President Trump: Defender of Religious Freedom?

 
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At this point, I expect Donald Trump will likely be the nominee, and — if he can overcome his huge negatives and is as good at demolishing Hillary Clinton as he was his Republican competitors — he may well be our next president. My point here is that he might be, counterintuitively, more successful on religious liberty and culture war issues than Senator Ted Cruz would be.

Why? Well, as a devout Christian, Cruz would be a lightning rod for the Left as was John Ashcroft, and any attempt to defend or restore 1st Amendment rights to Christians would encounter fierce opposition. Conversely, the more profane and socially-liberal Trump’s apparent indifference to issues like traditional marriage might give him an advantage if he plays it right. That is, he could say he has no problem with gay relationships but simply opposes punishing Christians who merely don’t want to be coerced to be involved in activities that violate their beliefs. His lack of a record of opposing gay rights might make his defense of religious rights more palatable — or at, least, harder to attack — politically.

Your thoughts?

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  1. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    It’s possible. I can easily envision Trump being supportive of people’s rights as individuals to act in accordance with their religious beliefs. Cruz will be, undeservedly, pilloried by the left as a “religious extremist.” Cruz will be portrayed as a hardliner in every way, and that alone will get the left’s back up every time he says something. Trump does not have to deal with those preconceptions.

    • #1
  2. Josh Farnsworth Member
    Josh Farnsworth
    @

    Just don’t dare defend the rights of Muslims to worship free from government molestation. You might get rounded up with them, or told you cannot reenter the U.S. in spite of your citizenship. Enjoy your tyranny. #NeverTrump.

    • #2
  3. Pencilvania Inactive
    Pencilvania
    @Pencilvania

    I see your point, TeamAmerica, and I think your argument holds water. On this issue there is also the thorny guess as to which candidate will appoint the most conservative Supreme Court replacement for Scalia. I feel pretty confident Cruz would do his homework on judges and name a securely conservative justice. I think Trump would intend to do it too but I don’t know if he has the background to ferret out the absolute best choice.

    • #3
  4. Olive Inactive
    Olive
    @Olive

    Yes, I see what you mean. It might be so.

    But also, did anybody see that issue of Time Magazine with Cruz on the cover? It is the best picture of him I have ever seen.

    What could the leftist media be playing at?

    • #4
  5. Josh Farnsworth Member
    Josh Farnsworth
    @

    TeamAmerica:

    Why? Well, as a devout Christian, Cruz would be a lightning rod for the Left as was John Ashcroft, and any attempt to defend or restore 1st Amendment rights to Christians would encounter fierce opposition. Conversely, the more profane and socially-liberal Trump’s apparent indifference to issues like traditional marriage might give him an advantage if he plays it right. That is, he could say he has no problem with gay relationships but simply opposes punishing Christians who merely don’t want to be coerced to be involved in activities that violate their beliefs. His lack of a record of opposing gay rights might make his defense of religious rights more palatable — or at, least, harder to attack — politically.

    Your thoughts?

    Cruz has no record of “opposoing gay rights.” Favoring traditional marriage is not “opposition to gay rights.” If you disagree, it means the activists in support of gay marriage have already won the public opinion battle in addition to the court battle.

    • #5
  6. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    There will be lots of this kind of rationalization. It’s how we cope with tragedy, but let’s not start coping until there is no hope.

    • #6
  7. Hypatia Inactive
    Hypatia
    @Hypatia

    This is absolutely correct in my opinion. Most people in America are not religious fanatics. But until now, no candidate would have dared to say something like, “I guess I believe in God but I don’t go to church very often..”…which would be an accurate reflection of the majority. (another trope busted by Trump!). Having a de facto civic religion evidenced by what SCOTUS calls “ceremonial deism” worked out pretty well. Let’s get back to it. Only in such an atmosphere can we hope to maintain the necessarily wobbly balance between freedom OF  religion and freedom FROM religion.

