The Wall of Separation Blog https://www.au.org/blogs/feed en Project Blitz Wants To Hide Its Christian Nationalist Agenda. It’s Too Late For That. https://www.au.org/blogs/project-blitz-exposed <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Project Blitz Wants To Hide Its Christian Nationalist Agenda. It’s Too Late For That.</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/95" lang="" about="/user/95" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">boston</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Fri, 11/08/2019 - 10:23</span> <div class="field field--name-field-authored-by field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Authored by</label> <div class="item"><a href="/about/people/rob-boston" hreflang="und">Rob Boston</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/NJ%20Senate%2C%2011.8.19.jpg?h=fb35d11e&amp;itok=5W1oxQCQ" width="1700" height="525" alt="Government chamber " title="legislature " typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p>Investigative journalist and longtime Americans United ally Frederick Clarkson has just released<a href="https://www.politicalresearch.org/2019/11/07/project-blitz-any-other-name"> </a><a href="https://www.politicalresearch.org/2019/11/07/project-blitz-any-other-name">a new scoop on Project Blitz</a> – and it’s a real doozy.</p> <p><a href="https://www.au.org/tags/project-blitz">Project Blitz</a>, you might recall, is a budding band of Christian nationalists who in 2016 launched a new strategy to remake the United States in their own theocratic image, one step at a time. The idea was to flood state legislatures with bills that would erode the principle of separation of church and state. They’d start with measures they believe most people would deem non-controversial, such as requiring the posting of “In God We Trust” signs in public schools and government buildings, and move up the ladder from there to more ambitious proposals such as anti-LGBTQ measures and bills promoting discrimination under the guise of “religious freedom”</p> <p>There was one problem: Clarkson exposed the effort in 2018, and soon groups like Americans United, Political Research Associates (where Clarkson works) and others were well aware of what was going on and told the media. A spate of news stories followed. (Several of these groups later formed a website, <a href="https://www.blitzwatch.org/">BlitzWatch</a>, which has lots of great resources.)</p> <p>Now Blitz backers realize they have a problem. The group, led by former U.S. Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.) and endorsed by a bevy of Religious Right organizations, held a strategy call Oct. 24 to discuss what to do about it. </p> <p>One of the things they decided to do was rename Project Blitz. The effort is now known as – wait for it – “Freedom for All.” It’s quite the misnomer, considering they only promote religious freedom for a select few while undermining that same freedom for everyone else.</p> <p>Clarkson reports that Lea Carawan, executive director of the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation (CPCF), one the groups backing Project Blitz, tried desperately to spin the negative exposure of Project Blitz as some sort of reverse jujitsu that they had planned for all along.</p> <p>Carawan added that Blitz backers in “nearly 20 states” have now “strategically” renamed Project Blitz, since, “the other side’s finally caught on to what you all were doing and the mass of legislation that was going forth across the nation, incredible successes … and they were scratching their head saying what in the world happened?”</p> <p>She added, “They started talking about Project Blitz. And as soon as we understood that they knew they were onto us, we changed the name; shifted things around a little bit; now they’re talking about something that nobody else is really even talking about, we’ve renamed and moved on.” Seriously, who other than people who are up to no good admit things like, “They were onto us”?</p> <p>During the call, Forbes boasted about CPCF creating a new “state of the art” facility he called a National Strategic Center that will presumably serve as a home for the Blitzers. Forbes described it as having 10,000 square feet of space – although he didn’t say where it is or who will work there. The center’s purpose, Forbes said, is to provide “strategic, legal, and grassroots support” to the theocratic push and analyze “strategies that are being used against you.” </p> <p>Clarkson was able to expose Project Blitz last year in part because much of the group’s material, including a detailed playbook laying out its strategy, was posted on the internet by CPCF itself. Blitz backers, which include CPCF, pseudo-historian David Barton’s WallBuilders and a Religious Right legal group called the National Legal Foundation, talked openly about what they wanted to do. Now that there has been a blowback to their scheme, they seem to think they can slip into stealth mode.</p> <p>It’s much too late for that. Americans United and its allies are watching this movement closely, and we won’t let up exposing how its agenda is contrary to our country’s fundamental principle of religious freedom – that everyone is free to practice their faith, or no faith at all, without harming others. <a href="https://www.au.org/get-involved/updates">Sign up for our emails</a> so you can learn how to help fight against the Project Blitz agenda – whatever they call it – in your state.</p> <p>And by the way, the new name also won’t work. In “Romeo and Juliet,” Shakespeare famously observed, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” The reverse is also true: Even renamed, this theocratic dud still stinks to high heaven.</p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Issues</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/discrimination-in-the-name-of-religion" hreflang="en">Discrimination In The Name of Religion</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/lgbtq-rights" hreflang="en">LGBTQ Rights</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/project-blitz" hreflang="en">Project Blitz</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/religious-right-0" hreflang="en">Religious Right</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/god-we-trust" hreflang="en">in god we trust</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/randy-forbes" hreflang="en">Randy Forbes</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/david-barton" hreflang="en">David Barton</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/wallbuilders" hreflang="en">WallBuilders</a></div> </div> </div> Fri, 08 Nov 2019 15:23:20 +0000 boston 15844 at https://www.au.org Trump’s Denial Of Care Rule Threatens Real People With Real Harm https://www.au.org/blogs/denial-care-rule <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Trump’s Denial Of Care Rule Threatens Real People With Real Harm</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/95" lang="" about="/user/95" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">boston</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Thu, 11/07/2019 - 11:17</span> <div class="field field--name-field-authored-by field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Authored by</label> <div class="item"><a href="/about/people/rob-boston" hreflang="und">Rob Boston</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/blurry%20ambulance%2C%2011.7.19.jpg?h=37f03a58&amp;itok=PFWHzadC" width="1700" height="525" alt="blurry ambulance " title="ambulance " typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p>A federal court in New York yesterday voided the Trump administration’s dangerous Denial of Care Rule that threatened the health care of millions of people. Americans United hailed U.S. District Court Judge Paul A. Engelmayer’s ruling <a href="https://www.au.org/media/press-releases/americans-united-applauds-court-ruling-striking-down-trump-administrations">in a statement</a>.</p> <p>Engelmayer’s ruling leans heavily on questions of process and regulation. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), he ruled, lacks the authority to issue this kind of rule. Asserting that HHS’s approach “was sufficiently shot through with glaring legal defects,” Engelmayer invalidated the entire rule nationwide.</p> <p>The judge also saw through the Trump administration’s facile justification for the rule. Officials at HHS had cited a “significant increase” in complaints from health care workers who said their religious freedom rights were violated. Engelmayer called this “factually untrue,” observing, “Where HHS claimed that the rule was justified by complaints made to it, the administrative record reflects a yawning evidentiary gap.”</p> <p>AU is thankful for the decision in this case, but there’s one thing it doesn’t delve into: the human angle. At the end of the day, the Denial of Care Rule isn’t just about the rule-making process, which can often seem byzantine. It’s about real people, real stories and real harm. We should never forget that.