Michele Bachmann reportedly “took particular notice during the GOP nominee’s acceptance speech of what she regarded as a display of humility when he commended the evangelical community.” Now, the only commendation that ought to be worth anything to people who live in Christ, and in whom Christ lives, is to give all glory to God. Michele Bachmann says that Donald Trump showed respect for Christians concerned with “religious liberty”. But did that phrase figure prominently anywhere in his remarks?
Rep. Bachmann referred to Mr. Trump’s commitment to support rescinding the Johnson Amendment, which restricts the freedom of pastors to speak for or against political candidates from the pulpit. It is of benefit mostly to candidates seeking to use their Christian constituents as fodder for their political ambitions. Repealing it does nothing to address the attacks coming from the SCOTUS and other elements of the Federal Judiciary. Those attacks falsely evoke Constitutional, not statutory grounds for restricting the free exercise of religion (plainly protected by the 1st Amendment) in all walks of life, not just in speaking from the pulpit.
By contrast with this notional commitment to religious liberty, Trump very explicitly committed to protecting LGBT people from “the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology.” Trump’s formulation of the threat to LGBT people was uncharacteristically abstract, especially coming from someone who had no qualms about naming Muslims as such when, to win votes, he proposed banning them from entry into the United States. Yet now he uses a more abstract form of words that, to be sure, most of his supporters are likely to hear as a reference to Islam.
But how will LGBT activists who favor Court enforced acceptance of homosexuality hear his words? How will they contrive to make use of them in what Peter Thiel disparages as “fake culture wars”? In the Courts that are the battlefields of those wars, LGBT activists routinely portray Christians as oppressive, violence inspiring, anti-homosexual bigots. They seriously claim that, because Christians respect the Biblical condemnation of homosexuality they adhere to an understanding that is foreign to the American ideal of freedom.
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Will the LGBT’s champions he the so-called “fake culture wars” hear Mr. Trump’s words as a reference to the Biblical Christianity they war against? Whose livelihood will they attack; whose pulpit will they defame; and whom will they seek to imprison, relying on the logic of Trump’s words to lend credence to their case? So despite Michele Bachmann’s credulous assumption about Donald Trump’s defense of religious liberty, his words may actually work to aid the agenda of the LGBT activists who are strenuously attacking it. Given Mr. Trump’s expressed support for discarding sexual propriety in access to public bathroom facilities, one can be excused for believing that this was his intention.
More significant still is the fact that Mr. Trump’s only mention of God in his speech was a “God Bless You” moment as he ended it. Though he spoke of America’s credo, he nowhere mentioned or referred to the words or premises of the Declaration of Independence, the document that has been understood throughout our history to be the definitive statement of America’s creed. He nowhere reflected the fact that it plainly affirms, as self-evident truth, the premise that our unalienable rights come from the Creator, God; that they derive from the “laws of nature and of Nature’s God”, not from the power and authority of any merely human sovereign, including the people themselves.
Thus, for his own political purposes, Mr. Trump evoked the name of God in passing, the way many people reflexively say “God Bless you” when someone sneezes. But he tacitly denied the power thereof, as socialist ideologues, expediently feigning respect for God, so often do. As I ponder the significance of that argument from silence, a question comes to mind, which people who truly aim to represent Christ in their citizenship will take most seriously: If someone thus implicitly takes the name of the Father in vain, of what real worth is his seeming “commendation” of those who sincerely receive and worship the Son?
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