Religious conservatives are not happy that President Trump is upholding Obama’s executive order that bars federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT people. According to a source speaking to Buzz Feed, Christian groups are criticizing President Trump for reneging on his campaign promises to expand religious freedom.
For instance, religious groups like Catholic Charities were looking to only serve as adoption agencies for straight couples and not their same-sex counterparts. If President Trump had upturned the order, they would have been able to seek exemptions as federal contractors which would allow them to hire or fire LGBT people, citing their religious inclinations.
Republican Steve Russell argued that the executive order signed by former President Obama prevented Christian companies with federal contracts from making faith-driven decisions about who they employed. The Congressman, who sponsored legislation towards this in 2016, said he had received “very good assurances,” from the Trump camp about more religious liberty, but was not sure what would happen now.
The Republican president had promised to sign a bill that would protect businesses and people that acted based on religious beliefs and objected same-sex marriages. In 2015, Kim Davis a county clerk in Kentucky had defied a U.S. federal court and refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
The 51-year-old was jailed for five days. President Trump’s decision to leave the executive order untouched will frustrate law firms like Liberty Counsel who stood staunchly behind Davis’ decision to deny marital licenses because of her faith and hoped Trump would protect them.
A source speaking to CNN revealed President Trump had made the exemption after promising to repeal Obama’s executive orders amid overwhelming pressure from LGBT activists. The order which was signed in 2014 by the former president protects discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. The order was amended to include the LGBTQ community after prior orders from President Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton neglected them.
Sean Spicer had been asked during his first daily briefing if President Trump would repeal LGBT protections. The White House press secretary had replied that he had no idea. Soon after, the Human Rights Campaign had issued a statement alleging that an anti-LGBT executive order had been drafted inside the White House and was closed to being implemented. This drew plenty of outrage and condemnation.
Donald Trump had campaigned to be a “real friend” to the LGBT community before the elections. He was also the first Republican presidential nominee to acknowledge the gay community in his acceptance speech. The White House eventually issued a statement through the New York Times, saying that President Trump remained deeply respectful and supportive of LGBTQ rights, just as he was during the elections.
“President Trump continues to be respectful and supportive of LGBTQ rights, just as he was throughout the election. The president is proud to have been the first ever GOP nominee to mention the LGBTQ community in his nomination acceptance speech, pledging to protect the community from violence and oppression.”
However, President Trump’s allegiance with the LGBTQ community has not exactly been smooth sailing. His pick of Mike Pence, the Indiana governor as his vice-president proved alarming because of his bloated anti-LGBT record. His pick for attorney general, Jeff Sessions twice voted against hate crimes now he would now be expected to implement, once he is confirmed.
Two prominent Christian conservative groups argue that Obama erred by creating protected classes for the LGBT. They further pointed out that his order based on gender identity and sexual orientation was not explicitly recognized by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. According to them, Trump “made a mistake” by maintaining the nondiscrimination order.
The LGBT order is not the only thing that religious conservatives are criticizing the president about. When President Trump signed the executive order imposing a ban on travelers and refugees from Muslim dominated countries, he said he would give preference to Christian minorities. The President of the United States of America was speaking on the Christian Broadcasting Network on Friday.
A spectrum of clergymen has since slammed the president’s executive order as heartless, ill-advised and highly discriminatory. The reactions are coming from Roman Catholic, evangelical and foremost Protestant leaders who are proactive when it comes to providing succor to Christians persecuted worldwide.
The religious leaders say that by giving Christians precedence over Muslims, the executive order pits Islam against Christianity. The leaders added that preventing refugees from entering the county for over four months was only punishing people who had already suffered so much.
[Featured Image by Matt Rourke/AP Images]