</p> <p>Americans United wasn’t involved in the New York case, but we are participating in <a href="https://www.au.org/tags/denial-of-care-rule">two similar challenges</a> to the Denial of Care Rule pending the courts, one from California and one from Maryland. As we built these cases, we made sure to <a href="https://www.au.org/church-state/november-2019-church-state-magazine/cover-story/uncaring-will-you-be-denied-medical">highlight the views of people on the front lines</a> – men and women who work in the medical community and who understand the damage this reckless rule can do.</p> <p>Rebecca S. Dineen, assistant commissioner for the Baltimore City Health Department Bureau of Maternal and Child Health, explained that for many city residents, enforcement of the Denial of Care Rule could have drastic consequences.</p> <p>“Refusals under such a rule would result in denials of timely care to Baltimore residents, and it is hard to overstate the harms that would follow, both for individual patients denied care and for public health in Baltimore at the population level,” Dineen said.</p> <p>Emergency care could also be affected. Incredibly, the rule allows anyone involved in the health care field to deny services that offend their religious beliefs – even in emergency situations. James Matz, battalion chief of emergency medical services for the Fire Department of Baltimore City, explained in court documents that this could put lives at stake.</p> <p>“[T]he Rule will create an impossible dilemma for Baltimore EMS and will endanger the lives of the people we serve,” Matz said. “If any employee on a medic unit decided, at the scene of a call, that they could not perform their job for religious, moral, or ‘other’ reasons, the results could be catastrophic.”</p> <p>The rule also harms members of vulnerable populations. Sara Cody, director of the Santa Clara County, Calif., Public Health Department, estimated about 25 percent of the county’s population is considered vulnerable because they are members of the LGBTQ community, low-income residents, people who abuse controlled substances or pregnant young women.</p> <p>“[The Denial of Care Rule] would compromise the Public Health Department’s ability to prevent public health emergencies and outbreaks, to prevent chronic diseases, to provide equal opportunity to vulnerable children for a healthy start and optimal health, and to foster healthy families and healthy communities,” Cody said.</p> <p>AU will continue challenging the Denial of Care Rule in the courts. And as these cases go forward, we’ll keep reminding Americans about how radical this rule is. Americans should never have to worry that they won’t get the crucial, and possibly life-saving, care they need because they are LGBTQ, a member of a religious minority, an atheist or because they fall short of someone else’s religious views. That’s a fundamental violation of our rights, and AU simply won’t stand for it.</p> <p>Not only are we still in court on behalf of the plaintiffs in our cases, but the Trump administration is sure to appeal the New York judge’s ruling. If you can, <a href="https://secure.everyaction.com/SiO5ngWmu0ywuqIPY4U_Cw2?emci=c517a853-c900-ea11-828b-2818784d6d68&amp;emdi=477da46a-ca00-ea11-828b-2818784d6d68&amp;ceid=3850489&amp;am=35&amp;contactdata=k0QD08VJLvQTq3N6GgkA1Tk%2fw0NF%2bkJ1Z%2bWiF9CYZiX2E9MvvY3i7VceU5mFV3uF4n%2fdaVe%2fLuX3X7ecwb3AArynh2e4WQQUNvhanNKAfvsggOXCj4P5Iz1BH%2bU8ZBSolSEkq5rAcQ9vlAjp5%2bJipMzJ4fRUj0JLBb2QNGxkizYAEVszyriUaDLesdR1C6r6HTmBrK1kq5T%2fph662iGUzQ%3d%3d">please support our efforts</a> to strike down the Denial of Care Rule for good.</p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Issues</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/discrimination-in-health-care" hreflang="en">Discrimination In Health Care</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/discrimination-in-the-name-of-religion" hreflang="en">Discrimination In The Name of Religion</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/government-funded-discrimination" hreflang="en">Government-Funded Discrimination</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/lgbtq-rights" hreflang="en">LGBTQ Rights</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/transgender-rights" hreflang="en">Transgender Rights</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/reproductive-rights" hreflang="en">Reproductive Rights</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/denials-of-health-care" hreflang="en">Denials of Health Care</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/denial-of-care-rule" hreflang="en">Denial of Care Rule</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/dept-of-health-and-human-services" hreflang="en">Dept. of Health and Human Services</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/trump-administration" hreflang="en">Trump Administration</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/california" hreflang="en">California</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/maryland" hreflang="en">Maryland</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/new-york" hreflang="en">New York</a></div> </div> </div> Thu, 07 Nov 2019 16:17:39 +0000 boston 15842 at https://www.au.org Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin Constantly Used His Office To Promote Christian Nationalism. Last Night, He Lost His Job. https://www.au.org/blogs/matt-bevin-loss <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin Constantly Used His Office To Promote Christian Nationalism. Last Night, He Lost His Job. </span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/95" lang="" about="/user/95" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">boston</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Wed, 11/06/2019 - 11:12</span> <div class="field field--name-field-authored-by field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Authored by</label> <div class="item"><a href="/about/people/rob-boston" hreflang="und">Rob Boston</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/bevin%20cnn.PNG?h=7e26f47e&amp;itok=qX86Ct0r" width="1700" height="525" alt="Matt Bevin loses " title="Bevin " typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p>The results are in from yesterday’s gubernatorial race in Kentucky, and it looks like Matt Bevin, the state’s Christian nationalist governor, has been denied a second term.</p> <p><a href="https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/05/politics/election-night-kentucky-virginia/index.html">With most precincts reporting</a>, Bevin, a Republican, trails Democrat Andy Beshear by just under 6,000 votes. Although Bevin has refused to concede, many news outlets have called the race for Beshear.</p> <p>During Bevin’s tenure, he was kind of a one-man wrecking ball aimed at the church-state wall, regularly pushing policies to keep his far-right Christian fundamentalist base happy and using the power of his office to promote his narrow brand of Christianity.</p> <p>Here’s a round-up of Bevin’s misdeeds:</p> <p>* During his 2015 race, <a href="https://www.au.org/church-state/march-2019-church-state-magazine/people-events/kentucky-governor-declines-to-pay-bill">Bevin lauded law-breaking Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis</a>, who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, as “an inspiration ... to the children of America” and vowed to help her if elected. Once in office, Bevin issued an order removing county clerks’ signatures from marriage licenses, an act Davis’ attorney called a “great Christmas present for Kim Davis.”  (Rowan County voters had others ideas and booted Davis from office in 2018, but not before <a href="https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/kentuckys-governor-loves-kim-davis-but-he-doesnt-want-to-pay-her-legal">her misdeeds cost Kentucky taxpayers</a> more than $200,000 in legal fees.)</p> <p>* In the wake of the horrific violence by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Va., in August 2017, <a href="https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/kentucky-gov-matt-bevin-thinks-bibles-in-public-schools-could-have">Bevin suggested</a> that further incidents could be avoided if we would base public school curriculum on the Bible.</p> <p>“When you go back a couple hundred years, in most instances, the only textbooks that were actually in our public schools were the Bible,” Bevin told a radio talk show host. “The more we’ve removed any sense of spiritual obligation or moral higher authority … the more we’ve removed things that are biblically taught from society, the more we’ve seen the kind of mayhem that we were just discussing.”