Andrew Klavan, from President Chaos and the Keystone Kongress:
With all the military guys and Trump family members in place, the administration is beginning to have a faintly South American flavor to it. So I guess we can all look forward to better empanadas and also the collapse of Western civilization.
You know what’s the funniest thing about all this? The funniest thing is that it’s still better than having the Democrats in power! Like, a lot better. We now know the Obama administration was spying on just about everybody. The Hillary gang seem to have been the ones really colluding with Putin. The Senate minority leader has given up on capitalism. And the former head of the DNC has been doing God-knows-what with a Pakistani IT guy who just got arrested trying to blow the country!
Klavan’s theory for what happened:
I think Barack Obama traumatized this country, and I don’t think the left or the intellectuals on the right really understand how much. I think Obama was an anti-American leftist who hated the freedom the Founders stood for, and despised the ordinary Gun-and-Bible folks who keep that idea of freedom alive. I think the news media, Hollywood, and academia created an echo chamber for that hatred, and I think the folks felt the scorn and derision every single day for eight years. Finally, given a chance, they unleashed the orange beast of their anger in response.
The anti-Trump right can sniff at that. They can and should talk about ideas and policy and governance, which are all important. But it’s the culture that sets the tone of the country — and the right has let the culture go. CNN and the news networks and the late-night comics and the Hollywood stars and the Ivy League and the feminist Nazis sowed this wind by spitting on our people and their values day after day after day. Welcome to the whirlwind.
So why is he laughing?
I’m laughing because, while no one knows the future, my genuine belief is that we’ll be okay. Our institutions are strong. Our people are great. The Obama Trauma will pass. The Trump Reaction will end. Time and the usual crises of life will bring us back to ourselves in a new consensus.
Meanwhile, I root for Trump and the GOP to do whatever good they can. Please God they can do a whole helluva lot better than they did this sad and hilarious week.
Related story from Friday’s WSJ, “God’s ACLU Seeks Freedom for the Faithful.”
Advocates for religious liberty in America are part of what might be seen as the second wave of rights activism in the courts, the first being the wave that began in the 1950s and ’60s with litigation over the rights of minorities, women and criminal suspects, among others. In the past 25 years, conservative and libertarian groups have applied lessons that the liberal vanguard learned about how to select test cases for litigation as a way to steer the law. The focus today is still on the individual, but on his right to own guns, send his children to the school of his choice, or—Ms. Alvarado’s field of concern—worship freely and live a full religious life uncramped by the state…
Why is the left hostile to religious liberty? “It’s fundamentally a misunderstanding of the role of religion,” Ms. Alvarado says. “Besides, the only way to expand government is to edge yourself into all aspects of an individual’s life, starting with how they can and cannot participate in the market.” She also cites Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, the 2014 case in which the high court held that the craft store’s owners, who object on religious grounds to certain types of contraceptives, could not be forced to provide them to employees.
“The ACLU has a sadly checkered record on religious liberty,” Ms. Alvarado says. “It’s sometimes with us, and sometimes against, but the moment that a lot of the sexual-morality issues came into play, it seems they lost the live-and-let-live philosophy that was so fundamental to them.” The ACLU, she says, supports religious liberty only for the groups it likes. “It’s an all-too-common error that undermines the First Amendment standard of equal protection for all religions.” This broader view is why legal scholar Viet Dinh has described the Becket Fund as “God’s ACLU.”
On the whole, Ms. Alvarado is buoyant “without being complacent” about the future of religious liberty in the U.S. The end of the Obama administration, she believes, should bring some respite to the faithful. “His administration was definitely hostile to conscience rights,” she says. “If you look at a lot of the writings his administration put out, you’ll see they were really focused on worship, the importance of being able to practice within the four walls of a church. But they were hostile to religious speech, hostile to religious exercise, anything within the workplace. They’d say, ‘You shouldn’t have this job. You’re a second-class citizen if you’re unwilling to perform same-sex marriage services, or to accept the contraceptive mandate, or hand out these drugs. That makes you unfit for a specific position in the market.’ ”
Ms. Alvarado describes this kind of hard line on religious exercise as “unprecedented, unlike anything we’d seen before in our country.” While not all American presidents have great track records on religious liberty, the others in her lifetime do. “ Bill Clinton, obviously, was the one who signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law, so he gets a gold star,” she says. (RFRA was the law under which Hobby Lobby prevailed in 2014.) “ George W. Bush gets a gold star as well. He did a lot of great work to make sure religious communities had expressive rights.” The Obama administration, by contrast, authorized “direct, government-enforced action, and a wielding of the force of the state against conscience.”