GOP presidential candidates defend discrimination, not free speech

By Robert Mann

Several of them pledge to plunge the United States deeper into the military conflict in Syria. Half wish to deny women the right to an abortion, even in cases of rape or incest. Their frontrunner has made appalling, bigoted statements about immigrants and Muslims. All would deprive the working poor of health insurance and each denies climate change.

So, what else could the Republican candidates for president do to alienate further the moderate voters their party’s nominee must persuade to capture the White House in 2016? Well, they are working hard to offend millions of additional voters with their radical positions on gay rights.

Last week, the American Principles Project (APP) announced that six Republican presidential candidates — Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida, Dr. Ben Carson, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee — made the following promise: “If elected, I pledge to push for the passage of the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) and sign it into law during the first 100 days of my term as President.” Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Donald Trump and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky have not signed the pledge but have publicly supported the bill, the APP reports.

Although it sounds like legislation meant to defend free speech, FADA would, instead, enshrine bigotry against same-sex couples (and many others) into federal law. The bill states: “[T]he Federal Government shall not take any discriminatory action against a person, wholly or partially on the basis that such person believes or acts in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or that sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.”

This is similar to the executive order that Gov. Bobby Jindal issued last summer that endorsed religion-influenced discrimination against same-sex couples. (Speaking of Louisiana, five of our Republican representatives are among FADA’s 152 House co-sponsors: House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, John Fleming, Charles Boustany, Garret Graves and Ralph Abraham.)

This congressional legislation, however, goes much further and is more odious than Jindal’s legally dubious order. As the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) correctly notes, FADA would also permit “federal contractors or grantees, including those that provide important social services like homeless shelters or drug treatment programs, to turn away LGBT people or anyone who has an intimate relationship outside of a marriage.”

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4 Responses to GOP presidential candidates defend discrimination, not free speech

  1. Stephen Winham says:

    Looking beyond the fact Republicans are currently showing a clear preference for a bombastic candidate, and are ignoring the negative implications of this preference, the larger issue is how we, the average citizens who are supposed to be represented by our elected officials, can condone the signing of ANY pledge to ANY special interest group by ANY elected official? Since they treat these pledges as if they are written in blood, do we not lose representation with each such signing?

    Ted Cruz is easing up in the polls and his radicalism is currently being overshadowed by Trump’s carnival act. Will we wind up with a choice between Ted Cruz and Hillary Clinton? Are they the best possible people to lead our country? If not, where are the ones who are?


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  3. jechoisir says:

    It’s Christmas Eve, and I am hoping this oh-so-biased account is the result of a bit too much fish house punch.

    First, Donald Trump is a national phenomenon, not merely a Republican phenomenon. Embedded in his hyperbole is the voice of an ever-narrowing middle class that has seen the “rights” and “values” of everyone but the hard-working, religious, patriotic plain folk either invented, glorified, or elevated above what constituted the backbone of American identity.

    College students so tender they must have”safe places” to express their uneducated views, a president who personally involves himself and his administration in attacks on law enforcement in general and specific and in the immediate wake of a clear Islamist terrorist attack in California tells the nation gun control and global warming are more important issues, increasing polarizing black mob violence that finds approval at the highest levels and that threatens peace-abiding black working-class neighborhoods, and the failure of American to lead in foreign policy—-one could go on with the list of follies and offenses to the U.S. body politic and traditional world views for pages.

    And even uneducated people see them as offenses and yet have found no legitimate way to make their views known to this administration, no public awareness of the legitimacy of “old-fashioned” American values. They are not the kind of people who take to the streets. They have jobs and no time, but they wouldn’t do it anyway because they abhor mob rule. They themselves are the victims of mob mentality. In Trump’s simplistic rhetoric is the bewildered cry of people who see the Emperor is stark raving naked but are called stupid, ignorant, and unsophisticated. The Democratic Party offers no alternative, only a woman who rose to power as a “wronged” and humiliated wife and who has failed as a leader and has the trust of no one in any party.

    The remaining Republicans (and remember, Trump has voted Dem as often as he’s voted Republican), another time. But those with a chance of the nomination all have policies that run counter to the chaotic “policies” of the current administration. And thank the Lord for that! They differ generally, but have a commonality in that they are a response to a President who has ruled, not administered laws at home and who has abdicated his duties internationally, then refused to accept responsibility for his refusal to act positively.

    No one “leads from behind.” That is the name of a follower. He is Robispierre in the French Revolution who spied a mob and cried, “There go the people. I am their leader. I must go see where they are going.” A demagogue. And in Trump, we have his polar opposite.

    It’s Christmastime, and my Christmas political wish is for less polarization among Americans, more respect for traditions, and for positive, informed leadership that will address key issues which created the candidacy of Donald Trump. And for peace and true brotherhood. (and no tornadoes!)


    • Stephen Winham says:

      Trump’s words inspire revolution, but no credible solution. His comments and, with all due respect yours, promote the very polarization you say you wish to see gone. There are people, including me, who see Trump not as Robespierre’s opposite, but as the very epitome of the demagoguery you ascribe to him.

      Though you argue eloquently, you are not going to convert me or, I suspect, anybody who shares my philosophy, Preaching what amounts to hate about our (yes, our) President, won’t win any arguments for sure – it might get a lot of agreement from those already of like mind, but that’s winning an argument that isn’t there.

      As you say, it is Christmastime, a time to pray for and practice peace. I am going to try to not think about politics and the clear and present dangers we face as a country and a people for 24 hours – A lofty goal I will probably not be able to achieve, but one befitting the holiday.


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