Donate to RNS

Fox gives religious liberty short shrift

The candidates steered clear of it, too. Did the wise heads and focus group gurus in the GOP determine that alleged threats to their religious freedom are no big deal for voters this election season?

Cancelled religious freedom stamp
Cancelled religious freedom stamp

Cancelled religious freedom stamp

For all the huffing and puffing that the Obama Administration is bent on canceling our religious freedom, Fox questioners steered clear of the subject at last night’s debate. In two hours, there was but one question on the subject, posed by Megyn Kelly to Rand Paul:

Senator Paul, in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling on same sex marriage, Carol Fox on Facebook want to know the following. Quote, what will you do to ensure Christians are not prosecuted for speaking out against gay marriage and will Christians be forced to conduct business that conflicts with their religious beliefs?

Paul delivered a libertarian answer that could be interpreted as supporting the right of businesses not to conduct such business but then turned in a different direction:

Look, I don’t want my marriage or my guns registered in Washington. And if people have an opinion, it’s a religious opinion that is heartly felt, obviously they should be allowed to practice that and no government should interfere with them. One of the things, one of the things that really got to me was the thing in Houston where you had the government, the mayor actually, trying to get the sermons of ministers. When the government tries to invade the church to enforce its own opinion on marriage, that’s when it’s time to resist.

As for the candidates themselves, only Ted Cruz seemed eager to call attention to religious liberty, referring to his support for it several times and, in describing what he would do during his first day in the White House, saying, “The next thing I intend to do is instruct the Department of Justice and the IRS to start (sic) persecuting religious liberty.” Whoops.

In the preliminary event, Martha MacCallum tossed George Pataki a religious liberty caveat in a question about whether the government should be permitted to keep mosques under surveillance in order to root out terrorism. “And keep in mind,” she said, “that conservatives are increasingly concerned in this country with religious liberty.” Pataki allowed as how religious liberty “doesn’t include encouraging a fellow American to engage in violent jihad and kill an American here.” Otherwise, the participants who volunteered their concern with the issue were Bobby Jindal and Rick Santorum.

So there you have it. I’d say that the wise heads and focus group gurus in the GOP have determined that alleged threats to their religious freedom are no big deal for voters this election season.