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Donald Trump and LGBTQ Rights

I have so many reasons why Donald Trump should never be President of the United States that I long ago lost count. For now I am listing as many as I can before the election on why Donald Trump should not be president. This one is on Trump and LGBT rights.

A few mainstream papers have published stories of Trump’s past support for gay rights. It was considered a big deal that Trump even said “LGBTQ” in his acceptance speech at the Republican Convention. He even added the “Q” to the released prepared text, though a number of commentators said he sounded like he was reading an eye chart. Why, he even had Peter Thiel come on before him and announce that he is an openly gay man and that Republicans should get off this kick about “bathroom bills” and other distractions from real issues.

Yes, the convention cheered when Trump called the Orlando victims good people, and Trump duly acknowledged their cheers. However, did Trump really challenge his audience position on gay rights? He said he wanted to protect LGBTQ people from foreigners who wanted to kill them. Of course, he not say he wanted to protect us from Franklin Graham, Jerry Falwell Jr., the American Family Association, or the other religious conservatives who want to take away the rights LGBTQ people have earned in the last couple of decades. He even let them write their bigotry into the party platform to make it the most anti-gay in the party’s history. On the victims of the Orlando shooting, Trump didn’t talk about those in the closet because they were afraid of being rejected by their Catholic families; families who would not know their children’s gayness until being notified of their deaths. He didn’t talk about the victims who may have been undocumented and subject to his deportation policies, but that is getting into a different issue. He just said that it was wrong to kill them. I guess that makes Trump a liberal.

If you had asked most people on that convention floor if they hate gays, they would answer no. In fact they would tell you they love gay people. It is called “Hate the sin. Love the sinner.” So it is OK to love and protect gay people as long as they don’t do any gay stuff. Then, in that case, they are going to hell. But that’s God’s business, not ours. Using that logic, it is OK to love LGBT people, while still denying them the right to marry, use the correct bathroom, etc.

Trump could have seconded Thiel condemnation of the culture wars, but he didn’t. Instead, Trump went on assure Republicans and the religious right that he would appointed more judges like Antonin Scalia. Then he spoke about the Johnson Amendment.

It wasn’t the first time Trump mentioned the Johnson Amendment, nor would it be the last. The fist time I heard him address it was during his introduction of his running mate Mike Pence. You remember that long, rambling speech that hardly mentioned Pence. It was during that speech that Trump went off track to a story of a meeting in his office with evangelical leaders. As typical with Trump’s stories, when credit is to be taken for the solution to a problem Trump takes it for himself and shares it with no one else. So Trump talks of this meeting where these leaders are telling him how frustrated they are that they can’t speak out in their churches about all of these important issues and are being forced to keep their mouths shut. Curious Trump, of course, starts thinking about this and finally gets to the bottom of their problem— the Johnson Amendment!

It was Senator Lyndon Johnson who, in 1954, added a rule in the federal tax code that affects charities and religious and organizations. It prevents them from using their nonprofit status from engaging in partisan politics. Simply, if you are a tax exempt organization, you can’t support or oppose a political candidate or political party. Do that and you lose your tax exemption.

During this meeting, Trump said he went to the window and pointed to the people walking on the sidewalks below. Those people have more power than you do, he told the ministers, and the ministers all agreed. The comparison is silly. The people on the sidewalk pay the taxes that created that sidewalk. They are not demanding a tax exemption in exchange for use of their first amendment rights as individuals. Nor do they have a pulpit to amplify their messages.

Of course, those church leaders were not being truthful when they told Trump that they are victims of government censorship. I suspect that Trump was not being truthful about his role in that meeting. It seems more plausible, that those church leaders came to Trump with a deal to win their political support. Part of that deal was removing any roadblocks to their tax exemptions. After the convention, Trump traveled to Orlando, the city where those good LGBTQ people got killed, and addressed 700 religious right leaders, again promising them to end the Johnson Amendment. He has taken his promise to the Tony Perkins’ Voter Values Summit in Washington, DC. (Perkins’ Family Research Council is an anti-gay organization identified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/group/family-research-council)

While the tax rule has been rarely enforced, its removal could open up a floodgate of money to Republican candidates. Yes, the changes would apply to both liberal and conservative churches. However, I doubt my small Quaker congregation could match the resources of the mega churches, which are dominated by religious conservatism. Taken, for instance, those churches which preach the “prosperity gospel.” These con artists, masquerading as pastors, prey on vulnerable people with promises of great wealth. “Jesus wants you to be rich. Just give your money to me and my church. In turn, Jesus will be happy and make you rich.” With no fear of losing their tax status, I can imagine them telling their congregants, “Jesus wants you to vote for Donald Trump because Trump will make you rich, Jesus wants you to be rich. So now ,give generously as we pass the collection plate and re-elect Donald Trump.” Ending the Johnson Amendment is basically a Citizens United for the mega churches.

And speaking of the prosperity gospel, Trump also brought to the convention stage Pastor Mark Burns, proving that the religious right is not timid about delivering their politics, even with a Johnson Amendment.

Trump frequently credits his success with the support of evangelicals, and now is looking for support of anti-gay Catholics like Rick Santorum. He is promising to sign the “First Amendment Defense Act” and repeal Obama’s executive orders that extend rights to LGBT people.

http://www.washingtonblade.com/2016/09/22/santorum-gets-top-billing-trumps-catholic-advisory-group/

If he wins the presidency, the religious right will expect him to deliver on what he has promised. Which brings us to another reason he should not be President, the myth of “unbought Trump.”

More on Johnson Amendment:

https://www.yahoo.com/news/trump-vows-to-protect-pastors-from-non-existent-irs-threat-221954677.html

https://thinkprogress.org/trumps-top-pastor-delivers-what-may-be-the-most-partisan-prayer-in-convention-history-6dbfab3552dc#.vefbs99qg

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September 23, 2016 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] If elected, Trump promises more judges on the Supreme Court like Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. Scalia and Thomas ruled in favor of Citizens United. He promised that to the religious right. In addition, he promised them to end the IRS rule that prevents churches from using their tax-free money to fund partisan political campaigns. I call it Citizens United for the Mega Churches. […]

    Pingback by Tired of money influencing politics? You don’t want Trump. « Tomyamaguchi’s Weblog | November 3, 2016 | Reply


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