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Rep. John Lewis on Trump’s Divisive and Likely Unconstitutional Executive Order

May 5, 2017
Press Release

                “Just when I thought the news from the White House could not get any worse, Donald Trump signs another hypocritical executive order.  From the moment he set foot in the Oval Office, he has done exactly what he falsely accused President Barack Obama of doing.  He is by-passing the legislative role of Congress, negating the fundamental value of public argument and debate, and changing the foundation of American law.

             “These actions are not even designed to assert the will of the people, which is the real purpose of the discretionary power of the president. They are orders that strengthen the hand of a small group of Americans at the expense of our democracy.

“I will never understand what is so attractive about discrimination that people really want to be free to do it.  People actually advocated for the room to humiliate, degrade, and reject other human beings whom they believe God has given them the license to offend. 

“As an ordained minister and a student of philosophy, I can say that none of the “great religions”  can rightfully serve as a license to hate.  Somewhere I read that all of the law and the prophets boil down to one guiding principle for human society:  Love your neighbor as yourself.

              “Under the thin veil of religious liberty, Trump has opened the door to discrimination against the LGBTQ community.  Once discrimination against one group is lawful, that door can easily become a floodgate that mows down other minorities in its wake. 

“Also this order flies in the face of a principle the founders of this nation declared imperative to our republic – the separation of church and state. It allows for the mixing of the religious with the political in order to turn the pulpit into a tool of politics.  Some of the worst events in human history have occurred when the edicts of the church have the power of law and when the mandates of government are given unquestioned authority.

              “Wake up America.  Our democracy is under attack.  Today the clock is being turned back on health care and civil rights; we should fear what tomorrow will bring.  We cannot afford to be silent or resigned.  We must see this tragedy as a call to action to stand up, speak up and speak out to build the kind of democracy we want to see in America. We, the people, must use our power to undo what we have done.  We must march to the polls in every election--local, state, and national—to hold Trump and his partners accountable for this assault on equal justice in America.”