Many Americans familiar with Attorney General Jeff Sessions were befuddled at claims by other Republicans that the religious right sycophant was an acclaimed civil rights champion when he was tapped to lead the Justice Department. Those same Americans were well aware that Sessions is a harsh critic of civil or equal rights and complained that since it is the DOJ that is tasked with guaranteeing that all Americans enjoy the same rights, Sessions was not qualified to lead the department or protect Americans’ civil rights.
Late Wednesday, Sessions proved those skeptics right and waded into a private employment dispute litigation on the side of a bigot who believes it is legal to discriminate based on an employees’ sexual orientation. The bigot employer fired a worker on the grounds that he was gay.
The evangelical bigot Sessions used his position at the the Justice Department to file official federal government court papers arguing that a major 53 year-old federal civil rights law does not protect employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation. As Scotusblog reported; the evangelical running the DOJ butted in on a case now being considered by a New York appeals court in what is regarded as “a rare example of top Washington officials weighing in on gay rights in a private dispute.” It is a portent of things to come with an administration rife with theocrats that demand god is given a supreme voice in public policy.
That is precisely what Sessions didn’t say, and something the media is woefully missing in reporting; Sessions’ official DOJ amicus brief in defense of discrimination is founded on a nasty archaic religious edict, and nothing else. Of course Sessions is attacking LGBT people’s civil rights, it is a hard and fast rule among the religious right that non-heterosexual Americans are not entitled to the same rights or protections as white evangelicals.
The case the theocrats running the federal government are interfering with involves a private labor dispute regarding a homophobic employer who summarily fired an employee simply because he is gay. That is contrary to the meaning of civil rights and “contradicts a federal agency, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which says that the 1965 Civil Rights Act does indeed protect gay and bisexual workers” from bigots in the evangelical movement. That position was upheld just three months ago in a major ruling by the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit that supported the concept that LGBTQ Americans, as American citizens, are entitled to civil rights and employment discrimination protections.
In April, US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit made a very important ruling in an 8-3 decision concluding that federal civil rights law — specifically, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 — does protect workers from discrimination based on sexual orientation. The court ruled that it is illegal in the United States for any employer to discriminate against gay workers because it offends their evangelical religion. It was the first federal court to conclude that gay people are real American citizens and therefore entitled to employment protections under existing civil rights law. The Trump administration, run by a theocratic cabal including Mike Pence and Jeff Sessions, disagrees and says gays are not real (white Christian) Americans and therefore not worthy of federal civil rights or employment discrimination protections.
The American Civil Liberties Union called the DOJ’s brief a “gratuitous and extraordinary attack on L.G.B.T. people’s civil rights.” The director of the organization’s L.G.B.T. and H.I.V. Project, James Esseks, issued a statement adding, “The Sessions-led Justice Department and the Trump administration are actively working to expose people to discrimination.” Although that is the case, it would be beneficial if the ACLU cited the real source of the administration’s push to legalize discrimination – the evangelical theocrats running the government.
It is noteworthy to remind Americans that less than two weeks ago Sessions gave a speech to an acknowledged evangelical hate group, the Alliance Defending Freedom, which claims “being gay is as sinful as bestiality.” That speech prompted U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, the first openly gay person to be elected to the Senate, to warn that Sessions’ speech “sends a very troubling message that our Attorney General, America’s top law enforcement official, is not committed to standing up to anti-LGBT hate,”
Based on Sessions’ interference in a private employment discrimination case on the side of the bigoted employer, Ms. Baldwin’s comment about Sessions’ lack of commitment to doing his job was prophetic. Not that any sane American expected anything different from an evangelical fanatic in charge of a powerful federal agency.
This latest attempt to “rule” according to theocracy was not unexpected and in great part it is down to the media, Democrats, and all manner of equal, civil, and human rights organizations gross failure to identify the source of every affront to humanity and American citizens’ freedoms – establishment of the evangelical religion as the rule of law. No doubt if these attacks on American citizens’ constitutionally-guaranteed rights to equality were reported as unconstitutional imposition of religion, it is highly likely that people like Sessions, and preacher Pence would never be in a position of authority. Sadly, now the theocrats are the authority and just as sadly LGBTQ people are not going to be the only victims because as history proves, religious regimes will get around to attacking everyone sooner or later.