Trump: Terrorism Threatens Religious Freedom Everywhere

In celebration of Easter, President Trump directed his weekly address to the victims of ISIS bombings in Egypt, two of which claimed lives in Coptic Christian churches last weekend. In his speech, Trump emphasized the threat ISIS poses to religious freedom all over the world.

“This Easter Sunday, Christians celebrate the resurrection of Christ and the promise of eternal salvation,” Trump said. “It is a holy day of reverence and worship. It is a sacred time that fills the spirit of our nation with the faith of our people.”

Trump noted that freedom to worship formed the backbone of the country’s formation.

“That is the promise the first settlers saw in our vast continent, and it is the promise that our bravest warriors have protected for all of our citizens in centuries since,” he said. “Sadly, many around the globe do not enjoy this freedom—and one of the gravest threats to religious freedom remains the threat of terror.

“On Palm Sunday, as Christians around the world celebrate the beginning of Holy Week, ISIS murdered at least 45 people and injured over 100 others at two Christian churches in Egypt,” Trump continued. “We condemn this barbaric attack. We mourn for those who lost loved ones, and we pray for the strength and wisdom to achieve a better tomorrow. One where good people of all faiths –  Christians and Muslims and Jewish and Hindu – can follow their hearts and worship according to their conscience.”

Trump said that while terrorism would not be easily conquered, he was certain that liberty would ultimately win out over Islamic terror.

“With God’s grace, life always triumphs over death, freedom overcomes oppression, and faith extinguishes fear. This is the source of our hope—and our confidence in the future,” Trump said.

It might be a case of reading too much into it, but there’s a striking similarity between this kind of address and the kind you might expect from Obama, Bush, etc. It certainly doesn’t sound like the Donald Trump of 2016, who was not even slightly afraid of drawing distinctions between Islam and the other major religions.

It’s probably not a good idea to start panicking based on the president’s lighter tone, but when you put it together with the ascendant Kushner/Ivanka wing of the White House and the apparent minimization of Steve Bannon, you have to start wondering. Have the McMasters of the administration talked Trump into their “Islam is not the enemy” way of thinking?

Trump was elected because he was not afraid to embrace positions that your average Republican wanted nothing to do with. If his transition into “becoming presidential” includes adopting those weaker, meaningless positions on issues like Islamic terrorism, illegal immigration, and so on, we can only hope it never fully materializes.

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