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How Donald Trump Saved Religious Liberty in America

Posted on Wednesday, May 26, 2021
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by AMAC Newsline
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In recent years, a series of landmark court decisions has solidified what may be the most unsung part of Donald Trump’s presidential legacy. Through his historic number of judicial appointments, it is increasingly evident that Trump saved religious liberty in America.

The pivotal cases protecting conscience rights have gone ignored by many in the media, but hardcore progressive activists are noticing, and they aren’t happy. Rachel Laser, the president and CEO of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, told Ronald Brownstein of The Atlantic—in a panicked storm of woke buzzwordsthat this golden age of religious liberty is “dial[ing] back social progress in light of our changing demographics and progress toward greater equality.”

Such anti-faith activists may have growing currency on college campuses. But they are going broke in court.

Working closely with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, President Trump appointed 234 federal judges, including three Supreme Court justices, in just four years. By the time Trump left office, he had appointed almost one out of every three appellate court judges.

Unsurprisingly, the Trump-era Supreme Court has helped usher in a golden age of religious liberty legal decisions. Bolstered by the addition of Justice Neil Gorsuch in 2017, the Court held in Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v. Comer that the State of Missouri could not deny grants to religious schools for resurfacing playgrounds simply because of a school’s religious association—a decision that could have sweeping implications for the future of parochial schooling.

One year later, in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, the Court issued a narrow but important opinion that made clear that states cannot blatantly brush aside the demands of a Christian baker’s conscience by forcing him to bake cakes for same-sex marriage ceremonies.

By 2020, with new Trump-appointed Justice Brett Kavanaugh joining Gorsuch, the Court issued another landmark ruling. In Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, the Court took aim at and struck down Montana’s version of what is known as the Blaine amendment.

Like other states which passed similar laws during an anti-Catholic wave of sentiment in the late 19th Century, Montana explicitly prohibited state money from flowing to “any church, school, academy, seminary, college, university, or other literary or scientific institution, controlled in whole or in part by any church, sect, or denomination.” 

With a one-vote majority and quoting its earlier decision in Trinity Lutheran, the Court ruled that Montana’s law violated the Constitution’s First Amendment because “disqualifying otherwise eligible recipients from a public benefit ‘solely because of their religious character’ imposes a penalty on the free exercise of religion that triggers the most exacting scrutiny.”

The COVID-19 pandemic and the addition of new Justice Amy Coney Barrett have given the Court even more opportunities to protect religious liberty in even stronger terms.

In Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn v. Cuomo, the Court narrowly ruled in favor of New York’s congregations that Governor Andrew Cuomo’s restrictions on religious gatherings—which capped the number of attendees at much lower numbers compared to other similar groups—were unconstitutional.

Justice Gorsuch wrote an especially colorful concurrence. He opened by simply stating that “Government is not free to disregard the First Amendment in times of crisis.”

He went on to criticize Cuomo directly, saying that “at least according to Governor Cuomo, it may be unsafe to go to church, but it is always fine to pick up another bottle of wine, shop for a new bike, or spend the afternoon exploring your distal points and meridians.”

With these decisions, the Court has surprised many longtime observers. Ira Lupu, a professor at George Washington University Law School, said that in teaching religion and law for 35 years, he had “never seen such a spurt of religious-liberty cases in such a short time, especially where over and over again there is a victory for religious-liberty claims.” 

But the justices have made their intentions clear. In Justice Gorsuch’s words, neither he nor the Court will “shelter in place where the Constitution is under attack.”

And no doubt, the attacks will continue.

The Court will soon have another opportunity to rise to the Constitution’s defense in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia. In that case, the Court will decide the constitutionality of Philadelphia’s decision to terminate its foster care contract with Catholic Social Services because the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia practices faith-based adoption.

Of course, conservatives cannot win the culture war simply in court. A conflict of hearts and minds must be won in the classrooms, corporate boardrooms, and the nation’s social and print media platforms. But a Supreme Court willing and able to do its part to protect religious liberty can help us keep faith alive in the meantime.

