Leaked Draft Of Trump Religious Freedom Executive Order Causes Concern [UPDATE]

UPDATE: 11:58 a.a.: Here is a copy of the draft of the Trump Religious Freedom Executive Order. The White House says it does not deny that his is a draft of the Trump executive order.

A copy of a Trump “religious freedom” executive order has been leaked, titled “Establishing a Government-Wide Initiative to Respect Religious Freedom.” If signed, the order would allow employers to discriminate against anyone or anything they say violates their personal religious beliefs. In particular, this would challenge reproductive rights, sexual preference, and same-sex marriage.

Many people see Mike Pence as the pilot behind decisions of religious freedom, but in the Trump administration, it doesn’t end there, says the Inquisitr. Pence was previously the governor of Indiana, where he enforced some of the strictest abortion laws in the country. He also has strong feelings about teaching creationism in public school science classes. But also on board with this type of religious freedom order is Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, who came down on the side of Hobby Lobby when it came to refusing to provide birth control to employees.

According to the Nation, a four-page document called “Establishing a Government-Wide Initiative to Respect Religious Freedom” is making the rounds amongst federal staff. The document outlines protections for those who refuse to make professional decisions that violate their personal religious beliefs.


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Some of the things the draft would protect against are aversions to same-sex marriage, trans identity, premarital sex, and abortion. It also seeks to curtail access to contraception and abortion primarily through the Affordable Care Act.

When asked about this particular religious freedom leaked draft, Trump Press Secretary Sean Spicer commented that given the flood of executive orders, he was addressing them as they were signed. He is taking an out of sight, out of mind approach.

“I’m not getting ahead of the executive orders that we may or may not issue. There is a lot of executive orders, a lot of things that the president has talked about and will continue to fulfill, but we have nothing on that front now.”

But Marty Lederman, a professor at Georgetown Law Center, says that the religious order as leaked would violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution.

“This executive order would appear to require agencies to provide extensive exemptions from a staggering number of federal laws—without regard to whether such laws substantially burden religious exercise.”

Without getting too far into constitutional law, Trump’s religious order as written will overwhelm the Supreme Court with cases of civil rights violations.

“Moreover, the exemptions would raise serious First Amendment questions, as well, because they would go far beyond what the Supreme Court has identified as the limits of permissive religious accommodations. It would be astonishing if the Office of Legal Counsel certifies the legality of this blunderbuss order.”

The Huffington Post says that the Trump religious freedom executive order will not force citizens to “violate their conscience” when it comes to protecting their own personal religious beliefs. Oddly enough, the order uses the word respect, yet critics say that it will allow one group to disrespect another, using religious beliefs as a sword and a shield.

Chad Griffin, the president of the LGBT civil rights organization Human Rights Campaign, calls this Trump religious order “sweeping and dangerous.”

“It reads like a wishlist from some of the most radical anti-equality activists. If true, it seems this White House is poised to wildly expand anti-LGBTQ discrimination across all facets of the government.”

Others are suggesting that the Trump administration is trying to hide a personal agenda behind the guise of religious freedom.

Do you think this leaked religious freedom executive order will be signed by President Trump anytime soon?

[Featured Image by Scott Olson/Getty Images]