Musings on the President, the Religious Right, Democrats, and the Supreme Court

In this Jan. 31, 2017, file photo, President Donald Trump shakes hands with 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Neil Gorsuch, his choice for Supreme Court Justices in the East Room of the White House in Washington.

By Michael Brown Published on July 10, 2018

Since there are many legal pundits far more qualified than I to debate the merits and demerits of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, I’ll focus here on some larger, related issues.

1) This is the main reason many of us voted for Donald Trump.

We do well to remember that many of us who identify as evangelicals had grave reservations about candidate Trump. Many of us said that, out of the 17 Republican candidates, he was our last choice.

Some of us (including me) frequently spoke and wrote against him during the primaries. (See, for example, this video I posted on November 27, 2015, titled, “Why Evangelical Christians Should Have a Problem with Donald Trump.” Because it was my position at the time, for the sake of integrity and honesty, we have kept it online even though I ultimately voted for Trump.)

Yet the major reason we voted for Trump in large numbers was because we hoped he would keep his word about Supreme Court nominees. We voted for him because we were voting against Hillary, which leads us to reflect on a stark reality. Had Hillary been elected, President Obama would probably have been able to get his pick for the Court: namely, Merrick Garland. And Hillary would be making her first pick now.

Help us champion truth, freedom, limited government and human dignity. Support The Stream »

So, you would have Garland instead of Neil Gorsuch, plus a presumably, far-left pick rather than Brett Kavanaugh. And maybe Justice Ginsburg would be more ready to step down, allowing for a young liberal to take her place. Then the Democrats would secure a third pick already.

The implications for America’s future — at least for the next 30-40 years — are massive.

To date, Donald Trump has not disappointed us in his picks, both for Supreme Court as well as for the many other federal appointees. This is a major reason, if not the major reason, many of us voted for him.

2) President Trump is not the puppet of the religious right.

In the days leading up to the president’s Supreme Court nominee, this was a common charge. Yet it is one that people easily dismiss.

Simply stated, if anything is clear about Trump it is that he is his own man. No one can bridle him or rein him in, to the consternation of many. And he has sometimes embarrassed conservative Christian leaders with his rhetoric and temperament. That is not the behavior of a puppet.

I’m close to faith leaders who got close to Donald Trump during his candidacy, and some of them are part of his faith advisory counsel. While he listens to them with respect, to a person they would tell you that he makes his decisions independently.

As one of the leaders told me face to face when I asked about him tempering his tweets, “It’s unlikely that a 70-year-old man is going to change.”

What is remarkable, though, is that he seems to have embraced the convictions of Christian conservatives. When it comes to crucial issues such as abortion, religious liberties, and the meaning of marriage, he has stood by the Christian viewpoint. It is a providential, quite unexpected, and apparently sovereign union that goes beyond Trump’s formula for victory. (In other words, it’s more than just good campaign strategy.)

Somehow, these issues became important to him, because of which he became close to many evangelical believers, who then earned his respect and loyalty. Again, this is a far cry from being a puppet.

3) President Obama nominated two far-left justices to the Supreme Court. What’s so terrible about President Trump nominating two solid conservatives to the Court?

Comedian Dennis Miller tweeted two days ago, “Just to keep things in perspective, or not, Trump could nominate either Amy Coney Barrett or Vladimir Putin tomorrow and the headlines would be exactly the same. #DennisMillerOption.” Exactly so.

The one thing that was certain was this: Whoever Trump nominated, there would be an outcry from the left. The sky is falling! This is the end of the world! We must go to the streets and protest!

Fox News even played video clips Monday night of college students weighing in on the Trump nominee. They were interviewed hours (if not days) before Trump’s announcement was made, but already, they were denouncing the pick as racist. One student suggested the nominee wear white robes rather than black robes!

Yet President Obama was able to make his picks. And when it comes to their ideological base, you could easily argue that they are much farther to the left than Gorsuch and Kavanaugh are to the right.

For example, in September 2014, Justice Elena Kagan “officiated for the first time at a same-sex wedding, a Maryland ceremony for her former law clerk and his husband.” Yet the Court did not rule to redefine marriage until one year later.

Already in 2010, CBS News ran this headline: “EXCLUSIVE: Documents Show Kagan’s Liberal Opinion on Social Issues.” Her decisions to date have been consistently to the left, sometimes in extreme form.

