Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Monday morning the creation of the “Religious Liberty Task Force” which will aim to implement and enforce anti-LGBTQ Trump policies.
This “task force” would permit people to use religious beliefs as a licence to discriminate.
“A dangerous movement, undetected by many, but real, is not challenging and eroding a great tradition of religious freedom,” Sessions said announcing the task force. “There can be no doubt it’s no little matter. It must be confronted intellectually and politically and defeated.”
The only “dangerous movement” that is “eroding a great tradition of religious freedom” is the rhetoric and policies from the Trump administration that have made the liberties and livelihood of the LGBTQ community a target.
Sessions, alongside the Trump administration have been fueling anti-LGBTQ sentiments across the country since before they came into power and has resulted in an increase in hate crimes against the LGBTQ community.
During the 2017 legisltative session, 129 anti-LGBTQ bills were introduced in 30 states across the United States. Twelve actually became law, ranging from religious refusal laws to anti-LGBTQ adoption laws.
According to the “Crisis of Hate” report published by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Project, last year was the deadliest for the queer community in recent history, recording at least 52 homocides resulting from anti-LGBTQ violence.
This is an average of one anti-LGBTQ homocide per week in 2017.
Numbers do not lie, the anti-LGBTQ rhetoric coming from the most influential political office in the world is having deadly consequences on the queer community.
Even so, Session stated that the new anti-queer task force will focus on implementing a directive he layed out last fall that sets guidelines on interpretation of religious freedom protections for the government’s executive branch.
This includes very broad interpretations pertaining to religious refusals for employment decisions, women’s health care, and adoption.
Sessions also stated that if necessary, the task force will also be responsible for reviewing new lawsuits dealing with protection of religious refusals.
“Religious Americans are no longer an afterthought,” Sessions said.
This raises concerns on the Trump administration’s separation of church and state.
Using religion as a license to discriminate against queer people is extremely regressive for the queer community, and our country for that matter, which has made tremendous strides in the fight for queer equal rights in the last few decades.
When carefully designed, religious exemptions can play a valuable role in safeguarding the freedom of religious exercise and belief, however, when these exemptions take an anti-LGBTQ stance, like the Trump administration is, they are more likely to encourage mistreatment against the queer community due to the legitimacy and official acceptance of discrimination.
The adversity the queer community already faces on a daily basis is now being justified and encouraged by the Trump administration with the creation of the “Religious Liberty Task Force.”