Donald Trump is moving to solidify his already pretty darn solid support from evangelical Christians with a little good old-fashioned pandering. Yes, it’s “religious freedom” time again at the White House, where “religious freedom” applies overwhelmingly to those poor oppressed Christians. The Trump administration is issuing a guidance requiring—as a condition of federal funding—public schools to affirm, every year, that their policies don’t prevent prayer. State departments of education would then be required to report to the federal government on both what local schools said about their policies and on any complaints that a school had prevented someone from constitutionally protected prayer.
The Education Department will then presumably throw out any complaints by Muslims kept from praying while launching major, highly publicized investigations of any complaints by Christians.
In addition to this new guidance for public elementary and secondary schools, a separate proposed rule would put “religious student groups on equal footing with secular student groups at public institutions of higher education.” Other proposals would apply to nine other federal agencies, including the departments of Agriculture, Justice, Labor, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs, Health and Human Services, Education, and Housing and Urban Development.
”President Trump is committed to making sure that people of faith, particularly children, are not subjected to illegal punishment or pressure for exercising their constitutionally protected rights,” Joe Grogan, head of Trump’s Domestic Policy Council, told reporters. Which would be a nice pledge if the Trump administration hadn’t demonstrated again and again that it only thinks freedom applies to white Christians.