News

New executive order aims to protect religious liberty from government overreach

Marine One arrives on the South Lawn of the White House in 2009. Photo courtesy of Creative Commons/DOD/C.M. Fitzpatrick

WASHINGTON (RNS) — President Trump plans to unveil a new initiative that aims to give faith groups a stronger voice within the federal government and serve as a watchdog for government overreach on religious liberty issues.

He is scheduled to sign an executive order on Thursday (May 3), the National Day of Prayer, “to ensure that the faith-based and community organizations that form the bedrock of our society have strong advocates in the White House and throughout the Federal Government,” a White House document reads.

Trump plans to sign the order in a Rose Garden ceremony that is expected to be attended by members of his Cabinet and some 200 representatives of religious groups.

The White House said those working on the initiative will provide policy recommendations from faith-based and community programs on “more effective solutions to poverty” and inform the administration of “any failures of the executive branch to comply with religious liberty protections under law.”

The creation of the White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative follows the initiatives of previous administrations that created similarly named offices to foster partnerships between the government and religious organizations.

President Obama launched the Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, whose work ranged from fighting the Ebola and Zika viruses to feeding schoolchildren nutritious meals in the summertime.

That office, along with similar ones in 13 federal agencies, followed President George W. Bush’s Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. The White House said agencies and executive departments that do not have such offices will have a designated liaison to the new initiative.

Johnnie Moore, a minister and public relations consultant who serves as an unofficial spokesman for a group of evangelicals that often advises Trump, said the new initiative takes an approach different from the previous ones.

“Ordering every department of the federal government to work on faith based partnerships — not just those with faith offices — represents a widespread expansion of a program that has historically done very effective work and now can do even greater work,” he said.

Florida megachurch pastor Paula White, one of the key evangelical advisers to the president, also cheered the new initiative.

“I could not be more proud to stand with President Trump as he continues to stand shoulder to shoulder with communities of faith,” she said. “This order is a historic action, strengthening the relationship between faith and government in the United States and the product will be countless, transformed lives.”

The White House also said the new initiative will be led by an adviser who will work with faith leaders and experts outside the federal government. Obama’s initiative also had an office director with a council of outside experts.

About the author

Adelle M. Banks

Adelle M. Banks, production editor and a national reporter, joined RNS in 1995. An award-winning journalist, she previously was the religion reporter at the Orlando Sentinel and a reporter at The Providence Journal and newspapers in the upstate New York communities of Syracuse and Binghamton.

180 Comments

Click here to post a comment

  • Uh-oh, “President Trump … continues to stand shoulder to shoulder with communities of [the White Evangelical] faith”!

    4 more years!

    4 more years!

    DNC, we have a problem!

  • If Luke 6:37………Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven……..is an important guidepost to whatever they do, then that should be a good thing.

  • I expect that the only people who will have actual input will be white Evangelical Protestants. I would like to be wrong here, but I’m not hopeful about that.

  • Donald J. Trump doesn’t give a fig about anything having to do with faith or religion. When was the last time we saw him attend a church service? The one and only thing he cares about is Donald J. Trump, and in political terms that means keeping his white evangelical base happy. He’ll say or do whatever it takes to please them. That in turn keeps Republicans in Congress in line because they’re too afraid of being primaried out by someone further to the right in the next mid-term election if they don’t kowtow to Trump, which in turn keeps Trump in power.

    That’s all this is about.

  • Ugh, because the one we already have isn’t bad enough? Government should stay OUT of religion: O, U, T.

  • Of course they will, that’s the whole point. The white evangelical ‘base’ needs a steady supply of red meat to appease their hunger for power.

  • Yes.

    “It’s an alpha male thing: what dominant chimpanzees and Donald Trump have in common” . . .

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/sep/14/donald-trump-alpha-male-chimpanzee-behavior

    In the wild and in captivity, chimpanzee colonies organize themselves into tightly structured hierarchies. Power is vested in the biggest, strongest, and most outgoing males in the group, with the alpha male on top. The alpha leader dominates all others through tactics of threat, intimidation, bluffing, and outright aggression – and importantly, by forming short-term, pragmatic coalitions (let us call them “deals”) with other high-status males.

  • Indeed, all of Trump’s body language is about expressing dominance rather than respect for other people. Apparently Emmanuel Macron was trying to outdo him at their recent meeting with his touchy-feely hand-holding as a way to get an edge up on the game of dominance he knows Trump always plays. For a supposed world leader it’s truly disgusting – but then, what aspect of Trump isn’t?

  • ‘”I could not be more proud to stand with President Trump as he continues to stand shoulder to shoulder with communities of faith,’ she said.”

    The following is from a statement that Fuller Seminary President Dr. Mark Labberton gave to the “evangelical consultation” at Wheaton College on 16 April 2018. This event was a highly publicized invitation-only gathering of evangelical leaders to share concerns about what (white) evangelical Christians in the U.S. have done to themselves and the evangelical brand by hitching their star to one Donald Trump: Mark Labberton told those gathered for this meeting:

    This is not a crisis imposed from outside the household of faith, but from within.* The core of the crisis is not specifically about Trump, or Hillary, or Obama, or the electoral college, or Comey, or Mueller, or abortion, or LGBTQIA+ debates, or Supreme Court appointees. Instead the crisis is caused by the way a toxic evangelicalism has engaged with these issues in such a way as to turn the gospel into Good News that is fake. Now on public display is an indisputable collusion between prominent evangelicalism and many forms of insidious racist, misogynistic, materialistic, and political power. The wind and the rain and the floods have come, and, as Jesus said, they will reveal our foundation. In this moment for evangelicalism, what the storms have exposed is a foundation not of solid rock but of sand. . . .

    This is not a recent crisis but a historic one.* We face a haunting specter with a shadow that reaches back further than the 2016 election—a history that helps define the depth of the sorrow, fear, anger, anxiety, and injustice around us. Today’s egregious collusion between evangelicals and worldly power is problematic enough: more painful and revealing is that such collusion has been our historic habit. Today’s collusion bears astonishing—and tragic—continuity with the past.

    Right alongside the rich history of gospel faithfulness that evangelicalism has affirmed, there lies a destructive complicity with dominant cultural and racial power. Despite deep gospel confidence and rhetoric, evangelicalism has been long-wedded to a devastating social self-interest that defends the dominant culture over and against that of the gospel’s command to love the ‘other’ as ourselves. We are not naïve in our doctrine of sin that prefers self over all, but we have failed to recognize our own guilt in it.

    Our professed trust in Jesus has not led evangelicals to die to ourselves, but often to justify our own self-assertion—even when that means complicity in the suffering and death of others. The scandal associated today with the evangelical gospel is not the scandal of the Cross of Christ, crucified for the salvation of the world. Rather it is the scandal of our own arrogance, unconfessed before the Cross, revealing a hypocritical superiority that we dare to associate with the God who died to save the weak and the lost.

  • Wow! You don’t hear that sort of honesty emanating from the ranks of evangelicals very often, do you? Thanks for sharing that.

  • W. was the first to breach the wall of separation between church and state with his original so-called “faith-based initiatives.” So far the court system has let him get away with it. That’s the way the wall is broken down – one brick at a time while people look the other way.

  • Excellent. So this will support those of us who belong to denominations that allow their clergy to perform LGBTQ marriages, and encourage the adoption of children by same-sex couples, and protecting the lives of refugees, and the poor, and ….

    oh.

    guess not. We’re not “their” kind of Christian, hm?

  • Of course not. Only True Christians(TM) need apply. Fortunately, the entrance requirements are very easy: all you have to do is ignore everything Jesus said and swear allegiance to Trump.

