Tuesday, December 13, 2016
Trump Will Be Religion-Friendly
By Bill Donohue
None of the three biggest vote getters in the primaries—Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders—are known for their deeply rooted religious convictions. Trump is Presbyterian and Clinton is a Methodist, and like many mainline Protestants, they are religion-lite; Sanders is an admitted secularist. What makes Trump different from Clinton and Sanders is his religion-friendly posture, something the faithful from every religious community can welcome.
There are certain advantages to being religion-lite and religion-friendly at the same time. Having no strong personal stake in the conflict between religious liberty and the rights embroiled in abortion, marriage, education, housing, and healthcare, there is good reason to believe that Trump can be counted on to be religion-friendly.
Moreover, he won 52 percent of the Catholic vote (he did much better among practicing Catholics) and 81 percent of the evangelical vote. He is not likely to let his constituents down.
Trump is a businessman, not a culture warrior. As such, he was never seriously engaged in any of the fights that animate those of a more orthodox religious stripe. Take abortion. On October 24, 1999, Trump was asked by Tim Russert on "Meet the Press" if his support for abortion rights would extend to a defense of partial-birth abortion. "I'm very pro-choice," Trump said, adding that he would oppose a ban on partial-birth abortion.
Within no time, Trump reversed himself. "After the show," he said, "I consulted with two doctors I respect and, upon learning more about this procedure, I have concluded that I would indeed support a ban." His remark was published three months later in his book, “The America We Deserve.” This was the beginning of his evolution on this subject.
Trump has consistently said that he will appoint pro-life judges to the federal bench, and there is no reason to disbelieve him. Indeed, the month before the election he pledged to Catholics that he will work with us, "helping the ongoing growth of the pro-life cause."
On the collision between gay rights and religious liberty, Trump is less specific. He is welcoming to the gay community, assuring them, properly so, that he will not tolerate bullying, but he is also choosing cabinet members that are religion-friendly.
For example, Sen. Jeff Sessions (attorney general), Betsy DeVos (education), Rep. Tom Price (health and human services), and Ben Carson (housing and urban development), are all known for refusing to subordinate religious liberty to the gay rights agenda.
There is one more important consideration. To the extent that Trump makes appointing pro-life judges a priority, he is likely to select men and women who will honor our right to religious liberty; competing rights will not be eviscerated, but they will not eclipse our First Amendment right.
Trump is particularly good on school choice. His choice of Betsy DeVos as education secretary proves his commitment to academic excellence and religious liberty. It would be hard to find someone with a more stellar record of supporting school choice than her. That she is dedicated to including religious schools in her effort is indisputable. Indeed, she played a prominent role in helping Mike Pence succeed with a voucher plan in Indiana that was decidedly religion-friendly.
Ben Carson is a decent man with deep religious roots. As the new Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, he will be positioned to advance the cause of religious liberty. He can be expected to ensure that faith-based programs that are tied to the department's block grants are not burdened with contrived church-and-state regulations. This will put a stop to the kinds of machinations sponsored by the Obama team.
In fact, the Obama administration's war on religious liberty, especially its attack on Catholic institutions, is coming to an end. The draconian Health and Human Services mandate will be dismantled by Secretary Price. Trump said as much when he noted that Hillary Clinton was aligned against the Little Sisters of the Poor. "That is a hostility to religious liberty you will never see in a Trump administration," he said.
The religious rights of men and women in the armed services will also spike under Trump. We know this not simply by citing what he says, but by reading what his adversaries are saying about him. Mikey Weinstein, who heads the Military Religion Freedom Foundation, is the most vociferous enemy of religious liberty in the military, and he is up in arms over Trump. That is a very good sign.
President Ronald Reagan was not known to be a particularly religious man, yet he was one of the most religion-friendly presidents we've had in recent memory. He was the first to establish formal diplomatic relations with the Holy See, and he was a champion of the pro-life cause.
