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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez just delivered a sermon to Congress on LGBTQ+ rights and religious freedom

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Jessica Rapana
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The congresswoman accused lawmakers of using their faith to justify bigotry, and Twitter is here for her.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has delivered a powerful and fiery speech defending the rights of LGBTQ+ Americans during a congressional committee hearing.

The congresswoman accused lawmakers of “weaponising and abusing scripture to justify bigotry” by using their Christian faith to marginalise communities such as LGBTQ+ people.

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Ocasio-Cortez – or AOC, as she is universally known by her initials –added that she believed Jesus would be “maligned as a radical” by today’s Congress because of his message of love and inclusion.

“If Christ himself walked through these doors and said what he said thousands of years ago – that we should love our neighbour and our enemy, that we should welcome the stranger, fight for the least of us, that is is easier… for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into a kingdom of heaven – he would be maligned as a radical and rejected from these doors,” she told the hearing.

Ocasio-Cortez was speaking at a committee on oversight and reform hearing which is considering whether the government has tried to undermine LGBTQ+ rights. The Trump administration has been accused of using executive orders, amicus briefs in legal disputes and agency guidance and regulations to roll back protections for this community. An amicus brief is an attempt by an uninvolved-but-interested party to influence a court decision. 

AOC has accused some lawmakers of religious bigotry

Last year, a joint investigation by NBC News and Columbia University’s Department of Journalism found Trump’s Justice Department had filed more amicus briefs in religious liberties cases in its first two years than both the Obama and Bush administrations. On average, the Trump administration filed one every two months, compared to one every four months (Obama) and one every three months (Bush).

AOC, who is Catholic, accused the Trump administration of advancing the idea that “faith is about exclusion”. “It is part of my faith that all people are holy and all people are sacred. Unconditionally,” she said.

She continued: “I am tired of communities of faith being weaponised and being mischaracterised because the only time religious freedom is invoked is in the name of bigotry and discrimination.”

Trump’s government was found to have interfered with religious liberties more than the past two administrations

The congresswoman’s impassioned speech clearly hit a collective nerve, prompting a wave of responses on Twitter and people hailing her speech as “overdue”.

“@AOC just turned the whole religious freedom argument on its head saying that the only time it is invoked is in the name of bigotry and discrimination. She then argued that her faith calls on her to see all people as sacred and holy. PREACH!” someone wrote.

Another commented: “Holy shit. Perfectly-put and so, so overdue.”

And yet another wrote: “@AOC just delivered a sermon to Congress about the dignity of LGBTQ people.”

Preach, indeed. Now, can we just give AOC the presidency and be done with it?

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Jessica Rapana

Jessica Rapana is a journalist based in London, and enjoys writing across all areas of women’s lifestyle content. She is especially fond of news, health, entertainment and travel content, and drinks coffee like a Gilmore Girl.

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