 

 

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Wayne Peterkin
Wayne Peterkin
2 years ago

While I applaud President Trump’s efforts, we all need to understand the Democrat’s war against religion and morality has been renewed under Biden. The salvation of religious liberty is temporary unless we can rid our nation of the anti-American, anti-Constitution liberals which are in power today and will remain in power should Pelosi get her HR-1 Election Fraud bill passed, and it is very close to passing. What is happening today is scary for any true American.

Mary
Mary
2 years ago

Another Trump accomplishment is Jerusalem named capital of Israel, and the Abraham accords. Those are a big deal. Biden would never consider such a vast-world accomplishment. He and his co-president are full of themselves. “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice, when the wicked rule, the people groan.” Proverbs 29:2

Jenny
Jenny
2 years ago

Barking orange clown

Judy Smith
Judy Smith
2 years ago

I would love to make a donation beyond my yearly payment, but I am an 82-year-old who was scammed several years ago over a period of about four years or more. I am now in debt relief and will be through the program at the end of 2026. I wish I could help. I guess I’m one of those people who never expected to be here in my eighties.

Damon
Damon
2 years ago

Wokapocalyse is coming. Christian dictatorship NOW

Jeanne
Jeanne
2 years ago

Wokism is a problem in this country with regard to religion as well. This is sad. When one cannot display a nativity scene at Christmas, or a crucifix at Easter, there is something terribly wrong! I’m glad we now have a good conservative leaning court, but the socialist left wants to pack the court to get their disgusting agenda through. I pray this can be stopped. God help us all!

JANINE RENEE JOHNSON BROWNE
JANINE RENEE JOHNSON BROWNE
2 years ago

To God be the glory! These rulings make me a little more proud to be an American! Just as the same sex married couple want to be treated with respect the same goes for the business men or women! These cases are faith based businesses vs. lifestyles and sexual preferences! I wonder, does the gay community want their sexuality in the forefront of ones mind? Isn’t this lifestyle personal at all? As for faith in God people, if we believe in the infinite power of God, that can change people then that’s who’s hands we need to leave it in, no matter what the disagreement might be, without hate and sneering! Hopefully there’s an awakening of thought! Three of the greatest things in America is we have choices, freedoms and rights based our own beliefs! I am a Christian and when people come in of all walks of life I don’t sneer at them or if they appear not to do as I do, I don’t hate or dislike them! Best of all I don’t want to ruin their lives! I don’t believe that all the Christian businesses have hate for the gay individuals, I believe they’re doing their business how they believe they should! God loves everyone!

Glenn Mathews
Glenn Mathews
2 years ago

I for one am thankful for a president that has the grit to protect our God given right.

Karen
Karen
2 years ago

Bless you Donald Trump

Tom Polack
Tom Polack
2 years ago

We have to keep God in our prayers and also in our live. Because without him there is no way to going this life but down. To me it seems we are headed that way now. Without faith we have nothing

Robbie Ann White
Robbie Ann White
2 years ago

We owe a great debt to President Trump. He had many qualities I would have liked to have helped him with but he stood his ground which happened to be the ground of the Constitution for which I am greatly thankful.

Bill on the Hill
Bill on the Hill
2 years ago

This is a May 26 2021 article I’ve never read before today… Thank you AMAC for running it again. Once again history will note just how fortunate the American people were to have a president like Trump, he never stopped working for the people, all the people. His record setting judicial appointments will stand the test of time where the courts are concerned…He is only one man, however, he is not Jesus Christ, our lord & savior. There is only so much one man or woman can do.
Yes, for the moment in either case, Donald J. Trump literally had the presidency stolen out from under him, only time will tell how this plays itself out. The things that need to happen, i.e. ” reinstatement ” has NEVER happened before. It is NOT in the Constitution, therefore all of us are in for a whole bunch of FIRSTS in this nation for we are indeed living in a profound time in history as Americans…Keep the faith, stay diligent, for there will be light at the end of the tunnel…
Bill on the Hill… :~)

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