  • You have to be a special kind of stupid to actually believe the orange rump gives a damn about religion..lol..He no more believes in the cosmic sky wizard than I do..I don’t think you evangelicals really believe rump buys into the xtian faith..You just like that he panders to your infantile biblical nonsense and prejudices..pfft

  • But it is not. The Federal government is not punishing anyone who doesn’t worship God a certain way. This is about getting help from faith organizations.

  • This is part of trump’s effort to ‘repay evangelicals’ for voting for him and grease the skids for them to vote for him again in 2020. Previously there has been no way to challenge it in court because no individual could prove harm by it, lack of standing. I hope this ends up in court and it found unconstitutional.

  • It’s nice having a President who protects our liberties instead of encroaching them.

  • Which means it almost certainly is. Since your take on such matters is invariably at odds with facts.

    The purpose is to attack stage and local anti discrimination efforts, and give evangelical Christianity a privileged position at public expense. Establishment of religion.

  • the law says govt may not choose one religion over others or religion over irreligion. this does the later at least and picks one god over all others.

  • Some people will say what he is doing is against separation of church and state. But separation does not mean people in the government cannot have faith. It means the government cannot dictate to people what religion they must have and imprison or execute them if they break that law.

  • the article states, “aims to give faith groups a stronger voice within the federal government and serve as a watchdog for government overreach on religious liberty issues.” So its not unconstitutional that beliefs of ‘faith groups’ can impact liberty issues?

  • You’re welcome, Elagabalus. It’s a powerful statement from someone right in the center of white evangelical culture as president of Fuller Seminary. I should have thought to share a link to the full statement. I’ve now inserted it in my posting above.

  • AND, that the government cannot show favoritism or preference for any one faith over other, or for faith over non-faith.

  • It’s the American cults/sects of christianity that has bills passing to criminalize and punish women for their body choices, anti-LGBTQ including civil rights & adoptions, Muslim anything.
    The disruptor you may or maynot have voted for, really, really doesn’t care about the Constitution, traditions of Americans or even the rule of law.
    Mike Pence’s christianity coming to a mall near you. And you best attend!

  • Has to do something to appease the base after committing adultery with a porn star….

  • Please remember that the bulk of those who think they are Evangelical Christians are neither.

    As for the faith base initiative, the government has a very complicated relationship with religious bodies of all stripes. Think of the billions of dollars in grants and payments given to religious nonprofits from housing seniors, the homeless programs, social services, medical care in nursing homes and hospitals, refugees, etc., Think of the special accommodations given to those who won’t eat this or that or can’t do this or that. Think of the tax breaks on property taxes and charitable contributions.

    As long as the initiative truly reflects the religious make up of the nation and in proportion, it can be another advisory group. However, we cannot establish one religion over others. Beyond that, most interpretations of the constitution are up to a mix ranging from five wise justices to five political hacks.

  • Re: “President Trump plans to unveil a new initiative that aims to give faith groups a stronger voice within the federal government and serve as a watchdog for government overreach on religious liberty issues.”  

    What about religious overreach into government, using it as a tool to force everyone — religious or not — to have to live by a religion’s tenets?  

  • Granting license to insert foreign dogma into the lives of non believers via government sanctioned inquisition. Given ’em an inch, they’ll take a mile.

  • Millions in grants doled out during the Bush Jr. era to promote marriage and marriage enrichment yet no way to account for a dime.

  • Hey, just because the Trump-Haters routinely ignore Black Evangelicals and their constitutional religious freedoms, does NOT mean that Trump will do the same.

    Indeed, warts and all, Trump is the ONLY reason why the angry Alt-Left hammer hasn’t already fallen on evangelicals of ALL colors.

  • The liberty at issue is “government overreach”. You seem to be ignoring that important point.

  • Yep, an invitation-only, segregated “Trump-Haters-Only” meeting — where they were way too scared to share the microphone and openly dialogue face-2-face with equally qualified / credentialed evangelicals who just happen to support Trump.

  • This kind of argumentation is called ad hominem argumentation.

    It’s the kind of arguments people advance when they have nothing substantive to say in response to what someone else has just said — but prefer (it’s easier and cheaper) to attack the person herself or himself.

    The very lack of substance of an ad hominem argument points to the substance of a statement that is being ignored and elided.

  • There goes our “liar-In-Chief” making it even harder for churches to outreach to the poor. I’m sorry, I don’t believe anything he does is for anybody but himself, and “blaming” everybody outside of him to detract from the issue he’s addressing. 2020can’t come soon enough for this retired minister

  • You don’t know inquisition. The inquisition was for people who did not abide by the government selected religion and were either imprisoned or executed.

  • Trump has largely ignored Black Evangelicals. And his bigotry against Muslims is well known.

    Your blather about the imaginary “angry Alt-Left hammer” is simply that — blather. But then, you Trump fans are excellent at blathering, and you follow your leader in your love of lying. It is fascinating that Trump, the man who said, “Avoiding sexually transmitted diseases was my personal Vietnam”, is undoubtedly the least moral president ever. Yet you white Evangelicals ignore his moral lapses. You have sold your Christian birthright for a mess of power pottage. Christ told us that one can either follow God or money, and you have chosen to follow money, while pretending (not very well) to follow God.

  • What a load of bovine excrement. Trump has no real interest in religious liberty. He has made it very clear that he favors having government force all taxpayers to support religious private schools through vouchers and he strongly favors curtailing women’s rights of conscience and religious liberty on abortion. — Edd Doerr

  • No, there are no ad-hominem moves here. What I’m offering here is called, “Let’s Get Honest and Truthful with the Trump-Haters and Leftist-Evangelicals Already.”

    There is no rational excuse why high-profile people on only ONE side of the evangelical street — the Trump-Hating side — were invited to the Wheaton gig.

    So while respect is always in order, there is simply NO need for kid gloves anymore in responding to the Leftist Trump-Hating group.

    It’s actually okay to just critique these folks straight-forwardly, just like all the OTHER leftists.

  • Which is precisely what evangelicals such as you want. But lacking that power you are satisfied with discrimination under color of law for people who do not follow your religious beliefs.

    The whole purpose of the group is to attack anti-discrimination laws and give your religion favor and power over others. An inquisition.

  • Really?

    My, my, and here we thought Barack Obama’s Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, whose work ranged from fighting the Ebola and Zika viruses to feeding schoolchildren nutritious meals in the summertime, was effective and should be expanded.

    Little did we know it was a scheme all along, one that began with that dastardly Obama who never told us these programs were attacking state and local governments’ anti-discrimination efforts.

  • Actually he hasn’t ignored Black Evangelicals.

    If you have read the letter of black religious leaders to Hillary Clinton on the eve of the 2016 election, which she completely disregarded, he’s worked on most of the issues they brought to her attention.

  • Nope. And “we” ain’t “your” kind of ChristIan either, so we’re all even. (And yes, excessive liberalism is killing the mainline churches faster than Cyanide on steroids. It’s a wipeout mess.)

    However, you and your friends — Christian, Atheist, Gay, Straight, Poor, Rich, Lib, Con — ALL have a equal constitutional right to religious freedom. That’s our common ground.

    Government doesn’t get to force you to participate in events that oppose and negate your specific religion. Doesn’t get to bully you, audit your taxes, or delete your livelihood & income.

    Or at least it doesn’t if you have a Prez who’s willing to take a real stand. Medical students don’t get kicked out if they refuse to personally do abortions because of their religion. Why? Because Bill Clinton signed a law to that effect.

    So now Trump is helping out our religious freedoms too. Yours AND mine. Common ground.

  • Again, not substantive. You are offering no substantive response to a very substantial statement by a fellow evangelical leader who says — rightly, it seems to me — that evangelicals will pay an enormously high price for their complicity with a man whose core values are light years away from Christian values.