All indications are that Trump will be more like Reagan, which is a good omen. When he is attacked for standing up for religious liberty—and he will be—it will be up to us to defend him. We plan to do so with vigor.
Despite Left's Bullying of Christians, Same-Sex Marriage Isn’t Settled
Bullying Christians may be a favorite strategy of the left—but it’s not necessarily an effective one. Chip and Joanna Gaines of HGTV’s popular show “Fixer Upper” may be sending that message without ever opening their mouths.
In what can only be described as a politically motivated witch hunt, BuzzFeed posted a non-story about how the fan favorites attend a church where it’s apparently news that the pastor preaches straight out of the Bible.
In her hit piece (disguised as journalism), author Kate Aurthur implies that Chip and Joanna may be hateful people for attending a church that has the nerve to believe what Scripture says:
“So are the Gaineses against same-sex marriage? And would they ever feature a same-sex couple on the show, as have HGTV’s ‘House Hunters’ and ‘Property Brothers?’ Emails to Brock Murphy, the public relations director at their company, Magnolia, were not returned.”
Not surprisingly, Aurthur’s piece got instant attention—not much of it good. BuzzFeed readers are angry that the site is trying to destroy a couple that many consider the best duo on HGTV.
“This is the dumbest story I have ever heard,” one reader commented. “It’s like a witch hunt for their beliefs, to try and stir the oil from a pot into the flames of the stove. This kind of article is exactly what is wrong with the media.”
Others fired back that this was a made-up controversy, designed to tear down good people.
“You are inciting a wave of negative attention on this couple for something that indirectly links to them,” another reader said. “That’s not journalism, it’s petty … ”
Even The Washington Post, hardly an ally of Christian conservatives, piled on, posting an op-ed from gay columnist Brandon Ambrosino called “BuzzFeed’s Hit Piece on Chip and Joanna Gaines Is Dangerous.” In it, he talks about the important message of the election, which is that “gotcha” stories like this only reinforce people’s negative opinion of the press.
“[This story] validates everything that President-elect Donald Trump’s supporters have been saying about the media: that some journalists—specifically younger ones at popular digital publications—will tell stories in certain deceitful, manipulative ways to take down conservatives. (And really, I can’t for the life of me imagine any other intention of the Gaines story.) … The old strategy of journalists shaming ‘hicks’ is not going to work anymore …”
And, he goes on:
“BuzzFeed can’t argue that the same-sex marriage issue is ethically settled, because it isn’t for a sizable population of our country and our world. It is no longer okay—indeed, it never was—to write cutesy articles shaming religious people as homophobic for simply being one of the many millions of Americans in 2016 who attend a religious congregation that does not support same-sex marriage. That is not a good move for activism or journalism.”
It most certainly isn’t settled, based on the latest polling from Wilson Perkins Allen, which puts the support for natural marriage at 53 percent almost a year and a half after the Supreme Court tried to redefine it.
Only 37 percent support the view that BuzzFeed seems to imply is the prevailing one.
The Real Anti-Semitism to Fear
Should we talk about the genocidal movement to eradicate the Jews or a cartoon frog? Pepe the Frog originated as an innocuous cartoon character in 2005. This week, he was added to the Anti-Defamation League’s database of hate symbols
After years of studiously ignoring it, dismissing it, whitewashing it, excusing it and even justifying it, progressives have rediscovered anti-Semitism. With this amazing archeological find the intrepid Indiana Jones' of the left dug up anti-Semitism, brushed it off and put it up on the shelf right behind Islamophobia, transphobia, racism, homophobia and sexism (in that order of importance).
Anti-Semitism on the left has been abruptly transformed from an excuse that Jews use to silence discussion about whether the Jewish State should be nuked or merely boycotted, to an issue worthy of concern. Assorted liberal celebrities with Jewish last names have surfaced to voice amazement that they had "not expected to see anti-Semitism return in my lifetime."
