Vice President Mike Pence is struggling not to lose credibility with his fellow Evangelicals as President Trump is preparing a much-anticipated executive order on religious liberty.
Trump’s Religious Liberty Order Sparks Anxieties
Evangelical speaker Rod Dreher said Trump couldn’t care less about America’s religious liberty. Dreher thinks the president and the Evangelicals are on the fast-track to a bitter divorce.
I think it’s going to be a bitter harvest for us,
It is unclear what the incoming executive order will state, but the VP and his close aides have so far declined to make it public. Nonetheless, an insider leaked an excerpt to the press, and the revelations are a piece of very good news for religious conservatives.
According to the leak, the president is preparing “wholesale exemptions” from anti-discrimination laws for individuals and companies who oppose same-sex marriage, abortion, premarital sex, and transgenders on religious grounds.
The executive order is designed to prevent businesses from closing doors for good after being sued out of existence by LGBT members for being denied service. In 2013, an Oregon couple had to close their bakery after refusing to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple, citing religious beliefs
However, conservatives with deeply held religious beliefs such as Pence himself are concerned the final version of the order will not serve them well. It is widely known that two of Trump’s closest advisers are his daughter Ivanka Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner who are both staunch advocates of gay, lesbian and transgender rights. Some critics, believe the leak to the press was ordered by the couple to block the process.
The Jared and Ivanka thing, that’s real,
said one Capitol Hill observer.
Pence’s Reputation is at Stake
A Senate staffer noted that “president Jared” has put the order on hold and Pence has no pull “to trump Jared”. Plus, Pence failed to pass a similar law on religious liberty in Indiana when he was serving as state governor. The failed attempt left a stain on the Republican’s reputation.
In 2015, he initially planned to sign off the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in Indiana, but after tremendous pressure, he altered the law in a way that disgruntled his religious conservative base. So, now, many evangelicals in his home state expect from him to make it up to them.
However, fighting Ivanka and her husband will be a daunting task as the power couple has often pulled the strings at the White House. Pence is interested in having the religious liberty rules passed, but he is also interested in gaining more influence in the Trump administration.
However, he wants to do so by not getting too close to Trump, as his presidency is already widely criticized, so, distance would give Pence more credibility if he decides to run for president.
So, it is unclear how much he is willing to sacrifice politically for a cause that is crucial to his faith community. Evangelicals think the task will be a real test of faith for Pence and relly hope he will pass it.
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