    The GOP has skewered itself by getting so involved with what are essentially religious issues like abortion ( oh, I know, this’ll bring out the pro-all-life-except-rape-‘n-incest writers) and, as you point out, gay marriage. We need to get back to each cultivating his/her own garden.

    And our government’s job? ONLY to make sure we can afford to do that, and that nobody attacks us while we go about our business.

    • #7
  8. Brian McMenomy Inactive
    Brian McMenomy
    @BrianMcMenomy

    Sorry, not buying it. Defense of “abstract” principles isn’t something Trump does. Shoot, understanding abstract principles isn’t something he does. If the principle bumps up against a business deal, the principle takes a walk. A defense of religious liberty takes moral courage; how would Trump be any different from the Governor of Georgia, who not only caved, but excoriated his own voters as bigots for not wanting to force people to violate their consciences?

    • #8
  9. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    The difficulty is that Trump is so incredibly unpredictable. He does and says things that are contradictory, and I have no reason to think that will change. Your suggestion, Team, may be one way to offer hope to those who dread Trump in office, but I’m not convinced that we can count on much of anything. Sorry.

    • #9
  10. Hugh Member
    Hugh
    @Hugh

    Susan Quinn:The difficulty is that Trump is so incredibly unpredictable. He does and says things that are contradictory, and I have no reason to think that will change. Your suggestion, Team, may be one way to offer hope to those who dread Trump in office, but I’m not convinced that we can count on much of anything. Sorry.

    The key word is “unpredictable”

    • #10
  11. Marion Evans Inactive
    Marion Evans
    @MarionEvans

    In order to discuss this, I would have to take candidate Trump seriously. Not there yet. Will never be there in fact.

    • #11
  12. Sabrdance Member
    Sabrdance
    @Sabrdance

    A condemned man is dragged before the King, who asks if he has anything to say before his execution is carried out.

    “Your majesty,” he says. “If you will give me a year, I will teach your horse to talk. In return, I would like a full pardon.”

    The King is intrigued by this, and so he agrees. “Every day, allow him access to my stables and my favorite horse -give him anything he requires. In one year, if the horse talks, he will go free. If not -the hangman awaits.”

    The man is taken away, and every day, under guard, he is taken to the stables where he pets the King’s favorite horse, and feeds it special treats, and whisper’s in the horse’s ear.

    After months of this, the guard asks, “What are you trying to do? It’s a horse. It will never speak. All you’ve done is put off the inevitable.”

    “Perhaps,” the condemned man says. “But I have a year. A lot can happen in a year. I might die. The King might die. The horse might die. Perhaps there will be a general amnesty or a chance at a new trial. And who knows -Donald Trump might effectively support religious liberty.”

    • #12
  13. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Josh Farnsworth: Cruz has no record of “opposing gay rights.” Favoring traditional marriage is not “opposition to gay rights.”

    Unfortunately, it is always told that way–favoring traditional marriage has been construed by pro-gay marriage advocates as being in opposition to gay rights. That’s true for everyone, including Ted Cruz.

    • #13
  14. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    Richard Nixon was no conservative. Did the press or the Democrats go easy on him?

    • #14
  15. Hypatia Inactive
    Hypatia
    @Hypatia

    MarciN and Josh Farnsworth:

    The problem with the term “marriage” is that it can mean two things. On the one hand, it refers to the long-term state of maintaining a household together. In that sense, nobody in America cares (for quite a while now) if ANY two or more people want to do that. And we never hear about bakers refusing to sell a sack of sweet buns to a gay couple who comes in to stock up for brunch.

    “Marriage” can also refer to the wedding ceremony, though, and it is is the wedding which causes all the controversy. In my home state, the only place the word “holy” occurs in our state statutes in a completely unqualified sense is in the phrase about joining two persons in “holy matrimony”.