</p> <p>* Two years ago, Bevin <a href="https://www.au.org/church-state/september-2017-church-state/au-bulletin/ky-approves-bill-promoting-public-school-bible">signed legislation</a> encouraging public schools to offer Bible classes. Americans United expressed concern, noting that the bill lacked provisions to ensure that the classes would be taught in a truly objective fashion. <a href="https://www.au.org/church-state/may-2017-church-state/people-events/kentucky-governor-signs-law-permitting-religion">Bevin also signed</a> a bill that AU said could lead to student groups in public schools discriminating against LGBTQ students and others in the name of religion.</p> <p>Americans United had good reason to be suspicious of Bevin’s motives. In October, <a href="https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2019/10/02/bring-your-bible-school-day-kentucky-gov-matt-bevin-touts-event/3843477002/">he made a video</a> urging public school students to take part in “Bring Your Bible to School Day,” an annual event sponsored by Focus on the Family. He also issued several proclamations promoting official days of prayer and issued a statement declaring 2017 the “Year of the Bible” in Kentucky. In addition, he <a href="https://www.wkyt.com/content/news/In-God-we-Trust-to-be-displayed-in-Kentucky-schools--513302621.html">signed a law</a> requiring all public schools in the state to post “In God We Trust” signs.</p> <p>* Meeting with conservative pastors in the state shortly before the 2016 election, <a href="https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/go-ahead-and-break-the-law-ky-governor-tells-pastors">Bevin was caught on tape</a> urging them to break the law by endorsing candidates from the pulpit. <a href="http://projectfairplay.org/">Federal law</a> prohibits tax-exempt nonprofits from intervening in partisan elections, but Bevin  was dismissive of the law. (Bevin held a <a href="https://www.courier-journal.com/story/news/politics/2019/10/21/matt-bevin-hosting-kentucky-pastors-governors-mansion-frankfort/4051437002/">similar meeting</a> with far-right pastors last month, but attendees were carefully screened, and the media was not allowed to attend so no one knows what he told them this time.)</p> <p>* Bevin intervened in a lawsuit brought by Americans United on behalf of a Kentucky woman who was fired from a taxpayer-funded Baptist youth home because she’s a lesbian. The suit also challenged the home’s policy of subjecting children to unwanted proselytism. A settlement was reached in the long-running case, but <a href="https://www.au.org/church-state/september-2016-church-state/au-bulletin/ky-governor-intervenes-in-first-amendment-case">Bevin ordered state officials to reject it and litigation continues to drag on as a result.</a></p> <p>* When Louisville residents expressed concern over a wave of violent crime, Bevin unveiled no policy proposals to deal with it. Instead, he urged pastors in the community to <a href="https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/kentucky-governor-plans-to-pray-crime-away">pray more</a>.</p> <p>“Take a 10-block span, walk corner to corner, and pray with the community two to three times a week during the next year,” Bevin said. “That’s it. Pretty unsophisticated, pretty uncomplicated, pretty basic, but I truly believe we’re going to see a difference in our city.” (Religious leaders noted that they were already praying but could use some concrete forms of help.)</p> <p>* Bevin was notorious for being hostile to public education and has repeatedly <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/26/us/matt-bevin-kentucky-teacher.html">attacked public school teachers</a> in the state. He’s <a href="https://www.courier-journal.com/story/news/education/2019/04/17/matt-bevin-calls-federal-school-choice-proposal-a-gift-at-betsy-devos-event/3486459002/">a fan of vouchers</a> and welcomed U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to the state in the spring of 2017 to laud her multi-billion-dollar federal voucher scheme.</p> <p>* <a href="https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/road-to-nowhere-ky-officials-ramp-up-support-for-ark-park">Bevin intervened to help creationist Ken Ham</a> get taxpayer money to build his infamous “Ark Park” in the state. After the Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Authority decided not to give a package of tax incentives to the park (noting that Ham would only hire fundamentalist Christians), Ham sued in federal court, charging that he was being discriminated against. In a misguided ruling, a federal judge agreed with him. Americans United’s attorneys believed that decision would have been vulnerable on appeal, but that never happened because Bevin ordered an end to the legal action. The result was millions in public support flowing to an evangelistic enterprise. Bevin later <a href="https://twitter.com/mattbevin/status/893997845749084161">tweeted photos</a> of himself hanging out at the park with Ham.</p> <p>During his time in office, Bevin repeatedly assailed religious diversity, equality and church-state separation. He won't be missed.</p> <p><em>(Photo: Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin announces that he will not concede the election. Screenshot from CNN.) </em></p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Issues</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/government-support-of-religion" hreflang="en">Government Support Of Religion</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/matt-bevin" hreflang="en">Matt Bevin</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/kentucky" hreflang="en">Kentucky</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/prayer-proclamations" hreflang="en">prayer proclamations</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/public-school-prayer" hreflang="en">Public School Prayer</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/god-we-trust" hreflang="en">in god we trust</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/ark-park" hreflang="en">Ark Park</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/creationism" hreflang="en">Creationism</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/religious-right-0" hreflang="en">Religious Right</a></div> </div> </div> Wed, 06 Nov 2019 16:12:57 +0000 boston 15837 at https://www.au.org There’s One Word For Trump’s Record On LGBTQ Rights: Appalling https://www.au.org/blogs/Trump-LGBTQ-attacks <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">There’s One Word For Trump’s Record On LGBTQ Rights: Appalling</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/95" lang="" about="/user/95" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">boston</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Tue, 11/05/2019 - 13:04</span> <div class="field field--name-field-authored-by field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Authored by</label> <div class="item"><a href="/about/people/rob-boston" hreflang="und">Rob Boston</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/LGBTQ%20flags.jpg?h=99d85d94&amp;itok=r3fH1GM6" width="1700" height="525" alt="LGBTQ flags" title="flags " typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p>Americans United has<a href="https://www.au.org/media/press-releases/americans-united-condemns-trump-administration-proposal-to-allow-widespread"> </a><a href="https://www.au.org/media/press-releases/americans-united-condemns-trump-administration-proposal-to-allow-widespread">spoken out strongly</a> against last week’s announcement by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that it will strip anti-discrimination policies that apply to all of its grant programs agency-wide.</p> <p>While many Americans may be harmed by this misguided policy, the brunt of the proposed rule will fall on members of the LGBTQ community. Under President Barack Obama, HHS had issued a rule that protected LGBTQ people, among others, against discrimination in its grant programs. Trump is obliterating that rule.</p> <p>It’s important to remember that this is far from the first Trump salvo against LGBTQ people. The president’s record in this area can only be described as appalling. Here are the low points:</p> <ul><li>One of Trump’s<a href="https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/02/22/516664633/trump-administration-rescinds-obama-rule-on-transgender-students-bathroom-use"> </a><a href="https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/02/22/516664633/trump-administration-rescinds-obama-rule-on-transgender-students-bathroom-use">first acts after taking office</a> was to rescind policy guidance issued during the presidency of Barack Obama that offered protection to transgender students in public schools.</li> <li>Five months after that, Trump announced, via Twitter in July 2017, that he was<a href="https://www.thedailybeast.com/trumps-transgender-military-ban-takes-effect-today"> </a><a href="https://www.thedailybeast.com/trumps-transgender-military-ban-takes-effect-today">banning transgender troops</a> from military service. He took this step without consulting with military leaders, many of whom later indicated that they opposed the move.