Trump is determined to grant evangelical bigots the religious freedom to legally discriminate against LGBTQ+ people, and during Pride Month he used the Health and Human Services Department to do the religious right’s dirty work.
When Trump gassed peaceful protestors in Washington D.C. to expedite a church visit, it was for more than staging a simple photo-op. It was a clarion call to his most reliable base that he was moving forward with the evangelicals’ hate-driven agenda to hasten government rule by theocracy.
Holding up the Christian bible looked as uncomfortable for the consummate sinner Trump as touching the U.S. Constitution would have been. However, to his evangelical acolytes the image was reassurance that no matter how chaotic things looked, no matter how many innocent Americans die, or how many millions of jobs were sacrificed, Trump would provide evangelicals the “religious liberty” they demand. It is noteworthy to mention that in religious Republican circles religious liberty means unrestricted authority to control the rest of the population – particularly women and members of the LGBTQ+ community.
No doubt a large number of evangelicals were anxiously awaiting authorization to terrorize members of the LGBTQ+ community with a favorable Supreme Court ruling; one that would literally legalize discrimination against gays and transgender people. Trump standing like a fool holding up the Christian bible was a nod to the evangelicals that their plan for theocracy was going according to schedule of first crushing the LGBTQ community, and then putting women under authority of evangelicals; as soon as Trump’s SCOTUS appointees could begin delivering on Trump’s religious campaign promises.
Although the High Court’s ruling that evangelicals cannot terminate employment based on sexuality was long overdue and the only decision that comports with the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, it certainly riled no small number of evangelical fundamentalists and Republicans. In their twisted theocratic minds not being allowed to openly discriminate against members of the LGBTQ+ community violated their version of “religious freedom.”
Undeterred by a High Court ruling, or the concept of the 14th Amendment’s meaning that discrimination against any American is verboten, Trump said screw SCOTUS and then moved to legalize discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community. On the fourth anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub shooting, Trump’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) officially rolled back healthcare rights for transgender Americans; as if they are not American citizens.
The Trump evangelical plan, as deliberately devised, “effectively excludes transgender and nonbinary people from basic civil rights protections currently guaranteed by federal law and the United States Constitution.”
Some Americans may recall that in December 2017, Trump gave the religious right a precious gift that effectively eliminated transgender people from existence in America. According to the evangelical fundamentalists controlling Trump, transgender is no longer an acceptable identity to receive healthcare services.
Of course, since dirty religious bigots want to deny LGBTQ+ people access to healthcare, Trump is using the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to “narrowly define gender as a biological, immutable conditioned by genitalia at birth.” As noted at Huffington Post, as a special dispensation for the religious right, Trump “erasing transgender as an identity is tantamount to an official government edict declaring there is no such thing as transgender.”
No doubt, the latest move by Trump not only served the religious right cult, he fulfilled the wishes of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). The American bishops were in league with evangelical fundamentalists and were busy “advising” Republicans and parents to reject transgenders as non-existent leading up to Trump’s HHS legalizing discrimination against LGBTQ+ people..
Jennifer Levi is Director of GLAD’s Transgender Rights Project and she stated the obvious – if America was not controlled by vicious evangelicals. Ms. Levi said:
“Unfortunately, the new rule invites health care providers and insurers to turn away transgender people when seeking basic medical care. This is yet another callous policy coming from an administration intent on appeasing the [religious] far-right and ignoring sound legal and medical policies. It’s contrary to established case law, dangerous to transgender people, and can’t survive a legal challenge,”
The DNC Chair Tom Perez said.
“This illegal attack on the health of LGBTQ+ Americans and other marginalized communities is appalling, but tragically unsurprising. Trump and [religious] Republicans have made it their mission to undermine the rights of LGBTQ+ people – in school, at work, at home, in the military, in social services, and in health care. And they will stop at nothing to rip health care away from millions of Americans.” (author bold)
According to the President of the American Medical Association, Susan R. Bailey, Trump’s theocratic edict is contrary to the medical profession’s mandate to treat everyone. Doctor Bailey said:
“Respect for the diversity of patients is a fundamental value of the medical profession and is reflected in long-standing AMA policy opposing discrimination based on race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or a woman’s decisions about pregnancy, including termination. The federal government should never make it more difficult for individuals to access health care – during a pandemic or any other time.” (author bold)
It is noteworthy that religion, and nothing else, is driving this archaic and hateful assault on people who are, as the 14th Amendment makes extremely clear, “citizens of the United States” and protected under the Constitution. It is also noteworthy that nowhere in that 14th Amendment, or the entire Constitution for that matter, is there anything remotely designating any group as exempted from equal rights protections; only Trump, Republicans, racists, and religious cretins believe otherwise.
Trump does not need evangelical support to deny Americans their constitutionally-guaranteed equal rights; he has attacked nearly every demographic in the nation save white evangelicals. It is unclear if this vile turn of events will be struck down by the High Court, but if they protected LGBTQ+ people from employment discrimination, one can only hope they will protect those same people from evangelicals who will deny them medical care..
These religious right Republicans are alleged followers of Christ who wildly cheer for a man who willingly withholds healthcare from American citizens as ardently as they do when he gasses citizens to hold up a bible.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.