Religious groups and their political allies have spent decades working to marginalize and suppress the views of Christians.
For them, the question is not whether religion should be mainstreamed, but how.
The most recent episode of this effort occurred in the aftermath of the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
This week, religious groups and the GOP nominated Donald Trump as the presidential nominee for the first time.
Trump has long espoused positions on social and cultural issues that would be anathema to the religious right.
In fact, Trump has been described as the “most conservative presidential candidate in a generation.”
The Christian Right’s strategy is to use the GOP’s unprecedented success in gaining control of the House and Senate to further advance their religious agenda.
As a result, religious conservatives have increasingly used their control of Congress to enact draconian anti-LGBT and anti-woman laws.
Many of these laws have been designed to punish and/or punish LGBTQ people.
They are also designed to further restrict and restrict the rights of people of color, women, immigrants, and LGBTQ people of faith.
These laws have also been designed in part to advance the agenda of religious right-wing extremists, such as Mike Huckabee, who has long championed discriminatory policies in areas such as marriage equality and abortion.
The religious right has used their newfound power in Congress to pass laws targeting LGBTQ people, including the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) which recently stated that “Christian Americans will no longer be able to freely exercise their religious freedom and freedom of conscience without facing persecution in the eyes of the state.”
The Trump administration has also recently issued a slew of executive orders that aim to undermine LGBTQ rights, including one which allows businesses to discriminate against LGBTQ people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
While Trump has previously pledged to work with LGBTQ groups to combat discrimination, he has yet to publicly back their efforts.
The Christian right has repeatedly tried to silence LGBTQ advocates by labeling them “transphobic” and “anti-Christian.”
But while the Trump administration’s anti-discrimination policy and the Trump campaign’s anti, transphobic rhetoric are likely to embolden religious conservatives, the president-elect has previously expressed his support for religious freedom.
In an interview with NBC News, Trump described the anti-trans hate crimes laws as “the right thing to do.”
However, Trump’s position has yet, at least so far, to include LGBTQ people and their families.
The Trump Administration has already gone one step further than any other presidential administration in implementing anti-queer, anti-gender, and anti—transgender policies.
Trump’s recent executive order is not only unconstitutional, it is also a direct assault on LGBTQ people’s constitutional rights.
In addition to the hate crimes policies, Trump also signed an order that will allow religious schools to discriminate based on religious beliefs, including by refusing to allow students to participate in activities such as LGBTQ pride parades.
And on January 13, the Trump Administration announced a plan to expand discrimination against LGBTQ individuals in the federal government.
The order allows the Justice Department to enforce laws targeting people on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression, and includes a “religious liberty” exemption.
Trump is also expected to sign an executive order that would permit businesses to deny services to LGBT people, even though LGBTQ people have historically been discriminated against in the private sector.
The administration also plans to move forward with the controversial “religious freedom” exemption, which could potentially allow businesses to refuse services to people based upon their sexual identity, race, religion, disability, or national origin.
This is an attempt by religious right groups to use religious freedom laws to advance their political agenda.
But as with any legislative move, there are significant hurdles that need to be overcome.
Religious freedom laws are a tool that must be used responsibly.
In this instance, Trump will have to make a difficult decision between his commitment to LGBTQ people in his administration and the interests of religious liberty.
Trump should use his executive authority to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in government while ensuring that discrimination against people based solely on their religion is not allowed.
This issue is not one that can be addressed simply by voting for Trump, but must be addressed by Congress.
In the meantime, Trump should make clear to the American people that he is committed to LGBTQ equality and to ensuring that LGBTQ people are protected from discrimination.
The views expressed in this commentary are the author’s own.