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Democrats and religion, Trump and QAnon

A political convention and a presidential press briefing leave more questions than answers

Democrats and religion, Trump and QAnon

Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden and wife Jill at the Democratic National Convention Thursday (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool)

Democrats wrapped up their first virtual convention on Thursday night, after four days of mostly remote programming in the COVID-19 era. Republicans will follow a similar pattern next week.

Former Vice President Joe Biden accepted his party’s presidential nomination, promising to “overcome this season of darkness” in the country. Other speakers included Sen. Chris Coons, the Democrat who fills the Senate seat Biden once held in Delaware. Coons spoke of Biden’s faith, saying it “isn’t a prop or a political tool.” He said Biden, a Catholic, is “a man of prayer.”

Democrats addressed religion in their party’s platform as well, with an interesting twist: In the party’s draft platform, the section on civil rights omitted “religion” from the list of categories the party pledged to protect against discrimination. The final version of the platform that Democrats approved this week included the word “religion.” 

The final version also talked about the importance of religious freedom: The document said Democrats will advocate for religious freedom around the world, and “protect the rights of each American for the free exercise of his or her own religion.”

But in the next paragraph, Democrats added: “We will reject the Trump Administration’s use of broad religious exemptions to allow businesses, medical providers, social service agencies, and others to discriminate.”

The document didn’t offer more details, but it does raise the ongoing question of how Democrats would handle religious liberty and conscience protections for some religious Americans.

Trump and Q

On Wednesday, Facebook officials announced they had removed 790 groups connected to QAnon and were restricting thousands more pages related to the outrageous online conspiracy theory popular among some supporters of President Donald Trump. 

On the same day, when reporters asked President Trump his thoughts about QAnon, he said he didn’t know much about the movement, but that he understands “they like me very much, which I appreciate.”  

When a reporter pressed Trump and told him that QAnon followers believe the president is “secretly saving the world from this satanic cult of pedophiles and cannibals,” Trump said he hadn’t heard that, but, “If I can help save the world from problems, I’m willing to do that.” 

Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., told The Washington Post: “QAnon is nuts—and real leaders call conspiracy theories conspiracy theories.”

On Friday, when CNN reporter John Brennan pressed Vice President Mike Pence about QAnon, Pence said: “I dismiss conspiracy theories out of hand.” But the vice president also seemed to downplay QAnon, calling it “a shiny object” the media is chasing. 

My colleague, Emily Belz, recently wrote about QAnon, including how some Christians are gravitating to the growing movement, and how churches are unprepared to respond

Donor warning

A recent survey conducted by the Cato Institute and YouGov found a sizable chunk of younger voters think donating to certain political candidates is a fireable offense. Some 44 percent of respondents younger than 30 said business leaders who donate to Trump should be fired. Twenty-seven percent said the same thing about Biden.

Bipartisan glimmer

Lest we think political differences make working together impossible, here’s news from the criminal justice front: A coalition of Christian groups including Prison Fellowship, the AND Campaign, World Relief, and the American Bible Society are partnering on a criminal justice reform push called the Prayer and Action Justice Initiative.

One of the leaders backing the group: Samuel Rodriquez, the head of the National Hispanic Christian leadership conference. Rodriguez led a prayer at Trump’s inauguration ceremony. 

Another backer: Gabriel Salguero, head of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition. Salguero spoke at this week’s Democratic National Convention.


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  • Steve Shive
    Posted: Sat, 08/22/2020 04:01 am

    Come on! What did they, or you, expect Trump or Pence to say about a cult? I agree with VP Pence,  “I dismiss conspiracy theories out of hand.” And also I'm glad he "also seemed to downplay QAnon, calling it 'a shiny object' the media is chasing." He should downplay it and get on with business in line with his role. The same with President Trump. I love his responses to the questions about a cult. 

    Of course we as individuals, and Christians should be aware and attentive. Are we expecting the government to protect us from everything and to address everything!?


  •  West Coast Gramma's picture
    West Coast Gramma
    Posted: Sat, 08/22/2020 06:14 pm

    Steve, Did you read the full length, excellent article by Emily Belz? Now that is good journalism. Neither the mainstream media nor World actually paid much upfront attention to the shiny, glittering object called QAnon, until it went mainstream. Now that mainstream politicians are beginning to embrace it, it behoves World and other responsible journalistic outlets to educate the public about this dangerous deception. Since even right leaning FaceBook is deleting QAnon, then we should pay attention. When Mike Flynn, who was the USA's first national security advisor under Trump, posts videos of himself embracing QAnon, it's time the mainstream, including World, pays attention.

  • Cyborg3's picture
    Posted: Mon, 08/24/2020 03:01 am

    West Coast Gramma, you seem to forget that Flynn was pushed out by the deep state that were listening in on his calls. It was a total witch hunt and the FBI agent's didn't even believe he intended to lie. They wanted Flynn to turn on Trump and give them dirt on him. They even threatened his son so that is why Flynn agreed to plead guilty. 


  • JerryM
    Posted: Sat, 08/22/2020 07:59 pm

    I have no problem with an article on QAnon or investigating President Trump's thoughts on the movement.  What troubles me is the false equivalence that seems implicit in the journalistic approach to the article.  As with "Biden's blunder and Trump vs. Twitter", another recent article, it is not the quantity of issues associated with each man but their quality.  

  • Cyborg3's picture
    Posted: Sun, 08/23/2020 10:53 pm

    Here is my conclusion paragraph from the other article about QAnon. Go there to read more. 

    World Magazine needs to be careful in their reporting on this topic because there are legitimate concerns such as the attempted coup on President Trump, the corrupt government officials (called the deep state), Hillary Clintons corruption with the Clinton Foundation and some others which need to be taken seriously. Labeling QAnon a cult is also unfair because it is just a political ideology which may be misguided but isn’t a spiritual cult bringing a false gospel with all the trappings of a cult. An interesting story would be on who is behind the QAnon phenomena.

  • VolunteerBB
    Posted: Sun, 08/23/2020 11:28 pm