Donald Trump is hardly in a position to be turning away votes, but in a rally on Wednesday, he seemed to be doing exactly that. He made it very clear that non-Christians, even conservative non-Christians, aren’t welcome.
He may have been joking when he asked the Christian conserve alive group if there are any non-Christians, and if so, what should be done with them, but that’s beside the point.
The comment, which Trump made in jest, came as Trump was applauding a Christian conservative group for supporting him. “We have our Christian Conservatives for Trump today, and they’re in the room. Let’s go. That’s what we want. That’s beautiful,” Trump said, holding up a sign a pro-Trump group uses.
He then asked rallygoers to raise their hands if they were Christian conservatives — before asking non-Christian conservatives to do so as well, and a few raised their hands.
“Raise your hand, Christian conservatives, everybody. Raise your hand if you’re not a Christian conservative. I want to see this, right. Oh, there’s a couple people, that’s all right,” Trump said smiling, waving his hand in the air. “I think we’ll keep them. Should we keep them in the room? Yes? I think so.”
Source: Washington Post
Here’s the video:
First off, as a joke, it fails on almost every measure. It’s simply not funny, but on a more serious note, this is classic Trump. Our nation is as divided as its been in most of our lifetimes and Trump is all about further dividing us. It’s bad enough that he wants to ban Muslims from our country, ban dissenters from his rallies and ban reporters from his campaign. He’s even banned people for simply being black.
Discrimination toward non-Christians is a serious problem in this country.
It’s not like the systematic economic apartheid African Americans experience, or the systematic enforcement of rigid gender roles women experience. It takes other forms: such as social ostracism; bullying in schools; public schools denying atheist students the right to form clubs; religious proselytizing promoted by the government; widespread perceptions of atheists as untrustworthy; businesses denying equal access to atheists and atheist organizations; government promotion of religion in social service programs; government promotion of religion in the military. And it’s true that atheists have significant legal protection in the United States: people sometimes break those laws, and those laws aren’t always enforced, but we do have these laws, and they do help.
For Republicans, I would imagine, it could be even worse, where they are severely outnumbered, and where the entire social platform is about so-called Christian values. More importantly, Trump (like Clinton) needs every vote he can get and even joking about excluding a portion of his base is stupid. Besides, the excuse for pretty much every time Trump offends someone is that he was just joking, much like every 5th grade bully who gets caught.
Hillary Clinton would be more than happy to welcome all non-Christians, whether they be conservative or liberal, simply because we are not a Christian country.
Featured image via Spencer Platt/Getty Images.