Shoutout to the Trump administration for being consistently awful. Less than a day after Attorney General Jeff Session reversed Obama-era protections against workplace discrimination for transgender people, he’s decided that when it rains bigotry, it pours bigotry. Today, he issues a sweeping memo that instructs agencies to do as much as possible to protect the religious liberty of individuals and employers—civil rights for gay people be damned.
According to the memo’s 20 “principles,” employers should be able to hire only “persons whose belief and conduct are consistent with the employer’s religious precepts.” In other words, if you don’t like gay people or even have a problem with unmarried moms, you have reason to fire them, because what is separation of church and state under Trump? It’s a shocking move that has already been denounced by religious leaders. The principles “don’t represent the essence of what it means to be true people of faith,” said Fred Davie, a Presbyterian minister and Vice President of the Union Theological Seminary in New York. “They don’t represent the essence of what it means to be Christian.”
The Trump administration wasn’t content to just maintain religious freedom when it comes to job placement. They also issued a sweeping rollback of birth control protections that had been put in place by President Obama back when America cared about equality. The Department of Health and Human Services and other federal agencies have given the green light to employers to claim religious or moral objection to providing their employees with birth control.
While this one-two punch may come as a shock, civil rights groups have been preparing for these ordinances for months and are already taking the decisions to court. “The Trump Administration is forcing women to pay for their boss’s religious beliefs,” said ACLU senior staff attorney Brigitte Amiri. “We’re filing this lawsuit because the federal government cannot authorize discrimination against women in the name of religion or otherwise.”
We’ll have to wait and see what other attacks on women and the LGBTQ community roll out of the Oval Office but, in the meantime, all we can do is fight back against our national nightmare.