A year ago, when Donald Trump and Mike Pence were elected to the highest offices in the land, Americans United warned of the many threats this administration posed to church-state separation. We promised that if any of those threats came to fruition, we would be ready to fight back and defend religious freedom.
President Donald J. Trump had quite a week as more scandals involving Russia, his family and his campaign unfolded. But that didn’t stop him from finding time to talk to Religious Right leaders and do a news interview with Pat Robertson of the Christian Broadcasting Network. All the while, his administration and friends in Congress were taking steps to implement the campaign promises he made to allow churches to endorse candidates and to allow religious freedom laws to be used to discriminate.
Vice President Mike Pence will be in Colorado Springs this Friday speaking at an event to mark the 40th anniversary of Focus on the Family (FOF), the fundamentalist Christian family ministry and Religious Right group founded by Dr. James C. Dobson, a child psychologist.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was expected to finally reveal details of President Donald J. Trump’s long-promised federal school voucher plan last night. Instead, we heard a lot of platitudes, but little in the way of a policy proposal.
Yesterday, during his National Day of Prayer ceremony in the White House Rose Garden, President Donald Trump continued his assault on religious freedom by signing an executive order. In a speech that reads more like a fake viral email than a presidential address, Donald Trump substituted showmanship for sincerity: While claiming to protect religious liberty, he trampled it.
The New York Times recently ran a story about researchers being surprised by the “dismal” results school voucher programs have so far produced.
As The Times notes, “[A] wave of new research has emerged suggesting that private school vouchers may harm students who receive them. The results are startling – the worst in the history of the field, researchers say.”
President Donald Trump this evening nominated Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Trump had promised to fill the open slot on the high court with someone who holds “similar views and principles” to the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Unfortunately, it appears that Trump has acted to fulfill that promise. Like Scalia, Gorsuch has exhibited hostility to church-state separation, which is the foundation of religious freedom. That is why Americans United opposes this nomination.
Yesterday, reports emerged that President Donald Trump was reviewing the draft of another alarming executive order, one that would roll back existing protections barring discrimination against LGBTQ people.
The 115th Congress convenes today with the swearing in of both new and returning members. The Democrats picked up a few seats in both the House and Senate, but the Republicans will maintain their majorities in both chambers.
Come Jan. 20, the Republicans will also have control of the White House. Congressional leaders, however, aren’t waiting for Inauguration Day to start pushing through the agenda of President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence. Congress is going to move full speed ahead starting on day one. And Americans United will push back.