Today a copy of Trump’s upcoming executive order rumored to be signed this Thursday, “Establishing a Government-Wide Initiative to Respect Religious Freedom,” was obtained by The Nation. This would allow for almost any group, person, business or government entity to be allowed the right to discriminate against LGBTQ and other people, religions or organizations they feel go against their strongly held religious beliefs.
One of the opening paragraphs in The Nations article says “The four-page draft order, a copy of which is currently circulating among federal staff and advocacy organizations, construes religious organizations so broadly that it covers ‘any organization, including closely held for-profit corporations,’ and protects ‘religious freedom’ in every walk of life: “when providing social services, education, or healthcare; earning a living, seeking a job, or employing others; receiving government grants or contracts; or otherwise participating in the marketplace, the public square, or interfacing with Federal, State or local governments.” (link).
The way the draft document is currently written it specifically protects the tax-exempt status of all organizations that “believes, speaks, or acts (or declines to act) in accordance with the belief that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, sexual relations are properly reserved for such a marriage, male and female and their equivalents refer to an individual’s immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy, physiology, or genetics at or before birth, and that human life begins at conception and merits protection at all stages of life.” I do not believe this will be any different in the final draft that Trump’s lawyers are currently giving a final critical analysis.
I recommend everyone read the entire document at the bottom of the article in The Nation (link) where they have photo copied the entire document and then below have it typed out in its entirety.
The ACLU has already come out in a tweet that Trump can respond to, and I’m sure he’ll respond to it. This isn’t the first E.O. that Trump has issued that will almost immediately have a preliminary injunction slapped on it just as Trump’s immigration band and sanctuary city E.O.
As a 60 year old gay man who has fought to attain equal rights under the U.S. Constitution my whole life, I cannot believe this is happening. Because we do not have equal rights, President Trump along with Vice President Mike Pence have decided to attack anyone who does not conform to their religious beliefs. This truly seems to be an obvious ploy done as retribution for the failure of his healthcare bill and loss to the Democratic Party in the budget agreement to keep the government open.
America has always been a country based on separation of church and state. If this E.O. were allowed to stand it would be a country defined by the church. The country that the founders of this country fled England to escape.
You know I’ll be writing more on this after we see what happens on Thursday. The one thing that will help me sleep tonight and tomorrow night is knowing that the American Civil Liberties Union (@ACLU) and the Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) will be preparing for this event. Knowing that immediate action will be taken during the day on Thursday and that a judge will put a prompt end to this horrendous attack on the rights of Americans. Speak out now on social media or donate to the ACLU (link).