    Idolatry always comes with a very high price tag when the idol we’ve chosen blindly to worship is unmasked. The high price tag is already evident in the increasing disdain many people (rightly) have for the court prophets fawning over this man, betraying core Christian principles.

    The high price tag is already evident in the increasing numbers of young folks walking away from the churches (rightly) due to their complicity in the evil being set into motion by this president and his administration, with its attacks on minority communities, immigrants, Muslioms, the poor, LGBTQ human beings, etc. — and its preferential option for the super-rich.

    None of this can be justified by the core teachings of the Judaeo-Christian scriptures. Sorry you choose not to see that, but Dr. Labberton’s statement is very compelling and is being widely heard.

  • The following is from a statement that twenty-six African-American Christian Leaders sent to Hillary Clinton on October 30, 2016:

    Dear Secretary Clinton,

    Today in the United States more than ten million people of African descent face a crisis of catastrophic proportions. Life in our major post-industrial centers can be poor, nasty, brutish and short. When it comes to the black underclass America’s two major political parties appear to have achieved a rare unity in their record of bipartisan indifference. It is for this reason we, clergy and intellectuals who serve the poor, Democrats and independents, appeal to you. The black church has served the poor for over two centuries; our response to Christ’s call to care for all people has strengthened the black community and contributed to civil society in important ways. Freedom to do all this must be guaranteed to the Black Church. Those who would oppose our right to live by the teachings of the Bible set themselves against the interests of the poor.

    Almost 80 percent of 41 million black people are members of historically black churches. As leaders of the Pentecostal-Charismatic wing of the black church, we are requesting a meeting with you to discuss some of the critical issues in the black community: education and employment, religious freedom, violence, and justice for the unborn…

    It is the responsibility of the church to speak out in defense of the dignity of the poor as part of our public witness. Our Lord, Jesus Christ, proclaims in Luke 4:18:

    The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
    because he has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
    He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
    and recovery of sight for the blind,
    to set the oppressed free…

    The black church has, since the time of slavery and right through to the Civil Rights Movement, taken this charge from Jesus Christ as our political mandate. As servants to the poorest of the poor; we are particularly eager to hear how as president you would address our concerns. We are confident that you, a highly experienced and very savvy candidate, know full well the importance of the black vote in this election cycle. We know that you will not make the political mistake of taking the 69,000 black churches in the US for granted.

    Education and Employment

    The first issue that we would like you to address is education and employment. One writer has observed that as entry into labor markets has become increasingly dependent upon education and highly technical skills we are witnessing, perhaps for the first time, a generation of black youth ill-equipped to secure gainful employment even as productive slaves.

    Poorly educated black men’s place in the labor market has deteriorated markedly since the middle of the twentieth century. As the economy has been transformed by the rise of information technology wages for unskilled labor have stagnated while those at the top of the income distribution have earned more and more. At the same time jobs have disappeared from the inner city due both to the offshoring of jobs to the developing world and to deindustrialization, the migration of jobs to the suburbs. As a result, poor black men have found themselves facing incredibly dismal prospects for employment: The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in the second quarter of 2016 the unemployment rate for white men aged 16-19 was 15%. The rate for young black women was almost twice that at 27%. But the rate among young black men surpassed that for both white men and black women at an astonishing 33%. One in every three young black men was unemployed in 2016. This is a bleak prospect for these black men. History has shown that federal programs intended to address employment issues have often failed to benefit blacks. It is not enough to make obligatory appearances at black churches, we need you to articulate a coherent policy agenda for the black poor.

    Justice for the Unborn

    Secretary Clinton, we are also very concerned about your position regarding unborn children and the black church’s commitment to defend them. In April 2015 in a speech before the National Organization of Women you stated “Far too many women are still denied critical access to reproductive health care and safe childbirth… Laws have to be backed up with resources and political will. And deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed…” For political leaders to call for changes in citizens’ beliefs is reminiscent of totalitarianism. In our view, such a proposal constitutes a denial of our religious freedom.

    The vast majority of black churches hold biblical teaching, which is eternal, as authoritative for doctrine and practice. Abortion is the deliberate destruction of a human life in its most vulnerable state. Biblical principle and natural law, both of which prohibit the taking of innocent human life, compel our concern about the increasing moral complicity with abortion. For the same reasons that we as black Christian leaders oppose racism, unjust wars, capital punishment and euthanasia, we oppose the violent denial of life to the unborn through abortion. It is our view that human life is a gift of God that we are called upon to protect, nurture and sustain, because we are created in God’s image. Therefore, our opposition to abortion is a logical outgrowth of our view that there must be justice for all. Particularly relevant is the innocence of the unborn child. The Bible places an extremely high value on human life and particularly on the lives of the innocent who are under the special protection of God. Those who take the life of the innocent violate a key biblical principle as well as a fundamental principle of natural justice.

    Abortion in the black community has had a catastrophic impact. Nationally there are 365 black babies aborted for every 1,000 that are born. Blacks account for roughly 38% of all abortions in the country though we represent only 13% of the population. In New York City, the situation is absolutely dire. According to a report prepared by the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, in 2013 there were more abortions among black women in the city, 29,007, than there were black babies born, 24,108. Both nationally and in New York City, the abortion rates among black women are much higher than among any other demographic group. (This claim has been fact-checked by Politifact and deemed to be accurate.) In New York City more black babies are dying in their mother’s womb than are being born. In 2008, Secretary Clinton, you took the position that abortion should be rare, and you emphasized “by rare I mean rare.” But Black babies are dying at terrifying rates. How do you justify your unconscionable silence in the face of such destruction of innocent black life? Don’t black lives matter? What policies would you pursue as president to reverse the soaring abortion rates among black women?

    Violence

    Just as urgent as our concern about the deaths of innocent black babies is our outrage over the nightmare of young black men killing each other and being killed by police officers. Time and again over the last four decades, a few police officers appear to have acted on their implicit racism with lethal results. Unarmed black people, overwhelmingly black men, have been killed by police officers in communities all across the nation. Perhaps most bitter is the fact that in many cases the use of lethal force and police brutality against black men, and some black women, has been carried out with impunity. While the names of Philandro Castile, Tamir Rice and Eric Garner are all very fresh in our minds, their cases were preceded by those of Rodney King, Amadou Diallo and Eleanor Bumpurs. In many of these cases, though the police officers involved were acquitted or not even indicted, city governments have paid very large settlements for wrongful death suits filed by the victims’ families. Here are a few examples: New York city paid the family of Amadou Diallo $3 million and Eric Garner’s relatives $5.9 million; Rodney King won $3.8 million from the city of Los Angles; Tamir Rice’s family settled for $6 million. The City of Chicago has paid $210 million for wrongful death suits over just four years. These settlements clearly acknowledge the egregious injustice done to these unarmed men. However, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation over half of all murder victims in 2015 were black and, in the cases where the race of the perpetrator was known, nearly 90% of them were killed by other blacks. The Wall St. Journal reports that 5,942 black men were murdered in 2010. Given the carnage in the black community and the sometimes egregious behavior of law enforcement officers, how would you, as president, address this calamity?

    The structural failures which stalk inner-city communities and promote nihilism and violence among our young men are a challenge to the courage and faith of the black church. As the primary institution of our neighborhoods, the church has the resources to minister to these young men both materially and spiritually, to give them hope in the future and a path to a new life. The work of the black church in our poor communities is of the utmost importance and the importance of our freedom to operate in accordance with our faith cannot be overstated.

