Donald Trump
via Vanity Fair

Religious conservatives are pander magnets. The specifics of the pander are less relevant than the fact that they are being pandered to. Pandering makes them feel important. These days, with Trump in the Oval Office, those same religious conservatives are content being lied to as long providing that the liar makes them feel important and they get some judges that they like.

In 2020 those same religious conservatives will crawl through molten lava to vote for Trump because he makes them feel relevant. Never mind that Trump could be the most amoral president in the history of the United States. Trump couldn’t care less about policy that the religious set likes.

The only thing that Trump cares about is Trump. Abortion rights, gun safety and the dignity of LGBTQ people don’t affect Trump in any meaningful way.

Nor does prayer in public schools affect Donald Trump

According to Benjamin Gill, who works for Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network: Trump Fighting to Put Prayer Back in Schools: ‘We Will Not Allow Faithful Americans to Be Bullied.’ I cannot know whether Mr. Gill is profoundly gullible or trying to promote Trump to evangelical Christians. Does it really matter?

In 1962 the United State Supreme Court ruled in Engel v. Vitale that school prayer is unconstitutional. The decision was 6-1 (two justices did not participate). Justice Hugo Black authored the opinion for the majority. The calculus was pretty simple: Prayer is a religious activity by its very nature and that prescribing such a religious activity for public school children violates the Establishment Clause.

Religious conservatives swear that we have been going to Hell in a handbag and that our transit to the netherworld began on June 25, 1962, the date of the Court’s ruling. Satan smiled. Three times since, this ruling has been challenged at the Supreme Court: 1985, 1992 and 2000. Engel v. Vitale has survived challenge.

Mr. Gill continues without the slightest cognizance that the Christians are being played:

President Donald Trump is unveiling new federal guidelines today to protect the constitutional right to pray in public schools.

The specifics were not clear ahead of the announcement, but the president did promise earlier this month at the Evangelicals for Trump rally at the King Jesus International Ministry in Florida that he would take action to safeguard students’ and teachers’ First Amendment rights to pray in school.

“We will not allow faithful Americans to be bullied by the hard Left,” Trump said.

Remember that the title of Gill’s polemic included putting prayer “back” in public schools. In point of fact there is nothing limiting the ability of students to pray in public school providing that it is not encouraged or organized by school personnel. The 2000 case involved school-organized, student-led prayer at high school football games which was deemed unconstitutional.

Trump said this month at his evangelical rally. “For America to thrive in the 21st Century we must renew faith and family as the center of American life.”

“These angry radicals want to impose absolute conformity by censoring speech, tearing down crosses and symbols of faith and banning religious believers from public life,” he said. “But we will not back down, we are standing tall for the values that we hold dear.”

As a matter of opinion I believe that Trump’s first sentence is flat-out wrong. Faith is an impediment to progress in medicine, economics, science, social policy and scientific discovery. For example, religious people went nuts (or feigned craziness) over the fact that aborted remains, with maternal consent, were being donated to science instead of being discarded.

George W. Bush limited scientific discovery with stem cells. Meanwhile he was involved in the killing and torturing of people in Iraq and Afghanistan.

As for the second paragraph, I do not know who these “angry radicals” are. If anyone wants to impose “absolute conformity” that would apply to religious conservatives. No one is “tearing down crosses and symbols of faith.” Crosses have no business on public property. They amount to the government’s endorsement of Christianity which is a violation of the Establishment Clause.

It’s “values that we hold dear” that should get the attention of these evangelicals. How, in Trump’s life, has he demonstrated any behavior based on any value other than greed? Through his divorces and bankruptcies? The Trump U. scam? All of his Mafia connections? Bribing and extorting Ukraine? Pathological lying?

What about all of the innocent children, including babies and toddlers, who have been separated from their parents? Should that not concern these sanctimonious people?

According to the New York Times Obama told 18 untruths over his eight years in office:

[President Obama’s] falsehoods tended to be attempts to make his own policies look better or to overstate a problem he was trying to solve. In a few cases, they seemed to be careless exaggerations he avoided repeating.

Over all, Obama rarely told demonstrable untruths as president. And he appears to have become more careful over time.

A December 16, 2019 article at the Washington Post is titled: “President Trump has made 15,413 false or misleading claims over 1,055 days.”

None of that matters to many conservative Christians providing Trump makes it harder to get an abortion, limits the rights of LGBTQ people and appoints ideologues to the federal bench. But most of all, it doesn’t matter to these people that Trump is a sociopath as long as he makes them feel important or relevant.

Concluding Benjamin Gill’s piece is this:

“My administration will never stop fighting for Americans of faith,” he said. “I really do believe we have God on our side.”

That sort of coincides with Trump’s statement that he is the “chosen one.” If there is a god then he or she is mightily pissed off at Trump.

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By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.