The Blank Check Protection Program: a Religious Experience

Photograph by Nathaniel St. Clair

The hatred of female bodily autonomy and a love of free government money…… damn, but those venn diagrams rarely intersect in such a predictable manner. I’ll admit it, sometimes my theories make me look more like Charlie from “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” pinning up notes connecting it all with red yarn, but this time? Well, judge for yourself. Really there’s not much of a conspiracy here–that would imply something is hidden. It’s not hidden at all.

This is the link compiled by Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission giving the donation totals for those individuals and entities that funded the ill-fated “Value Them Both” anti-abortion amendment put to the voters in the state of Kansas this summer.

The amounts are shocking, but perhaps the most astounding numbers are the five separate donations from the Archdiosese of Kansas City, Kansas. The amounts are as follows: $1,250,000, $850,000, $380,000, $350,000, and yet another $350,000. In excess of 3 million dollars spent, not on charity, not on helping infants be fed, not on paying for obstetrical care. No, this was over 3 million spent trying to get Kansans to allow a path for the Republican legislature to deny reproductive freedoms. When I saw this colossal amount of cash, I had to marvel at the donations that individuals must have extended to the church. And I wondered how many must have left their estates to the church to allow such a large amount of money to be used in such a manner. This, by an institution that I imagine is financially taxed not by the government, but financially taxed by having to pay out an awful lot of lawsuits for some downright horrifying criminal behavior.

But then another bit of shared information came out from ProPublica and it shed a little light on the situation.

This website allows you to put in a zip code or a name and find out how much debt was forgiven by the covid driven PPP for different entities. This program was enacted ostensibly to funnel money into the payroll necessary to keep people employed during the pandemic. Shockingly, much of the money went to businesses that shouldn’t have had a hard hit during the pandemic, other than perhaps a bit more protective equipment needed to do the job (for instance nursing homes–they didn’t quit having residents and had no hit from a lack of elective surgeries, yet they had their coffers filled by the program in many instances). Now don’t get me wrong, many definitely did take a real hit during the semi-shutdown. The question here is if there is any oversight as to what was actually done with that money that was supposed to go to payroll? And even if payroll was maintained, did it go to the rank and file–or the top…. whose payroll was maintained? Lots of questions without any answers to speak of yet. This program is starting to look like a grift of epic proportions…and all fairly under the radar. The lack of scrutiny has been alarming, especially in the wake of the “oh my god, don’t get rid of 0.000001 of the student loan debt or you will lose all moral hazard!”

I am a little concerned about the lack of moral hazard involved in forgiving the PPP debts of churches, many with an anti-mask agenda. What’s to keep them from getting everyone sick all the time if they can have their debts tossed out like that from similar behavior? Where’s the moral hazard there, I ask you?

So where am I going with this? Where does the red yarn intersect? I’ll just give you one instance among many. That Archdiosese of Kansas City, Kansas that I referred to earlier….the one with 3 million burning a hole in their fancy man (but we hate trans people) dress pocket. Yeah, now you see where I’m going with this baby. How much PPP was forgiven for this entity? $1,438,135 (on a 1,425,700 debt–can’t have them pay even that paltry interest that accrued)–this was forgiven on 2/18/2021 and just 2 days later………….well another $1,562,685 was forgiven (on $1,556,115)–again, these debts that get forgiven don’t seem to have the same high interest at play that student debt borrowers are contending with. What I don’t get is this–they were obviously going to forgive all of it, why not say the interest was set at 400%?  It’s all pretend anyway. But no, they have to be insulting even with the pretend money having low interest rates.

That particular example shows that by getting bailed out during the pandemic, the group had enough walkin’ ‘round money to try to wipe out reproductive freedom in the state of Kansas. They take in all that sweet government money, but never pay a dime in taxes. What a deal. They didn’t have to worry about payroll or dip into any of their vatican treasures. We as taxpayers had to foot that bill. Glad to be a cog in the machinery of theocracy.

So all the while the churches take in funds–passing around hats, plates and ideas who you can bequeath that will to…they aren’t saving that money to help others when things get bad or to even help themselves through a rough patch. No, they are pocketing that money and using government funds up–all to make our bad situation worse in an attempt to steal freedoms away for half the population.

But we have separation of church and state, don’t you know?

Kathleen Wallace writes out of the US Midwest. Her writing is collected on her Substack page.