    Religious Freedom for Black America

    Religious freedom is a precious right that we, as the leaders of the Black Church, must defend vigorously. While our society benefits in immeasurable ways from the principled and kindly lives of Christians and other people of faith, in particular as they serve the vulnerable in our midst, clearly our faith also brings us into conflict with secular society. It is at this very point that the brilliance of the framers of the United States constitution is evident, because they designed a system that guarantees people of every faith, as well as those of no faith at all, the right to follow their conscience. The highest courts in this land have gone on to defend the right of people of faith to honor the dictates of their religion unless there is a pressing need on the part of the state to intervene. The religious freedom laws currently in force ensure the right of the Black Church to fulfill its calling to faithful observance of our sacred texts, and the right of all other people of faith to do likewise. At the same time, they protect the rights of atheists, agnostics and indeed, people with every possible position on religion.

    Yet in this very nation demagogues have dared to accuse people of faith of promoting Jim Crow laws when they seek to safeguard their freedom to obey their conscience and follow the teachings of their sacred texts. There is no analogy between the apartheid of Jim Crow and the religious freedom laws in force across this country. It is the very same faith that is protected by religious freedom laws that inspired our black ancestors to lead the movement for the abolition of slavery and the end of Jim Crow apartheid in the American South. It is absurd to demean the defense of this faith as the equivalent of the injustices that we have fought and overcome.

    The drive to normalize immoral sexual behavior has inspired some to dishonor the memory of courageous blacks who experienced the unique horrors of white supremacy, slavery, rape, terrorism and apartheid in the U.S. Their argument that religious freedom laws are historically and existentially equivalent to Jim Crow laws rests on false assertions. Partisans who make these arguments have declared war on the truth of the black experience as well as on the freedom of faithful Americans to follow their consciences.

    A well-financed war is now being waged by the gay and lesbian community in the US and abroad on the faith of our ancestors. Furthermore, there are some in your party who seek to criminalize our biblical texts as hate speech. Like Martin Luther King, Jr., we do not invite conflict. However, in cases where questions of conscience and religious freedom are at stake, we are prepared, for the sake of the gospel, to suffer the consequences of standing on our convictions. We must resist what Pope Francis has called the ideological colonization of people of faith. We do not organize to suppress the freedom of other groups. We do, however, insist upon having freedom to fulfill our call to righteous living and service to humankind. One grievous example of open contempt for religious freedom within your own campaign was revealed by a recent revelation from Wikileaks: key players on your staff have sought to subvert Catholic teaching on sexuality by planting externally funded groups in the church to advance a politically correct agenda. What would you do as president to guarantee that religious freedoms are balanced against civil rights rather than being trumped by them? Our concerns about religious freedom are not limited to issues here in the United States. According to John L. Allen, Jr. author of “The Global War on Christians”, “In September 2009 the chairman of the International Society for Human Rights, Martin Lessenthin, estimated that 80 percent of all acts of religious discrimination in the world are directed against Christians.” Since the beginning of your tenure as Secretary of State, most of the Christians of northern Iraq have been internally displaced or become refugees. There are now fewer than a quarter million Christians in Iraq; there were as many as 1.6 million in 2003. In Egypt, more than 50 churches were destroyed in coordinated attacks on a single day in the summer of 2013. The Christians of Syria numbered 2 million before the civil war in 2010. Now half have left Syria and many of those who remain are displaced. How would a Hillary Clinton administration address the persecution that many Christians are facing around the world and particularly in Africa the Middle East?

    Finally, we must point out the value of the Black Church’s being free to publicly serve our neighbors and our communities in accord with the Christian faith as a knowledge and wisdom tradition. The Presiding Bishop of the Church of God in Christ, Bishop Charles E. Blake, in his historic address at Princeton University Chapel in 20151 , argued for the essential importance of religious freedom for the black church’s service to the poor in our communities. Will black pastors and intellectuals be free to lead and guide our communities in accordance with our widely accepted faith-based knowledge tradition? How will your policies encourage or discourage our authority to lead? We urge you to accord the Black Church the same respect that would be conferred on wealthy white donors by meeting with our internationally recognized leaders such as Bishop Charles E. Blake, Bishop Frank Madison Reid III, Bishop Paul E. Morton, Congressman Bobby Rush, and Bishop James Dixon. In doing so you will have the opportunity, in collaboration with our premier institution, to engage with some of the most serious issues confronting the black community. We request that you set a place and time, during your first 100 days in office, where we may meet to learn more about your position on these issues. Then we will be better able to inform our community about what they can reasonably expect from a Clinton administration.

    In the Service of Our Lord,

    http://www.allenbwest.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Clinton-Letter-with-signatories-10.30.pdf

  • It is only an ad hominem if it was NOT invitation-only, packed with opponents of the administration, and one-sided – all of which are substantial

    Here is an example of an “ad hominem”:

    https://disqus.com/home/discussion/bilgrimage/bilgrimage_55/#comment-3878185138

    “…. But in each case, right-wing ‘pro-life’ Christian vultures swooped in and made the tragedy immensely worse, screaming that medical authorities were ‘murdering’ these irreversibly ill human beings, that taking them off life-support when all medical authorities who examined them stated that no medical intervention could reverse what was happening to them — that keeping them on life support was actually prolonging their dying process.”

    “… And ‘pro-life’ Christians — who don’t turn a hair at most of the very real and totally reversible suffering of real-life chilren who happen to be poor and hungry and in need of basic medical care — are a huge part of the problem.”

    “… These people are scummy.”

  • And you don’t give a fig about anything to do with faith or religion, except when it interferes with what you want.

    Sounds even-steven at best.

  • You should have spoken up when Barack Obama launched the Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, whose work ranged from fighting the Ebola and Zika viruses to feeding schoolchildren nutritious meals in the summertime.

  • President Obama launched the Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, whose work ranged from fighting the Ebola and Zika viruses to feeding schoolchildren nutritious meals in the summertime.

    Do you think he had a real interest in religious liberty?

  • Does it establish a religion?

    Was it unconstitutional when President Obama launched the Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, whose work ranged from fighting the Ebola and Zika viruses to feeding schoolchildren nutritious meals in the summertime?

  • Did your denomination involve itself when President Obama launched the Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, whose work ranged from fighting the Ebola and Zika viruses to feeding schoolchildren nutritious meals in the summertime, or did it simply continue its focus on LGBT issues?

  • His belief or disbelief is pretty much irrelevant.

    Politicians pander, it’s what they do.

  • If you accepted Hillary Clinton’s election promises, you’ll believe anything.

  • Fuller’s president gave an entire mile-long speech there. Should have — and could have — invited a similar president, Liberty University’s president, to give a mile-long reply speech to the Fuller guy.

    But THAT’s the problem. Too scared to have a big wide-open Wheaton event where BOTH sides, big names with articulate presentations, get to lengthily critique each other at the same microphones in front of big media.

    That’s what leftists avoid at all costs.

  • A word salad expression to mean attack regulations which protect the public and civil liberties.

  • Well, he did manage to do something the party of his opponent had not been able to do – reduce black unemployment.

  • They seem to work pretty hard at not letting opponents speak at all publicly, truth be told.

  • Do provide a recap of how “the group” will “attack anti-discrimination laws” and “give your religion favor and power over others”.

  • I was under the impression that the alleged event with the porn star – surely a reliable source if there are any – predated the election, the decision to run, by years.

  • No, it is not unconstitutional. What is unconstitutional is establishing a religion.

  • Did you complain when President Obama launched the Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, whose work ranged from fighting the Ebola and Zika viruses to feeding schoolchildren nutritious meals in the summertime?

  • I believe you are correct. Not his marriage though… which makes him an adulter.. with a porn star… who he admitted paying today to keep quiet about it. Doesn’t that reflect on his character? Guess the religious right supports adultury these days though. Not surprised. We learned they supported pedofilla in Alabama.

  • Most liberals STILL don’t know about the existence of this letter, even though RNS briefly carried this story.

    The liberals think all us blacks are happily picking you-know-what on the Democrat plantation. They think the only evangelicals are white evangelicals.

