President Trump Declared January 16th National Religious Freedom Day, seen as thinly veiled support for Evangelical Christians
In keeping with tradition, President Trump named January 16 National Religious Freedom Day. It is designed to celebrate religion and religious freedom in the United States. The White House statement encouraged individuals to celebrate the freedom for Americans to practice their faith, with President Trump backing the measure in a speech.
“President Donald J. Trump Proclaims January 16, 2018, as Religious Freedom Day” https://t.co/bD3R2dJfyp
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 16, 2018
But not everyone is praising Trump’s declaration. First, the White House statement makes no real mention of any religion besides Christianity. The only part of the document that mentions other faiths is a single sentence which talks about fighting extremism, which is a code word for “Islam” for the Trump Administration. In fact, the decision comes a year after Trump decided to ban Muslims and limit immigration from countries that are Muslim-dominated. The document also only mentions God, ignoring religions that are not Judeo-Christian.
#ReligiousFreedomDay Christian extremists do not understand what religious freedom means. They seem to want Christianity to rule the day everywhere: the courts, the schools, the culture. That's the opposite of religious freedom. pic.twitter.com/QTwC4ru4VQ
— Howeasyweforget (@howeasyweforget) January 16, 2018
President Trump also mentioned the Colorado baker case when talking about National Religious Freedom Day, demonstrating overt support for a baker’s decision to not bake a cake for a gay marriage. This includes the Judicial Department’s new guidelines on religious freedom, which have been called an excuse for systematic discrimination against minority populations.
The reason for creating this day is that it will force future presidents to support the day and gives an important symbolic gesture to Evangelical Christians, which is Trump’s most loyal supporters. This seems to be another in a long line of policies designed to favor one religious group over the rest of the country.