Faith groups unite to tell Trump that his new order is not ‘religious freedom’

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NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 14: (L to R) Vice President-elect Mike Pence looks on as President-elect Donald Trump shakes the hand of Peter Thiel during a meeting with technology executives at Trump Tower, December 14, 2016 in New York City. This is the first major meeting between President-elect Trump and technology industry leaders. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

More than a thousand faith leaders have signed a letter addressed to Donald Trump asking him not to use the term ‘religious freedom’ defining his discriminatory anti-LGBT order. The group, known as Clergy United Against Discrimination, consisting of 1300 faith groups, wrote in their letter: “As clergy and faith leaders who serve diverse communities across the United States, we write to you to express our deep concern over the draft religious freedom executive order that some have urged you to sign. Although it purports to strengthen religious freedom, what this order would actually do is misuse this freedom, turning it into a weapon to discriminate against broad swaths of our nation, including LGBTQ people, women, and children in foster care. We urge you to turn away from all proposals that would abuse religious freedom, including any executive orders on this issue that are currently under consideration. The religious freedom upon which our nation was founded has allowed our country’s diverse religious landscape to flourish. The draft executive order flies in the face of that rich diversity by enshrining one religious perspective- on marriage, gender identity, health care, and the role of houses of worship in partisan politics – into law, above all others. This is neither what religious freedom means in the eyes of the law, nor what religion itself means to millions of Americans of faith.” They added that religious freedom actually means letting people to have beliefs that differ from your own, there are those people who are religious and completely supportive to LGBT, and there is no dissonance. “As people of deep faith committed to a country that supports robust religious expression, and in the spirit of equality and justice, we urge you to return to the true meaning of religious freedom. We must never allow this precious freedom to be used to discriminate against broad swaths of our nation, including LGBTQ people, women, and children in foster care. We urge you to refrain from issuing this executive order or any substantively similar policies on their own, or as amendments to existing executive orders,” they concluded.

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