Here comes the Christian Oppression™. Unlike the Spanish Inquisition, the Christian Oppression of everyone they don’t like is always to be expected. The religious reich pushed hard for this, and of course, the Tiny Tyrant is going to grant their wish, always willing to pander to religious extremists. Thankfully, there are a good many sensible theists who are very opposed to this EO, who not only think it’s unnecessary, but would be violating the constitution. Unfortunately, violating the constitution is something Donny seems to revel in. Here’s hoping this mechanism for promoting vile bigotry, hate, and cruel oppression will be successfully challenged and kicked to the gutter, where it belongs.
News broke Tuesday afternoon that president Donald Trump is preparing an executive order on “religious liberty” that is expected to offer exemptions for people who claim religious objections to same-sex marriage, abortion, transgender identity, and premarital sex.
There’s just one catch: many faith leaders already oppose it.
According to POLITICO, Trump administration officials are planning to unveil the new order on Thursday to coincide with the National Day of Prayer. Details of the order are still under wraps, but the text is reportedly similar to an alleged draft leaked to The Nation on February 1. That draft purported to require government agencies to grant sweeping religious exemptions to people and organizations that reject same-sex marriage and other things on religious grounds — regardless of whether faith-fueled disagreement is “compelled by, or central to, a system of religious belief.”
At the time, conservative-leaning faith groups such as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops urged Trump to sign the draft order, saying it was a “positive step toward allowing all Americans to be able to practice their faith without severe penalties from the federal government.” Russell Moore, head of the Southern Baptist Convention’s political arm, also encouraged the president to sign on.
But religious freedom experts and other faith leaders were quick to raise questions about whether its provisions were lawful. Rabbi David Saperstein, who recently ended his tenure as U.S. religious freedom ambassador for the State Department, told members of Congress in February he believes the proposed order poses “significant constitutional problems.”
“I think it raises very serious equal protection issues,” he said, noting that the leaked draft could allow government contractors the ability to refuse services based on their religious beliefs.
Saperstein’s concern was echoed by a chorus of clergy two weeks later, when a full-page ad decrying the draft appeared in the pages of POLITICO. The ad, which was signed by more than 1,300 faith leaders, blasted the order for “enshrining one [conservative] religious perspective” above others.
“Although it purports to strengthen religious freedom, what this order would actually do is misuse this freedom, turning it into a weapon to discriminate against broad swaths of our nation, including LGBTQ people, women, and children in foster care,” it read. “We urge you to turn away from all proposals that would abuse religious freedom, including any executive orders on this issue that are currently under consideration.”