Donald Trump entered the 2016 Presidential race with statements that placed him in a position of controversy and public outrage, and through further statements since, on everything from Macy’s department stores to vaccines and autism, has continued to maintain that status. Though his political platform initially consisted of little more than a vocal stance on immigration (and immigrants) and “taking America back,” in recent days, Trump has released further information on his political stances. In the most recent, he joins other Republican nominees in speaking of religious liberty, and hints that the rights of Christians have deteriorated in America.
Trump has been largely quiet on his religious beliefs — not exactly the default position for any presidential candidate, and particularly not for a candidate running for nomination to represent the GOP. He’s said he is a Christian, and named the church he attends (though the church denies he is a member), but refused to answer questions about a favorite Bible verse.
On the subject of religious liberty and marriage equality, Donald Trump differed from many of his GOP contemporaries: while Mike Huckabee held a rally to support Kim Davis, the Kentucky court clerk jailed for defying a court order to allow marriage licenses to be issued to couples (both same-sex and opposite-sex) in her county, Trump declared that Davis was in the wrong line of work. According to the Washington Times, Trump said it was “too bad” that Davis had spent time in jail, but said that she had a duty to follow the Supreme Court ruling, regardless of her own beliefs.
However, Trump’s most recent statement on religious liberty and Christianity in America more closely resembles that of his declared party: on Saturday, he posted on Twitter, saying that the religious liberty of Christians in America and elsewhere was at stake, and suggesting that Obama has done damage to this liberty, and that he, Trump, can be the solution to it.
Christians need support in our country (and around the world), their religious liberty is at stake! Obama has been horrible, I will be great
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 19, 2015
Trump also tweeted an image of himself (a screenshot from this CNN article) holding a Bible (with what appears to be a “Trump” bumper sticker as a bookmark) as he spoke at a Faith and Freedom Forum in Iowa.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 20, 2015
Though typically religious views and stance on religious liberty play a large part in winning votes, Trump has, so far, done well in polls without making religion a major focus. However, as the primaries draw nearer, he will either join other Republican candidates in speaking at a number of conservative Christian events, or be conspicuously absent. It appears that Donald Trump has decided its time to join party lines on religion.
[Photo by Steve Pope / Getty Images]