Local religious leaders lambasted President Trump in the wake of his ban on transgender people serving in the military.
In an email to parishioners last week, the Rev. Susan Russell of All Saints Episcopal Church, called the president’s action “antithetical to our core values as Americans and as Christians.”
In a series of tweets issued at around 6 a.m. on July 26, the president stated that, “After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow… Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming… victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you.”
In her email to parishioners later that day, Russell called transgender military personnel “sacrificial lambs on the altar of partisan politics.”
“At All Saints Church we will continue to stand with and for all those on the margins. We stand with all those in danger of losing health care, with anyone being profiled because of their race or their religion, with neighbors under threat of deportation, with refugees seeking a safe haven and with Dreamers seeking an education,” Russell wrote. (See our Letters section to read the full letter.)
In a July 27 email, the Rev. Rick Eisenlord wrote that his position is clear: “… If you are willing to risk your life for your country then it doesn’t matter if you are gay, lesbian, straight, transgender, bisexual or anything else.”
The president reportedly issued the ban while Secretary of Defense Gen. James Mattis was on vacation. Mattis was apparently given one-day notice of the president’s tweet.
The RAND Corp. estimates Trump’s decision would affect at least 2,450 transgender active-duty military personnel. Military LGBT activist groups, however, say as many as 15,000 soldiers fall into that category, the news Web site Politico reported.
Trump, Eisenlord points out, never served in the military. Now, Eisenlord writes, “This high-minded attempt at moralizing is being done by the same man who thinks it’s OK to grab women by their private parts … “
With that in mind, “It is astounding to me how our Evangelical brothers and sisters can turn a blind eye to Trump’s immorality yet get all inflamed by homosexuality,” Eisenlord went on. “I call it ‘cherry picking your morals.’ Pick the morality that suits you and ignore the rest.”