TRYING TIMES: AU's New Timeline Tracks The Trump-Pence Administration's Relentless Attacks On Church-State Separation.

Author:Perelman, Kate
Position:Chronology

Religious freedom has been under constant threat by the Trump-Pence administration, which continues to chip away at the separation of church and state.

President Donald Trump's inauguration on Jan. 20, 2017, set the tone by including prayers and speeches by six religious leaders, most conservative Christians. Since then, Trump has aggressively pandered to the Religious Right, which has a far-reaching agenda to reshape American law according to its narrow worldview.

While conducting research about the influence of Trump's Evangelical Advisory Board, Americans United built a timeline of administration attacks on church-state separation. The version being published here is condensed, but a full, interactive version can be viewed at AU's website, www.au.org.

Jan. 27, 2017: Trump issued the first Muslim ban, temporarily blocking from the United States immigrants and travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries and refugees from all countries.

Jan. 31, 2017: Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court seat left vacant by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Like Scalia, Gorsuch has exhibited hostility to church-state separation. Gorsuch was sworn in on April 10, 2017.

Feb. 2, 2017: During his address at the annual National Prayer Breakfast, Trump vowed to "get rid of and totally destroy the Johnson Amendment," a federal law that protects the integrity of our elections and tax-exempt organizations, including houses of worship, by ensuring the nonprofits do not endorse or oppose political candidates.

Feb. 7, 2017: Betsy DeVos, a political operative with a deep history of advocating for private school vouchers but with no relevant educational experience, was confirmed as Trump's secretary of education. In its 2018 and 2019 fiscal year budgets, DeVos and Trump proposed slashing the Department of Education's budget and diverting $1 billion of taxpayer money to fund private school vouchers and related schemes.

Feb. 8, 2017: Sen. Jeff Sessions (RAla.), a longtime foe of church-state separation, was confirmed as Trump's attorney general. During his tenure so far, Sessions has continued to threaten religious freedom by issuing Department of Justice (DOJ) guidance that would allow religion to be used to discriminate, by creating the Religious Liberty Task Force to execute the guidance and through other actions.

Feb. 28, 2017: During his first Joint Address to Congress, Trump touted his misguided idea of tunneling public money into the...

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