Trump correct for once: ‘Christians’ “power is being taken away”’

By Andrew L. Seidel
Staff Attorney
Freedom From Religion Foundation

Donald Trump told the Family Research Council’s president Tony Perkins, “I see more and more … Christianity, Christians, their power is being taken away.” And that makes Trump “angry.” Perkins agreed wholeheartedly. And so do I.

To be more precise, Christians’ unwarranted power is being taken away. And to be even more accurate, it’s Christian privilege that is being taken away. We call that equality where I come from.

Seidel, Trump, and Perkins: not likely to agree on anything else anytime soon. Trump via WikiCommons/David Shankbone cc3.0. Perkins via WikiCommons/FRC cc3.0.
Seidel, Trump, and Perkins: unlikely to agree on anything else anytime soon. Trump via WikiCommons/David Shankbone cc3.0. Perkins via WikiCommons/FRC cc3.0.

Perkins, who last appeared on this blog for exhibiting classic psychological projection when he likened FFRF to the Taliban, is no stranger to the false narrative of American Christians being persecuted. Trump uses that false narrative to support his claims.

As an example, Trump mentioned coaches who pray with their teams: “I see coaches being fired or suspended because they’re having a prayer for football players… .” Of course, when you understand the facts, that’s not what is happening. These high school coaches are illegally using their position at public schools to impose their personal religion on other peoples’ children. That is not a power they can be given under our Constitution and I for one am glad those public officials who cannot keep their religion to themselves are being held accountable.

Trump makes his point with this rhetorical question, “How do you suspend a coach because he is practicing his faith?” Again, that’s not what’s happening. Coaches are not being suspended for practicing their faith; they are being suspended for imposing their faith on the impressionable minds of schoolchildren and for refusing to comply with the Constitution. They deserve to be suspended.

I agree with Trump and Perkins in principle: Christians are losing their power. But unlike Trump and Perkins, I believe that this inevitable slide from Christian privilege to parity with every other religious identification—including we “nones”—is not only beneficial, but also constitutionally required. The age of Christian privilege is coming to an end.


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