You have to wonder how soon the highly produced ad will come out. The last time The Atlantic did an anonymously sourced hit piece on President Trump, the ad was out in a few hours. Within a few hours of the New York Times publishing their assessment of likely illegally leaked tax filings, the Biden campaign put out another glossy ad tailored explicitly to the content of the article. There has never been such apparent coordination between the corporate media and Democrats.
So, now you should be on the lookout for a “Joe Biden is a faithful Catholic and Donald Trump mocks Christians” ad. Maybe it will drop during the debate tonight. It would be best to watch for it because there is another hit piece out in The Atlantic. This time, President Trump supposedly mocks Christians in private.
Since most of us will never be in a private conversation with President Trump, we will just have to assess his actions. First, he picked a devout Christian as a running mate. Vice President Mike Pence has said he is a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican—in that order. He and the second lady are known to be quite devout and appear to enjoy a warm relationship with the president and first lady.
Next, President Trump’s three Supreme Court nominees all seem to practice their religion faithfully. Justice Gorsuch attended an Episcopal church when he lived in Colorado, and both Justice Kavanaugh and Judge Amy Coney Barrett are practicing Catholics. While this seems to bother Democrats in the Senate, it does not seem to bother the president.
President Trump also often meets with religious leaders. It would seem he has made commitments to religious communities to defend religious liberty and advance pro-life policies in exchange for support.
He has followed through on those commitments. His lack of familiarity with these priorities was evident during the 2016 campaign. He completely mucked up the mainstream pro-life view when he said we should consider criminal penalties for women who seek abortions. Pro-life activists roundly criticized this statement, and he learned.
For any religious person, it would be challenging to view President Trump as a particularly religious person himself. However, in his public communication, he has always seemed respectful of those who practice their faith. In terms of the policy of the administration, preserving freedom of religion has been a consistent priority.
President Trump was also the first president to address the March for Life and singled out Planned Parenthood for defunding on page one of his 2018 budget. He has asked Congress to pass legislation to end late-term abortions, as this is not an Executive branch power. However, he has been able to reinstate and expand policies prohibiting international aid from funding overseas abortions. Entities that provide abortions are no longer eligible for Title X family planning funds.
So, the “bombshell” article in The Atlantic uses Michael Cohen, A.J. Delgado, and anonymous aides that say he mocks his Christian supporters “in secret.” The most notable thing about these “shocking” revelations is that most of them can be perceived as jokes. That, and the two named sources are a convicted liar and a disgruntled former employee. Here is an example from the Cohen allegations:
Cohen told me that once, years ago, he was with Trump when his wife, Melania, informed him that their son was at a playdate with a Jewish girl from his school. “Great,” Trump said to Cohen, who is Jewish. “I’m going to lose another one of my kids to your people.”
At worst, this was a joke because his daughter Ivanka converted to Judaism when she married Jared Kushner. More than likely, this was completely fabricated. It is hard to imagine a cultured urban mom specifying the religion of a child’s play date in communicating the whereabouts of her child.
The Atlantic also discloses selected quotes from a recording of a 2016 meeting with religious leaders. These comments sound more honest than mocking:
The conservative Christian elites Trump surrounds himself with have always been more clear-eyed about his lack of religiosity than they’ve publicly let on. In a September 2016 meeting with about a dozen influential figures on the religious right—including the talk-radio host Eric Metaxas, the Dallas megachurch pastor Robert Jeffress, and the theologian Wayne Grudem—the then-candidate was blunt about his relationship to Christianity. In a recording of the meeting obtained by The Atlantic, the candidate can be heard shrugging off his scriptural ignorance (“I don’t know the Bible as well as some of the other people”) and joking about his inexperience with prayer (“The first time I met [Mike Pence], he said, ‘Will you bow your head and pray?’ and I said, ‘Excuse me?’ I’m not used to it.”) At one point in the meeting, Trump interrupted a discussion about religious freedom to complain about Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska and brag about the taunting nickname he’d devised for him. “I call him Little Ben Sasse,” Trump said. “I have to do it, I’m sorry. That’s when my religion always deserts me.”
It would be a challenge to find any Trump supporter, religious or not, who thinks he is intimately familiar with the Bible. It is also hardly shocking that he was not a regular at bowing his head in prayer. In 2015 he said that he believed in God but has never asked for forgiveness.
The other assertions are pretty weak. Expressing amazement, skepticism, or even shock at the wealth and followings of some televangelist leaders is not surprising. Anyone who watched the rise and fall of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, as well as Jimmy Swaggart and others, will not find it difficult to understand.
Author McKay Coppins talked about his own experience interviewing President Trump in 2014. At that time, Trump believed that Mitt Romney being Mormon might have affected his presidential run in 2012. Romney’s faith was a subject of coverage during both his 2008 and 2012 campaigns. Coppins is also Mormon and speculated what the president might have said if he hadn’t shared that. Of course, Cohen had a story for that too. It had to do with the undergarments many religious Latter-day Saints wear. Okay. It is a unique custom that is a curiosity for a lot of people.
The whole thing rings rather hollow, especially with an administration that has been full of anonymous leaks that turn out to be lies made of whole cloth and a years-long Russian collusion narrative that may have come crashing down today with a declassified letter from DNI John Ratcliffe to Senator Lindsay Graham (R.-S.C.). There is no reason to trust a person speaking on the condition of anonymity at this point. That guy has been used too often by too many reporters.
Then there is the whole idea that any of this should move people of faith when they look to the Democrats. A Joe Biden staffer recently longed for the day when religious views were so taboo that no one who held them could be elevated to SCOTUS. The Obama/Biden administration sued the Little Sisters of the Poor and other business owners with closely held religious beliefs to force them to provide coverage for abortion and other forms of birth control.
Amy Coney Barrett is currently being attacked for her faith. She and Biden are both Catholic. Barrett practices her faith, while Biden holds positions that force Catholic leaders with backbones to deny him communion. He has also not made a full-throated condemnation of the faith-based attacks on Barrett.
Biden has said he wants to overturn the Hyde Amendment, forcing taxpayers to pay for abortion. The entire party now believes that abortion should be free, on-demand, without apology, throughout all nine months of pregnancy. It is so bad that pro-life Democrats took out a full-page ad in the New York Times to challenge Biden and the Democrats to moderate their position. That is 21 million voters the party is ignoring.
They tolerate open anti-Semites in their caucus, most notably in the Squad. Democrats have not eliminated supporters of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) from their party, which essentially seeks the destruction of Israel. To appease their radical base, they also continue to call for a two-state solution in their platform. Even Israel’s Arab neighbors don’t see this as a realistic expectation anymore.
Most religious people do not look for a faith leader in the White House. The look for a chief executive who will protect their freedom to worship and live a life consistent with their values. To date, President Trump has not failed in this mission. As Billy Hallowell noted:
So, options: choose people who want litmus tests and literally enact policies hostile toward evangelicals (look what they're doing now on the Supreme Court) or choose someone who enacts friendly policies but secretly dislikes evangelicals (allegedly). Latter still better. https://t.co/NJ1FJuq6BD
— Billy Hallowell (@BillyHallowell) September 29, 2020
He went on to point out fines levied against bakers who did not wish to decorate gay wedding cakes, saying that it is those with secular views who are looking for religious people to comply with their worldview. The truth is that most religious Americans want to be left alone and able to live in accordance with their values. In this election, the only person with a record of defending that right is President Trump.