As if anti-Semitism had been vacationing in the Alps until it came to their attention. The truth is that anti-Semitism never went anywhere. The left just endorsed it. And therefore it ceased to be a bad thing.
There was plenty of anti-Semitism to find even on the local college campus. Almost every synagogue I have been to in the past few months has armed guards outside giving visitors the TSA treatment. Jews are fleeing to America, Canada and Israel from major European cities because of Muslim persecution. The largest Jewish population in the world faces an endless war against a genocidal ideology that not only calls for their extermination, but works toward it, from suicide bombers to nuclear weapons.
But there is a progressive gentleman's agreement not to discuss that real wave of anti-Semitism which has cost thousands of Jewish lives and ethnically cleansed cities because of the left's complicity in it.
The recent interest in anti-Semitism across editorial pages and social media carefully avoids discussing the anti-Semitic past of Keith Ellison, progressive favorite for DNC chair, and his time with the anti-Semitic Nation of Islam cult whose ugly views and hatred he had defended. The left isn't interested in Muslim anti-Semitism. It is greatly interested in discussing and promoting a small group of loathsome neo-Nazi trolls who recently held a conference in D.C. attended by a few hundred of history's losers.
These Twitter troll babies cling to Trump's legs almost as eagerly as he tries to shake them off. The "Hail Trump" stunt was a calculated gesture based on the certain knowledge that the media will only give their movement publicity if they try to smear Trump by associating him with their failed movement.
Despite the media's lies, they're not President-elect Trump's allies, but his needy desperate stalkers.
The Neo-Nazis rebranded by weaponizing their own loathsomeness, whether it's aimed at Trump or at Jews on Twitter. Instead of trying and failing to gain legitimacy, they embraced the classic troll tactic of trying to gain attention by becoming as repulsive as possible. But while it's easy to tweet Nazi propaganda from a thousand sockpuppet accounts at famous people on Twitter until someone writes it up, the scam falls apart when you try to fill up the back half of a Holiday Inn conference room.
It's easy to tell a real threat from a fake threat. Fake threats go away if you ignore them. Real threats only grow deadlier if you ignore them. Internet trolls are the former. Islamic terror is the latter.
The very same liberal organizations that claim to be very concerned about Twitter trolls, whitewash real anti-Semitism. The star of the ADL's conference on anti-Semitism was the inventor of Pepe, a cartoon frog adopted as a meme by a wide range of online communities, including by Neo-Nazis. The ADL won headlines and ridicule by adding Pepe to its database of hate symbols.
While the ADL was battling the threat of a cartoon frog, its conference featured a panel debating whether delegitimization of Israel was anti-Semitism and providing a platform to anti-Israel activists who defended attacks on Israel and even some forms of BDS. The ADL believes that a cartoon frog on social media is a serious threat, but that the delegitimization of the Jewish State is open to debate.
The brand of anti-Semitism embodied by Neo-Nazi trolls on Twitter is vile in content, but is helpless to deprive anyone of any rights. The anti-Semitism we should be worried about is the systematic delegitimization of Jews as a people. It's the rise to power of a political ideology that denies Jews basic civil rights, such as the right to live where they choose and just the right to live. Anti-Semitism is at its most dangerous when it can't even be seen because it has become a mainstream consensus.
Anti-Semitism is at its most dangerous when no one dares call it out for what it is.
The ADL and other liberal groups have defended Keith Ellison despite his history of anti-Semitism. Asked about his support for Ellison, Senator Schumer shrugged. "I'm not worried about the Israel stuff." The "Israel stuff" that Schumer wasn't worried about included labeling Israel an apartheid state and attacking its right to self-defense. It included a past promoting and defending the vilest anti-Semitism.
But at its heart the "Israel stuff" is about the question of whether our country will continue challenging the right of Jews to live in their homeland and to defend themselves against a genocidal cult.
The "Israel stuff" is the question of whether Jews have rights as a people. The left answered that question in the negative. Jews were not a people. They had no rights. They had to be eradicated.
