Trump’s ‘Religious Liberty’ Executive Order Will Protect Discrimination

Despite reports that President Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office have been largely influenced by members of his administration like Jared Kushner and Steve Bannon, Vice President Mike Pence has seemingly managed to convince Trump to advance one of his key agendas.

This week Trump signed yet another executive order; this one, however, aims to protect supposed “religious liberty.” The four-page order, simply put, intends to roll back certain civil rights protections by permitting discrimination on a religious basis.

The executive order states that “any organization, including closely held for-profit corporations” will be covered under this new policy. It goes so far as to explicitly state that this extends to situations involving “social services, education, or healthcare.”

The intentions behind this order are hardly a mystery: The policy permits conservative Christians to discriminate against those living lifestyles they disapprove of, such as LGBT individuals, as they see fit.

This order will also clearly impact women’s rights, such as access to abortion and birth control.

Readers may recall the lawsuit leveled against Hobby Lobby several years ago, in which the craft store chain wished to sidestep a provision of the Affordable Care Act that stated employers must fund contraceptives for workers. The case eventually rose to the U.S. Supreme Court, where it was ruled that Hobby Lobby — and subsequently, other private corporations — could be exempt from this section of the ACA.

With Trump’s “religious liberty” executive order, it seems likely Hobby Lobby’s policies will soon be replicated en masse.

Though these implications are troubling, there are a number of other entirely possible scenarios that may come about as a result of this executive order. Not only was this executive order drafted with malicious intent, but it is also dangerously myopic in nature.

What happens when a landlord opts to evict a couple because they are living together out of wedlock? Can a Jewish manager fire an employee for eating a ham sandwich during their lunch break? Will Catholic restaurant owners be permitted to turn away Protestant patrons? Will Muslim-owned stores be allowed to refuse Christian customers?

Regardless of the transparent aims of this order — to give conservative Christians special treatment — it opens up a major can of worms that Pence and company will likely not want to handle.

These issues are not lost on everyone in the religious community, however. An open letter signed by 1,300 faith leaders from a variety of backgrounds argues that religious freedom is fundamental to American society.

It is currently in vogue to criticize other countries and cultures for their religious intolerance, however, the United States now has an executive branch dominated by individuals who are making highly concerning moves toward instilling their own version of something strikingly similar.

This country has traveled a rocky and sometimes difficult road to reach today’s level of tolerance and acceptance –- to reverse course at this point would be foolish and run entirely counter to the values that define American society.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

90 comments

Marie W
Marie W1 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill1 years ago

No, it restores our religious liberties! It protects the Christians who have been the subject of attack for the last 8 years!

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Carl R
Carl R1 years ago

Thanks!!!

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Carl R
Carl R1 years ago

Thanks!!!

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Jennifer H
Jennifer H1 years ago

But you can be Rump will be receiving his Viagra prescriptions.

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william Miller
william Miller1 years ago

thanks

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Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeld1 years ago

David Y.,
I do not feel that we should limit anyone's free speech just because their audience will attribute more weight to their words. We either allow it or we do not.

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Karen H
Karen H1 years ago

What these "deeply religious" people don't want to accept is that "freedom of religion" applies to ALL religions. A group succeeded in getting a Wiccan symbol approved for graves in Arlington National Cemetery. You can gripe all you want, but if you have to have your cross, someone else can have their own religious symbol. Amanda M, we call them C&E Christians because they only go to church on Christmas and Easter.

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Amanda M
Amanda M1 years ago

To Twitler and the Religious Reich, religious freedom has a little asterisk beside it that means "as long as you're Christian!" In other words, it gives the Christian majority carte blanche to force their religious beliefs on everybody whether they want the Christians to do so or not. UGH! When are these CHINOs (Christians In Name Only) going to wake the hell up and realize that their right to practice their religion stops where a non-Christian's right to live free FROM their Christian religion starts? This ruling will cause the CHINOs to declare open season on anybody they don't like (Jews, Muslims, women, LGBTs, Wiccans, Pagans, agnostics, atheists, and "nones" are a few examples that spring readily to mind). It is NOT going to be pretty!

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David Youmans
David Youmans1 years ago

Dan...

"How does this differ from union bosses telling the rank and file how to vote?"

How does it differ? The difference is huge Dan.

A minister is SUPPOSED to be a representative of God. Especially when he's in that church, standing at the pulpit. This puts the things he says when he's there in a far different status, than the things said by a union boss.

That's why a minister should never be allowed to preach politics from the pulpit. As a minister, his words carry extra weight with his parishioners. Especially standing at the pulpit.

There's a subconscious need to do what the man at the pulpit of your church tells you to do, that should never, ever be abused in such a way...

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