    Bet they don’t even know that 8 percent of all blacks voted for Trump, and other blacks stayed home and quietly let Hillary crash & burn.

  • If we get into character, we need to discuss Bill Clinton, Lyndon Baines Johnson, John F. Kennedy, and on and on.

    I really don’t think you want to go there.

  • Let’s go there. Why wouldn’t I want to go there?

    Love that argument too by the way. Very intelligent. Tried it on my parents growing up…. “but everyone else did it.” Thing is I quit using it when I was no longer a teenager.

  • Okay, by any standard of morality Bill Clinton, JFK, and LBJ made Donald Trump look like a choir boy.

    The oath the president takes on taking office is:

    “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

    It does not include “I promise to be a good boy”, or “I promise not to curse”, or anything else.

    The track record in terms of performance in the 20th century was the morality and effectiveness as president was completely uncorrelated with personal holiness.

    Woodrow Wilson, for example, talked about “making the world safe for democracy” and managed to get used by the English and French and set the stages for both WWII and the ongoing wars in the Middle East, while at the same time gutting the League of Nations by causing the USA not to join.

    Jimmy Carter, preacher par excellence, was nearly a complete failure. The highlights of his term included whapping a poor rabbit with a paddle and overseeing a catastrophic attempt at getting some hostages of out of Iran.

    So, what one needs is someone who can go toe-to-toe with Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin and Kim Jong-un, which oddly enough has nothing to do with whether or not he dallied with a porn star, or is an adulterer, or his personal “character” when it comes to sexual adventures.

    Nor does the “religious right” fit into this, nor does supporting the lesser of two evils constitute “support(ing) adultury(sic)”.

    Yes, we all understand the last election still rankles you.

    Yes, we all understand that the “religious right” ticks you off.

    The question is “so what?”

  • Not to the current levels since LBJ was president.

    You might want to go for a larger data set.

  • I didn’t know about that. This started with Bush finding a way to give tax money to churches. Obama made sure it didn’t go to worshiping. Trump is not afraid to break the law here, but courts will stop it eventually. I believe in the strict separation of church and state.

  • No it did not START “with Bush finding a way to give tax money to churches”.

    Obama kept each every program that Bush created, and then added more.

    I believe in the First Amendment, which does NOT contain the phrase “separation of church and state”.

  • Fascinating. I had no idea that the Witherspoon Institute-funded Seymour Institute spoke for ALL African-American Christians.

    I think Anita Little, who is herself an African-American Christian who decidedly does NOT think the Seymour Institute speaks for her and many other African-American Christians, hits the nail on the head in her article entitled “Sexist, Homophobic Represenetatives of ‘The Black Church’ Just Want to Make Black America Great Again”:

    A look at the list of signatories at the bottom shows it’s virtually all black male clergy. Some of them have curious backgrounds, like Bishop James W.E. Dixon who was arrested a few years back on domestic violence charges, or Rev. Jamal “These Hoes Ain’t Loyal” Bryant who likes using his pulpit to police black women’s sexuality despite his own well-publicized dalliances.

    Though they all claim to be Democrats or Independents, the signatories sure do have a lot in common with the staunch conservatives who would turn a blind eye to (valid) issues the letter addresses, like poverty and violence. That might be because the missive was spearheaded by the Seymour Institute for Black Church and Policy Studies, which is housed by the ultra-conservative think tank, the Witherspoon Institute.

    What’s frustrating about the letter more than the content, which I found unsurprising, is how it’s being misrepresented in media as the legitimate concerns of the black church. It’s demeaning to the countless clergy, scholars and activists who make the black church community so overwhelmingly diverse and nuanced. To present this group of 25 clergy as a microcosm of what black America wants and thinks is lazy and dangerous. It galvanizes other demographics that draw glee from the oppression of women of color and LGBT people.

    Throughout the letter, they repeatedly refer to themselves as the black church. Do they speak for black women clergy like Yolanda Pierce or Pamela Lightsey or Faye London? They speak only for themselves, and their need to make black America great again by rolling back abortion rights and the rights of the LGBT community. As we’re on the eve of this historic election, this letter only reminds us that clergy like these represent the vestiges of a black church that is withering away to make room for new traditions, new practices, and new theologies that are both inclusive and uplifting.

    http://religiondispatches.org/sexist-homophobic-representatives-of-the-black-church-just-want-to-make-black-america-great-again/

  • Thanks for reading the discussion threads at my Bilgrimage blog, Mr. “Arnzen.” And for helping to publicize the discussions that take place there.

    The thread from which you’ve ripped a section totally out of context as you attempt to mount a classic ad hominem attack is a valuable discussion of the insubstantiality of many “pro-life” “arguments” employed by the Christian right today.

    I appreciate your having pointed readers of this thread to that discussion, and for your helping to publicize my little Bilgrimage blog.

  • That was not your argument Bob. Please reread your comment…but I appreciate the spin attempt.

    But Bob please enlighten me with your economics asuteness and educate me on the economic policies DJT has implemented that were specifically focused on reducing black UE?

    You kind of a guilible fella aren’t you Bob?

  • The religious right are hypocrites. You preach morality while supporting pedofilla, adulters, felons, criminals and pro-life politicians that push their mistresses to have abortions. Just calling a spade a spade Bob.

    For what it’s worth. I’m not a HRC fan either. We’re the greatest country on the planet and we deserve better than a conman to leading us.

    What has he done to Putin? He kicked out 60 dipolomats and let him replace them. His sanctions are a joke. Refuses to go after oligarchs. He’s Putin’s puppet as you are Donald’s.

    Bravo on the mindless, wandering rant above though.

  • It was my argument.

    I appreciate your attempt to tell me what I wrote and what I meant when I wrote, but that dog ain’t gonna hunt.

    So, results don’t speak to you at all but “economic policies” do.

    I smell an undergraduate degree from a B-School.

    I really don’t know much about economics, although I have four degrees, taught at a college level, possess a CPA license, worked in the Federal government for a couple of decades in budget, finance, and audit, and so on for longer than you’ve been alive.

  • I provided the url to readers.

    I strongly recommend readers read the entire exchange and just keep chugging, where “… These people are scummy” will begin to look like a compliment.

    Obviously a direct quote cannot be an “ad hominem” attack.

  • You’re not calling a spade a spade.

    You’re making it clear you’re an opinion with two legs and access to the internet.

  • I think what Mr. Arnzen is trying to say, John, is that Mr. Trump hasn’t ignored the whopping 8 percent of African Americans who voted for the man in the White House — a fact to which Mr. Lee points proudly later in this thread as a confirmation that African Americans stand with that man.

    Meanwhile, 57% of black Protestants (and 65% of young black Protestants) now support same-sex marriage, in contrast to the only two outlying religious groups in the U.S. still opposing same-sex marriages, white evangelicals at 58% opposed and Mormons at 53% opposed.

    And there’s also this: “Black Americans are more likely than any other racial or ethnic group to oppose religiously based service refusals.”

    These data points are from PRRI’s “Emerging Consensus on LGBT Issues: Findings From the 2017 American Values Atlas.”

    https://www.prri.org/research/emerging-consensus-on-lgbt-issues-findings-from-the-2017-american-values-atlas/

    That whopping 8 percent of black Americans about whom Mr. Lee reports so proudly, who voted for the man in the White House: they don’t sound representative — at all — of African American citizens, do they?

  • BS Finance, MS Accounting, MA Economics, MBA, CPA, CFA

    CPA exam was a joke. Take the CFA…

    Bye

  • You left out the drop in the percentage of blacks who voted at all.

    I think what I was trying to say was contained in my post.

    You seem have enough trouble saying what you try to say without taking on trying to explain what anyone else is trying to say for him or her or them.