As for Justice Sonia Sotomayor (to give just one example), when it came to the Hobby Lobby decision, she claimed that it compromised “hundreds of Wheaton [University’s] employees and students of their legal entitlement to contraceptive coverage” (my emphasis).

Yet I don’t recall the same level of outcry against Obama’s nominees when compared to Trump’s. Was there very strong concern about Obama’s nominees from those of us on the right? Absolutely. Was there the same kind of hysteria? Not to my memory.

The Elephant in the Room

The real issue is that everyone knows that one of the greatest sacred cows of the left (and of the Democratic party) is now at risk: namely, Roe v. Wade. Even the possibility of this landmark ruling being threatened sends shock waves into the liberal world. The reaction will no doubt be intense, and it will go far beyond words. It will turn to acts of violence.

My hope is that the extreme, shrill, and over-the-top reaction of the left will turn moderates away.

For the moment, though, expect things to get ugly. Really ugly. May cooler heads prevail.

Print Friendly
Comments ()
The Stream encourages comments, whether in agreement with the article or not. However, comments that violate our commenting rules or terms of use will be removed. Any commenter who repeatedly violates these rules and terms of use will be blocked from commenting. Comments on The Stream are hosted by Disqus, with logins available through Disqus, Facebook, Twitter or G+ accounts. You must log in to comment. Please flag any comments you see breaking the rules. More detail is available here.
  • Sapient

    Minor little offshoot from within the column above: Trump’s tweets often come up in the context of Christians being offended by them or somehow taking issue with them. I am a Christian—and I have no problem with Trump’s plain-spoken or even combative speech. Frankly, I welcome it and I think it’s needed. I’m sick of politicians using greasy language to make it sound like they’re saying something when they’re really not saying anything. War on a battlefield isn’t pretty, and Christian warriors get bloody and dirty (well…they do if they want to win). Christians don’t kill more gentleman-like. The cultural war we’re in is really no different, and the stakes are just as high—we could lose our Country and our freedoms. This war is fought with words conveying ideas. Very often those things need to be said starkly, plainly, and forcefully in order to get and hold peoples’ attention. Our politicians HAVE been “stupid” in matters of trade. Why sugarcoat it? Strozk and Page ARE “lovebirds”. Why not say it? Hillary IS crooked and SHOULD be in jail. Why not say it? The Mueller Probe IS a witch hunt. Every Christian out there ought to be saying that and demanding an end to it. The MSM IS terribly corrupt, covers for Democrats, conspires with Leftists, etc. Why not say it? As far as I’m concerned Trump should Tweet till his heart is content!

    • Earl Baker

      If you want to see blunt talk, read an old testament prophet. There is something refreshingly straightforward when God speaks…. That said, Trump is no prophet of God.

      When Brown points out his embarrassing Tweets, its not the bluntness thats the issue, its the content.

      This is EXACTLY why I still want him replaced, because of people like you. You mistake his faults for virtues simply because hes fighting for our side, and the church is parroting his words, his tone, and his manner. You’re blind to what makes him unacceptable, and your blind to what God expects of you.

      I pray for the day the church wakes up and stops worshiping this gilded toad.

      • Howard Rosenbaum

        “.. the church worshipping … this gilded toad ” ?!
        So which “gilded toad” do you think you’re “worshipping” as you proffer such misappropriated sentiment towards those members of the body you arrogantly set yourself apart from ….?!
        The Master Himself warned against disingenuous advocates of self proclaimed objectivity. You know that “log in the eye ” kind of thing ….

        • Earl Baker


          • Howard Rosenbaum

            Well , seems that your take on Trump & his tweets is not inconsistent with your mistaken reading of my brief reply to your reply to Sapient.
            So in spite of yourself you claim then to “worship” this man you claim is an ungainly idol to those whose faith you so easily discount ….?!

      • Sapient

        Well, Earl, people like me—Christians like me—will ensure Trump remains POTUS to ensure the advancement of Christian liberties, Constitutional freedoms, national sovereignty, and many other righteous agenda items while the radicalized Left, the Globalists, the America haters, the open-borders crowd, the secular humanists, and the virtuous Christians with logs in their eyes fight against us. Maybe you should consider the company you keep…

  • Vincent J.

    satan wants the murder of unborn children to continue; he’d like those babies to die just as he would like all of us to die. It’s no surprise that he is inducing hysteria and hatred among his people.

A Picture of Prayer
Dudley Hall
More from The Stream
Connect with Us