President Donald Trump said liberals want to "silence and punish" Christians during a weekend speech at the Values Voter Summit.
In his fourth appearance at the annual summit hosted by the Family Research Council, Trump railed against the so-called "extreme left" and said Democrats are working to attack religious liberty. He didn't mention the LGBTQ+ community by name, but his 80-minute speech borrowed the rhetoric of extreme right-wing, anti-LGBTQ+ groups
"On every front, the ultra-left is waging war on the values shared by everyone in this room," Trump said in a Saturday address, according to a transcript published by the White House. "They are trying to silence and punish the speech of Christians and religious believers of all faiths. They are trying to use the courts to rewrite the laws, undermine democracy and force through an agenda they cannot pass at the ballot box."
"They are trying to hound you from the workplace, expel you from the public square, weaken the American family, and indoctrinate our children," he added.
The remarks came just days after the Supreme Court heard arguments on whether or not it's legal for workplaces to discriminate based on an employee's sexual orientation or gender identity. A trio of cases heard by justices on October 8 will decide if Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bans discrimination on the basis of sex, also includes bias against LGBTQ+ people.
Arguments in favor of anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination included the need to enforce gender stereotypes because "treating men and women equally does not mean employers have to treat men as women" and that prejudicial treatment on the basis of sexual orientation has nothing to do with sex.
The event's sponsor, which is listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, has worked against legal protections for LGBTQ+ people using similar arguments for decades. Family Research Council pushes so-called "religious liberty" laws that permit employers to discriminate in the name of faith, in addition to supporting conversion therapy and opposing LGBTQ+ inclusive hate crime laws.
Trump's appearance at the Values Voter Summit further cemented his willingness to support virulently anti-LGBTQ+ policies.
"Our shared values are under assault like never before," he said. "Extreme left-wing radicals, both inside and outside government, are determined to shred our constitution and eradicate the beliefs we all cherish. Far-left socialists are trying to tear down the traditions and customs that made America the greatest nation on earth."
The president also said liberals attempt to use the federal courts to push their "fringe ideology and crush... religious liberty." Trump also touted the fact that since he took office in January 2017, his administration has appointed more than 160 judges "to interpret the law as written," including Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. It's unclear how they will vote on the Title VII case.
As Out reported last week, Trump delivered his speech one day after National Coming Out Day.
Transphobia also reared its ugly head elsewhere at the weekend summit. Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert claimed if the Supreme Court were to uphold employment protections for transgender people, it would essentially give way to dictatorship.
Such a ruling would create "such obscurity for right and wrong that it will chaos [sic]," Gohmert said.
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