Go ahead: Establish a government-wide initiative to respect religious freedom

Word got out a couple days ago that Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump influenced President Trump to refrain from issuing an executive order titled "Establishing a Government-Wide Initiative to Respect Religious Freedom."

According to The Nation's Sarah Posner:

The draft order seeks to create wholesale exemptions for people and organizations who claim religious or moral objections to same-sex marriage, premarital sex, abortion, and trans identity, and it seeks to curtail women's access to contraception and abortion through the Affordable Care Act.

If I could sit down with Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump, here's what I would say:

One doesn't have to be a card-carrying member of the religious right in order to seek a more equitable, humane balance between LGBT rights and religious liberty.

The quest to discover an ever increasing number of LGBT rights has essentially been a runaway train these last few years.  Things have gone too far, too fast.  From a Fifth Avenue penthouse, that might not seem true, but from just about every other vantage point in America, it certainly does.

The issue is no longer about rights, but about supremacy.  The American public knows this because they experience it – everyone from wedding vendors who are now forced to go against their consciences to students in our schools who have to deal with members of the opposite sex in their bathrooms and locker rooms.  The rights of the majority of Americans who bore no ill toward Ls, Gs, Bs, or Ts suddenly must be made to submit to Ls', Gs', Bs', and Ts' demands.

There has been a well-intended but imprudent rush to legitimize not only same-sex marriage, but gender dysphoria, primarily via judicial fiat.  This has occurred at the speed of light, and in the aftermath, there has been a similar rush to fully normalize and mainstream both while either silencing or punishing those who continue to hold moral and religious objections.

Put aside all the showy rainbow-colored flags and bright equality banners, all the bumper sticker slogans and media pop-culture hype, and what we're left with is this: a society that has too quickly embraced genderless marriage and genderlessness.  And please note: the emphasis in both cases is on less.

In Our Rush to Manufacture More Freedom, We Severely Decrease It

The United States Commission on Civil Rights issued a report last year titled "Peaceful Coexistence: Reconciling Nondiscrimination Principles with Civil Liberties."  When the report was unveiled, the commission's chairman, Martin Castro, said, "The phrases 'religious liberty' and 'religious freedom' ... remain code words for discrimination, intolerance, racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, Christian supremacy, or any form of intolerance."

Again, while Mr. Castro's statement might sound correct from a lofty altitude looking down on Central Park, his statement is an incendiary indictment of thinking and reasoning Americans everywhere else.

More and more, our government seeks to undermine faith and family – the only real barriers between individuals and unbridled, tyrannical government control of our lives.  Yet this is exactly what the leftovers, the Geronimo, bombs away executive orders regarding additional LGBT and "reproductive" rights from former President Obama's administration now confronting President Trump, will achieve.  

Candidate Trump's wonderful appeal to America was the promise of smaller government and decreased government regulation, more prosperity, and more freedom.  Yet by upholding these newly defined rights over and above serious religious freedom concerns, American freedom will decrease under President Trump's term in the White House.

Upholding constitutional rights and the human dignity of those who are same sex-attracted is one thing – a matter of the common good and basic human decency.  Few, if any, would dispute that.  Same-sex marriage is something completely different.  These are unrelated issues, mischievously, masterfully, diabolically conflated – to the point that redefining marriage to include same-sex couples can neither be questioned nor resisted in the public square without calling down a hailstorm of accusations of bigotry and hatred.

The same goes for the unreasonable federally mandated accommodations for those who consider themselves members of the opposite sex.  Less than three one thousandths (0.003) of the population of the United States – just 700,000 people – self-identify as transgendered.  Their numbers are infinitesimal, yet new laws and regulations are unreasonably upending every community from sea to shining sea.

If President Trump wants to increase freedom, the White House needs to come to grips with the fact that there is an unnecessary tyrannical element to the over-extension of unwarranted LGBT and reproductive "rights."

America Needs More Freedom, Not Less

Is America a more rich, diverse, and varied culture if the wisdom of every religious tradition and culture from around the world that has come together in this great melting pot is swept away?  Are genderless marriage and genderlessness meant to supplant the rich tapestry of America? – or to unravel it and reweave it into a monochrome fabric?

Ryan Anderson of the Heritage Foundation has suggested a series of things which a new executive order from the White House might do.  You can read the list here.  He concluded by explaining why this new executive order is so critical (emphasis mine):

It ensures that the government will not discriminate against beliefs that are under assault, and protects religious organizations' right to maintain their mission and identity in their staffing decisions and programming, while not losing the ability to partner with the government.

The executive order also provides specific protections to undo some of the worst of liberal overreach.

It finally and fully protects Americans from having to violate their consciences under the Obamacare abortifacient and contraception mandate. It protects the ability of all Americans to buy health care that doesn't cover or subsidize abortion.

And it protects all Americans who believe that marriage is the union of husband and wife from federal government penalties or coercion.

These protections take nothing away from anyone – they simply ensure that the public square remains open to all religious voices, even when those voices diverge from the government's view on contested questions. They protect diversity and pluralism and tolerance.

None of this should be objectionable – which makes you wonder why liberals are objecting, except to continue the denunciation of "deplorables" that offended Americans of good will last year.

Trump promised while on the campaign trail that he would defend religious freedom. Now is the time to make good on that promise.

America will grow and prosper if burdensome regulations are removed from the books.  Likewise, our culture will prosper if religion and faith are neither suppressed nor oppressed.  Let's keep this the land of the free.