  • Trump the least moral? Funny.
    Obama was in at least 1 gay relationship with Larry Sinclair and God knows who else, he obviously doesn’t like women or he would have married one.
    Kennedys were known for numerous affair and Ted killing Mary Jo Kopechne.
    We all know about Slick Willie raping at least one and accusations of other assaults.
    But Trump is immoral?

  • You have no clue what you are talking about and can’t take having your ignorance challenged.

    Btw I also worked in accounting once…. noble profession. Government work on the other hand….

    Go play in traffic Bob.

    Good riddance.

    #MAGA (Did I use it correctly?)

  • Gosh, yes, beside the whopping 8 percent of African Americans who, Mr. Lee proudly reminds us, voted for the man in the White House, those statistics about the “drop i the percentage of blacks who voted at all” are so important, Mr. Arnzen.

    Especially when one factors in the voter suppression tactics designed by white Republicans like yourself, which are deliberately designed to suppress the African-American vote, and which were very effective in places like Wisconsin in the last election.

  • I think what Mr. Lindsey is trying to say, John, is that despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of Christian bodies in the USA object morally to same sex relations, and he’s suffered the embarrassment of finding out that includes most black Christians, he’d like to obfuscate that with the dubious findings of the PRRI “Emerging Consensus on LGBT Issues: Findings From the 2017 American Values Atlas.”

    What is missing from that document is any indication at all of the methodology used, the raw data, or even what questions were asked.

    And, of course, if the results were that 65% of American African-Americans were two-thumbs-up on “same sex marriage”, all it would demonstrate is that they – like he himself – are out of step with their own denomination’s teachings.

    What the PRRI data seems to support is what was noted prior to Obergefell v. Hodges – most Americans bend over backwards to be fair, and now that “same sex marriage” trumps other arrangements, they’re willing to let things sit, just as they have with abortion, which is another issue about which most people have a negative moral view.

  • That’s quite the tangled logic you’ve laid out to dispute the fact that on the major issues Black Christians share the conerns of White Christians.

    Btw, I am not a Republican. Of course, neither am I Democrat.

  • Your speech patterns and methods of (not) arguing belie your claims of higher education and training.

  • Well in 7 years we will have someone else in office. Hopefully not another abortion loving gay marriage promoting socialist Country and God Hating Liberal.

  • You will not find a court opinion that states the First Amendment = “separation of church state”, not one, let alone “1000’s”.

  • Everson v. Board of Education 1947
    “The ‘establishment of religion’ clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions or prefer one religion over another. Neither can force nor influence a person to go to or to remain away from church against his will or force him to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion. No person can be punished for entertaining or professing religious beliefs or disbeliefs, for church attendance or non-attendance. No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever form they may adopt to teach or practice religion. Neither a state nor the Federal Government can, openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups and vice versa. In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect ‘a wall of separation between Church and State.'” 330 U.S. 1, 15-16.

  • Go there with Obama giving head to Larry Sinclair in a limo. Go there with Bill Clinton raping a women.
    I will take a pro life President who loves this Country any day over the obamas who tried so hard to destroy us and remove Gods blessings and protection on us .who pushed their evil Godless abortion and gay marriage agenda and started the major divisiveness in this Country. I hope to God we never have another hateful racist un-American disgrace of a first lady as michelle ever again.

  • Note that EVERY example the Court provided dealt with establishing a religion or irreligion.

    It then said that Jefferson’s words were – and then quoted – not that the Constitution said.

    Btw, that decision also decided that payment of school transportation for Catholic students was A-OK constitutionally.

    Now read some of the several decisions, including SCOTUS decisions, on “In God We Trust” on currency and coins, which it approves, on creche scenes in public displays, also approved, and on and on because they did NOT violate the Establishment Clause.

    https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/establishment_clause

    It’s “respecting an establishment of religion” that’s prohibited in the plain words of the First Amendment.

  • You probably forgot that you provided this EXACT citation some threads ago, and I took it apart.

  • Lolz. Let me guess… you never got past 6th grade. You are too dumb rebute.

    Bye hillbilly.

  • ‘Congress shall make no laws concerning religion’
    This is no longer a democratic Republic…. this is a theocracy.
    A theocracy is a tyranny.
    We, the People, have the right to overthrow a tyranny.

  • Claim a god – Prove it.
    Otherwise give us a good reason to have these fantasies in our government…

  • Ok Bob. What FASB pronouncement would you like to debate? General auditing standards perhaps? Classical, now-classical, monetarist, or Austrian schools of economic thought? Or perhaps leveraged finance? What are your thoughts on the pricing in the credit markets right now? Any concerns?

    Btw… when you are defending a conman who cheated on his wife with a porn star and paid her hush money to keep it secret you lost the arguement before it started. Sad you don’t have the morality to see that.

    I need to get off here but it’s been fun. You affirmed my disappointment in humanity. Enjoy your government pension Bobby… the rest of us have to actually contribute to the economy to pay it. You’re welcome.

  • What I was doing was pointing out that your hand-wringing over the President’s past immorality, proven or not, was a load of unmitigated silliness.

  • People with religious beliefs are also citizens.

    Religion in the USA is not banned from the public square as it is in France.

  • The actual text is:

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

    quite a different matter than “‘Congress shall make no laws concerning religion'”.

  • quite right – ”Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, …” and this is the government establishing the recognition of a religion… thus – the theocracy.

  • Began with Obama? No. Expanded under Obama, yes. However, you should not be so ignorant of history. A little light reading would show you that the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives (later renamed to “White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships”) was established by President George W. Bush through an executive order on January 29, 2001, representing one of the key domestic policies of Bush’s campaign promise of “compassionate conservatism.”

  • Yep, and one of Obama’s bigger mistakes was preserving that stupid program instead of ending it. I guess he was just too Christian to do the right thing.

  • In your view, who should have presented the other side to debate Jesus, “floyd”?

    Or how about Isaiah or Amos?

    You don’t really understand prophetic challenges to idolatrous complicity with what’s plainly evil, do you?

    Or you’d prefer to pretend that only YOUR side — whose moral and religious vacuity could not be more critically apparent at this juncture of history — owns prophetic challenge.

    This is a “debate” in which history will judge your side very harshly — as history’s moral arc is already doing, when thousands and thousands of younger Christians are walking away from the churches due to you sold-out court prophets who will give mulligans to anything that moves, as long as that anything accords you the kind of power for which you lust.

    The power to force other people to do your will; the power to coerce and bully and call that coercion and bullying “religious freedom” and “God.”

    Morality and religion that need to rely on power and coercion aren’t morality and religion at all. Morality and religion whose only substantial “argument” is whudabout Hillary! isn’t morality and religion at all.

    Morality and religion that tries to play a handful of Trump-voting African Americans against the vast majority of African American voters and African American Christians isn’t morality or religion at all.

    It’s the tired old divide-and-conquer politics of corrupt ruling elites throughout history — the kind of corrupt ruling elites against which Jesus and Isaiah and Amos stood unambiguously.

    Those three figures are in a book called the bible. If you haven’t read it, you might find it interesting to read.

  • Oh, you mean “…. those of us that are still grumbling about the last presidential election and attribute the result to those pesky _evangelical Christians/_Christianists/_religionists (check one) are all aware of the theistic upheaval in America.”

  • No it hasn’t. These religious “freedom” laws have to past muster with the courts and many have failed.

  • Right. Not that of an executive branch initiative.

    It also is a method giving right wing religious groups access to taxpayer funds to do things they are not allowed to do.

    A kleptocrat president showing largesse in exchange for loyalty at public expense.

  • Yup, Trump is far more immoral when compared to several outright fictions, unfounded rumors and one person who was never president and therefore not applicable.

    Also you are acknowledging Trump is immoral slime. You just want to compare him to other (some fictional) examples.

