On Thursday morning, President Donald Trump signed an executive order dubbed a new “faith initiative” to mark the National Day of Prayer.
LGBT advocates blasted the initiative, accusing the President of weaponizing religious liberty to discriminate against sexual minorities.
The new order will create a panel that will try to resolve “religious liberty” issues as they appear across the federal government.
As president, I will always protect religious liberty,
Trump told reporters during the Rose Garden ceremony.
Under the new order, religious entities will gain equal access to federal money and equal right to express their “deeply held beliefs,” the President explained.
However, LGBT advocates were irked by the moniker “deeply held beliefs” because the term has been already used by religious persons and faith-based groups to deny service to gays and lesbians.
The LGBT community is concerned that Trump’s latest move would encourage people to discriminate against its members on religious freedom grounds with the federal government’s nod.
LGBT Advocates Deeply Concerned about the Religious Liberty Order
LGBT advocate Camilla Taylor from Lambda Legal expressed concern that the order could become an open invitation to “discrimination in the name of religion.” Taylor added that the new initiative would blatantly “facilitate discrimination.”
The “faith initiative,” also known as the “White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative,” will be led by an Adviser who works at the White House’s Office of Public Liaison. It wasn’t immediately clear who that Adviser may be.
Under the initiative, the President will receive “recommendations” from religious leaders on various topics including the freedom of religion, “strengthening marriage and family,” and “poverty alleviation.”
Religious leaders will also notify the Attorney General’s office about “perceived” violations of religious freedom protections. Also, federal agencies will have to set up a “point of contact” who will work with the faith advisor on “religious liberty” issues.
Image Source: Army.mil
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