First Amendment Defense Act Promotes Christian Theocracy

First Amendment Defense Act Promotes Christian Theocracy December 21, 2016

With Trump in office, Republicans promise to pass the First Amendment Defense Act, moving the nation closer to a Christian theocracy.

The First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) is a draconian policy advocated by conservative Christian extremists eager to install a de facto Christian theocracy. The legislation is designed to be a vehicle to allow Christian conservatives the legal ability to discriminate against those who do not share their conservative Christian values.

For example, FADA explicitly promotes anti-LGBT discrimination by providing special protections for people who wish to claim their religious faith prohibits them from performing certain acts, including baking a cake for a same-sex wedding, or allowing a child to be adopted by a same-sex couple.

In addition, FADA would allow discrimination against single mothers, unwed couples, interfaith couples, and interracial couples. In fact, the policy is so broad that one could refuse to marry two short people if their view against short people marrying is a “sincerely held religious belief.”

While Obama was president, the legislation was not taken seriously, because everyone knew Obama would not sign the bill into law. However, emboldened by the election of Trump, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Senator Mike Lee of Utah told Buzzfeed earlier this month that they plan to reintroduce the legislation. The lawmakers said that with with a Republican-controlled House and Senate, as well as the backing of President-elect Donald Trump, they believe the legislation will now succeed in becoming law.

They might be right. In a little noticed press release issued late in the campaign, Trump pledged his support for the First Amendment Defense Act. Trump’s pledge to support FADA strengthened and reinforced his position among white evangelicals, who would prove to be crucial in his 2016 electoral victory.

In the statement, issued September 22 and titled “Issues Of Importance To Catholics,” Trump promised to protect sincerely held religious beliefs. In the statement Trump declared:

If I am elected president and Congress passes the First Amendment Defense Act, I will sign it to protect the deeply held religious beliefs of Catholics and the beliefs of Americans of all faiths.

Jennifer Pizer, Law and Policy Director at Lambda Legal, told NBC that FADA “invites widespread, devastating discrimination against LGBT people” and is a deeply unconstitutional bill, noting:

This proposed new law violates both Equal Protection and the Establishment Clause by elevating one set of religious beliefs above all others. And by targeting LGBT Americans as a group, contrary to settled constitutional law.

Piza continued:

There cannot be even one iota of doubt that this bill endorses one set of religious beliefs above others, and targets people in same-sex relationships, married or not, as well as unmarried heterosexual couples who live together. It’s an unconstitutional effort to turn the clock back to a time when unmarried mothers had to hide in shame, and LGBT people had to hide, period.

Piza is correct. FADA is clearly an attempt to legitimize and promote conservative Christian bigotry, while giving Christians legal permission to discriminate against  those who do not share their conservative Christian values.

Bottom line: FADA is nothing but a thinly veiled attempt to move the nation closer to a Christian theocracy, a move Trump seems more than happy to make.

Donald Trump  (Image via Gage Skidmore)
Donald Trump (Image via Gage Skidmore)


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