It's time to set the record straight: The Trump Administration doesn't have a damn clue what religious freedom means. That's exactly what I said during an interview with the New Republic a few weeks ago and I'm not backing down from those remarks. The reality is that we're facing an administration which, along with many members of Congress, is determined to push an agenda of radical religious privilege on a scale we haven't seen in generations.
Just this past weekend, a senior official on President Trump's transition team said the White House is still planning to issue a "religious freedom" executive order, similar to the one that leaked just a few weeks ago. This is a wrecking ball aimed at the wall of separation between church and state, allowing for taxpayer-funded discrimination against same-sex couples, single mothers, and transgender persons. It is almost impossible to overstate the damage that would be done by such an executive order.
The Secular Coalition for America is the first, last, and best line of defense for our secular government. In just the first two months of 2017, the Secular Coalition for America:
- Gave secular Americans a voice in major media outlets by sounding the alarm about President Trump's Supreme Court nominee and his pledge to "destroy" the Johnson Amendment. Our quotes were featured on CNN, the Hill, the Washington Post, and Religion News Service.
- Sent more than 20,000 letters to lawmakers across the country. To give you perspective, we sent about 30,000 letters throughout all of 2016.
- Began meeting with freshman members of Congress on Capitol Hill as part of our 100 Day pledge to our supporters. By April 30th, we will have met with all 55 new members of the 115th Congress.
- Submitted questions for members of the Senate to ask President Trump's most controversial cabinet nominees during their confirmation hearings, including Betsy DeVos, Sen. Jeff Sessions, Scott Pruitt, Ben Carson, and Rep. Tom Price.
- For the third consecutive year, worked to secure the introduction of a Darwin Day resolution in the Senate, which affirms the scientific consensus behind evolution and climate change.
- Took part in the historic Women's March on Washington as an official sponsor. We joined millions of people across the world in standing up for women's rights, LGBT equality, and against religious bigotry.
Everything we have accomplished is only possible because of your support. The Trump Administration and their accomplices in Congress have shown they're ready to do everything it takes to advance the religious right's discriminatory and destructive agenda. We have to do everything we can to stop them.
I could not be prouder of what we've accomplished in just the first two months of 2017 but winning this fight requires building on our momentum. I'm not backing down from my remarks about President Trump, I'm not going to stop calling out the religious right, and I'm not going to stop fighting to keep religion and government separate.
Can I count on you to do the same?
Larry T. Decker