    “Common law” marriage required only a solemnization: declaration before witnesses, in the present tense, of intent to become married. Statutory marriage requires a license AND solemnization. The fact that the secular government recognizes what is now, and has always been, a religious ceremony as a marker of civil status is the reason traditionalists are determined to keep it for their own, AND the reason gays are determined to appropriate it for their relationships.

    Such dual use ALWAYS causes trouble. Look up the bloody siege of Munster, back in the days when infant baptism was used as a marker of citizenship.

    i wish SCOTUS had said in Obergefell: from now on, the state is to be concerned with, and may regulate, ONLY the license. (Just as we now require only a birth certificate but not a baptismal certificate.) Whether or not you have a wedding, or some secular parody thereof, is none of the state’s business.

    • #15
  16. tabula rasa Member
    tabula rasa
    @tabularasa

    TeamAmerica

    “if he can overcome his huge negatives . . . he may well be our next president.

    . . . Conversely, the more profane and socially-liberal Trump’s apparent indifference to issues like traditional marriage might give him an advantage if he plays it right.”

    Your thoughts?

    TA: Those are mighty big “ifs.”

    I haven’t the slightest reason to believe (1) that he’ll be president and (2) if he is, he will help the cause of religious freedom one iota.

    Is there a smidgen of evidence to suggest he cares about religious freedom?

    I’m prepared to be pleasantly surprised when I see a pig fly. I won’t expend one ounce of energy anticipating it will happen.

    Based on all I’ve seen, Trump will be a trifecta president: disastrous, incompetent, and profoundly embarrassing. That he might not be quite that bad is not a cause for optimism or celebration.

    • #16
  17. Paul Dougherty Member
    Paul Dougherty
    @PaulDougherty

    I still don’t much like Sen. Cruz but I preferred that he helm policy defense because he honestly and comprehensively defends his position. A policy employed by accident, without consideration and undefended does not stand as credible to the body politic. It is a house of cards. When it comes down it will be nothing but discredited and harder to accomplish subsequently.

    • #17
  18. nyconservative Member
    nyconservative
    @nyconservative

    It is shocking to me that anyone who has watched and listened to Trump could possibly foresee anything positive from a Trump presidency.He is incoherent,clearly has not thought anything through….has trashed conservatives who he has obviously never read or payed attention to and essentially endorsed big gov’t simply run more efficiently by “smart” people.Don’t even get me started on his bizarre foreign policy statements.Trump is a manifestation of anger and alienation and victimhood.He will play on that anger and play the victim himself despite being a billionaire who has traveled in the very circles he now attacks ….what most disgusts me about this situation is the realization that a good % of the so called conservatives are not conservative at all.Limited gov’t,individual rights etc mean little or nothing to them.They are populist nationalists…essentially pat Buchanon voters,very sad!

    • #18
  19. Max Knots Member
    Max Knots
    @MaxKnots

    Josh Farnsworth:

    TeamAmerica:

    Why? Well, as a devout Christian, Cruz would be a lightning rod for the Left as was John Ashcroft, and any attempt to defend or restore 1st Amendment rights to Christians would encounter fierce opposition. Conversely, the more profane and socially-liberal Trump’s apparent indifference to issues like traditional marriage might give him an advantage if he plays it right. That is, he could say he has no problem with gay relationships but simply opposes punishing Christians who merely don’t want to be coerced to be involved in activities that violate their beliefs. His lack of a record of opposing gay rights might make his defense of religious rights more palatable — or at, least, harder to attack — politically.

    Your thoughts?

    Cruz has no record of “opposoing gay rights.” Favoring traditional marriage is not “opposition to gay rights.” If you disagree, it means the activists in support of gay marriage have already won the public opinion battle in addition to the court battle.

    Agree.

