a new Trump administration because they’ll either make surrogacy illegal and they’ll outlaw IVF.

[27:48] And it says Project 2025 aims to reinstate an expanded Trump era version of a longtime Republican presidential policy, barring non-governmental organizations receiving USAID from providing abortion services or advocating for legal abortion. The policy also said would reverse the Biden administration policy that requires hospitals to offer abortions and medical emergencies, regardless of state bans. And then finally, Project 2025 aims to end all fetal cell research and ensure that abortion and embryo destructive related research become both fully obsolete and ethically unthinkable. So that’s just talking about reproductive rights and Christian nationalism. And it gets worse than that.

[28:42] It talks about justice. LGBTQ rights. I won’t go into all of them. It says that the policy book calls for the Health and Human Services to stop all research related to gender identity unless the purpose is conformity to one’s sex assigned at birth.

[29:03] It says, the policy books forward by Kevin Roberts describes the omnipresent propagation of transgender ideology and sexualization of children as, quote, pornography, unquote. They should be outlawed, adding the people who produce and distribute it should be imprisoned. That sounds like Moms for Liberty. I think that’s their contribution. It says, Robert’s forward states that allowing parents or physicians to reassign the sex of a minor child is child abuse and must end. But the thing is, that kind of reminded me that there are occasions when a child is born and the sex is indeterminate. it.

[29:52] Sometimes a child is born who has the genitalia of both sexes. And in those cases, the parents have to make a decision. Are you going to have a boy or a girl? And whatever decision you make, the genitalia of the one that you didn’t pick gets removed. So is that going to be child abuse? It sounds like it, but see, they don’t think that. They don’t think about the implications, all right? They’re cloaked in this religious Bible and agenda, and so everything is focused on that. It’s not science, it’s not rational, and it’s going to harm people. It’s going to harm a lot of people. So I will have a link to some of this material. If you don’t want to wait for the link, you can just Google Project 2025 and get your mind open.

[30:59] Because this is what they have set up. This is what’s ready to go should the Republicans win the election in November. And I don’t think most people will be able to sleep if they think that their actions might cause that to happen and hurt other people. But I just wanted to make people aware of that. And I’m sorry I ruined your day.

[31:30] Thank you for listening. For more information about the topics in this episode, please visit the episode page at glasscityhumanist.show. Glass City Humanist is an outreach of the Secular Humanists of Western Lake Erie. Surely can be reached at humanistswle.org. Glass City Humanist is hosted, written, and produced by Douglas Berger, and he’s solely responsible for the content. Our theme music is Glass City Jam, composed using the Amplify Studio. See you next time!

[32:14] Music.

Transcript is machine generated, lightly edited, and approximate to what was recorded. If you would like perfect transcripts, please donate to the show.

Credits

Written, produced, and edited by Douglas Berger and he is entirely responsible for the content. Incidental voice overs by Shawn Meagley

The GCH theme is “Glass City Jam” composed using Ampify Studio

This episode by Glass City Humanist is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.

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