When you read this Feminism and Religion community, we will have just finished the televised portion of the Republican National Convention (RNC), which as I write this Wednesday, July 20 has announced that Donald Trump is the presumptive nominee for president of the United States.
Last night the first night of the RNC we witnessed the emerging platform of the party going far to the right.
From the New York Times:
Republicans moved on Tuesday toward adopting a staunchly conservative platform that takes a strict, traditionalist view of the family and child rearing, bars military women from combat, describes coal as a “clean” energy source and declares pornography a “public health crisis.”
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.”
One thing we might ask—those of us who discourse in religion and the profane, or ways of the world—is the somewhat obvious question- whose God? Whose religion?
So, while Trump, Inc. demands in this platform to force lawmakers to use “religion as a guide” we are left assuming that will be a conservative form of the Christian religion- especially since Trump has been clear that Muslims would be separated out from the rest of the population as “different” and therefore dangerous. Reported on CNN:
Trump did not suggest that Muslim-Americans should be required to wear a symbol that would visibly identify them as Muslims, such as a gold crescent. (On the other hand, he did not rule it out.) As The Holocaust Center notes on its website, the Nazi-era laws that required Jews to publicly identify their faith was “… marking them as being different (i.e., inferior) to everyone else.” …making Muslims carry special religious identity cards or having to register with the government sends a clear message to other Americans that Muslims are different….are less than fully American.
What is then– fully American? Certainly not LGBTQ+ citizens, who only recently received full citizenship benefits, finally in 2015 with the SCOTUS decision in June of that year. Trump, Inc. seems to believe that this is a decision he can change with his hoped for presidency.
Delegates at the Republican National Convention ratified Monday afternoon with little opposition a party platform considered to contain the most anti-LGBTQ+ language in history:
In addition to opposition to same-sex marriage, the platform also objects to use of federal law to ensure transgender people can use the restroom consistent with their gender identity, indicates support for widely discredited “ex-gay” conversion therapy and endorses the First Amendment Defense Act, a “religious freedom” bill that would enable anti-LGBT discrimination.
So again- whose God? Whose religion is guiding the lawmakers should this Republican presidential hopeful actually win the election?
I was recently in the United Kingdom (UK), London to be exact, for a conference and was there when BREXIT happened—separating the UK from the European Union (EU). The vote was very close: Leave won by 52% to 48%. The referendum turnout was 71.8%, with more than 30 million people voting. It was the highest turnout in a UK-wide vote since the 1992 general election.
Many of the folks I was with—those at the conference I was attending, an international LGBTQ+ conference on Archives, Libraries, Museums and Special Collections, were against the separation of the UK from the EU. However, every cab driver I spoke with during my ten days there was for it. Because they felt they were losing work.
It’s also true that the most Googled word after the referendum passed was “Brexit”- what did it mean? It appeared that a lot of folks voted for this thinking it meant one thing and it actually meant another.
I can imagine something similar if Trump won—what did we actually do? What do you mean we voted for someone who is going to make American citizens (some of them) wear I.D. to identify that they might be dangerous…take away the Supreme Court decision (and ensuing rights of other citizens) …is that what we actually wanted?
Defunding Planned Parenthood? His VP pick, Mike Pence, given more power in a national framework might just be able to get away with legislation he has tried to enact in the past:
In 2015, Pence signed into law the highly controversial anti-LGBT Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which gave businesses license to discriminate against LGBT people. The law caused a nationwide backlash. …As governor, Pence also oversaw a cut in Planned Parenthood funding in the state and signed legislation, since blocked that would have restricted abortion access statewide. In 2011, he threatened to shut down the entire government if Congress didn’t defund Planned Parenthood.
We, who are liberal, cannot assume that the Republican platform is a joke. It’s not—it’s serious business for those folks who are Republican and are voting for Trump. In point of fact, a lot of people are voting for Trump– or he would not have made it this far. He received more votes in the presidential primary than any other Republican candidate ever in the history of the United States.
Who are those people?
–a woman who I met at a gay and lesbian film festival in Los Angeles, an artist, whose gay son had a movie at this international LGBTQ+ arena in Hollywood, who “hates” Hillary and believes Trump is a good businessman.
— a Goddess loving woman friend and medical worker who thinks Trump will bring business back to the United States.
Just two among many other examples. I’m sure all of you reading this know Trump supporters, and some of you undoubtedly are Trump supporters.
I invite anyone who knows folks who are voting for Trump to try and talk with them. If you are part of the LGBTQ+ umbrella, if you are a “different” religion, such as Muslim, than the “religion” that Trump and the RNC specifies in their platform…if you want the diversity of American solidified and strengthened at the table rather than minimized… If you believe that the Supreme Court and the Constitution and the United States are “great” already—now is the time to talk to the people in your circle.
I also encourage discussion on this page in an honest, respectful way in order to actually talk openly about the issues.
If you are voting for Trump, I’d love the opportunity to respectfully try and change your mind. Let’s have the conversations now—rather than regret we didn’t have them later.
Marie Cartier. Dr. Cartier has a Ph.D. in Religion with an emphasis on Women and Religion from Claremont Graduate University. She is the author of the critically acclaimed book Baby, You Are My Religion: Women, Gay Bars, and Theology Before Stonewall (Routledge 2013). She is a senior lecturer in Gender and Women’s Studies and Queer Studies at California State University Northridge, and in Film Studies at Univ. of CA Irvine. She is also a published poet and playwright, accomplished performance artist, scholar, and social change activist. She holds a BA in Communications from the University of New Hampshire; an MA in English/Poetry from Colorado State University; an MFA in Theatre Arts (Playwriting) and an MFA in Film and TV (Screenwriting), both from UCLA; and an MFA in Visual Art (Painting/Sculpture) from Claremont Graduate University. She is co-chair of the Lesbian-Feminisms and Religion session of the national American Academy of Religion and co-chair at the regional level of the Queer Studies in Religion session, founder of the western region Queer Caucus, and a perma-blogger for Feminism and Religion. She is also a first degree black belt in karate, Shorin-Ryu Shi-Do-Kan Kobayashi style, and a 500 hour Yoga Alliance certified Hatha Yoga teacher.