During his race for the White House, Donald Trump made a lot of promises.
Among them was his vow to protect “religious liberty” and the millions of Americans who believe that their religious freedom had either been threatened or attacked under Barack Obama’s presidency.
That’s the so-called rationale now being used to explain why 51 members of the House, all Republicans, who want President Trump to make good on his promise by scaling back our country’s former president’s orders prohibiting discrimination against gays and lesbians in the federal workforce or by federal contractors.
But there’s more. In that same executive order, one which while drafted February 2017, has never been signed, much to the chagrin of his same-party colleagues, by President Trump, our Republican defenders of “traditional American values” included other life-changing nuances: eliminating the contraceptive mandate that requires religious institutions to provide health insurance for birth control; allowing doctors to refuse to perform abortions based on religion; and allowing protections for religious non-profits to express political opinions without losing their tax-exempt status.
Trump has said he wants to find a happy medium — middle ground, if you will — at least for now. And while he refuses to speak about this in public, it’s said he’s still working toward shoring up those highly valued “religious liberties” that many Republican members of Congress and those who voted for Trump continue to exalt and for which they continue to clamor.
Who knew that religious freedom would give citizens the ability to both discriminate against others with whom they disagree or who march to a different drumbeat that they simply cannot stomach and yet still be adhering to the law?
Is discrimination against the “other” — like LGBT Americans or pro-abortion women what constitutes the all-American perspective for which we should all fight — with religious conservatives and fundamentalists leading the way?
We don’t believe so. In fact, we contend that discrimination in any form violates one’s rights as an American citizen and is unjustifiable — even if one’s holding a dog-eared copy of their King James Bible firmly in their grasp.
Once again, we see efforts by those who are hellbent on turning back the clock for millions of citizens who have fought long and hard for their rights — rights which, for some, have just recently been received.
Surely this is not what Mr. Trump had in mind when he said he wanted to “make America great again.”