The Trump Administration Mimics Mississippi on Civil Rights

Updated:
Posted in: Constitutional Law

I never expected to speak the phrase: “As Mississippi goes, so goes the federal government.” But when it comes to demeaning and disempowering LGBT, it is now apropos. The self-righteous drive to make others suffer for not living Evangelical beliefs appears to be unstoppable with Trump in power and with Sessions as his henchman for civil rights. They are taking their cues from the Deep South and particularly Mississippi.

Mississippi Leads the Pack on Discrimination Against LGBT

Mississippi is the national leader on religiously-motivated discrimination against LGBT and generating divisiveness on these issues, as I discussed here. Mississippi continues to aspire to fomenting the most discrimination against LGBT with HB 1523, which explicitly permits business owners to refuse service to LGBT for religious reasons. The trial court correctly held that it was unconstitutional and issued a preliminary injunction. In June, the Fifth Circuit let the law go into effect, holding that the challengers lacked standing. On further review, the Fifth Circuit refused to vacate the ruling, which let the law stand. Now perhaps it goes to the Supreme Court.

Its sponsors put it into place so that Evangelicals can legally exclude LGBT from the marketplace. They say it’s about their “religious liberty’, by which they mean not the right to observe their own practices, but rather their supposed right to judge and condemn others before doing business with them. The whole anti-LGBT project is so unbelievably hypocritical: they aren’t fighting to bar liars, adulterers, rapists, or pedophiles from their businesses, all of whom who violate plain biblical commands.

What they are engineering is lives without having to associate with “those people.” One can only hope that good, old-fashioned profit motives enrich those businesses that provide service to LGBT and put out of business those who prefer the Jim Crow life.

The Trump Administration Follows Mississippi’s Lead

Now, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has piled onto this administration’s obsession with humiliating and harming transgender Americans here and here with a new document interpreting federal law to require accommodation of those in the government who believe LGBT are sinful. That’s right, the drive is to accommodate the ones who cannot tolerate those who aren’t like them. This is all about deconstructing the LGBT civil rights the Obama administration put into place as discussed here and here. For good measure, the administration is also rolling back protections intended to ensure LGBT are not discriminated against in long-term care facilities. (The administration also went after women’s rights to contraception as fellow columnist Joanna Grossman explains, again an issue where it is in lock step with Evangelical lobbyists.)

Where Did This Intolerance Come From and How Is It Possible?

The push to inflict exclusion and suffering on LGBT for religious reasons owes its origins to the working out of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in American culture. Whether you have read Hegel or Calvin, this is what happens when you put into place a “right” that has no natural limit. The religious lobbyists, including knowing conservatives and some truly naïve liberals, backed this benighted law in 1993. It was declared unconstitutional in 1997 in Boerne v. Flores, because it was so far removed from anything that the First Amendment had ever required. What was unleashed with this federal statute, which morphed into state laws and later federal law, was a theory that the default position for religious liberty should be that a religious believer has a right to overcome any law that burdens religiously-motivated conduct.

Many laws exist to protect the vulnerable. When religious believers seize a “right” to trump the law, they in effect hurt the vulnerable. That is true here.

This power grab—particularly by religious organizations who believe in imprinting their beliefs on the culture—paved the way for the depraved arguments now being made for “religious liberty” that amount to exclusion and harm to an entire category of citizens defined solely by their sexual orientation. They have falsely claimed the mantle of victimhood while making victims of others.

The powerful choose the labels and the vulnerable suffer. If you have not seen this power maneuver elsewhere in history or in the Trump Administration’s dealings with race, you are not paying attention.

  • Brett

    Funny how someone who has a website covering the Religious Freedom Restoration Acts is against religious freedom, a freedom protected by the First Amendment, and takes the liberal approach of falsely claiming that the Christian religion is discriminatory.

  • Brett

    It is so telling, and unbelievably hypocritical, of Ms. Hamilton to avoid any mention of attacks on Christians by those in the LGBT community, such as the recent attack by a homosexual coffee shop owner in Seattle on a group of Christians, using vulgar language and kicking them out of his business place solely because they are Christian, not because of anything they did in his establishment. And what right to contraception of women has anyone ever interfered with? If she is referring to taxpayers paying for contraception, where is that a right? Sadly, to many liberals it is ok to discriminate against conservatives.

  • I always ask the Lord during my time alone with Him. Why is it that religion and LGBTQ cannot co-exist?
    I’m gay dear Lord, and you my Father have showed me so many times your support, your kindness, and your agreement with my sexual orientation. If You my Lord have made REAL all my dreams: my wife, my law office, my allied straight friends who support me, my FAMILY who NEVER mind my sexual orientation, why it is that other sons of you on earth, some recalcitran religious, keep citing Leviticus and Romans to argue that we, homosexuals don’t go to heaven? Promoting all those sort of laws that hurt my LGBTQ Community?

    The New Testament says that women do NOT speak in the church, that women must cover their hair in the church. And how is it that there are so many wonderful female Pastors, head of churches around the world who claimed you have called them to serve you. How is it that I’ve seen in churches almost 99% of women without covering their heads? They testified that God has reformed His laws, and that now women can serve and speak in the church.

    Well, I’ll tell the world today that I am a lesbian woman who God also has called to serve Him and to spread love & peace, and forgiveness. I’ll testify that LGBTQ & GOD are friends. These laws are enacted by sick people, who proclaim they are children of God, but they are NOT.

    We the LGBTQ Community we love humankind, we love children, we adopt children who have been abused, neglected, and abandon. We clean fix ruined lives left by others. We forgive, we teach and spread love. We contribute to society: we’re doctors, nurses, attorneys, paralegals, paramedics, athletes, we have connection with God, techs, black, white, brown, Latino, Asians, Jews, European, Democrats, Republicans, Independents, progressives, liberals, less liberals, Conservatives, females, male, mothers, fathers, cousins, sisters, brothers, neighbors, etc. etc., etc., WE ARE EVERY WHERE!