And that is what the left proceeded to do.
When the left achieved total power, whether in the USSR or Nicaragua, it began to eradicate the Jews as a people. The left is as anti-Semitic as any Twitter troll. It just has better public relations.
The left would like Jews to believe that the bigger threat come from a cartoon frog than from a DNC head who was a member of one of the vilest anti-Semitic cults in the country and continues to work against the Jewish State. That's the dangerous and deadly lie of cowards complicit in anti-Semitism.
It is easy to condemn gas chamber cartoons on social media. It's also lazy and evasive. There is no great moral virtue in denouncing behavior that everyone already considers abhorrent. The real challenge of fighting anti-Semitism doesn't come from denouncing the political equivalent of public urination.
To truly fight anti-Semitism is to confront it in its whitewashed and mainstreamed forms. Anything less is the lazy cowardice of an Abe Foxman or the conniving complicity of a Jonathan Greenblatt.
Should we talk about actual anti-Semitism or a cartoon frog?
The Jewish communities of Europe that survived and rebuilt after the Holocaust are being depopulated by persecution from Muslim migrants and settlers. Muslim violence continues to be the main source of dangerous attacks on Jewish synagogues in Europe and America. Despite this, Germany encouraged huge numbers of Muslims to enter the country despite vocal warnings from Jewish leaders.
The single most successful ideology that calls for denying Jews equal rights today in the West isn't the half a conference room of Neo-Nazis, it's Islamism. Islamist organizations, including CAIR and ISNA, have formed close alliances with the left despite their anti-Semitism. Their goal is the revival of a system of discriminatory Islamic law which would deny equal rights to Jews and all other non-Muslims.
The rise of Islam depopulated the Jewish communities of the Middle East. Israel continues to hold out against the tide of violent Islamic bigotry by force of arms. And its right to defend Jews from racist Islamic violence is constantly under attack by the left. As the Jewish communities of Europe begin to vanish, the last refuge of the Jews in the West has become the United States of America. But the left demands that Muslim migration be empowered do to the Jews of America what it did to them in Europe.
Obama launched a diplomatic reset with a genocidal terror state that openly plots the murder of millions of Jews. And he financed that reset with billions of taxpayer dollars illegally smuggled on unmarked cargo planes, countless billions more in sanctions relief and a pass for its nuclear weapons program. He even spied on Israel to prevent it from taking out Iran's nuclear weapons program.
Money illegally smuggled by a left-wing administration to terrorists can be used to finance anti-Semitic violence and a uclear weapons program whose objective is the murder of millions of Jews.
But by all means, let's talk about cartoon frogs. It's easier than discussing the real threat of anti-Semitism.
West proves not all cultures are equal
A defence of Western exceptionalism from Jennifer Oriel in Australia
Long after the West has defeated Islamic State, the jihadist threat will remain.
For the past 40 years, Western immigration policy has been based on multicultural ideology.
Its consequence is clear: Islamism has become a Western condition. Successive governments have diluted Western values to the point where they are no longer taught in schools. The result is a population unschooled in the genius of our civilisation whose youth cannot understand why it is worth defending.
Multicultural ideology must give way to a renaissance of Western civilisation in which Australian exceptionalism is celebrated and Islamism is sent packing.
Multiculturalism is not merely the acceptance of diverse cultures, or open society. It is the a priori belief that cultural diversity has a net positive effect on the West, coupled with a double standard that excuses lslamic and communist states from embracing it.
Thus, Western nations must open their borders while Islamic and communist states remain closed. The West must accept the myth that all cultures are equal while Islamic and communist states celebrate their unique contribution to world history. Under multicultural ideology, the greatest civilisation of the world, Western civilisation, is held in contempt while theocratic throwbacks and communist barbarism are extolled.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad al- Hussein, regularly frames the West as xenophobic and racist. In a recent speech, he decried xenophobia and religious hatred. But he did not address the Chinese government’s persecution of Christians, or the governing Islamist regime in Gaza, Hamas, for hatred of Jews. Rather, he took aim at the West, saying: “My recent missions to Western Europe and North America have included discussions of increasingly worrying levels of incitement to racial or religious hatred and violence, whether against migrants or racial and religious groups. Discrimination, and the potential for mob violence, is being stoked by political leaders for their personal benefit.”
