The Republican Party has released its proposed platform for this election season, and its top priorities are injecting religion into the political process and reversing decades of progress on social issues.
The platform makes two specific demands with regards to religion, specifically Christianity: that lawmakers use religious principles to guide lawmaking, and that the Bible be taught in public schools.
The platform demands that lawmakers use religion as a guide when legislating, stipulating “that man-made law must be consistent with God-given, natural rights.”
It also encourages the teaching of the Bible in public schools because, the amendment said, a good understanding of its contents is “indispensable for the development of an educated citizenry.”
The New York Times described the platform as “almost Victorian” for its emphasis on “traditional values” and its staunch decrying of pornography, which it describes as a “public menace.” And in a nod to likely Republican nominee Donald Trump, the platform specifically calls for a “wall” along the United States-Mexico border.
As for LGBT rights, this is the most anti-LGBT platform in Republican history, according to the Log Cabin Republicans. Not only does it call for marriage equality to be overturned by constitutional amendment, but it also condemns same-sex parenting and transgender equality, and supports the toxic practice of anti-LGBT conversion therapy for youth.
Nearly every provision that expressed disapproval of homosexuality, same-sex marriage or transgender rights passed. The platform calls for overturning the Supreme Court marriage decision with a constitutional amendment and makes references to appointing judges “who respect traditional family values.”
Additional provisions included those that promoted state laws to limit which restrooms transgender people could use, nodded to “conversion therapy” for gays by saying that parents should be free to make medical decisions about their children without interference and stated that “natural marriage” between a man and a woman is most likely to result in offspring who do not become drug-addicted or otherwise damaged.
The call for conversion therapy is especially troubling, as it’s not only ineffective, but extremely harmful. Last year, the White House announced support for a blanket ban on conversion therapy for minors, and even leading (former) ex-gay organization leaders have spoken out against it.
But as we’ve reported before, Republicans met with religious right-winger Tony Perkins in the process of drafting the platform, and it seems he convinced them to embrace the dangerous process of conversion therapy as a political priority. Trump has been noticeably absent from the process of putting the platform together, so his more wishy-washy take on LGBT issues is not reflected:
It was the lack of much interference by Mr. Trump or his aides that seemed to set the tone for the platform’s direction. That allowed conservative activists like Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, to exert greater influence. Mr. Perkins’s hand could be seen in dozens of amendments on issues like gun control, religious expression and bathroom use.
“He is going to be the nominee for the party. He has his own ideas,” Mr. Perkins told reporters on Monday. “But this is a statement of not Donald Trump’s campaign, but of the Republican Party.”
This platform is incredibly dangerous for atheists, LGBT people, women, youth, immigrants, and virtually anyone who does not ascribe to these centuries-old restrictive “values.” If even a fraction of these demands are realized, we will see years and years of civil rights advances rolled back. We’ve come too far to let that happen.
The GOP will vote on the proposed platform next Tuesday during its convention.
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