Trump Speaks at anti-LGBT, anti-Muslim event

Trump Is First Sitting President To Speak At Hate-Filled ‘Values Voter Summit’ President touted religious freedom for right-wing Christians at annual anti-Muslim, anti-LGBT event
by Julia Conley October 14, 2017

Trump Is First Sitting President To Speak At Hate-Filled ‘Values Voter Summit’

Advocates of LGBT rights and religious freedom denounced President Donald Trump as he became the first sitting president to address the Values Voter Summit on Friday.

In his speech, Trump assured his supporters that Judeo-Christian religious values would be protected by his administration and pushed the narrative that social conservatives have been under attack in the U.S.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which classifies the Family Research Council, one of the groups behind the summit, as a hate group, tweeted about the gathering the president had chosen to address.

The FRC’s website reads, “Homosexual conduct is harmful to the persons who engage in it and to society at large, and can never be affirmed…We oppose the vigorous efforts of homosexual activists to demand that homosexuality be accepted as equivalent to heterosexuality in law, in the media, and in schools.”

The annual event is taking on a decidedly anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant tone this year as well, with Brigitte Gabriel, Sebastian Gorka, and Steve Bannon speaking in addition to the president.

In his speech, Trump drew on his ubiquitous “Make America Great Again” slogan, promising a “return” to religious values supposedly upheld by the signers of the Declaration of Independence.

Despite a number of references to religious liberty, the president made clear throughout the speech that his concerns lie with the freedom to express Judeo-Christian beliefs. He invoked the alleged “War on Christmas,” promising, “We are stopping cold the attacks on Judeo-Christian values.”

He also addressed the Johnson Amendment, the law signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson eliminating religious organizations’ tax-exempt status if they publicly advocate for political candidates. Trump touted his executive order which weakened the amendment earlier this year, touting his commitment to protecting Christian and Jewish leaders—but made no mention of other religious groups.

“We will not allow government workers to censor sermons or target our pastors or our ministers or rabbis,” the president said. “These are the people we want to hear from, and they’re not going to be silenced any longer.”

Trump, who has spent most of his life in socially progressive New York City, expressed liberal views about the LGBT community prior to his 2016 run, once saying he supported an amendment to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include discrimination based on sexual orientation and noting that he “grew up in New York City, a town with different races, religions, and peoples. It breeds tolerance.”

But since announcing his presidential run in 2015, he’s proven to be dependent on the support of groups like the Family Research Council. Opening his speech, he mentioned his affinity for groups that approve of his professed views.

Exporting anti-LGBTQ laws

This morning LGBTQ people in Mississippi woke up knowing that their state now officially has the most discriminatory anti-LGBTQ laws on the books, worse than any state in the country.
Today HB1523, a religious refusal law, took effect in the Magnolia State. The law authorizes Mississippi officials and service providers, such as doctors and store owners, to refuse to serve LGBTQ people on the basis of three specific religious beliefs about marriage between same-sex couples, transgender individuals, and sex before marriage.
It’s a terrible law, leaving all LGBTQ people vulnerable to discrimination – and now that it’s in effect, you can bet that opponents of LGBTQ equality in state legislatures nationwide will seek to replicate its effects in their own states.
The 2018 legislative session is fast approaching – and we need to be ready to resist bills like HB1523 in key states nationwide. Can you help us prepare by donating $4 to Freedom for All Americans’ States Action Team, which was built to fight back against anti-LGBTQ legislative attacks? Click here.
When Indiana passed its distorted “License to Discriminate” RFRA law in 2015, dozens of state legislators held the law up as inspiration for their own attacks. When North Carolina prohibited restroom access for transgender people, many nearly identical bills advanced far in other state houses.
Now, we anticipate our opponents to look to Mississippi’s HB1523 as an example of a “License to Discriminate” that they can pass in their own state – and we can’t let that happen.
LGBTQ people need laws protecting them from discrimination – not laws that ease discrimination altogether. Our States Action Team is gearing up for a busy legislative session in 2018 – and we need you with us.
Click here to donate $4 to the States Action Team and make a difference so we can avoid the next HB1523.
Thank you,
Kasey Suffredini
Freedom for All Americans