    Whataboutism only demonstrates both Trump and his supporters are lower than dirt, but just don’t care about it.

  • All’s not lost, Mr., um, Arnzen, and Mr. Lee: there’s a wealth of good information online about ad hominem argumentation, what it is, why it’s weak.

    You can educate yourselves about that and many other matters, if you care to do so. I’ll gladly provide some pointers to some good sites online.

    Meanwhile, if you expect anyone to take either of you seriously as you respond to Mark Labberton, please engage the substance of his comments and stop the absurd personal attacks, the whutaboutism — bringing up Hillary Clinton, puhleeze!, playing the tired old game of pitting members of minority communities against each other — the insinuations, the outright lies.

    If you have a compelling moral position to present, please present it and stop relying on these embarrassing tactics.

    Thanks.

  • Sure did. And back in the day, we were caring for people whose “good Christian” families were throwing them out when they were sick with HIV, refusing to admit their actual caregivers into their sickrooms…

  • I want NO RELIGIOUS GROUP influencing my government to legislate how I live or die.

  • And many billions more in grants, payments, and tax exemptions. Some of which are worthwhile and some a shake down of the taxpayers or done in lieu of hiring professional staff in a government agency.

  • I care that we have a President who is pro life, Pro God, Pro Country, pro Troops, Pro Israel and pro law.
    Your abortion loving pro gay marriage disgusting Obama did so much damage to this Country and now with Gods blessings we can bring back the economy and rule of law.

  • Never said that President Trump is immoral, He is more ethical than any of the dems and I will take President Trump over Barrie or Crooked Hilary any day.

  • Thank you for giving us the view from the Russian gulag online trolling community.

    LOL! You mean a president who panders to religious bigots and wingnuts and ensures their loyalty by letting them steal public resources like all his other cronies.

    An adulterer, cheat, sexual predator, compulsive liar is Pro God? I guess. Its not like Bible thumpers have morals or values. Its all about who they can attack and what privilege they can grab anyway.

    As for abortion, he has certainly funded enough of them of various girlfriends and dalliances to make that a ridiculous assertion.

    Pro-Law? He is being investigated for a number of acts which are not legal. He has defied laws and attacked institutions which uphold them. Given the point of this article is about how Christians are looking to attack laws protecting civil liberties of others, it is clear they have no regard for the law either.

    He hates our troops as evidenced by his constant insults to those who served and his desire to plunder the VA, and by trying to institute discriminatory orders to attack those already serving

    He hates our economy. Getting into silly pointless proposed (but not actual) trade wars, getting left behind in international trade agreements and supporting cronies are not methods of stimulating an economy. The Tax plan for this year is already guaranteed to run huge deficits with nothing to show for it all at the expense of anyone who works for a living.

    Trump looks at our government as a big cash cow to be milked with impunity. You are stupid enough to support such corruption because makes appeals to your bigotry, ignorance and malice.

    God may bless you for such views, but only because he may pity the self destructively foolish.

  • Apparently all IS lost at your end, as you wallow about trying to salvage misclassifying a recitation of facts as an ad hominem, especially when you yourself are an expert at mounting ad hominem attacks.

    “… These people are scummy.” indeed.

    Mark Labberton has an opinion. Everyone has an opinion.

    I believe the letter from the African-American Christian leaders presented compelling moral positions.

  • Yes you did. By not bothering to address the accusation and deflecting. You are admitting he is immoral and you just don’t care. As long as you can excuse it in relation to past irrelevant events and fictions.

    Since Trump has zero ethics, you are admitting to none yourself. Hillary isn’t in power, Cheeto is. Your unwillingness to address what he does shows how spineless and dishonest his supporters are.

  • Obama had more interest in religious liberty than the arrogant buffoon nw n the WH.

  • Oh sure, as the falsification of the need for cooperation by members of religious orders and others to attempt to force them to violate their consciences to provide contraception demonstrated.

    (Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged v. Burwell, consolidated with Roman Catholic Archbishop of Washington v. Burwell, East Texas Baptist University v. Burwell, Zubik v. Burwell, Priests for Life v. Burwell, Southern Nazarene University v. Burwell, Geneva College v. Burwell)

    Having done that with the help of his house “Catholic” Kathleen Sebelius, the government’s attorneys were forced by the Supreme Court to supplement their briefs for hearing, at which point they ‘fessed up they didn’t need any cooperation after all, and slinked out of court not to be heard from again, speaking of course about arrogant buffoons.

  • An example of prophetic challenges to idolatrous complicity with what’s plainly evil can be found in the letter of twenty six African-American religious leaders to Hillary Clinton on October 31, 2016:

    “Religious freedom is a precious right that we, as the leaders of the Black Church, must defend vigorously. While our society benefits in immeasurable ways from the principled and kindly lives of Christians and other people of faith, in particular as they serve the vulnerable in our midst, clearly our faith also brings us into conflict with secular society. It is at this very point that the brilliance of the framers of the United States constitution is evident, because they designed a system that guarantees people of every faith, as well as those of no faith at all, the right to follow their conscience. The highest courts in this land have gone on to defend the right of people of faith to honor the dictates of their religion unless there is a pressing need on the part of the state to intervene. The religious freedom laws currently in force ensure the right of the Black Church to fulfill its calling to faithful observance of our sacred texts, and the right of all other people of faith to do likewise. At the same time, they protect the rights of atheists, agnostics and indeed, people with every possible position on religion.”

    “Yet in this very nation demagogues have dared to accuse people of faith of promoting Jim Crow laws when they seek to safeguard their freedom to obey their conscience and follow the teachings of their sacred texts. There is no analogy between the apartheid of Jim Crow and the religious freedom laws in force across this country. It is the very same faith that is protected by religious freedom laws that inspired our black ancestors to lead the movement for the abolition of slavery and the end of Jim Crow apartheid in the American South. It is absurd to demean the defense of this faith as the equivalent of the injustices that we have fought and overcome.”

    “The drive to normalize immoral sexual behavior has inspired some to dishonor the memory of courageous blacks who experienced the unique horrors of white supremacy, slavery, rape, terrorism and apartheid in the U.S. Their argument that religious freedom laws are historically and existentially equivalent to Jim Crow laws rests on false assertions. Partisans who make these arguments have declared war on the truth of the black experience as well as on the freedom of faithful Americans to follow their consciences.”

    “A well-financed war is now being waged by the gay and lesbian community in the US and abroad on the faith of our ancestors. Furthermore, there are some in your party who seek to criminalize our biblical texts as hate speech. Like Martin Luther King, Jr., we do not invite conflict. However, in cases where questions of conscience and religious freedom are at stake, we are prepared, for the sake of the gospel, to suffer the consequences of standing on our convictions. We must resist what Pope Francis has called the ideological colonization of people of faith. We do not organize to suppress the freedom of other groups. We do, however, insist upon having freedom to fulfill our call to righteous living and service to humankind. One grievous example of open contempt for religious freedom within your own campaign was revealed by a recent revelation from Wikileaks: key players on your staff have sought to subvert Catholic teaching on sexuality by planting externally funded groups in the church to advance a politically correct agenda. What would you do as president to guarantee that religious freedoms are balanced against civil rights rather than being trumped by them?”

  • You only think that you took it apart – whereas in reality you only gave your opinion; an opinion only, against other valid opinions.

  • All these opinions, back and forth, yet no one has brought forward the evidence to even prove the existence of their respective gods…..
    Makes this debate rather idiotic …..

  • More smart-assed remarks.??..?
    Suppose you take the time to bring evidence to prove your god’s existence,
    instead of pretending to be your own authority on everything….

  • Your Chicago Jeebus BarryO made Trump possible, in much the same way Dumbya made possible the Obamanation.

