Rev. Trump


The currTrump Defined.JPGent occupant of the Executive Residence in Washington D.C. continues to literally live up to his name.  He continues to get the better of everyone around him, largely because it is the one skill that he has cultivated throughout his life.  He doesn’t make deals.  In order to actually make deals, on a basic level you must respect those you are dealing with.  Trump does not.  Trump merely takes advantage and tries to leverage weaknesses he perceives in his many “opponents.”  He skips out on payments, he ignores rules and boundaries, he grabs at things (and people) without any regard for anyone but himself.  He is literally the embodiment of what it means to “trump.”

This is abundantly clear in his agenda around “religious liberty” which continues to move forward with little fanfare in the press.  This week, I was surprised by a statement he made about getting a call from the “biggest pastors” because of how the left has vilified him and then I did some digging.  I discovered that while the rest of the country was convulsing over the possible threat of impeachment, he was outlining an actual agenda before the United Nations that would seem to paint the United States as the heroic global leader in religious freedom.

But look again…

The Trump administration has been working quietly behind the scenes, largely through the trio of Mike Pompeo, Mike Pence and Sam Brownback to create a legal foundation for policies that would primarily work to center conservative Christianity as the sole moral compass for the nation.  Trump’s speech really says it all.  The only stories he has any passion or detail for involve Christians (evangelical and Catholic) and his message is clear: Christianity is under attack.

He might be surprised at the number of Latin American Christians he’s turning away at the southern border…

The administration has aggressively moved on the domestic front to weaken the power of the Johnson Amendment which has kept religion out of political funding and fundraising for the last 65 years.  Signing a “religious liberty” executive order in May of 2017 he happily (albeit incorrectly) declared that the Amendment was totally destroyed[1].

The current effort to reduce the number of refugees admitted to the United States to 18,000 includes a provision that would admit 5,000 (27% of the total) as persecuted religious refugees. Again, look at where Trumps focus lies in his speech:

“I’ve appointed a special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism.  We’re standing up for almost 250 million Christians around the world who are persecuted for their faith.  It is estimated that 11 Christians are killed every day for the following — I mean, just think of this: Eleven Christians a day, for following the teachings of Christ.  Who would even think that’s possible in this day and age?  Who would think it’s possible?” – Donald Trump to the United Nations 9/23/19

Full Remarks by President Trump at the United Nations Event on Religious Freedom | New York, NY

Yes, Mr. Trump, it is totally possible and totally believable or maybe you didn’t’ notice the Palestinians, Rohingya or Indian Muslims?  Then of course there are the large swaths of the world that are dominated by the world’s largest religion (Christianity sits at the top of the list with over 2 billion adherents) that criminalize same sex relationships, murder transgender people and refuse to criminalize or even prosecute rape and sexual subjugation of women. (Human Rights Watch Data on LGBT global persecution HERE.)

Yes, poor little Christianity is definitely the victim (2011 global Christianity stats).

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a firm believer in people’s right to faith or no faith.  I’ve written about that before and outlined it explicitly in my own theories around Religious EquityBut we need to walk and chew gum at the same time.  We cannot get consumed with Watergate-Redux Fever by paying exclusive attention to the smoke bomb that Trump has lobbed at us.  He, and more importantly his Vice President, Secretary of State and Ambassador for Religious Freedom are creating a highly exclusive global network and drawing the kinds of alliances we once had with places like the UK and Canada but doing so with global leaders who have the most limited views on human and more specifically religious rights.  Hello theocracy.

Pence, Pompeo and Brownback are quietly strengthening and weaving their faith into our international policies and Trump, being a first-class Godless opportunist, is willing to enable these policies as long as it puts money in his coffers and builds his brand domestically.  This is a weaponized brand of Christianity that SHOULD be under attack if we wish to maintain any semblance of true religious liberty in the world.


View from the conservative Christian Perspective: Christianity Today – 9/23/19 Jayson Casper

Legislating Sex

orange yellow green and blue abstract painting
Photo by Steve Johnson on

Arizona artists win suit over same-sex wedding invitations – Associated Press 9/17

Faith and sexuality cannot remain in conflict in the United States.  Faith and sexuality exist in different orbits of what it means to be human; even if they do cross paths they have no reason to collide.  Belief by its very nature is primarily subjective.  As belief is based on perception of the world and perception of existence, it lives with the individual and it must be subjective.  Although heavily influenced by facts of our embodied existence (ability, race, gender…and yes, sexuality) the way one person experiences that reality cannot be the same as any other being.

Although we are accustomed to thinking of sexuality as being subjective, it is different.  Sexuality is a fact.  Even though the expression of that sexuality (between humans) may be completely subjective, the fact of human sexuality is part of what defines the human creature.  We are in part defined from other beings through our capacity to experience sexuality as intentional communication with each other and not simply hormonal or instinctive impulse. What is more, one expression of that sexuality is not more valid or more natural than another, barring explicit protections for those who are vulnerable to exploitation or oppression through that expression.

Ask any atheist and they will tell you that religion is not an absolute part of how we are defined as beings.  What is part of what defines us as human is our higher brain function that allows us to experience religion as foundational to life and organized community.  The exercise of this brain function can be a beautiful part of the human experience; and it can be the cause for war.  In fact, it is our higher brain function ironically that creates the war between the subjective elements in question here: our expression of belief as religion and our expression of sexuality.

Government in the United States has always ultimately failed at legislating our basic humanity.  Slavery, Indian removal, disenfranchisement of women, legal sterilization of those perceived as “inferior”, preventing interracial marriage…these are all eventual legislative failures because they attempt to treat as subjective what is and will always be objective in the human being: embodiment. Today, we are gearing up for what will surely be a Supreme Court decision on the full embodied humanity of LGBTQ people.  But LGBTQ people will win because our existence and the fact of human sexuality which defines us has always included a wide spectrum of manifestations and should never have been questioned to begin with.

Insulting though this entire exercise of having to prove our right to exist in our bodies may be, we LGBTQ people must continue to remind communities of “faith” who would deny us wedding invitations, marriage licenses, work and housing that no law can invalidate the basic right to human sexuality.  We must stop legislating humanity.  There is no “sincerely held belief” that is more valid than your or my DNA.

I promise, if you keep your God out of my bedroom, I will not to have sex on your altar.



“Religious Liberty” advocate site (conservative/Christian):

The Gospel Coalition on the advance of Religious Liberty bills


Liberal pro LGBTQ voices:

Center For American Progress on Religious Liberty

American Civil Liberties Union legislation impacting LGBTQ people

Southern Poverty Law Center on anti-LGBTQ initiatives



Desert News on Religious Liberty Bills

Bill of Rights Institute history of Religious Liberty Bills