Western governments should explain why they continue to send taxpayers’ money to the UN when it has become an organisation expressly devoted to defending the interests of Islamist and communist regimes against the free world.
The growing hatred of Western culture goes unremarked by politicians whose populism is firmly rooted in political correctness. No major political party has calculated the cost of multicultural ideology to Western society. Instead, they extol it as a net benefit without tendering empirical evidence. When politicians claim truth without substantive supporting evidence, ideology is at play. It may be that multiculturalism is a net benefit to the West. If so, why has the evidence been withheld? Without it, minor parties can contend that multiculturalism is a net negative for the West and appear credible.
In the absence of empirical proof that multicultural ideology is beneficial, politicians such as Pauline Hanson, Donald Trump, Geert Wilders and Marine Le Pen seek to curb Muslim immigration and deport those who disrespect Western values. Hanson plans to push for a burka ban in the new year. The policy has international precedent as Dutch politicians voted recently to ban the burka in some public places. German Chancellor Angela Merkel also has proposed a burka ban, but it is reasonable to question her motives ahead of the 2017 election. In a state election held in September, Merkel’s party polled below nationalist and anti-Islam party Alternative for Germany. She has driven porous border policy and repeatedly castigated European heads of state who defend their sovereign borders, such as Hungary’s Viktor Orban. Her call for a burka ban is thus viewed by some as blatant political opportunism.
Malcolm Turnbull addressed the issue indirectly by citing poor border controls in Europe as the cause of the problem. However, as with so many issues concerning political Islam in Australia, the question of a burka ban is indivisible from the defence of Western values.
One such value is the universal application of law that requires the equal treatment of all citizens. If Australians are expected to not wear a balaclava in banks, courts or Parliament House, why are some citizens permitted to cover their faces in a burka or niqab? Double standards and preferential treatment of state-anointed minorities is fuelling widespread, and rational, resentment in the West.
Consider retelling the events of the past week to an Anzac just returned from war. We would tell him that a Muslim married to a terrorist recruiter refused to stand in court because she wanted to be judged by Allah. Muslims in Sydney and Melbourne were charged with preparing a terrorist act against Australians. In France, several people were arrested for plotting jihadist attacks. News broke that 1750 foot soldiers of a genocidal Islamic army had entered Europe without resistance from Western armies. As in Australia, many jihadists entered as refugees and lived on taxpayer-funded welfare under a program called multiculturalism.
In the same week, a German politician called Angela Merkel, who ushered Islamists into the West by enforcing open borders, was lauded by a respected magazine called The Economist as “the last leader of stature to defend the West’s values”. Yet men from Islamic countries who allegedly entered Germany under Merkel’s open-border policy were arrested for sexual assault, including the rape and murder of a teenage girl. Asylum-seekers and refugees had assaulted women and children across Europe. Less than a year before, on New Year’s Eve, Merkel’s asylum-seekers had attacked women and girls en masse.
We would tell the Anzac that Britain attempted to acknowledge the negative impact of its undiscriminating approach to immigration. A review recommended a core school curriculum to promote “British laws, history and values” and a proposal that immigrants sign an oath of allegiance to British values. But secularism, private property and Christianity were absent from the principle list and as such, it wasn’t very British at all.
There were few Anzacs left to see what the West has become. I suppose that’s a kind of mercy. We have dishonoured the millions of soldiers who laid down their lives in the 20th century fighting for our freedom and the future of Western civilisation. We should hang our heads in shame for letting the Anzac legacy come to this. We are the descendants of the world’s most enlightened civilisation. It is our turn to fight for its future.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.