Gary Bauer / January 17, 2020

Trump/Pence Stand for Faith

Yesterday was Religious Freedom Day. It commemorates the day in 1786 when the Virginia General Assembly adopted the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, written by Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson’s statute became the foundation for the First Amendment to the Constitution, which guarantees religious freedom, among other key liberties.

Yesterday was Religious Freedom Day. It commemorates the day in 1786 when the Virginia General Assembly adopted the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, written by Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson’s statute became the foundation for the First Amendment to the Constitution, which guarantees religious freedom, among other key liberties.

In recognition of the day, President Trump issued a proclamation acknowledging the vital importance of our “first freedom.” He also held an Oval Office meeting with students, teachers, and coaches who have experienced harassment because of their faith, and he blasted the “growing totalitarian impulse on the far left that seeks to punish, restrict and even prohibit religious expression.”

There’s more. Nine federal departments yesterday issued rules rolling back regulations that restrict religious liberty. For example, the Department of Health and Human Services, a vast bureaucracy responsible for a myriad of federal grant programs, issued new rules eliminating barriers and discriminatory burdens against faith-based organizations. 

The administration is also reminding states that, according to recent Supreme Court precedent, they cannot discriminate against religious institutions when awarding grants solely because the group applying is a church or faith-based school.

Perhaps most significantly, the Department of Education announced that it is taking a series of actions to protect the First Amendment rights of students, student organizations, and religious schools. 

In other words, pro-life and faith-based student groups must be afforded the same rights and access to facilities as secular student groups. And public universities that cannot guarantee the free speech of conservative students will risk losing federal funding. 

The Department of Education is also updating its guidance on constitutionally protected prayer and will notify states that students do not surrender their First Amendment rights at the schoolhouse door.

In other words, students can’t be told that they are not allowed to quietly read Bibles in class or pray at lunch. Local school districts will be required to certify that they have no policies preventing constitutionally protected prayer.

I applaud the Trump/Pence team for once again standing up in defense of faith. Unlike the previous administration, which tried to bankrupt the Little Sisters of the Poor, this administration recognizes the tremendous importance of faith and is doing everything it can to protect our first freedoms.

Another Big Win

The Senate yesterday passed President Trump’s U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, known as the USMCA. The president promised to end Bill Clinton’s NAFTA deal, and he did!

The vote in the Senate was overwhelming — 89 to 10. Senate Democrat Leader Chuck Schumer opposed the USMCA in spite of its “very good labor provisions” because “it does not address climate change, the greatest threat facing the planet.”

Really, Chuck? I can think of a lot of threats greater than climate change. A nuclear armed Iran is at the top of that list.

But think about the message the left is sending to the auto workers in Michigan, to energy industry workers, to steel factories in Pennsylvania, to manufacturers in Wisconsin. The left demands that everything — including your job — must bow to the demands of the radical environmental movement.

Again, I’m all for a clean environment. But we must also have a functioning economy that is based on reality.

By the way, the stock market closed above 29,000 on Wednesday for the first time in history. And yesterday it was up more than 250 points.

The Circus Continues

In recent days, the left and its media allies have been attacking Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell because he said he would coordinate his impeachment strategy with the White House. The left, rather hypocritically, is accusing the majority leader of having an unfair bias. 

Well, if rooting out bias is the issue, I cast my lot with Sen. Marsha Blackburn. She issued a statement demanding Senators Bennet (D-CO), Klobuchar (D-MN), Sanders (I-VT), and Warren (D-MA), who are active presidential candidates, recuse themselves during the impeachment trial due to their “unparalleled political interest in seeing this president removed from office.”

Sen. Blackburn makes a great point.  They are spending tens of millions of dollars to defeat Donald Trump and replace him in office, and yet they are sitting as “jurors” in his trial? 

It is virtually impossible to come up with a more glaring example of a conflict of interest than that. No courtroom in the country would allow jurors to sit in on any trial when they had such an obvious interest in the demise of the defendant. 

I would particularly recommend Blackburn’s statement to Sens. Alexander (R-TN), Collins (R-ME), Murkowski (R-AK), and Romney (R-UT), who are royally irritating conservatives all over America by signaling that they will vote with Chuck Schumer to set the rules for the trial. 

One small step they could take toward regaining some credibility would be to support Sen. Blackburn’s effort to impose some accountability on the Senate’s jury pool. 

Military Families Threatened

The Military Times reports that families of soldiers recently deployed to the Middle East are receiving threatening and “menacing” messages on social media from jihadists. Some messages even reference kidnapping scenarios. 

The people doing this are sick Soleimani wannabes, who are willing to do anything to defeat and kill the infidel. The solution is to crush them and their jihadist ideology of death, unless you are prepared for your wife and daughter to wear a burka. Any volunteers?

That said, I know how unnerving this can be. This news reminded me about how shocked I was when I learned that 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammad specifically identified me and a few other evangelical leaders by name in one of his GITMO letters because he saw us as key to U.S. support for Israel.

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