  • Trump-Hater = any conscious observer of DJT, who hasn’t been domesticated – as in sheep.

  • “….and now with Gods blessings….”
    The mantra of your airborne brethren on 911.

  • Rather than the vapid verbosity of Arnzen’s next 3 comments – he should have simply said the requisite :
    ” touche “

  • You’re not enjoying the on-line give-and-take as much as you do when no one points out you’re in error, eh?

  • Who? GW Bush? LBJ? Jimmy Carter?

    People who nobody ever has to give a crap about again, but you are obsessed about?

  • “”The White House said those working on the initiative will provide policy
    recommendations from faith-based and community programs on “more
    effective solutions to poverty” and -inform the administration of “any
    failures of the executive branch to comply with religious liberty
    protections under law.”-”

    As someone who stands to potentially lose my house, my healthcare, my job, and other things under the so-called ‘religious freedom’ laws, this passage in the article essentially confirms it. If someone tries to enforce non-discrimination and a person cries Jesus and doesn’t get their way, this office will inform on them, and how do you think that will go, under an Attorney General who has ordered his office NOT to defend LGBT protections in court?

    I get that you people think that I’m immoral (married fifteen years) and diseased (never had a single scare of anything), but all I want to do is live my life and not have to worry about so-called Christians lovingly making me second-class in this country that my ancestors helped frame.

  • Got even a scintilla of evidence for your lie about Obama? Of course not. Lie, lie, lie, that is what Trump is teaching you, and you are eager to follow his example. I bet you pretend to be a Christian, and show it by following a lying fornicator.

  • Without explaining how you “stand.. to potentially lose my house, my healthcare, my job, and other things under the so-called ‘religious freedom’ laws”, that’s not much of a response.

    Will you lose your house because a baker refused to bake a custom LBGT wedding cake for you?

    Ordering an Attorney General to NOT to defend LGBT protections in court is not consistent with any religious liberty protections under law.

    You apparently misunderstand the entire article.

  • You apparently misunderstand the entire article.

    Oh, the irony yet again from Bobosé.

  • Well, that’s a new one. As far as I know Obama never cheated on his wife with anyone.

    What makes Trump immoral is not his affair with Stormy Daniels or anyone else, It is the fact that he has shown no remorse for it. It is also that Trump is a narcissist who doesn’t care about anyone but himself and has no capacity for empathy. He only likes winners. The losers in our society can fend for themselves while Trump helps the rich winners. Is that what Jesus stood for?

  • More people nobody has to give a crap about, but you are obsessed with.

    Why are you so spineless?

  • Unlike certain flavors of other Christians, I don’t dedicate my political energy into taking away their right to marriage, adopt children, or inherit.

  • Or apparently tending the sick, helping children adopted, burying the dead, or anything else not on your political agenda.

  • You clearly have nothing to lose. Under the current directives and plan, ‘religious liberty’ can be cited to deny LGBT people basic services, so long as their religious convictions are strong. So, I can theoretically be evicted by my Christian landlord for being gay, a business does not have to do custom with me, a doctor does not have to treat me. This office is created to ensure that continues, if not escalates, under the guise of ‘protecting religious liberty’. If you can’t see that, you have nothing to lose under ‘religious liberty’ laws. Congratulations on being a rich, straight, white Christian or at least an ally.

  • As Zubik v Burwell demonstrated, no one is going to be denied “basic services”.

    Your theoreticals depend on the state in which you live and other circumstances.

    A doctor does not have to treat me, btw.

    Nor does an attorney have to represent me.

    This office is created to implement the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, Public Law No. 103-141, 107 Stat. 1488 (November 16, 1993), codified at 42 U.S.C. § 2000bb through 42.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_Freedom_Restoration_Act

    The previous administration violated it.

    If you belief that kneecapping religious beliefs is necessary for you to live a happy prosperous life, you may have some bigger problems than what people with religious convictions believe.

  • I’m not kneecapping religious beliefs. People are allowed to believe what they like. Those beliefs are not allowed to make my life harder, however. Period.

  • Of course you’re kneecapping religious beliefs.

    People are allowed to believe or disbelieve what they like.

    Your disbelief is not allowed to make anyone’s life harder, period.

  • We have been doing all that for centuries. Particularly tending the sick and burying the dead during the AIDS epidemic–when all you “Good Christians” were throwing your sons into the street.

  • Goes well with the anti-gay rights message coming from you. Same-sex marriage is legal in every state, just like interracial marriage. Suck it up, bigot.

  • How does my living my life equally and free of persecution from religious bigots making anyone’s life harder other than that of religious bigots? Are you saying that religious bigots have the right to treat me badly and I just am supposed to take it because of their beliefs?

    I believe in God and Jesus, by the way. I don’t believe in organized religion and the hate it perpetuates in the name of love.

  • Your first problem is proving, not assuming, I am a “religious bigot”.

    I personally have not treated you badly beyond disputing some of your positions.

    I also have very little interest in your position on organized religion unless you can tie together in some sort of coherent argument that begins somewhere and ends with a point established with some facts.

  • Nowhere in my comments did I specifically call YOU out as a religious bigot, so that says something about where you relate in all of this and leaves me with nothing to prove. All I said was that you had nothing to lose, so you didn’t understand. Which you clearly don’t, so I have equally lost interest in discussing this with you. Be safe and well.

  • I was responding to:

    https://disqus.com/home/discussion/religionnews/trump_to_sign_executive_order_creating_new_white_house_faith_based_initiative/#comment-3916824484

    “How does my living my life equally and free of persecution from religious bigots making anyone’s life harder other than that of religious bigots? Are you saying that religious bigots have the right to treat me badly and I just am supposed to take it because of their beliefs?”

    So that says something about where you relate in all of this and leaves me with nothing to respond to.

  • My Dear Darwins Damsel,

    Long time no see. Wanted to say, “Hi!” Had some time to think over your last comments. The last time you said anything to me, you were beyond critical–you were trying to destroy my sense of self.

    Various phrases make that clear: ‘”Faith” is the grip that clergy have over you…It’s the invisible rope around your neck…It’s a dead-end word…you can stop pretending any time you like…It’s an abdication from reality.’

    If you really knew me well, especially what I had been going through at the time, perhaps you’d have chosen to apply more tact. Having travelled a long way since, reflecting back, I recall quelling an urge to reply. I had to consider the amount of time and effort you must have taken to write what you did. As toxic as your words were, you must have cared enough to try and convince me of the errors of my ways. I had also considered the forum; deeming it wildly inappropriate to engage in any further dialogue or monologue.

    Considering this is a religious site with a politically slanted article, perhaps this is a better place to respond:

    It’s okay with me that you don’t agree or believe the same. If I met you face to face, I might even ask if you’d want to have some coffee or some other drink or meal of your choosing. I’d even be willing to treat. However, no amount of mental gymnastics or substances would be able to convince me to think, or more importantly, believe or behave any different. You also wouldn’t find me to have any desire to convert you to think, believe, or behave differently; despite having a different field of view. (Aside from hoping we’d be friends.)

    Due to my faith, people have tried to take everything from me, including my life. And it wasn’t but ten days prior to your message that someone had tried to do just that. Those responsible would certainly seem to deserve retribution, if I chose to be vindictive.

    However, they and even yourself simply inspired me to exercise my faith all the more. In doing so, I’ve discovered a strength I wasn’t even sure of at the time. I’d like to thank you for being an unwitting cheerleader. I’m not sure if I’ll ever write in more detail, so someone like yourself could judge knowing a more full set of the facts, but if I do—I’ll be sure to exit the abyss and reply out of the blue again.

    Cordially Yours,
    <3 T.J., The Tekton

2019 NewsMatch Campaign: This Story Can't Wait! Donate.

ADVERTISEMENTs