</li> <li>In the fall of 2018, <em>The New York Times</em> reported that the Trump administration was considering new regulations that would narrowly define gender as a biological condition, based on genitalia at birth, that cannot change.<a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/21/us/politics/transgender-trump-administration-sex-definition.html"> </a><em><a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/21/us/politics/transgender-trump-administration-sex-definition.html">The Times</a></em><a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/21/us/politics/transgender-trump-administration-sex-definition.html"> story</a>, headlined, “‘Transgender’ Could Be Defined Out of Existence Under Trump Administration,” asserted that the rule, if implemented, would be “the most drastic move yet in a government­-wide effort to roll back recognition and protections of transgender people under federal civil rights law.” (The order was never issued as a stand-alone rule, but its anti-trans concepts have surfaced in other orders.)</li> <li>HHS’s Office for Civil Rights in May proposed new rules that would remove explicit nondiscrimination protections for transgender people under a section of the Affordable Care Act – severely threatening transgender people’s access to health care. (Although aimed at the transgender community, the new rules are so broad that they would make it harder for others to access health care without discrimination, including women, people with limited English proficiency, people with disabilities and people living with HIV/AIDS.)</li> <li>In a series of cases pending before the U.S. Supreme Court, Trump’s Justice Department<a href="https://www.au.org/church-state/october-2019-church-state-magazine/featured/crucial-cases-high-court-to-deliberate"> </a>argued that our nation’s civil rights law provides no protections for members of the LGBTQ community. In a case from Michigan, the department asserted that a funeral home should be able to fire a transgender employee. In an earlier case, Trump’s Justice Department sided with a Colorado bakery that sought the right to refuse service to LGBTQ people.</li> <li>Trump’s HHS in May proposed a sweeping rule that would allow people who work in any area of the medical field to cite their religious beliefs to deny services to almost anyone, and LGBTQ people are particularly at risk. Americans United and allies are<a href="https://www.au.org/tags/denial-of-care-rule"> </a><a href="https://www.au.org/tags/denial-of-care-rule">challenging this Denial of Care Rule in court</a>, arguing that it puts people’s lives in jeopardy.</li> <li>In August, Trump’s Department of Labor<a href="https://www.au.org/tags/employment-discrimination-rule"> </a><a href="https://www.au.org/tags/employment-discrimination-rule">unveiled a proposed rule</a> that would allow taxpayer-funded government contractors to use religious litmus tests in employment, a move that is widely perceived as giving them the right to fire or refuse to hire LGBTQ people.</li> <li>Trump’s judicial appointments are often vetted by extreme far-right groups; many have been<a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2019/03/06/senate-just-confirmed-judge-who-interned-an-anti-lgbtq-group-shell-serve-life/"> </a><a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2019/03/06/senate-just-confirmed-judge-who-interned-an-anti-lgbtq-group-shell-serve-life/">hostile to LGBTQ rights</a>. Trump has stated that he is open to seeing the Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage equality overturned.</li> </ul><p>During Trump’s campaign, he told LGBTQ voters that he’d be<a href="https://www.au.org/church-state/december-2018-church-state/cover-story/reversal-of-fortune-lgbtq-rights-in-america"> </a><a href="https://www.au.org/church-state/december-2018-church-state/cover-story/reversal-of-fortune-lgbtq-rights-in-america">a “real friend”</a> to them, adding, “I will fight for you….” Instead, he has spent three years kowtowing to Christian nationalists who have a demonstrated track record of hostility to LGBTQ rights.</p> <p>Americans United believes that our laws and public policies should promote equal treatment, decency and dignity for everyone and that religion should never be an excuse to undermine these laws to cause harm or result in discrimination. We’re fighting Trump’s misguided discriminatory policies against LGBTQ Americans, women, nontheists and others in courts, in the Congress, in state legislatures and in the arena of public debate.<a href="https://www.au.org/become-a-member"> </a><a href="https://www.au.org/become-a-member">Please consider joining us</a>.</p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Issues</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/discrimination-in-health-care" hreflang="en">Discrimination In Health Care</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/discrimination-in-the-name-of-religion" hreflang="en">Discrimination In The Name of Religion</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/government-funded-discrimination" hreflang="en">Government-Funded Discrimination</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/lgbtq-rights" hreflang="en">LGBTQ Rights</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/donald-trump" hreflang="en">Donald Trump</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/denial-of-care-rule" hreflang="en">Denial of Care Rule</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/barack-obama" hreflang="en">Barack Obama</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/trump-administration" hreflang="en">Trump Administration</a></div> </div> </div> Tue, 05 Nov 2019 18:04:09 +0000 boston 15835 at https://www.au.org The Trump Administration Is Allowing Discrimination Against LGBTQ Americans And Others – Again https://www.au.org/blogs/new-HHS-rule <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">The Trump Administration Is Allowing Discrimination Against LGBTQ Americans And Others – Again </span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/95" lang="" about="/user/95" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">boston</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Mon, 11/04/2019 - 11:14</span> <div class="field field--name-field-authored-by field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Authored by</label> <div class="item"><a href="/about/people/rob-boston" hreflang="und">Rob Boston</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/same%20sex%20couple%20sad_1.jpg?h=3c385508&amp;itok=-r7f2W9i" width="1700" height="525" alt="sad couple" title="sad couple" typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p>President Donald Trump struck another blow against religious freedom, LGBTQ rights, equality and simple decency on Friday. Bowing once again to his Christian nationalist allies, Trump’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) <a href="https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/rule-would-let-faith-based-adoption-groups-exclude-lgbtq-parents-n1075341">proposed a new rule</a> that will repeal key nondiscrimination provisions across all agency programs.</p> <p>The rule is being interpreted in the media as mainly as an attempt to allow taxpayer-supported adoption and foster care agencies that are religious in nature to refuse to work with people who fail to meet a strict religious litmus test, chiefly members of the LGBTQ community.</p> <p>It does that, which is bad enough, but the rule does much more because it affects all HHS programs. HHS is a sprawling agency that sponsors more than 100 programs, dealing with issues such as homelessness, senior care, refugee resettlement, public health and emergency housing. Potentially millions of Americans could be harmed if they are denied critical services because of this reckless rule.</p> <p>Americans United was quick to condemn the proposal.</p> <p>“This proposed rule marks a new low in the Trump administration’s efforts to license discrimination against religious minorities and LGBTQ people,” said Americans United President and CEO Rachel Laser in a <a href="https://www.au.org/media/press-releases/americans-united-condemns-trump-administration-proposal-to-allow-widespread">statement to the media</a>. “The rule would directly and gravely harm some of our nation’s most vulnerable people – children in foster care, senior citizens and youth experiencing homelessness. When it comes to discrimination based on religion, the Trump administration is saying it’s OK to ignore the Constitution. It’s never OK and we will continue to fight to uphold our core American value of religious freedom.”