Donald Trump has claimed time and time again that he would be an ally to the LGBTQ community, yet he has continued to pursue policies that go against their civil rights, including his recent (failed) attempt to ban transgender people from serving in the military, while nominating for powerful positions people who have opposed marriage equality and bathroom bills. (Hello, Mike Pence.)
Tonight, Trump continued lavishing praise on those who oppose civil rights by fully embracing the man who successfully mobilized Mormons to outlaw gay marriage in California.
We wrote earlier today about the death of Thomas S. Monson, president and so-called “prophet” of the Mormon Church. The LDS leadership cast him as a hero who “followed Jesus.” Monson wrote a letter in 2008 encouraging California Mormons to donate money and vote in favor of Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage.
It’s not surprising to hear that support from the Church he served since 1963, but it’s still disturbing for a president to jump on the bandwagon. Trump said Monson demonstrated “great compassion” in his life. Those aren’t the first words that come to my mind when describing a man who essentially took marriage rights away from hundreds of thousands of same-sex couples.
Trump wrote in a White House statement that he and Melania were “deeply saddened” by the death of Monson, whom he described as “beloved.”
Melania and I are deeply saddened by the death of Thomas S. Monson, a beloved President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints…https://t.co/ETD3fWtfU3
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 4, 2018
While serving for over half a century in the leadership of his church, President Monson demonstrated wisdom, inspired leadership, and great compassion. Considered a prophet by the nearly 16 million members of the LDS Church, his message was one of optimism, forgiveness, and faith. Our thoughts and prayers are with his three children and the rest of the Monson family.
While much of that statement may resemble the sort of generic remembrance any president would offer the deceased leader of a large community, religious or otherwise, the words are important here. Remember: Monson was also known for banning the children of gay people from the Church until they turned 18 and disavowed their parents. Trump didn’t mention that, which may be expected, but he still used the words “inspired,” “wisdom,” and “compassion” in describing the man. Even if you didn’t want to criticize a religious leader who just died, there are ways to describe his legacy without pretending he was all good, all the time.
(Screenshot via YouTube)