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Right Opinion

Trump Defends Religious Liberty

Gary Bauer · Jun. 4, 2020

Tuesday, President Trump visited the Saint John Paul II National Shrine. There is a moving photo of the president and the first lady kneeling in prayer. They also laid a wreath at the statute of Saint John Paul II.

The president’s visit to the shrine marked the 41st anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s historic return to his home country of Poland, becoming the first pope to visit a communist country.

As many of you know, Pope John Paul II played an instrumental role, along with Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, in defeating the Soviet Union and bringing down the Iron Curtain.

Later, President Trump returned to the White House where he signed an executive order to advance religious liberty internationally. The opening paragraphs of the order assert that religious freedom is “a moral and national security imperative,” and that the United States is making religious freedom for all people a foreign policy priority.

The president’s directive provides $50 million a year for the promotion of religious liberty overseas. It expands economic incentives to nations that encourage religious freedom and imposes sanctions against government officials who restrict that freedom.

That last measure is particularly important as new reports indicate that the Chinese Communist Party is exploiting the coronavirus as an excuse to demolish churches.

As a Trump appointee to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, I know firsthand how important this issue is to the president and vice president. I applaud their efforts to defend this God-given freedom.

Unbelievably, Wilton Gregory, the archbishop of Washington, attacked the president’s appearance at the Shrine, calling it “bizarre and reprehensible.” He also blasted the president for “the use of tear gas and other deterrents to silence, scatter or intimidate [protestors] for a photo opportunity.” [More on that below.]

This president proudly defended the Little Sisters of the Poor. He has advanced the right to life. He has done more to defend religious liberty than any president in modern history.

The archdiocese of Washington allows pro-abortion candidates to hold events at its facilities and to take communion in its churches. But Gregory feels compelled to attack this president for laying a wreath?

Media Malfeasance

It was impossible to escape the torrent of negative news stories about the president’s walk from the White House to St. John’s Episcopal Church. Every progressive politician, every left-wing media outlet was accusing the president of using the military to gas peaceful protesters for a photo-op. Sen. Chuck Schumer even introduced a resolution condemning the president.

IT WAS ALL FAKE NEWS!

Late in the day, the U.S. Park Police issued a statement clarifying the situation. Here’s what they reported:

  • They, not the National Guard or the military, moved the protesters out of Lafayette Square.

  • They did not use tear gas, but smoke cannisters.

  • They did so only AFTER the protesters turned violent, pelting officers with rocks and frozen water bottles. Some also attempted to steal the officers’ weapons. Once the park was cleared, they found a stash of other weapons. These were not peaceful protesters.

  • The Park Police didn’t even know that Trump was going to walk across the park.

Sadly, some Republican politicians fell for the media’s lies and also piled on the president for daring to walk across the street to a historic church that rioters attempted to burn down.

Here’s another media lie: Remember all the politicians insisting that “white supremacists” were behind the riots? Even the far-left SPLC says that’s fake news.

This is why President Trump refers to the mainstream media as “the enemy of the people.” They are lying to us, intentionally pushing false narratives, like Russian collusion, to advance their own agenda and interests, not yours.

Americans Want Order

As we reported, just prior to the president walking across the street to St. John’s Church, he addressed the nation from the Rose Garden and vowed to restore order in the country, using the National Guard and the military if necessary. This also infuriated the left and its media allies, with many calling the president a “fascist.”

Well guess what? The American people are solidly behind President Trump.

A new poll found that 71% of Americans support deploying the National Guard, including 63% of Democrats, 54% of Hispanics, and 42% of blacks. And a strong majority — 58% of Americans — supported deploying the U.S. military to deal with the riots.

The American people want and deserve safe streets and safe communities. That is the primary obligation of government. Period. If it cannot provide that, then it is pointless.

The Central Point

Many leftists, most notably Cornell West, are saying that the American facade is falling away. They insist America was founded on evil principles of slavery and oppression. It’s a disgusting lie. But that worldview is growing, and not coincidentally most quickly in the schools of the cities where the worst rioting is taking place.

Imagine someone knocks on your door and says, “Hey, did you know the whole foundation of your house is rotten?” You might say, “Wow! What do I need to do?” “Tear it down and start over!”

That’s what our children are being taught, and that’s what you’re witnessing in the streets.

This is not a failure of the American experiment. This is a failure of modern progressivism.

They are the ones who shoved religion out of the schools and the public square.

They are the ones who mock God and the idea that our liberty comes from God.

They are the ones who mock the idea that children deserve a mother and father. Again, I don’t think it is any coincidence that the worst rioting is taking place in cities with the highest number of boys being raised without fathers.

And they are the ones telling you that our country is evil.

Who wouldn’t want to tear it down if it actually was? But it isn’t. There’s a reason millions of people around the world are clamoring to come to America.

I’m still waiting for the modern liberal to stand up and say, “You know, we were wrong. You do need strong families with mothers and fathers. You do need reliable standards of right and wrong. You do need people to have a moral core.” I’m not holding my breath.

But, my friends, we must hold the line.

Here’s the central point to keep in mind: These liberal mayors and governors abandoned their citizens to the mob. They failed at their most important job.

They abandoned the police.

If the left takes power, you will be on your own.

By the way, have you noticed that the mayors and governors who were most aggressive in going after people who wanted to reopen their businesses and churches are the same left-wing politicians who allowed the rioters to destroy those businesses and burn churches?

So, what are the rational conclusions people will draw from the last 10 days?

Some big billionaires are talking about investing in the cities. But I think there will be less investment in the cities.

There will be even fewer police recruits, which means more crime.

And more people will be buying guns.

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