Monday, April 24, 2017

Congressional Republicans Push for "Religious Liberty" Executive Order

With no legislative accomplishments in the first almost 100 days of the Trump/Pence regime despite Republican control of Congress and the White House, a move is again afoot to push through a falsely described "religious freedom" executive order which would, in effect, allow right wing Christians to ignore non-discrimination laws and target members of the LGBT community and perhaps cohabitating unmarried couples, women on contraception and even non-Christians for discrimination. The movement underscores the bankruptcy of Trump/the GOP that a rushed executive order to legalize discrimination - at least until a court strikes it down - would be viewed as an "accomplishment" by  Christofascists and the core of the GOP Base.  A piece in USA Today looks at this latest foul effort:
Dozens of Republican lawmakers are asking President Trump to scale back Obama-era protections for gays and lesbians in order to make good on a campaign promise to protect religious liberty.
In early February, Trump was reportedly considering an executive order that would reverse former president Barack Obama's orders prohibiting discrimination against gays and lesbians in the federal workforce or by federal contractors. But the order was never signed.
A group of 51 members of the House wrote to Trump this month to "request that you sign the draft executive order on religious liberty, as reported by numerous outlets on February 2, 2017, in order to protect millions of Americans whose religious freedom has been attacked or threatened over the last eight years." The letter has not been publicly released but was obtained by USA TODAY.
[O]n Monday, a senior White House official told USA TODAY that some sort of policy to protect religious liberty is still in the works, but that the president is trying to find middle ground. The official did not want to publicly discuss a policy that is still under development.
Beyond the workforce protections, the widely circulated draft order would have eliminated the contraceptive mandate that requires religious institutions to provide health insurance for birth control. Republicans lawmakers are also pushing for the order to allow for doctors to refuse to perform abortions based on religion. They also want to see protections for religious non-profits to be able to express political opinions without losing their tax-exempt status.
The letters signatories, all men except for Missouri Rep. Vicky Hartzler, include some of the Republican caucus’ most conservative members.  A similar letter was sent by Senate Republicans earlier this month.
[N]ot everyone sees religious liberty protections as necessary or even positive. Laura Durso of the progressive Center for American Progress told USA TODAY that freedom of religion is already protected by the First Amendment and any efforts to get additional protections will create "a license to discriminate across a wide range of federal programs."
JoDee Winterhof,  senior vice president for policy and political affairs at the Human Rights Campaign, an LGBTQ advocacy organization, said if Trump went forward with the leaked order it would “allow an unprecedented expansion of tax-payer funded discrimination.”

As I have sad before, if one is LGBT and votes Republicans, it's akin to a early 1920's German Jew voting for the Nazi Party.  It is insanity and self-destructive.  If I am hurting feelings, I am not sorry. It is far past time for "gay Republicans" to stop deluding themselves and focus their votes and money on defeating every Republican elected official. 

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