</p> <p>Laser’s comments were circulated nationally by several news outlets, including the New York<em> <a href="https://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/ny-trump-hhs-lgbtq-adoption-agency-federally-funded-programs-20191101-3ispmap6urcpjcs6aqlbqdpnzi-story.html">Daily News</a></em>, the Salt Lake City <em><a href="https://www.deseret.com/2019/11/1/20944089/donald-trump-religious-freedom-discrimination-adoption">Deseret News</a></em> and the popular blog <a href="https://friendlyatheist.patheos.com/2019/11/02/trump-admin-will-let-taxpayer-funded-adoption-agencies-reject-lgbtq-parents/">“Friendly Atheist.”</a></p> <p>Remember, Americans United is already in federal court <a href="https://www.au.org/tags/maddonna-v-dept-of-health-and-human-services">challenging a waiver</a> that promotes discrimination that HHS granted to an evangelical foster care agency in South Carolina. That agency, Miracle Hill Ministries, receives taxpayer funds but has refused to work with Jews, Catholics, atheists and others – even though those people are willing to provide loving assistance to children in need. The new HHS rule threatens to take that misguided discriminatory policy nationwide and extend it to a host of other programs.</p> <p>Be assured that Americans United will oppose every dangerous Trump policy that abuses the vital principle of religious freedom by treating it like a license to discriminate against others and relegate them to second-class status. <a href="https://www.au.org/tags/maddonna-v-dept-of-health-and-human-services">We’d love to have your help!</a></p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Issues</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/government-funded-discrimination" hreflang="en">Government-Funded Discrimination</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/discrimination-in-the-name-of-religion" hreflang="en">Discrimination In The Name of Religion</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/lgbtq-rights" hreflang="en">LGBTQ Rights</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/trump-administration" hreflang="en">Trump Administration</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/adoption" hreflang="en">Adoption</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/foster-care" hreflang="en">foster care</a></div> </div> </div> Mon, 04 Nov 2019 16:14:45 +0000 boston 15831 at https://www.au.org TV Preacher Paula White Secures Official Perch At White House https://www.au.org/blogs/paula-white-job <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">TV Preacher Paula White Secures Official Perch At White House</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/95" lang="" about="/user/95" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">boston</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Fri, 11/01/2019 - 11:43</span> <div class="field field--name-field-authored-by field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Authored by</label> <div class="item"><a href="/about/people/rob-boston" hreflang="und">Rob Boston</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/P%20White%20screenshot.PNG?h=c90ed133&amp;itok=v16hFSM3" width="1700" height="525" alt="Paula White " title="P White " typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p>A White House official told <em>The New York Times</em> yesterday that controversial TV preacher Paula White is<a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/31/us/politics/paula-white-trump.html"> </a><a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/31/us/politics/paula-white-trump.html">joining the Trump administration</a> in an official capacity.</p> <p><a>White</a>,<a href="https://www.au.org/church-state/march-2017-church-state/featured/pennies-and-lots-of-dollars-from-heaven"> </a><a href="https://www.au.org/church-state/march-2017-church-state/featured/pennies-and-lots-of-dollars-from-heaven">a Florida-based minister</a> known for promoting the “prosperity gospel” – the idea that if you have enough faith, God will reward you with riches – has been allied with Trump since the early 2000s. She’s a member of Trump’s secretive Evangelical Advisory Board, which Trump formed before the 2016 election to woo the Christian nationalist crowd. Americans United has been trying to<a href="https://www.au.org/church-state/october-2018-church-state/cover-story/all-the-presidents-men-and-women-members-of"> </a><a href="https://www.au.org/church-state/october-2018-church-state/cover-story/all-the-presidents-men-and-women-members-of">bring accountability to this body</a>, which, according to its own members, doesn’t actually exist.</p> <p>White has also been one of Trump’s most dependable conservative evangelical apologists. Despite Trump’s frequent<a href="https://historynewsnetwork.org/article/168305"> </a><a href="https://historynewsnetwork.org/article/168305">crass behavior</a>, his<a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/10/14/president-trump-has-made-false-or-misleading-claims-over-days/"> </a><a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/10/14/president-trump-has-made-false-or-misleading-claims-over-days/">tendency to lie</a> and his<a href="https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/04/trumps-bible-fail/478425/"> </a><a href="https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/04/trumps-bible-fail/478425/">seeming unfamiliarity</a> with the basic doctrines of Christianity, White has stood by Trump, going so far as to insist that God put him in the White House and that opposing Trump is opposing God.</p> <p><a href="https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/prosperity-gospel-tv-preacher-paula-white-says-god-approves-of-president">White told evangelist Jim Bakker</a> during an August 2017 interview that God put Trump in office and that opposition to Trump is opposition to God, remarking, “It is God who raises up a king. It is God that sets one down. When you fight against the plan of God, you are fighting against the hand of God.”</p> <p>A few days ago,<a href="https://www.christianpost.com/news/paula-white-christians-will-stand-accountable-before-god-if-they-vote-against-trump-233583/"> </a><a href="https://www.christianpost.com/news/paula-white-christians-will-stand-accountable-before-god-if-they-vote-against-trump-233583/">she repeated these themes</a> in another interview with Bakker, asserting, “I might not like the personality, I might not understand him . … Where do I line up? And you’re gonna have to make a decision that won’t be just held accountable here for how things turn out for you, your children, your grandchildren, but you’re gonna have to stand accountable before God one day. Not based on your opinion, your hurt, your wounding, what you think, what you don’t. Educate yourself. Know the issues, know the word of God, and then if you cannot align with the word of God I don’t see it.”</p> <p>White also sparked controversy last year when she told her followers to<a href="https://www.christianpost.com/news/paula-white-urges-followers-sow-first-fruits-offering-up-to-1-months-pay-or-suffer-consequences-212716/"> </a><a href="https://www.christianpost.com/news/paula-white-urges-followers-sow-first-fruits-offering-up-to-1-months-pay-or-suffer-consequences-212716/">give her ministry a month’s salary</a> and implied that bad things would happen to them if they didn’t.</p> <p>“It is the basis or underlying support for your success in 2018,” White wrote on her website. “It is GOD’S PRINCIPLE OF FIRST FRUITS. All Firsts belong to God. When you honor this principle it provides the foundation and structure for God’s blessings and promises in your life, it unlocks deep dimensions of spiritual truths that literally transform your life! When you apply this everything comes in divine alignment for His plan and promises for you. When you don’t honor it, whether through ignorance or direct disobedience there are consequences.”</p> <p><em>The Times </em>reported that White will work in the White House’s Office of Public Liaison. Her job, an anonymous administration official said, will be to offer advice on the administration’s Faith and Opportunity Initiative, Trump’s name for the faith-based initiative, which funnels tax money to religious groups ostensibly to fight social ills. There’s a certain irony in a person who believes poor people just need to have more faith in God to get rich advising the government on the provision of social services, but White, who has no experience in public service, will probably spend most of her time shoring up Trump’s conservative evangelical base in advance of the 2020 election.</p> <p>White and Trump share certain things in common – both have checkered pasts when it comes to money and both have resisted any attempts to hold them accountable for their actions.