No Defending the First Amendment Defense Act

Photo Courtesy of Tribune News Service
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks on Monday, Jan. 30, 2017 before signing an executive order in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C.

Payton Williams
Assistnt Editor

Having a job is important.

This truth is universal. Most people would not think to dispute it. The society in which we live is largely built on profits; for better or worse, we have to make those profits somehow.

When someone is of the mindset and physical capacity to complete a job, that person is, in theory, eligible for the job. A person of sound mind would most likely never be of the opinion that someone’s romantic life, or their sexual preference, should influence this decision.

Therefore, I am forced to believe, sadly, that President Donald Trump is not of sound mind.

The First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) is a bill currently circulating through the House Ways and Means Committee. It is an anti LGBTQ bill with motives so transparent, it calls into question the very use of that word for fear someone might think the Republican legislators who drafted it were even trying to hide something.

According to Congress’ website, the bill states the federal government cannot take discriminatory action against a person who believes or “acts in accordance with” a religious belief that marriage and sexual relations are to be between a man and a woman.

The bill also states clearly that its definition of a person is not narrow but in a way represents corporations as well.

Of great interest here is the inclusion of the phrase “acts in accordance with.” With this phrase, the bill’s authors take time to note that the bill protects not only thought or speech but also any action that would openly discriminate against someone whose sexual orientation doesn’t meet the religious requirements of another person –

Such as not allowing someone to have a job.

By specifying that a person can be defined as a corporation, and that the actions of such a “person” work in accordance with a religious belief against homosexuality, the bill clearly states that, if someone chooses to fire someone else based on that person’s sexual orientation, such an action would be protected under this bill.

This is morally disgusting. There is simply no better phrase to describe it, and for someone to defend such a bill would be an act of callousness, an almost inhuman disregard for other people’s rights.

President Donald Trump has defended this bill and has voiced his intent to sign it into law.

On the Trump/Pence official campaign website, Trump gives his clear endorsement for the bill.

“Activist judges and executive orders issued by Presidents who have no regard for the Constitution have put these protections in jeopardy,” Trump said. “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.”

But this bill is not a defense of religious liberty. It is a defense of centuries-old bigotry, of deeply-held hatreds masquerading as a moral compass.

This bill is a resounding trumpet of governmental support for those who hate LGBTQ people – for those who believe that those members of our families, that those friends, that those citizens of this country whose sexual orientations differ from the Christian norm are less than they are – for those who feel that they deserve less.

And they’re in luck, seeing as how someone as powerful as President Donald Trump, the Leader of the Free World, supports these views.

But Trump does not speak for us. He demonstrates this each time he voices his support for the most hateful or most reactionary of political measures. When he speaks in support of a bill as craven as the FADA, he shows his hand as a spokesman for the most ignorant among us.

Trump does not speak for us. We speak for us. And here, we are allotted a great opportunity to do so. Call your congressmen. Go to protests. Write and speak to anyone who will listen.

The truth is not a luxury item. It has to be defended, or we run the risk of losing sight of it entirely.


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