GOP Senators Promote Christian Theocracy With First Amendment Defense Act

Goes against everything our freedom of speech and religion stands for – keeping a religion out of government.

Moving the nation closer to a Christian theocracy, Republican senators reintroduce the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA).

The Hill reports:

A group of 22 GOP senators is reintroducing a controversial measure that would protect opponents of same-sex marriage from federal actions intended to curb discrimination.

The First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) would bar the federal government from taking any action against individuals who discriminate against same-sex couples or others based on “a sincerely held religious belief.”

The bill would also protect those who discriminate against marriages not recognized under federal law or individuals who engage in sex outside of marriage.

The measure was introduced by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and 21 Republican co-sponsors, including Sens. Marco Rubio (Fla.), Ted Cruz (Texas) and Orrin Hatch (Utah).

In fact, The First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) is a draconian policy advocated by conservative Christian extremists eager to install a de facto Christian theocracy. The legislation is designed to be a vehicle to allow Christian conservatives the legal ability to discriminate against those who do not share their conservative Christian values.

For example, FADA explicitly promotes anti-LGBT discrimination by providing special protections for people who wish to claim their religious faith prohibits them from performing certain acts, including baking a cake for a same-sex wedding, or allowing a child to be adopted by a same-sex couple.

In addition, FADA would allow discrimination against single mothers, unwed couples, interfaith couples, and interracial couples. In fact, the policy is so broad that one could refuse to marry two short people if their view against short people marrying is a “sincerely held religious belief.”

While Obama was president, the legislation was not taken seriously, because everyone knew Obama would not sign the bill into law. However, emboldened by the election of Trump, Republican senators plan to reintroduce the legislation. The lawmakers believe that with with a Republican-controlled House and Senate, as well as the backing of President Donald Trump, the legislation now has a chance to become law.

They might be right. In a little noticed press release issued late in the 2016 campaign, Trump pledged his support for the First Amendment Defense Act. Trump’s pledge to support FADA strengthened and reinforced his position among white evangelicals, who would prove to be crucial in his 2016 electoral victory.

In the statement, titled “Issues Of Importance To Catholics,” which has since been deleted, Trump promised to sign FADA into law:

If I am elected president and Congress passes the First Amendment Defense Act, I will sign it to protect the deeply held religious beliefs of Catholics and the beliefs of Americans of all faiths.

Jennifer Pizer, Law and Policy Director at Lambda Legal, told NBC that FADA “invites widespread, devastating discrimination against LGBT people” and is a deeply unconstitutional bill, noting:

This proposed new law violates both Equal Protection and the Establishment Clause by elevating one set of religious beliefs above all others. And by targeting LGBT Americans as a group, contrary to settled constitutional law.

Piza continued:

There cannot be even one iota of doubt that this bill endorses one set of religious beliefs above others, and targets people in same-sex relationships, married or not, as well as unmarried heterosexual couples who live together. It’s an unconstitutional effort to turn the clock back to a time when unmarried mothers had to hide in shame, and LGBT people had to hide, period.

Piza is correct. FADA is clearly an attempt to legitimize and promote conservative Christian bigotry, while giving Christians legal permission to discriminate against  those who do not share their conservative Christian values.

Bottom line: The First Amendment Defense Act is nothing but a thinly veiled attempt to move the nation closer to a Christian theocracy, a move Trump seems more than happy to make.

(Large portions of this post were previously published here.)

Donald Trump (Image via Gage Skidmore)