</p> <p>In 2007, U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa)<a href="https://www.au.org/church-state/january-2008-church-state/featured/prophets-profits-and-federal-tax-law"> </a><a href="https://www.au.org/church-state/january-2008-church-state/featured/prophets-profits-and-federal-tax-law">launched an investigation</a> into six large prosperity gospel ministries that he believed might have been violating federal law by using tax exemption to fund lavish lifestyles for ministry heads. Among the ministries Grassley examined was White’s Without Walls International Church in Tampa, which at the time she ran with her then-husband, Randy. Grassley asked the ministry to provide a list of expense account items “including, but not limited to, clothing expenses and any cosmetic surgery for years 2004 to present.” White provided some basic financial data about the ministry but refused the full request for information. Four years later the Grassley inquiry collapsed under withering attacks from Religious Right activists. White claimed this as vindication.</p> <p>It’s worth noting that White’s theology has plenty of critics in the Christian community. Russell D. Moore, president of the Ethics &amp; Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention and hardly a liberal, has<a href="https://twitter.com/drmoore/status/747803028661669888?lang=en"> </a><a href="https://twitter.com/drmoore/status/747803028661669888?lang=en">bluntly stated</a>, “Paula White is a charlatan and recognized as a heretic by every orthodox Christian, of whatever tribe.”</p> <p>When she’s not boosting Trump among evangelicals, White will likely join the president in promoting an agenda that is relentlessly anti-LGBTQ rights, anti-reproductive rights, anti-religious minority rights and anti-separation of religion and government.<a href="https://www.au.org/become-a-member"> </a><a href="https://www.au.org/become-a-member">Your support of Americans United</a> is crucial to helping us stand up to every part of it.</p> <p>P.S. Americans United President and CEO Rachel Laser has denounced White's appointment. You can read her <a href="https://www.au.org/media/press-releases/americans-united-denounces-appointment-of-paula-white-to-white-house-faith-and">powerful statement here</a>.</p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/donald-trump" hreflang="en">Donald Trump</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/paula-white" hreflang="en">Paula White</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/religious-right-0" hreflang="en">Religious Right</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/russell-moore" hreflang="en">Russell Moore</a></div> </div> </div> Fri, 01 Nov 2019 15:43:59 +0000 boston 15828 at https://www.au.org Kay Hagan And The Specter Of ‘Godless Americans’ https://www.au.org/blogs/kay-hagan-race <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Kay Hagan And The Specter Of ‘Godless Americans’ </span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/95" lang="" about="/user/95" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">boston</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Thu, 10/31/2019 - 11:18</span> <div class="field field--name-field-authored-by field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Authored by</label> <div class="item"><a href="/about/people/rob-boston" hreflang="und">Rob Boston</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/Kay%20Hagan%204.PNG?h=9d531ddd&amp;itok=Vbj6J5rZ" width="1700" height="525" alt="Kay Hagan" title="Hagan" typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p>Kay Hagan, a former U.S. senator from North Carolina, <a href="https://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/politics-government/article236736088.html">died earlier this week</a>. She was only 66 but had been ill for three years with encephalitis caused by a tick-borne illness.</p> <p>Here at Americans United, news of Hagan’s death took us back to 2008 and an ugly incident of bigotry that occurred during her first Senate campaign.</p> <p>Hagan, a Democrat, ran against Republican Elizabeth Dole for a seat once held by the notorious Jesse Helms. With polls showing Dole running behind in the closing days, her campaign decided to go negative and cast aspersions on Hagan’s faith.</p> <p>The Dole campaign aired an <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6JkxTv4SQww">ad attacking Hagan</a> for attending a fundraiser in Massachusetts hosted by a businessman who also had ties to a political action committee (PAC) for non-religious people. The fundraiser was not sponsored by the PAC, but the Dole campaign went on the attack anyway. Dole’s people produced a commercial accusing Hagan of consorting with “godless Americans” and hinted that Hagan had cut some sort of political deal with these radical secularists.</p> <p>A voice-over ominously said, “Godless Americans and Kay Hagan – she hid from cameras. Took ‘Godless’ money. What did Kay Hagan promise in return?” The ad concluded with a woman’s voice saying, “There is no God.”</p> <p>Hagan, however, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k76tRXq0ZC0">was not “godless.”</a> She was a Presbyterian and former Sunday school teacher. During an interview on a Raleigh radio station, Hagan blasted the ad, saying, “I think Elizabeth Dole has just gone to the lowest of the lows. This is an attack on my Christian faith.”</p> <p>The ad was obviously designed to reverse Dole’s fortunes and put her over the top in a Bible Belt state, but it failed badly. On election day, Hagan won handily, 53 percent to 44 percent. Hagan served one term in the Senate before losing the seat to Thom Tillis in 2014.</p> <p>There was a sad coda to the ad, however. The man who engineered it, Marty Ryall, later told a political magazine that he had absolutely no regrets about airing it – despite its bigoted themes.</p> <p>“We had polled the issue in mid-September and found that it tested very well among the key groups that we needed to win,” Ryall said. “We needed to raise intensity among Republican voters, as well as shift the focus of Independents and conservative Democrats from our negatives to Kay Hagan in an unfavorable way. We needed something that had some shock value and would also generate an earned media component – and that was the ‘Godless’ issue.”</p> <p>Putting aside the fact that the ad simply wasn’t accurate, it was appalling because it demonized millions of Americans. Dole’s campaign used “godless” Americans as a foil, a group of people to fear and overcome. Thankfully, the voters saw through her mean-spirited attempt at division.</p> <p>Even in the rough and tumble of American politics, Dole’s “godless” ad was a low blow. Hagan handled it with dignity and aplomb. May she rest in peace.</p> <p><em>Photo: Screenshot from C-SPAN.</em></p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Issues</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/nontheists-rights" hreflang="en">Nontheists&#039; Rights</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/north-carolina" hreflang="en">North Carolina</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/kay-hagan" hreflang="en">Kay Hagan</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/election" hreflang="en">Election</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/senate" hreflang="en">Senate</a></div> </div> </div> Thu, 31 Oct 2019 15:18:26 +0000 boston 15827 at https://www.au.org AU And Allies Are In Court Today To Block Trump’s Harmful Denial Of Care Rule https://www.au.org/blogs/Denial-of-Care-California-Hearing <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">AU And Allies Are In Court Today To Block Trump’s Harmful Denial Of Care Rule</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/69587" lang="" about="/user/69587" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">LHayes</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Wed, 10/30/2019 - 11:06</span> <div class="field field--name-field-authored-by field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Authored by</label> <div class="item"><a href="/about/people/liz-hayes" hreflang="und">Liz Hayes</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/Diverse%20women.jpg?h=b5c69569&amp;itok=YrR6HzGU" width="1700" height="525" alt="Diverse women" typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p>AU’s legal team will make the case to a California judge today that President Donald Trump’s <a href="https://www.au.org/tags/denial-of-care-rule">Denial of Care Rule</a> is a dangerous violation of religious freedom that puts all of our lives at risk and must be stopped from going into effect next month.</p> <p>AU’s attorneys, along with those from our allies at the Center for Reproductive Rights, Lambda Legal, Santa Clara County, Calif., and the Mayer Brown law firm, will go before U.S. District Judge William Alsup today to explain why the rule is unlawful, unconstitutional and should be blocked before its Nov. 22 effective date.