Heretic on the Hill: Hat Tip to the Deep State

If you spend a lot of time following what passes for political discourse you hear about the Deep State, or at least you did during the Trump administration. People who used to be called government employees, civil servants, or bureaucrats were suddenly referred to as the Deep State on the assumption that they were trying to sabotage whatever President Trump was trying to accomplish from the inside.

There are about 7,000 federal government jobs that are filled by people who get political appointments from the White House (jobs listed in something called The Plum Book). These are higher level jobs at the government agencies and they are to some extent political jobs with little job security. The other two-plus million federal employees/Deep Staters are park rangers, air traffic controllers, and meat inspectors, to name a few of their numerous occupations. As federal employees they have some job protections that prevent them from being fired by a new President who thinks they are part of some conspiracy.

Next Wednesday, April 3rd, some of the best work by the Deep State takes effect. Nine government agencies have completed the arduous “regulatory process” for implementing a policy ordered by President Biden that protects the rights of people receiving benefits funded by the federal governmentThe new rule, as it is called by the bureaucrats, will affect those receiving help from the many social service providers that are faith-based and will ensure that those providers cannot withhold help based on religious belief or lack of one, or require beneficiaries to participate in any religious activity in order to receive help. So if you are in line for a bag of food at a food bank run by a church using a federal grant, they can’t preach to you or ask you to say a prayer.

One of the key protections is a requirement that organizations receiving federal grants for social service programs must inform beneficiaries of their right to not be discriminated against on the basis of their religious beliefs. The rule also restores some religious freedom protections that were rescinded by the Trump administration that affected people seeking job search and job training assistance, housing services, and continuing education.

Getting the new 187-page rule in place took a long time and a lot of work by people in these nine agencies. It’s called the regulatory process because it is a process with many steps including a public comment period, and if you don’t follow the process you end up getting taken to court by those who don’t like what you’re trying to accomplish. Thanks to everyone here who used our action alert during the public comment period to weigh in.

Back to the Deep State: There is a major effort at conservative groups like the Heritage Foundation to use an executive order by the next Republican president to strip civil servants of their job protections, fire tens of thousands of them, and replace them with, to put it charitably, conservatives who will change the face of the federal workforce for the worse. And they are already putting together a list of those job candidates. It’s called Project 2025. Trump and conservatives were totally unprepared to govern in 2017. They want this time to be different.

If this sounds far-fetched, it is exactly what Trump tried to implement at the end of his term in office. He created a new category of federal employment, Schedule F, that would have changed the status of many federal employees so that they could be fired much more easily. Biden reversed it.

To put a bow on this, there is little interest and even less sympathy for federal workers. In a survey I can’t link to that asked people to rank how they feel about various faiths and institutions, the federal government is right near the bottom. Some of the others, for example, were the military, Christians, unions, the middle class, people on welfare, and big business. I remembered this because atheists were right there at the bottom too. If Trump wins, he’s coming for the federal workforce and for regulations like the one taking effect Wednesday. The new federal workforce would work to implement his version of religious freedom which is freedom to discriminate against non-Christians and to proselytize at food banks.


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