Once Again, Discriminatory Executive Order Is Why No One’s Sorry for Calling Trump Voters Bigots
We’ve heard a whole lot about trying to understand Trump voters and their concerns since the election, but the more time goes by, the more evidence we see that we either understood them or what they were voting for better than they did themselves. This week, that evidence comes in the form of a supposed “religious liberty” executive order that would allow for discrimination under the guise of one’s religion.
We’ve even talked about this very thing in the past, before Trump even took office. Legislators felt emboldened by his election win to introduce a First Amendment Defense Act that would allow people to discriminate and use their religion as an excuse to get away with it. There was still no real hope that law would make it through the legislative process, though Donald Trump had promised to sign it if it did, in one of the clearest examples from the campaign that anyone who believed he’d hold the line against discrimination was delusional.
Now, it appears he’s trying to circumvent the legislative process altogether and get it done himself with an executive order, which isn’t surprising when Congressional Republicans can’t even manage to make good (make bad?) on their years-long promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act. It’s unknown what exactly the executive order will do, but Politico has been told that it’ll be fairly similar to a much earlier version leaked way back at the beginning of February.
In it, Trump uses his executive powers to direct all executive branch agencies to consider “any act or refusal to act that is motivated by a sincerely held religious belief, whether or not the act is required or compelled by, or central to, a system of religious belief” as being exempt from law under the principle of religious freedom. It’s an incredibly broad way to define religious freedom that could allow people to, say, refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Of course, as Trump has learned the hard way so far, executive orders still have to be legal themselves, and the ACLU has already pledged that they will sue if Trump signs the order and put out a short explainer video on the difference between practicing a religion and discriminating and what can come of blurring that line:
Trump is expected to sign “license to discriminate” order. (We’ll sue). Here’s explainer about what that means. https://t.co/Gexs4s6wIH
— ACLU National (@ACLU) May 3, 2017
In the past, proponents of such “religious freedom” rules have tried to claim, for instance, that same-sex couples should just go get a wedding cake elsewhere rather than buy one from someone who hates them, but that’s not the point. This kind of religious freedom defense has been used for racial discrimination in the past, and it is positively surreal to see it trotted out again as though it’s a legitimate argument—until you remember that many people still around today aren’t thrilled with the way that issue was settled. Even John McCain and Mitt Romney were against this kind of thing.
This is why we’re not sorry. We knew this was coming. We knew that a vote for Trump was a vote for an increase bigotry and discrimination, and we were told we were just playing “identity politics.” This policy was on his campaign website; this is a feature, not a bug, and voting for it was bigotry, pure and simple. Good luck and godspeed, ACLU.
(image: Torbakhopper on Flickr)
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