Donald Trump has repeatedly pledged as president to fight for religious liberty in the face of attacks from government, judges, a contemptuous media and increasingly radical secular cultural institutions.
I am still hoping he’s serious about that.
But the selection of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his vice presidential running mate does not give me a great deal of confidence.
It was just over a year ago that Pence had an opportunity as governor to stand up for religious liberty in a meaningful way. Instead, he caved like a house of cards, folded like a cheap suit, backtracked like a cowardly politician who couldn’t take a political punch.
Here’s how it went.
The Indiana Legislature passed the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act.” It was modeled after federal legislation passed in the 1990s and signed by Bill Clinton. It made clear, just as the First Amendment does, that American citizens could not be coerced, forced or bullied by government to violate their most sacred religious beliefs.
It didn’t mention homosexuals, transgenders, lesbians, bisexuals or bestiality, for that matter.
Yet the media went ballistic in mischaracterizing it as bigotry, a bill designed to place the LGBT crowd in chains.
After signing the bill and singing its praises, Pence did an about-face – rewriting the law to render it meaningless, toothless, neutered, if you will.
Was there a court judgment against the law? No.
Was something found in the law that Pence missed earlier? No.
Did someone put a gun to his head? No.
But the media had begun to criticize him for his role in making the law.
That was too much for Pence.
He got his feelings hurt over the mean things the press was reporting about him.
It was a shocking betrayal.
If you want to understand how America will lose its religious freedom – not to mention every other form of liberty – the Pence collapse is a case study.
His convictions did not last even one tough news cycle.
So color me skeptical about Pence’s influence on Trump being a positive thing.
This is the issue of our time.
Without religious liberty, all freedom is doomed. It was the very basis for the founding of this country. The issue is whether religious freedom – the very basis for the settling of America and the foundation for the republic in which we live – will have to take a permanent backseat to bogus “non-discrimination” laws elevating aberrant behavior and sinful lifestyles. It’s just that simple.
Without a doubt, this issue is not going away.
It’s the new litmus test for the media.
And Mike Pence failed the test – miserably.
He handed the hostiles a major victory, just because he didn’t have the stomach for being unjustifiably called a “bigot.”
That’s all it took. No thumbscrews. No rack. No waterboarding. They just had to say a few mean things about Pence and he rolled over.
Is that leadership we can depend on?
Could he not defend something as precious as religious liberty?
I am unimpressed.
This could have been Pence’s finest moment. He had the attention of the national media. He could have explained that liberty means not being coerced to violate your conscience. How difficult is that case to make?
He just blew it.
Now, will I give him another chance?
Of course. I’m not going to support Hillary Clinton, who will gleefully persecute those who do not share her desire to enforce sexual anarchy over religious freedom.
But I can’t get this shameful betrayal by Pence out of my mind.
When I look at him, I still see that deer in the headlights look on his face when he sold out religious liberty.
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