    My other reaction to this argument is that it feels like we’re letting the other side “help” select our side’s guy by anticipating their bad behavior and trying to make it harder for them to do so – thus confirming that such behavior is effective…

    • #19
  20. Solar Eclipse Inactive
    Solar Eclipse
    @SolarEclipse

    I’d be thrilled if this were the case, but it seems unlikely. The Left can’t stand religious liberty, at least not in any meaningful form, and even the Right is sadly lukewarm. It’s really an issue for subtle, principled thinkers…and Trump certainly isn’t that. I doubt he would even take the issue on in the first place, if he did I’m not convinced he would come down on the right side of it; he would instantly cave to any kind of public pressure the way GOP governors keep doing. And in the event that he did actually adopt the right stance on the issue, there’s no reason to think he would maintain it longer than 15 minutes. I can’t make my optimism stretch that far.

    • #20
  21. Brad2971 Member
    Brad2971
    @

    Randy Weivoda:Richard Nixon was no conservative. Did the press or the Democrats go easy on him?

    After he left office, they rehabilitated him. Which, BTW, will happen to George W Bush once Trump comes into office. Take a good guess as to why that happens:)

    • #21
  22. Johnny Dubya Member
    Johnny Dubya
    @JohnnyDubya

    TeamAmerica: At this point, I expect Donald Trump will likely be the nominee, and — if he can overcome his huge negatives and is as good at demolishing Hillary Clinton as he was his Republican competitors — he may well be our next president.

    Based on the way the polls are going, Trump will not be our next president. (See below; Trump in red, Clinton in blue.) These are two extremely well-known public figures who have been in the public eye for many years and whose warts (and all) have been exhaustively covered in the media. She consistently outpolls him. What is likely to change? What is the basis for concluding that he can “demolish” her? (By the way, the Clinton-Cruz polling is much tighter, and Cruz has recently outpolled her.)

    Trump won’t even become the nominee, unless he can win on the first ballot. I certainly hope he does not, because Cruz is the only candidate who has a prayer of beating Clinton.

    General Election Polling

    • #22
  23. Sweezle Member
    Sweezle
    @Sweezle

    Johnny Dubya

    Trump won’t even become the nominee, unless he can win on the first ballot. I certainly hope he does not, because Cruz is the only candidate who has a prayer of beating Clinton.

    I can see Cruz at the Supreme Court but not the oval office. Democrats have the game plan for beating any conservative which has been amazingly successful. Examples: Conservatives are opposed to choice, against gay rights, don’t care about the 42% , and they will destroy entitlements and the safety net. Then democrats beat a conservative over the head with the race card, the women’s rights agenda, and the MSM will rush to the aid of Hilary in proving these things are fact. Your graph only proves that a largely ignored candidate hasn’t been given the full treatment by the press & democratic party. Mainly because they are pretty certain Cruz won’t win the nomination.

    • #23
  24. TeamAmerica Member
    TeamAmerica
    @TeamAmerica

    Josh Farnsworth:Just don’t dare defend the rights of Muslims to worship free from government molestation. You might get rounded up with them, or told you cannot reenter the U.S. in spite of your citizenship. Enjoy your tyranny. #NeverTrump.

    The WSJ noted that Trump’s tacics are straight from his best-seller ‘The Art of the Deal.’ IOW, his tacic is to demand much more than he wants, to set the terms of the debate, and to subsequently compromise. I think he basically thinks we should follow Mark Steyn’s advice to limit immigration from cultures that are very intolerant. Steyn also noted that the originator of the term ‘Islamophobia’ now admits he was overly optimistic in assuming that Muslims would assimilate as well as other ethnic groups- see http://www.steynonline.com/7512/the-late-late-show

    • #24
  25. Josh Farnsworth Member
    Josh Farnsworth
    @

    TeamAmerica:

    Josh Farnsworth:Just don’t dare defend the rights of Muslims to worship free from government molestation. You might get rounded up with them, or told you cannot reenter the U.S. in spite of your citizenship. Enjoy your tyranny. #NeverTrump.