Word got out a couple days ago that Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump influenced President Trump to refrain from issuing an executive order titled "Establishing a Government-Wide Initiative to Respect Religious Freedom."

According to The Nation's Sarah Posner:

The draft order seeks to create wholesale exemptions for people and organizations who claim religious or moral objections to same-sex marriage, premarital sex, abortion, and trans identity, and it seeks to curtail women's access to contraception and abortion through the Affordable Care Act.

If I could sit down with Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump, here's what I would say:

One doesn't have to be a card-carrying member of the religious right in order to seek a more equitable, humane balance between LGBT rights and religious liberty.

The quest to discover an ever increasing number of LGBT rights has essentially been a runaway train these last few years.  Things have gone too far, too fast.  From a Fifth Avenue penthouse, that might not seem true, but from just about every other vantage point in America, it certainly does.

The issue is no longer about rights, but about supremacy.  The American public knows this because they experience it – everyone from wedding vendors who are now forced to go against their consciences to students in our schools who have to deal with members of the opposite sex in their bathrooms and locker rooms.  The rights of the majority of Americans who bore no ill toward Ls, Gs, Bs, or Ts suddenly must be made to submit to Ls', Gs', Bs', and Ts' demands.

There has been a well-intended but imprudent rush to legitimize not only same-sex marriage, but gender dysphoria, primarily via judicial fiat.  This has occurred at the speed of light, and in the aftermath, there has been a similar rush to fully normalize and mainstream both while either silencing or punishing those who continue to hold moral and religious objections.

Put aside all the showy rainbow-colored flags and bright equality banners, all the bumper sticker slogans and media pop-culture hype, and what we're left with is this: a society that has too quickly embraced genderless marriage and genderlessness.  And please note: the emphasis in both cases is on less.

In Our Rush to Manufacture More Freedom, We Severely Decrease It

The United States Commission on Civil Rights issued a report last year titled "Peaceful Coexistence: Reconciling Nondiscrimination Principles with Civil Liberties."  When the report was unveiled, the commission's chairman, Martin Castro, said, "The phrases 'religious liberty' and 'religious freedom' ... remain code words for discrimination, intolerance, racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, Christian supremacy, or any form of intolerance."

Again, while Mr. Castro's statement might sound correct from a lofty altitude looking down on Central Park, his statement is an incendiary indictment of thinking and reasoning Americans everywhere else.

More and more, our government seeks to undermine faith and family – the only real barriers between individuals and unbridled, tyrannical government control of our lives.  Yet this is exactly what the leftovers, the Geronimo, bombs away executive orders regarding additional LGBT and "reproductive" rights from former President Obama's administration now confronting President Trump, will achieve.  

Candidate Trump's wonderful appeal to America was the promise of smaller government and decreased government regulation, more prosperity, and more freedom.  Yet by upholding these newly defined rights over and above serious religious freedom concerns, American freedom will decrease under President Trump's term in the White House.

Upholding constitutional rights and the human dignity of those who are same sex-attracted is one thing – a matter of the common good and basic human decency.  Few, if any, would dispute that.  Same-sex marriage is something completely different.  These are unrelated issues, mischievously, masterfully, diabolically conflated – to the point that redefining marriage to include same-sex couples can neither be questioned nor resisted in the public square without calling down a hailstorm of accusations of bigotry and hatred.

The same goes for the unreasonable federally mandated accommodations for those who consider themselves members of the opposite sex.  Less than three one thousandths (0.003) of the population of the United States – just 700,000 people – self-identify as transgendered.  Their numbers are infinitesimal, yet new laws and regulations are unreasonably upending every community from sea to shining sea.

If President Trump wants to increase freedom, the White House needs to come to grips with the fact that there is an unnecessary tyrannical element to the over-extension of unwarranted LGBT and reproductive "rights."

America Needs More Freedom, Not Less

Is America a more rich, diverse, and varied culture if the wisdom of every religious tradition and culture from around the world that has come together in this great melting pot is swept away?  Are genderless marriage and genderlessness meant to supplant the rich tapestry of America? – or to unravel it and reweave it into a monochrome fabric?

Ryan Anderson of the Heritage Foundation has suggested a series of things which a new executive order from the White House might do.  You can read the list here.  He concluded by explaining why this new executive order is so critical (emphasis mine):

It ensures that the government will not discriminate against beliefs that are under assault, and protects religious organizations' right to maintain their mission and identity in their staffing decisions and programming, while not losing the ability to partner with the government.

The executive order also provides specific protections to undo some of the worst of liberal overreach.

It finally and fully protects Americans from having to violate their consciences under the Obamacare abortifacient and contraception mandate. It protects the ability of all Americans to buy health care that doesn't cover or subsidize abortion.

And it protects all Americans who believe that marriage is the union of husband and wife from federal government penalties or coercion.

These protections take nothing away from anyone – they simply ensure that the public square remains open to all religious voices, even when those voices diverge from the government's view on contested questions. They protect diversity and pluralism and tolerance.

None of this should be objectionable – which makes you wonder why liberals are objecting, except to continue the denunciation of "deplorables" that offended Americans of good will last year.

Trump promised while on the campaign trail that he would defend religious freedom. Now is the time to make good on that promise.

America will grow and prosper if burdensome regulations are removed from the books.  Likewise, our culture will prosper if religion and faith are neither suppressed nor oppressed.  Let's keep this the land of the free.

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