</p> <p>Trump’s Denial of Care Rule invites any health care worker – including doctors, nurses, paramedics, orderlies and receptionists – to deny care to any patient on the basis of the worker’s religious or moral beliefs. Anyone could be denied care, even in life-threatening circumstances, because of who they are, who they love, what they believe or what medical care they’re seeking. Women, LGBTQ people, patients with AIDS or HIV, and religious minorities are the intended targets of the rule, but everyone is at risk.</p> <p>Our fundamental principle of religious freedom guarantees us all the right to practice our faith, or no faith at all, as long as we don’t harm others. But harming others is exactly what this rule would do. Our government should be protecting patients, not facilitating discrimination and calling it religious freedom.</p> <p>That’s why AU filed two lawsuits to challenge this harmful rule; one of our cases, <em><a href="https://www.au.org/media/press-releases/americans-united-center-for-reproductive-rights-and-lambda-legal-sue-trump">County of Santa Clara v. HHS</a></em>, is among those being argued before Judge Alsup today. A hearing has not been scheduled in our second case, <em><a href="https://www.au.org/media/press-releases/americans-united-joins-baltimore-to-sue-trump-administration-to-block-the">Mayor and City Council of Baltimore v. Azar</a></em>, which we filed along with the Baltimore city solicitor.</p> <p>To support our cases, about 30 medical professionals and health care administrators already have offered testimony on the myriad ways the Denial of Care Rule will exacerbate discrimination, erect more barriers for people trying to access health care, make staffing more difficult and costly for providers, undermine medical training and the medical knowledge of the next generation of health care workers, and, above all, endanger people’s health.</p> <p>Officials from Santa Clara County and Baltimore explained how, for every patient who is denied care, the negative health implications ripple beyond that individual into the community at large. Examples included:</p> <ul><li>Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) could be spread if they go untreated or if medications that can help prevent HIV aren’t provided.</li> <li>A rise in unintended pregnancies because of the unavailability of birth control, abortions and other reproductive care can domino into a host of socioeconomic challenges.</li> <li>A refusal to provide immunizations can cause preventable diseases to spread through a community.</li> </ul><p>In short, the experts tasked with protecting the public health in Baltimore and Santa Clara County are worried not only about the people most likely to be denied care; they fear for the entire combined 2.5 million people who rely on the public health departments to keep them healthy.</p> <p>“Refusals under such a rule would result in denials of timely care to Baltimore residents, and it is hard to overstate the harms that would follow, both for individual patients denied care and for public health in Baltimore at the population level,” said Rebecca S. Dineen, assistant commissioner for the Baltimore City Health Department Bureau of Maternal and Child Health.</p> <p>The Denial of Care Rule and its threat to withhold federal funding “would compromise the Public Health Department’s ability to prevent public health emergencies and outbreaks, to prevent chronic diseases, to provide equal opportunity to vulnerable children for a healthy start and optimal health, and to foster healthy families and healthy communities,” said Sara Cody, director of Santa Clara County’s public health department.</p> <p>Equally alarming is the impact the rule could have on emergency services. James Matz, battalion chief of emergency medical services for the Fire Department of Baltimore City, and Ken Miller, medical director for Santa Clara’s EMS Agency, told courts how critical care could be delayed and patients’ lives at risk if EMS employees refuse to treat people in emergencies.</p> <p>“[T]he Rule will create an impossible dilemma for Baltimore EMS and will endanger the lives of the people we serve,” Matz said. “If any employee on a medic unit decided, at the scene of a call, that they could not perform their job for religious, moral, or ‘other’ reasons, the results could be catastrophic.”</p> <p>We’ll continue to share the medical professionals’ concerns about the Denial of Care Rule in the coming weeks on this blog.</p> <p>We’re prepared to do everything in our power to stop the rule from going into effect, but taking on the Trump administration requires significant resources. <a href="https://secure.everyaction.com/SiO5ngWmu0ywuqIPY4U_Cw2?source=blog_CTA_103019">Please consider making a donation</a> to Americans United to help our team defeat this rule and protect religious freedom and health care for all.</p> <p> </p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Issues</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/discrimination-in-the-name-of-religion" hreflang="en">Discrimination In The Name of Religion</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/government-funded-discrimination" hreflang="en">Government-Funded Discrimination</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/discrimination-in-health-care" hreflang="en">Discrimination In Health Care</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/lgbtq-rights" hreflang="en">LGBTQ Rights</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/denials-of-service" hreflang="en">Denials of Service</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/reproductive-rights" hreflang="en">Reproductive Rights</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/denials-of-health-care" hreflang="en">Denials of Health Care</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/religious-freedom" hreflang="en">Religious Freedom</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/religious-minorities-rights" hreflang="en">Religious Minorities&#039; Rights</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/denial-of-care-rule" hreflang="en">Denial of Care Rule</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/dept-of-health-and-human-services" hreflang="en">Dept. of Health and Human Services</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/california" hreflang="en">California</a></div> </div> </div> Wed, 30 Oct 2019 15:06:16 +0000 LHayes 15825 at https://www.au.org For Some Christian Nationalists, Trump Can Literally Do No Wrong https://www.au.org/blogs/trump-and-evangelicals <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">For Some Christian Nationalists, Trump Can Literally Do No Wrong</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/95" lang="" about="/user/95" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">boston</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Mon, 10/28/2019 - 08:44</span> <div class="field field--name-field-authored-by field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Authored by</label> <div class="item"><a href="/about/people/rob-boston" hreflang="und">Rob Boston</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/Trump%20vvs%202017%20cropped.jpg?h=dbab9a22&amp;itok=VZJbX5kZ" width="1700" height="525" alt="Trump at VVS" title="VVS Trump" typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p>Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) issued a <a href="https://www.prri.org/research/fractured-nation-widening-partisan-polarization-and-key-issues-in-2020-presidential-elections/">new report</a> last week about the state of the American electorate in advance of the 2020 election. Buried within it was an interesting, if disturbing, nugget: About a third of all white evangelicals say there is pretty much nothing President Donald Trump could do that would cause them to withdraw their support for him.</p> <p>In a section dealing with Trump’s job approval, respondents were asked to put themselves into one of four categories: approve of Trump, and almost nothing Trump could do would lose approval; approve, but Trump could lose approval; disapprove, but Trump could win approval; and disapprove, and almost nothing Trump could do would win approval.</p> <p>When PRRI broke the respondents down by religious affiliation, it found that 31 percent of white evangelical Protestants said they fell into the first category. No other religious group came close to that figure.</p> <p>During the campaign, Trump asserted that his supporters were so enamored of him that he could shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue in New York City, and they would not care. He was joking (I think), but the level of devotion he has received from some of his more zealous acolytes should give us pause. It’s not healthy.</p> <p>The fact that many of his most ardent backers are so-called “values voters” is disturbing. Exactly what value are these people lifting up – Naivety? Extremism? Blind hero worship?