    The WSJ noted that Trump’s tacics are straight from his best-seller ‘The Art of the Deal.’ IOW, his tacic is to demand much more than he wants, to set the terms of the debate, and to subsequently compromise. I think he basically thinks we should follow Mark Steyn’s advice to limit immigration from cultures that are very intolerant. Steyn also noted that the originator of the term ‘Islamophobia’ now admits he was overly optimistic in assuming that Muslims would assimilate as well as other ethnic groups- see http://www.steynonline.com/7512/the-late-late-show

    So why not start with Cruz’s constitutionally sensitive argument for no refugees that cannot be vetted? Why start with all Muslims and shutting down mosques? That communicates to me that you don’t care about the Constitution and that you think the ends justify the means.

    • #25
  26. TeamAmerica Member
    TeamAmerica
    @TeamAmerica

    Pencilvania:I see your point, TeamAmerica, and I think your argument holds water. On this issue there is also the thorny guess as to which candidate will appoint the most conservative Supreme Court replacement for Scalia. I feel pretty confident Cruz would do his homework on judges and name a securely conservative justice. I think Trump would intend to do it too but I don’t know if he has the background to ferret out the absolute best choice.

    Eh, with Trump I would worry that he could locate a good judge, but might be tempted to go with a politically safe choice in order to get the moderate/swing voter in 2020, and because he may lack conservative convictions. After all Pres. Carter endorsed him saying “he’s been a Democrat most of his life, and would be malleable”

    • #26
  27. TeamAmerica Member
    TeamAmerica
    @TeamAmerica

    @Josh Farnsworth- re comment 25: Maybe, but I think it is his way of making a dramatic announcement that reflects popular concerns. In other words, a political tactic.

    You said “Why start with all Muslims and shutting down mosques?.” As far as I recall, he never said that.

    • #27
  28. TeamAmerica Member
    TeamAmerica
    @TeamAmerica

    Josh Farnsworth:

    TeamAmerica:

    Why? Well, as a devout Christian, Cruz would be a lightning rod for the Left as was John Ashcroft, and any attempt to defend or restore 1st Amendment rights to Christians would encounter fierce opposition. Conversely, the more profane and socially-liberal Trump’s apparent indifference to issues like traditional marriage might give him an advantage if he plays it right. That is, he could say he has no problem with gay relationships but simply opposes punishing Christians who merely don’t want to be coerced to be involved in activities that violate their beliefs. His lack of a record of opposing gay rights might make his defense of religious rights more palatable — or at, least, harder to attack — politically.

    Your thoughts?

    Cruz has no record of “opposoing gay rights.” Favoring traditional marriage is not “opposition to gay rights.” If you disagree, it means the activists in support of gay marriage have already won the public opinion battle in addition to the court battle.

    I didn’t say he had a record of opposition to gay rights, but to the media/left a conservative Christian would be stereotyped and treated as a piniata, and the truth would be irrelevant.

    • #28
  29. Josh Farnsworth Member
    Josh Farnsworth
    @

    TeamAmerica:@Josh Farnsworth- re comment 25: Maybe, but I think it is his way of making a dramatic announcement that reflects popular concerns. In other words, a political tactic.

    You said “Why start with all Muslims and shutting down mosques?.” As far as I recall, he never said that.

    Trump on banning all Muslims entering the US

    Trump on shutting down mosques.

    Both statements prove Trump does not understand our country, our laws, or our constitution. He does understand our media.

    • #29
  30. TeamAmerica Member
    TeamAmerica
    @TeamAmerica

    @Hypatia- “The GOP has skewered itself by getting so involved with what are essentially religious issues like abortion ( oh, I know, this’ll bring out the pro-all-life-except-rape-‘n-incest writers) and, as you point out, gay marriage.”

    I’m actually one of them, but I don’t want to get into a social conservative/libertarian argument. I agree with a recent comment someone said that we had likable candidates in Rubio and Perry, but chose the only one whose negatives exceed Hillary’s. If Trump gets the nomination, and I think if he has close to 1237 not giving it to him would virtually ensure a Hillary win, I am hoping he would do as I suggest to stir up the Republican base for the 2020 election.

    • #30

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