President Trump was the first sitting president to address the 2017 Values Voter Summit, a conservative political conference held annually in Washington, D.C. The Values Voter Summit is a space for conservative and white nationalists to rail against LGBTQ+ equality, abortion and women’s rights, and Islam.
It’s a gathering also dedicated to the promotion of church over state, reiterating the false claim that the “war on Christianity” is somehow damaging America.
The conference is hosted by the Family Research Council, which the Southern Poverty Law Center labeled as a hate group in 2010. The Family Research Council promotes “family values,” and opposes LGBTQ+ rights, abortion, and comprehensive same-sex education. The group champions abstinence-only sex education, prayer in public schools, and a federal conscience clause which allows medical workers to deny some treatments (such as abortion or blood transfusions) base.
Additionally, Josh Duggar, part of the infamous Duggar clan and the sexual predator who molested several of his sisters, is the former executive director of FRC Action, the legislative branch of the Family Research Council.
It’s easy to see how Trump’s validation of and involvement with this conference is a train wreck.
In what resembles a madman’s incoherent gibberish, Trump addressed the crowd dozens of problematic and tyrannical-like statements. He insisted that “in America, we don’t worship the government, we worship God.” Several times, he promised that under his administration, religious liberty would not be threatened and condemned the attacks on “Judeo-Christian values.” He lauded his decision to reinstate the global gag rule.
He assured the crowd that “Merry Christmas” is a phrase that will be freely used instead of more inclusive statements, such as “Happy Holidays,” because, you know, the war on Christians.
He announced his decision to make Sept. 3, 2017, as a National Day of Prayer; but we all know that this is really a day of prayer specifically created for white evangelical Christians, not Muslims, Jews, Sikhs, or any other followers of different faiths. His National Day of Prayer is also detrimental because it is a way for him – and his administration – to duck any real financial responsibility and avoid doing the difficult labor of rebuilding communities devastated by the recent hurricanes. Trump’s promises and remarks at the Values Voter Summit reek of converging church and state, and indeed, positing the church and its followers over the government.
This is a violation of the Constitution’s First Amendment, and excludes and discriminates against anyone who isn’t white and Christian.
He’s concerned with “Christian values” being attacked, but what about the burning and vandalism of mosques in the United States?
He’s worried about the celebration of Christmas, but what about the multiple religious holidays practiced by people around the world of different faiths that fall in December and January?
If you want more proof that he was using his position at the Summit to pander to his white, so-called Christian base, consider the fact that he called Iran a “terrorist nation” and alleged that Pakistan has been “taking advantage of the U.S. for years.”
Additionally, he riled up the crowd by reaffirming that the American flag deserves respect, an obvious dig at all the African-American athletes who have recently been taking a knee during the national anthem to protest inequality and police brutality.
Trump’s remarks were disturbing, but not completely surprising, given he was attending a conference created for people who condone and encourage transphobia, homophobia and Islamophobia.
Once again, President Trump made it clear in no uncertain terms what direction he plans on taking this country in, and who he views as worthy of his time, praise, and support.
He is dedicated to his bigoted, cult-like white Christian following and refuses to address the concerns of immigrants, African-Americans, gays, lesbians, transgender individuals, people of color, women, or any oppressed group.
The promises he made at the Values Voter Summit are so terrifying because they are soaked in white supremacy and white nationalism. They narrow the gap between church and state and actively trample on the freedoms of others.