How Will a Clinton or Trump White House Support Religious Freedom?

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

Impressions are mixed regarding the level of support a President Donald Trump would give to efforts to strengthen religious freedom. But a Christian radio talk-show host says there’s little doubt how a President Hillary Clinton would handle it.

Sandy Rios is director of governmental affairs at the American Family Association and host of a daily call-in program on American Family Radio. Rios predicts “more overt persecution” and “a loss of religious freedom” for Christians should Clinton move into the Oval Office – and be given the opportunity to stack the Supreme Court with liberal jurists.

“The next president will likely appoint three new justices,” she begins. “And that means that the whole business of expressing our deeply held beliefs – in our businesses and our private entities like the American Family Association, like Christian radio – and … our conduct and even our thoughts will be criminalized. So it’s pretty bleak.”

But Rios isn’t so sure about Trump, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee. “I think he would not be aggressive in the way she is to criminalize [religious expression],” she offers, “but the question is how hard he would fight to protect religious freedom – and that’s the question mark with Donald Trump.”

In contrast, any concerns the American Principles Project may have had about Trump regarding religious freedom were alleviated long before the other 16 GOP hopefuls dropped out.

Late last year, APP asked for and received a response from Trump on his support of the First Amendment Defense Act (H.R. 2802), which forbids the government from taking any punitive action against anyone because they have a religious conviction favoring traditional marriage.

Trump told the group in a letter that he cannot pass legislation, but if Congress considers it a priority, he’d be glad to sign it. To American Principles spokesman Terry Schilling, that’s good enough.

“He pledged to sign the First Amendment Defense Act into law,” he says in reference to the letter – which this week was cited in what APP calls a “blitzkrieg of misinformation and propaganda” dispatched by the pro-LGBT Human Rights Campaign.

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Chad Groening, Steve Jordahl