Conservative Christians celebrate new guidelines allowing taxpayer funded discrimination in the name of “religious freedom.”
Late last week Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued new instructions to federal agencies giving government workers, federal contractors, and others legal permission to ignore federal bans on discrimination against women and LGBT people.
The Daily Beast reports on the new guidelines:
… the guidance takes the most pro-right-wing and anti-women/anti-LGBT interpretation of the constitution and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). As a result, the federal government will not prosecute religious organizations for discriminating in the hiring and firing of employees (even those whose work has nothing to do with religion, from hospital janitors to cafeteria cooks), will not take action against businesses who turn way gay customers (or anyone else), and will allow government-funded adoption and foster agencies to refuse to place children with gay families.
In addition to the new guidelines allowing taxpayer funded discrimination in the name of “religious freedom,” last week the Trump administration also cancelled the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate. The action takes effect immediately, and will allow virtually any employer to deny women birth control coverage for “religious reasons.”
Taken together, the two actions in the name of so-called “religious liberty” represents a huge victory to hateful conservative Christians who wish to penalize and stigmatize women, gays, and other minorities who fail to conform to their narrow and bigoted world view.
The following is a sample of the joyous reactions as conservative Christians celebrate their new found power to hurt those that fail to share their particular religious superstitions:
While the Obama administration quarantined religious beliefs as if they are a plague — the Trump administration is restoring our First Freedom to where it’s belonged since the founding of our country. Federal agencies are on notice: you will not only respect the freedom of every American to believe, but the free exercise of religion.
Tony Perkins, president, Family Research Council
We commend President Trump for instructing Attorney General Jeff Sessions to send a strong message to the rest of America that religious freedom must be protected. The President has reversed the Obama-era policies and committed to protecting and promoting the religious freedom upon which this nation was founded. The Department of Justice must now vigorously enforce all Americans’ civil right of free exercise of religious liberty. This is an extremely positive step in the right direction.
Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel
The American Family Association is heartened to see strong action taken on two issues that have long troubled those with closely held religious beliefs. No one should be forced to either pay for a service or perform a service that violates their faith. AFA thanks President Trump for his continued commitment to religious freedom, and for the real and tangible ways his administration is creating policies to protect Americans’ constitutionally granted liberties.
American Family Association President Tim Wildmon
The Obama administration’s repeated violations of conscience were deeply contrary to the core of our nation, which was built on the foundation of respect for the individual freedoms of the people and deeply held religious beliefs. We thank President Trump for fulfilling a core promise to voters of faith and conscience who elected him.
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president, Susan B. Anthony List
The story should be that this is a president who is truly committed to liberty. He is committed to America, and he is working to keep his word to the American people. That is incredibly honorable and noble.
Penny Nance, president and CEO, Concerned Women for America
All Americans should have the freedom to peacefully live and work consistent with their faith without fear of government punishment. The guidance that the Trump administration issued today helps protect that First Amendment freedom. As CEO of the largest religious freedom legal organization in the world, I commend the president for taking another step to honor his campaign promise to make religious liberty his ‘first priority’ by directing the Department of Justice to issue this guidance, which simply directs the federal government to adhere to its legal and constitutional obligation to respect existing religious freedom protections.
Michael Farris, president, CEO, and general counsel, Alliance Defending Freedom
In short, conservative Christians celebrate their new license to discriminate against anyone as long as they cite a sincere religious belief as a justification for doing so. The new rules represent a profound threat to the secular values upon which this nation was founded, and is yet another indication of the creeping Christian theocracy threatening the United States.
Bottom line: Our long national nightmare continues, and conservative Christians celebrate.