CLEVELAND – As a member of Donald Trump’s team of faith advisers, former Republican Congress member Michele Bachmann took particular notice during the GOP nominee’s acceptance speech of what she regarded as a display of humility when he commended the evangelical community.
Bachmann, speaking to WND by phone from her home in Minnesota, said Trump’s comment Thursday night that he wasn’t “sure I totally deserve” the support probably was not in the written text.
“I think the moment came upon Trump and he recognized the humbleness that he had,” Bachmann said.
“The evangelical community was extremely generous with giving Trump the benefit of the doubt and support,” she said, “because I don’t think anyone was looking for certification regarding his salvation, or anything like that.
“I think they wanted to know, where will you be regarding religious liberty in the United States?”
Trump said Thursday night: “At this moment, I would like to thank the evangelical and religious community because I’ll tell you what, the support they’ve given me, and I’m not sure I totally deserve it, has been so awesome and has had such a big reason for me being here tonight. True, so true.”
A CNN forum in January drew attention to Trump’s faith when he said people are “shocked” to learn he’s a Protestant but in reply to a question from moderator Frank Luntz said he had never felt the need to ask God for forgiveness for any of his actions.
Bachmann said Trump clearly is a supporter of religious liberty, which many evangelicals regard as the No. 1 public policy issue at the moment.
“That is something that the evangelical community has been longing for, because … we have been losing rights, whether it’s through speech, whether it’s bakers, florists, photographers being forced to either work to advance gay weddings – which is a violation of their conscience – or face ridiculous fines and the shuttering of their business.
“Trump get this,” she said.
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Bachmann said the approximately 20-member evangelical advisory team has “open access to the campaign to speak about issues that we see that we are concerned about.”
Other members include Dr. James Dobson; Rev. Jerry Falwell Jr.; Richard Land, president of Southern Evangelical Seminary; and Ralph Reed, founder of the Faith and Freedom Coalition.
Bachmann also pointed to Trump’s support of an effort to rescind the 1954 amendment sponsored by Sen. Lyndon Johnson prohibiting churches and other non-profits from advocating for or against a particular political candidate.
“Pastors within their pulpit need the freedom to speak,” she said. “That is the greatest form of government censorship in the United States is the American pulpit, and most people don’t realize it.”
Bachmann, who spent eight years in the U.S. House as Minnesota’s first female member of Congress, ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012.
’I’m looking for pro-life judges
Bachmann said that when she and the advisory board met privately with Trump, he made it clear he was looking only for pro-life judges.
“Now, that was remarkable, because our prior Republican nominees, who probably gave an even deeper nod to evangelicals in the past, even they weren’t willing to flat out come and say it, Look, I’m looking for pro-life judges,” she said.
“They might wink and nod about it, but they didn’t overtly come out the way Donald Trump did.”
Bachmann said that while evangelicals might not always agree with Trump about certain spiritual or religious matters, “I do think we can we can take great comfort in the fact that he has 1950s sensibilities in the sense of standing up for pro-life.”
She said she doesn’t know whether or not, as has been reported, Trump recently made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ.
“He hasn’t spoken to me about it, I only have read what other people have read about that issue,” she said.
“But I do know that when Abraham Lincoln went into office, there are accounts that are written that it wasn’t until after he came into office – with the gravity of the events around him – that he had a minister come and speak to him,” Bachmann said. “And he did become a believer in Jesus Christ, while he was in office, and it made a profound impact on him and on the way he sought the Lord on behalf of our country.
“And that, as a believer, is what I do,” she said. “I pray for Donald Trump and for his family. I pray for our Supreme Court justices, I pray for our Congress, all of our public leaders, as Paul admonished us to do. And I think that’s what we need to do, continue to lift them up in prayer and ask that the Holy Spirit would guide them.”
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Bathroom issue a distraction?
Bachmann said she disagreed with Silicon Valley entrepreneur Peter Thiel’s insistence during his speech Thursday night that the transgender bathroom issue is a distraction in the culture war.
Thiel said: “When I was a kid, the great debate was about how to defeat the Soviet Union. And we won. Now we are told that the great debate is about who gets to use which bathroom.
“This is a distraction from our real problems. Who cares? Of course, every American has a unique identity,” he said.
Bachmann said “there was a little bit of consternation [Thursday] night when that issue came up, because 90 percent of the American people, whether they are Democrat or Republican or non-political, really aren’t interested in having both sexes in the same bathroom.”
From the standpoint of transgendered persons, she said, “this really seems like a non-existent problem.”
“We’ve never really seen scads of men wearing women’s clothes seeking access to a women’s bathroom,” she said. “Why would they anyway? That’s really their issue.
“But I think, more importantly, what we have seen happen since this discussion started, are men of varying ages going into women’s bathrooms and trying to videotape women unawares,” she said. “Now that’s a real problem. And I think we need to be very clear that women, girls, older women are vulnerable and are deserving of protection.”
She said President Obama’s decision to “recklessly” force all public schools in the United States to open up bathrooms, locker rooms, changing rooms according to a person’s “perceived gender,” is “beyond bizarre.”
“We’ve never lived on that kind of a planet,” she told WND.
“I hope that Donald Trump will be able to take up that cause when it comes up, because that would be a clear line of distinction and, quite honestly, that’s a 90 percent winning issue for Donald Trump,” she said.
Hillary Clinton, Bachmann said, apparently has already made up her mind.
“She’s not going to protect innocent women and children and vulnerable older women from men gaining entrance into bathrooms,” she said.
“This is is an issue where while it might not seem that important on a world scale, it is important to normal people going about their daily lives, because they really are upset about the other sex walking into their bathroom, and rightfully so.”