Our Tax Dollars Shouldn’t Fund an Anti-LGBTQ “Religious Freedom Task Force”

By David G. McAfee

I’ll say it as simply as possible: The United States shouldn’t promote any particular religion’s agenda, yet that’s exactly what’s happening with the Trump administration’s new “task force.”

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the creation of the taxpayer-funded “Religious Freedom Task Force” yesterday alongside the Colorado baker who refused to serve a gay couple, Catholic bishops who want to use faith to avoid letting gay couples adopt children at their taxpayer-funded agencies, and members of the anti-LGBTQ legal powerhouse Alliance Defending Freedom. The group seeks to defend those who are fighting for their right to discriminate — against LGBTQ people or anyone else — based on their faith. It’s based on an executive order signed by Donald Trump last May and a subsequent memorandum issued by Sessions in October.

As the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) pointed out, this is only the most recent attack on the LGBTQ community by Trump and his administration for the last 18 months.

“This taxpayer funded task force is yet another example of the Trump-Pence White House and Jeff Sessions sanctioning discrimination against LGBTQ people,” said HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow. “Over the last 18 months, Donald Trump, Mike Pence and Jeff Sessions have engaged in a brazen campaign to erode and limit the rights of LGBTQ people in the name of religion. The Attorney General standing shoulder-to-shoulder this morning with anti-LGBTQ extremists tells you everything you need to know about what today’s announcement was really all about.”

The issue isn’t that critics want to get rid of religious freedom. That is important, but that’s not what this administration is truly fighting for with this “task force.” There’s a difference between practicing the religion of your choice — or none at all — and using your religion as a weapon against vulnerable communities.

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