Reality show star Donald Trump told the Republican National Convention that “As your president, I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology.” But just four weeks after saying those words, Trump is pandering to the violence and oppression of a hateful domestic ideology.
This weekend, he’s scheduled to speak before a large gathering of anti-LGBT evangelical leaders organized by a political operative who is closely linked to an anti-LGBT hate group.
David Lane is responsible for putting together the two-day ‘Rediscovering God in America’ event, which will include more than 700 people, through the auspices of his American Renewal Project. Lane is best-known for his failed attempt to organize a boycott of Frito-Lay over their choice to sell Doritos in a rainbow bag, but still he ought to be regarded as one of the most powerful Republican operatives in evangelical politics.
RNC Chairman Reince Priebus hasappeared at Lane’s political gatherings and praised his radical anti-LGBT activism. In fact, potential Republican presidential candidates like Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Rick Perry and Mike Pence have either appeared at Lane’s events, which typically take place in early primary states, or participated in election-themed advertisements for Lane’s group.
The American Renewal Project is funded by the American Family Association, which is listed as a hate group by the Human Rights Campaign and the Southern Poverty Law Center due to the way they “combat the homosexual agenda” through vicious and bigoted propaganda.
The list of speakers includes Glenn Beck’s favorite pseudo-historian David Barton, anti-gay Maine pastor Ken Graves, and Sen. Marco Rubio, who has come under intense criticism for his involvement.
Mat Staver, chairman of the anti-gay group Liberty Counsel, which has supported Kentucky clerk Kim Davis and Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore in their bids to circumvent the Supreme Court’s decision on marriage equality with ‘religious feedom’ arguments, will also speak. The conference will take place on the two-month anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shootings; Staver has criticized memorials for victims of the massacre as “homosexual love-fests.”
Although Lane began as a supporter of Sen. Ted Cruz, he has become enthusiastic about Donald Trump, declaring that the serial fabricator “can be one of the top four presidents in American history” by forcing a Christian nationalist agenda on the country.
Desperate to shore up his sagging poll numbers, Trump is doubling-down on his RNC promise to do away with legal limits on political activity in churches in order to woo the Christian nationalist vote.
Trump’s central appeal on the campaign trail to religious conservatives is his promise to repeal the Johnson Amendment, an IRS rule that prohibits churches from using their tax-exempt resources to promote political candidates.
“That’s a good first step,” said David Lane, the American Renewal Project’s founder. “But what about the religious liberty of Christian photographers, Christian bakers, Christian retreat centers, and pastors who believe same-sex intercourse and marriage is sin? These Christians were simply living out their deeply held convictions of their Christian faith when they politely refused to provide services for a same-sex wedding. Doesn’t the First Amendment give us all a right to our beliefs?”
Having allowed anti-LGBT forces to write the most vicious party platform in history, Trump’s words rang hollow even when he gave his acceptance speech, as he’d already picked the virulently-homophobic Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana to be his running-mate and allowed plenty of anti-LGBT speakers on his stage.
Since the convention, Trump has vowed to appoint anti-LGBT justices to the Supreme Court, affirming statements he made earlier this year that he would seek to overturn the Obergefell decision on marriage equality.
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