Well, today was the National Prayer Breakfast, a sure violation of the First Amendment, but it keeps going on, year after year. Trump spoke, embarrassing himself with the usual spontaneous mind dump, and I’m just going to reproduce the email I get with my CNN alerts. The reportage, and video below, need little commentary.
At the National Prayer Breakfast, a solemn occasion with a rich history, President Trump spent more than a minute talking about his former reality show “The Apprentice.”He used the occasion to jokingly call for prayers for its new host Arnold Schwarzenegger.
“Ratings went right down the tubes. It’s been a total disaster,” he said. [JAC: Start listening to this bit at 12:45]
The keynote speaker at the National Prayer Breakfast was Barry Black, the chaplain of the United States Senate. Moved by Black’s remarks, Trump lauded him. “I don’t know if you’re Democrat or Republican, but I’m appointing you for another year. The hell with it.”
Here’s Trump’s speech in full, although there was much osculation of faith by other people. The President (oy!) starts speaking at 9:45. Like his speech on Martin Luther King Day, this is absolutely unbelievable:
Trump also told the audience that when they hear of the tough phone calls he’s having with foreign leaders, not to worry about it. [JAC: This is at 21:07 in the video above.]
Trump abruptly ended the call because he was unhappy, a source said.
All this a day after a call with Mexico’s President, where a transcript showed Trump complaining about Mexico’s “handling” of “tough hombres.”
And I’ll add this from The Independent, reporting Trump’s vehement vow at the Prayer Breakfast to get rid of the “Johnson Amendment.” That law, passed in 1954 and named after its sponsor Lyndon Johnson, helps keep church and government separate in America:
President Donald Trump has announced he will “get rid of and totally destroy” a 60-year-old rule that blocks tax-exempt religious groups from endorsing or opposing political candidates. [JAC: This is at 20:05 in the video above.]
The so-called Johnson amendment was introduced by then-Senator Lyndon B Johnson in 1954. It threatens churches and other religious institutions with the loss of their tax-exempt status should they overstep the mark.
At the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington DC on Thursday Mr Trump said: “Jefferson asked, ‘Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God?’ Among those freedoms is the right to worship according to our own beliefs. That is why I will get rid of and totally destroy the Johnson amendment and allow our representatives of faith to speak freely and without fear of retribution—I will do that.”
Finally, your reading today on this topic is from The Nation, “Leaked draft of Trump’s religious freedom order reveals sweeping plans to legalize discrimination.” A excerpt:
Sean Spicer told reporters, “I’m not getting ahead of the executive orders that we may or may not issue. There is a lot of executive orders, a lot of things that the president has talked about and will continue to fulfill, but we have nothing on that front now.”The draft order seeks to create wholesale exemptions for people and organizations who claim religious or moral objections to same-sex marriage, premarital sex, abortion, and trans identity, and it seeks to curtail women’s access to contraception and abortion through the Affordable Care Act. The White House did not respond to requests for comment, but when asked Monday about whether a religious freedom executive order was in the works, White House spokesman