The Trump Administration’s Dangerous Attempt to Redefine Religious Liberty

By Mario Solis Marich


Discrimination through sweeping religious exemptions

On February 1, a leaked draft executive order titled “Establishing a Government-Wide Initiative to Respect Religious Freedom” sparked further concern about the administration’s narrow view of religious liberty. If enacted, the executive order would provide sweeping exemptions from a large number of federal laws covering virtually all areas of life for those people and organizations with a particular set of moral or religious convictions. Namely, if enacted, the order would exempt from federal laws people and organizations, including for-profit businesses, who act on the belief that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, sex is properly reserved for such a marriage, gender is immutable from birth, and/or life begins at conception.
The impact of such an order would be devastating. Millions of workers would be vulnerable to being discriminated against or fired if they did not share these definitions of marriage, gender, and/or family. The government would have no recourse against individuals or organizations using federal dollars and discriminating against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, or LGBT, people; women who have had abortions; people of faith with differing views; and/or their families, whether in government services, housing, health care, homeless shelters, or virtually all other areas of life. The undeniable impact of such language is why a recent Mississippi law with very similar language was fought by many, including faith leaders, and was struck down before it could go into effect.

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