</p> <p>It can be difficult to grasp how people get to such a place. Part of them problem is that many Christian nationalist residents of Trump World live in a kind of parallel universe. They get their news either from the Fox News Channel or some other similarly biased source. Every day, for example, the American Family Association’s fake news service OneNewsNow issues an email that portrays Trump as a kind of reincarnation of Winston Churchill. In the real world, the overwhelming consensus is that Trump’s policy dealing with the Kurds in Syria has been <a href="https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/a29564757/donald-trump-declare-victory-kurds-syria-turkey-deal/">a disaster</a>. OneNewsNow portrays it as a brilliant diplomatic coup.</p> <p>It’s bad enough that people are foolish enough to believe this stuff. What’s worse is that they are absolutely convinced that they, by virtue of their fundamentalist faith, possess a superior ethic that gives them the right to lord over the rest of us. They’re convinced that their religious views – and, by extension, their political opinions – are “true” and that’s the end of the discussion.</p> <p>There’s an old bumper sticker beloved by fundamentalists: “God said it. I believe it. That settles it for me.” (It was turned into <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=924MCB12MfA">a song</a> in 1976.) Today’s Christian nationalists have seemingly tweaked that phrase in a hugely significant way: They’ve ditched the first word and replaced it with “Trump.”</p> <p><em>Photo: President Trump addressing the Values Voter Summit in 2017.</em></p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Tags</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/religious-right-0" hreflang="en">Religious Right</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/donald-trump" hreflang="en">Donald Trump</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/afa" hreflang="en">AFA</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/public-religion-research-prri" hreflang="en">Public Religion Research (PRRI)</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/tags/evangelical-christianity" hreflang="en">Evangelical Christianity</a></div> </div> </div> Mon, 28 Oct 2019 12:44:39 +0000 boston 15824 at https://www.au.org Some Good News In The Battle To Maintain Access To Birth Control https://www.au.org/blogs/Birth-Control-Ninth-Circuit-Win <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Some Good News In The Battle To Maintain Access To Birth Control</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><a title="View user profile." href="/user/69587" lang="" about="/user/69587" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" class="username">LHayes</a></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Fri, 10/25/2019 - 11:57</span> <div class="field field--name-field-authored-by field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Authored by</label> <div class="item"><a href="/about/people/sarah-goetz" hreflang="en">Sarah Goetz</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image"> <label>Image</label> <div class="item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/banner/public/images/blog_post/Happy%20women.jpg?h=457a99c1&amp;itok=UN4R95dE" width="1700" height="525" alt="Women" typeof="foaf:Image" class="image-style-banner" /> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary items"><p>Earlier this week, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s ruling in <em>California v. Azar</em>,<em> </em>blocking Trump administration rules that would allow employers and universities to deny their employees and students health-insurance coverage for contraceptive care. It’s a win for reproductive rights, religious freedom and common sense.</p> <p>First, a little context: The Affordable Care Act requires health insurance plans to cover preventative care. Under the Obama administration, federal agencies enacted rules requiring employers to provide insurance plans that covered contraceptive care.  They exempted houses of worship from complying with the rules, and they created a workaround for other religious organizations that objected to providing such coverage.</p> <p>This accommodation was the subject of much litigation, but at the end of the day, it looked like this: nonprofit organizations and closely held for-profit businesses that objected to providing insurance plans that included contraceptive care simply had to notify the U.S. Department of Health and Human services of their objection, and HHS would take it from there. This process would accommodate the religious beliefs of objecting businesses and organizations while still ensuring that contraceptive care would be provided without a co-pay to those who need it.</p> <p>That compromise wasn’t enough for the Trump administration, which claimed that this accommodation still violated religious freedom and replaced the Obama-era rules with a set of their own: rules that consisted of sweeping exemptions under which any entity could simply deny its employees or students access to contraceptive care, so long as the employer or university based its denial of coverage on its religious beliefs or moral convictions.</p> <p>Several federal lawsuits were filed to challenge the Trump rules, including a case brought by Americans United and our allies. Another case was filed in California by 13 states and the District of Columbia. In that case, the trial court issued an injunction, blocking the Trump administration rules from taking effect while the lawsuit is pending.</p> <p>On Tuesday, a panel of judges in the 9th Circuit <a href="https://oag.ca.gov/system/files/attachments/press-docs/opinion_0.pdf">upheld the trial court’s decision</a>. The appeals court held that the Trump administration rules fly in the face of the ACA’s requirement that appropriate preventative care, including contraceptive care, be provided to all who need it, without requiring a co-pay.</p> <p>And, crucially, the court rejected the government’s argument that the Trump administration rules were supported, or even required, by the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act. RFRA prohibits the federal government from imposing “substantial burdens” on religious exercise. But, as the 9th Circuit readily concluded, the Obama-era rules imposed no such burden. Recall that those rules merely require objecting employers to notify HHS in writing of their objection. That’s it. A written notification of that kind is <em>not</em> a substantial burden on anyone’s religious exercise. As the appeals court put it, such a burden is merely <em>de minimis</em> – in other words, so inconsequential as to be virtually no burden at all.</p> <p>It’s a welcome outcome at a time when many in the Trump administration have sought to weaponize religion – often relying on RFRA – to protect a narrow set of religious beliefs at the expense of others. That’s not protecting religious exercise; it’s codifying harm. Fortunately, the 9th Circuit seemed to recognize as much in its ruling this week.</p> <p>The 9th Circuit joins the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which reached the same decision in a related case just a few months ago. Americans United filed friend-of-the-court briefs in both cases.</p> <p>And these same Trump administration rules are at the center of <a href="https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/au-and-allies-sue-trump-administration-and-notre-dame-over-back-door">AU’s own lawsuit</a> in federal court in Indiana, <em>Irish 4 Reproductive Health v. Azar</em>, in which we joined the Center for Reproductive Rights and the National Women’s Law Center to represent a group of University of Notre Dame students who have lost access to contraception because of these rules and a backroom settlement agreement negotiated between Notre Dame and the Trump administration.</p> <p>Americans United will continue to fight on behalf of our clients until the day comes when no American faces the threats of losing access to vital health care because of someone else’s religion. You can help protect religious freedom and reproductive freedom by <a href="https://www.au.org/become-a-member">joining us</a>.</p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issues field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Issues</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/reproductive-rights" hreflang="en">Reproductive Rights</a></div> <div class="item"><a href="/issues/discrimination-in-the-name-of-religion" hreflang="en">Discrimination In The Name of Religion</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-lawsuits field--type-entity-reference"> <label>Lawsuits</label> <div class="items"> <div class="item"><a href="/lawsuit/irish-4-reproductive-health-v-dept-of-health-and-human-services" hreflang="en">Irish 4 Reproductive Health v. Dept. of Health and Human Services</a></div> </div> </div> Fri, 25 Oct 2019 15:57:20 +0000 LHayes 15821 at https://www.au.org