Move Comes During Height of First Wave of Pandemic
Roger Severino, a Christian right activist who heads the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services’s Office for Civil Rights is one step closer to his own personal goal of removing protections for LGBTQ patients, a move that would allow discrimination based on gender and sexual orientation.
Under Severino’s leadership the Trump administration has been moving quickly toward the final stages of dismantling critical protections for LGBTQ patients, Politico reports. The Dept. of Health and Human Services has sent a draft of its rewrite of an Obama-era policy to the Dept. of Justice for review, a sign it could soon announce the rollback of hard-fought regulations protecting some of the nation’s most vulnerable people.
HHS has been working on re-interpreting and re-writing the nondiscrimination provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The agency’s website currently says Section 1557 of the ACA “prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in certain health programs or activities.”
“Advocates fear that it would allow hospitals and health workers to more easily discriminate against patients based on their gender or sexual orientation,” Politico reports, noting the provision “also offered specific protections for transgender patients for the first time and extended protections for women who had abortions.”
Severino has been called a “radical” anti-LGBTQ religious right activist. He previously served as CEO and counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a religious right non-profit that opposes separation of church and state. He also once served as the Director of the DeVos family’s Center for Religion and Civil Society in the Institute for Family, Community, and Opportunity.
Late last year a federal judge voided a rule Severino had implemented allowing medical providers to cite their personal religious or moral beliefs as a reason to refuse to provide care to certain individuals or to perform certain procedures. It would have allowed doctors and other health care professionals to refuse to perform or participate in abortions, prescribe or deliver contraception, or provide care to and LGBTQ person.
Severino is also tied to the Trump administration’s efforts to ban same-sex couples and LGBTQ people from adoption services.
Severino has long sought to gut ObamaCare’s LGBTQ protections. Before coming to the Trump administration Severino co-authored a Heritage Foundation report claiming new proposed ObamaCare nondiscrimination provisions “threaten the religious liberty, freedom of conscience, and independent medical judgment of health care professionals.”
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Feuds Erupt Among Trump-Loving ‘Prophets’ Over Whether God Will Put Him Back in the White House Next Month
Former President Donald Trump has been out of the White House for nearly a month, but some Christian “prophets” believe God has a plan to reinstall him in the White House next month.
As Politico reports, self-proclaimed prophets such as Kat Kerr, Johnny Enlow, and Greg Locke are still insisting that Trump will be president again in 2021, despite the fact that President Joe Biden was sworn into office last month.
In fact, Enlow believes that the Trump family is set to become something of a God-appointed royal dynasty ruling over the country.
“There’s not going to be just Trump coming back,” Enlow said in a recent video. “There’s going to be at least two more Trumps that will be in office in some way.”
However, not all Trump-backing “prophets” are on board with these predictions.
Jeremiah Johnson, a charismatic Christian prophet, admitted after the 2020 election that his own prediction of Trump’s victory was wrong, and he’s urging his fellow prophets to be humble and admit errors.
“I believe that this election cycle has revealed how desperately we need reformation in the prophetic movement,” Johnson said in a February 8 video. “I have serious concerns for the charismatic-prophetic world that if we do not wake up, if we do not humble ourselves, there is greater judgment to come.”
Michael Brown, another longtime charismatic revivalist, similarly told Politico that it’s time for his movement to cool it on Trump-related prophecies.
“As a full-blooded charismatic, I’ll say we’ve earned the world’s mockery for our foolishness,” he said.
Trump Guts Protections for LGBTQ Workers and Expands Religious Orgs’ Ability to Discriminate in Final Weeks
As time speeds to the end of the Donald Trump presidency the administration is moving fast to expand the ability of faith-based institutions to discriminate against LGBTQ people. The Dept. of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs has just finalized a rule gutting protections for LGBTQ people who work for federal contractors, including allowing religious institutions to discriminate against LGBTQ people, as The Washington Blade reports.
President Barack Obama codified the protections via a set of executive orders in 2014.
The Dept. of Labor is headed by Eugene Scalia (photo), who has a long record of attacking the civil rights of American workers. He is the son of the infamously anti-LGBTQ Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia.
“It is hard to overstate the harm that the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs is visiting on LGBTQ people, women, religious minorities, and others with the sledgehammer it is taking to federal nondiscrimination protections,” Lambda Legal Director of Law and Policy Jennifer Pizer said in a statement. “For nearly 80 years, it has been a core American principle that seeking and receiving federal tax dollars to do work for the American people means promising not to discriminate against one’s own workers with those funds. This new rule uses religion to create an essentially limitless exemption allowing taxpayer-funded contractors to impose their religious beliefs on their employees without regard to the resulting harms, such as unfair job terms, invasive proselytizing and other harassment that make job settings unbearable for workers targeted on religious grounds.”
Nearly 4 million American workers are employed by federal contractors.
“Within its final weeks, the Trump-Pence administration has chosen to prioritize gutting existing protections for LGBTQ people, women and religious minorities,” Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David also said in a statement. “This lame-duck action by the administration is blatantly offensive, unnecessary and simply unacceptable. Since taking office, the administration has worked around the clock to dehumanize and demean LGBTQ people all while misrepresenting the law to justify creating a license to discriminate against people including on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation.”
‘I’m Doing the Right Thing for God’: Jenna Ellis Says Jesus Christ Wants Her to Overturn the Election
Jenna Ellis, an attorney for President Donald Trump, on Monday explained that she had religious reasons for trying to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
During an interview on Fox Business, Ellis was asked how she maintains a positive attitude amid setbacks in court and Rudy Giuliani’s COVID-19 diagnosis.
“You know, my life is in service and honor to the Lord Jesus Christ,” Ellis said. “And so whatever anybody else says really doesn’t bother me. I hope that I can be a light and inspiration to everyone else that no matter what anyone else says about you, it’s all about just who you are as a person and made in the image of God and in Christ.”
“And that’s ultimately at the end of the day, as long as I know that I’m pursuing truth and I’m doing the right thing for God and my country, that’s all that matters,” she added. “So that’s what gives me my optimism and my hope.”
Watch the video below from Fox Business.
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