A few weeks ago, Donald Trump went on a tear at Liberty University. “We’re going to protect Christianity,” he said. This needs to be done because “Christianity is under siege.” He noted that in Syria, “if you’re Christian, they’re chopping heads, they’re under siege!”
Aside from addressing the “War on Christmas,” all of Trump’s references to protecting Christianity were to conditions in the Middle East. He could have said more about threats to Christianity at home, beginning with the Obama administration’s Health and Human Services mandate. Attempts by the federal government to redefine what constitutes a Catholic entity are pernicious, and so are efforts to force them to assent to healthcare plans that fund abortion-inducing drugs.
Virtually all the presidential candidates understand that Christianity is endangered in the Middle East, but few have noted that it is being trashed at home. In the schools, the multicultural curriculum frequently shines a negative light on Christianity (while elevating Islam). On television and in the movies, Christianity is more often denigrated than respected. In the arts, depictions of Christianity are too often crude and morally debased. Moreover, radical secularism is in high gear among activist organizations seeking to neuter Christianity’s influence on our culture. Regrettably, the courts have shown a propensity to favor establishment clause considerations over religious liberty interests. And so on.
Is Trump serious about his commitment to religious liberty? Who knows? He can survive criticism over his Corinthians misstatement (it’s Second Corinthians, not Two Corinthians), but his comments on forgiveness are more important. NPR has reported that last year Trump told Iowa evangelicals “he had never asked God for forgiveness…and he repeated that Sunday on CNN.” Wrong. He said on CNN, “I don’t like to have to ask for forgiveness.” This is profoundly different from what NPR said. In fact, even last year he commented, “I am not sure I have” asked God for forgiveness. In short, more spin from a hostile media.