Commentary: Trump’s appearance at Value Voters’ Summit draws criticism

By Jason Fontelieu

Concerns have arisen over President Donald Trump’s recent appearance at the Value Voters’ Summit, a conference held at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC from Oct. 13 to Oct. 15.

The conference is run by the Family Research Council, a group labeled as an LGBT hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

A post on the FRC website from 2016 reads: “Family Research Council believes that homosexual conduct is harmful to the persons who engage in it and to society at large, and can never be affirmed. It is by definition unnatural, and as such is associated with negative physical and psychological health effects.”

Given out at the conference was a pamphlet called, “The Health Hazards of Homosexuality,” written by MassResistance, a “pro-family activities organization,” according to the Huffington Post.

Trump’s association to a hate group so openly against the LGBT community is seen as disturbing to some.

“We can see by his actions,” freshman neuroscience major Emma Walz said, “that he obviously does not care about the LGBT community at all and doesn’t care about our safety or our rights, whatsoever.”

Some find the conference as an indicator of people’s comfort with hate in this country, such as freshman letters and sciences student Rachel Zaff.

“Things that our leaders do are seen as okay for the public to do as well,” Zaff said. “By him speaking at this conference and saying that these people are his friends, it creates an idea that this kind of hate and bigotry is accepted in our society.”

Other potentially concerning remarks Trump made could be interpreted as going against the ideals of separation of church and state.

In his speech he said, “In America, we don’t worship government— we worship God,” according to the White House.

Walz finds that Trump should not generalize the religious beliefs of our country.

“Every single American does not worship God,” Walz said. “Because of religious freedom, Americans are allowed to worship whatever god they want or not worship God at all.”

Zaff, however, finds that Trump is strategic in his use of support of religious rhetoric.

“It is very telling that Trump chooses to bring God into an anti-LGBT event,” Zaff said, “because often times, these people are the religious Right, and they’re very into the idea of the biblical definition of marriage.”

Featured image from Wikimedia Commons.

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