Religious right leaders continue to be thrilled with Donald Trump, telling the Associated Press he’s “the most pro-religious freedom” (read: anti-LGBTQ) and “pro-life president in modern history.”
That particular remark came from Mat Staver, founder and chairman of the homophobic and transphobic legal nonprofit Liberty Counsel, which has been designated a hate group by the liberal Southern Poverty Law Center. And it comes shortly after the conservative LGBTQ group Log Cabin Republicans endorsed Trump for reelection and the president himself claimed that he’s “done very well” by LGBTQ Americans.
Staver told the AP that Trump has achieved about 90 percent of the goals listed by conservative leaders. “In the first two years of his administration, he’s achieved more than all of the presidents combined since Ronald Reagan,” Staver said.
Praise also came from the virulently homophobic, anti-Semitic, and Islamophobic Rev. Robert Jeffress, a Southern Baptist minister. “When he ran in 2016 and promised pro-life, pro-religious freedom policies, most evangelicals who voted for him didn’t know whether he would or could fulfill those promises,” Jeffress said. “When they look back now, they see he checked off all of those goals. ... He’ll win by an even larger margin on basis of promises kept.”
Religious right leaders have been gratified by the Trump administration’s proposal to let companies with federal contracts discriminate against virtually anyone by citing religious objections, something that would put LGBTQ people, single parents, and members of minority faiths particularly at risk. There’s also a rule, now final, allowing health care workers to opt out of procedures that conflict with their religious or moral beliefs, no matter how marginal their involvement in the procedure might be.
Add to that the transgender military ban, revocation of guidelines on equal treatment of trans students in public schools, arguing against LGBTQ rights in the Supreme Court, and more, and it’s up to a huge record of homophobia and transphobia. And on the “life” issue, the administration has now denied funding under the federal law known as Title X to any health care provider that so much as mentions abortion.
Under the Trump administration, “every day is Christmas” for the religious right, Rachel Laser, president and CEO of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, told the AP. This is harmful to many Americans, she said.
“It can’t be religious freedom just for white evangelical Christians — it has to be religious freedom for all of us,” she said. “We’re witnessing divisiveness as Trump and his cronies and religious extremists across the country continue to chip away at church-state separation.”
GLAAD tweeted the following in response to the AP article.