Sen. Ted Cruz, who has touted the endorsements of many of the most extreme members of the Religious Right, has never tried to hide the fact that he plans to target LGBT rights and reproductive freedoms if elected president.
Indeed, the Texas Republican’s campaign even put together a “religious liberty advisory council” led by radical activist Tony Perkins for the purpose of putting together policy recommendations for a future Cruz administration.
Along with Perkins, council members include right-wing favorites like Jim Garlow, Kelly Shackelford, Harry Jackson and David and Jason Benham.
Perkins told Fox News pundit Todd Starnes in an interview today that the group is recommending that a Cruz administration move to deny anti-discrimination protections for LGBT workers and roll back access to contraception upon entering the White House.
Cruz has already promised that in his first day in office he would order an investigation into Planned Parenthood, end the government’s “persecution of religious liberty” and “rescind every illegal and unconstitutional executive action taken by Barack Obama.”
The council, made up of prominent religious leaders, recommended 15 action items that will protect Americans from discrimination by the federal government on the basis of their view of marriage and also protect employers threatened by the HHS contraception mandate.
The council is also calling on Cruz to direct a review of the IRS’ treatment of religious organizations and to direct federal agencies to respect the free exercise of religion.
Among the policies recommended to Cruz:
– Rescind Executive Order 13672 – an order that requires certain federal contractors to not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity;
– Direct all federal agencies to stop interpreting “sex” to include “sexual orientation” and/or “gender identity.”
– Direct the Department of Health and Human Services to eliminate its requirement that all employers include coverage for all FDA-approved contraceptive methods and sterilization procedures;
– Direct the IRS to review all of its current guidance regarding religious organizations and issue clarifying guidance to the extent to which religious organization and religious leaders are able to engage in speech regarding political issues and candidates;
– Review and clarify existing Department of Education guidance on prayer at school to ensure it adequately explains the rights of students, teachers and other employees to live out their faith.
The council also urged Cruz to protect the religious liberty of military personnel – especially the rights of chaplains.