After anti-Trumpers condemned Cardinal Timothy Dolan for praising President Donald Trump for championing the faith of Americans like few presidents have, a Catholic leader has come to the defense of both.
After reviewing President Trump's record on religious freedom since taking office, Catholic League president Bill Donohue is lauding the chief executive for dozens of actions he's taken to protect and take back the constitutional right that has increasingly come under attack over the decades.
"I have a challenge to Dolan's critics …" Donohue states in a press release. "Read the [list of Trump's gains for religious freedom] and then provide evidence that President Obama outdid Trump on this score. I would love to see it."
Keeping the faith …
Donohue is referring to a list he compiled of 31 "Religious Liberty Actions Taken by President Trump," beginning in May 2017 when the president signed an executive order protecting religious organizations from discrimination. Donohue's list ends with the most recent entry: action taken by Trump's Department of Justice last month, when it released a statement in support of a Mississippi church that was fined for having a drive-in church service during the coronavirus pandemic.
Other victories listed include Trump signing another executive order that established a White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative in May 2018, which reads (in part):
"[The Initiative would] provide recommendations on the Administration's policy agenda affecting faith-based and community programs; provide recommendations on programs and policies where faith-based and community organizations may partner and/or deliver more effective solutions to poverty; apprise the Administration of any failures of the executive branch to comply with religious liberty protections under law; and reduce the burdens on the exercise of free religion."
Defending those who commend the president
Attacks from the left – including progressive Catholics – began after Trump requested Dolan initiate a conference call discussion with 600 Catholic educators on April 24 … and after the Catholic leader commended the president days later on Fox & Friends for doing so much to promote religious freedom.
Donohue goes to the heart of that criticism, referring to a piece he recently published on his website in Dolan's defense.
"Two columnists from the National Catholic Reporter – a publication that openly rejects the [Catholic] Church's teachings on marriage, the family, sexuality, priestly celibacy, ordination and other issues – were first out of the box to criticize Dolan," Donohue points out in that article.
"They were followed by a reporter for America magazine – a Jesuit publication whose theological meanderings have drawn the attention of the Vatican. Then came the letter to Dolan lecturing him on putting 'access to power before principles.'"
Donohue contends that those signing the letter had absolutely no allegiance to biblical teachings – especially those dealing with human sexuality.
"The letter campaign was funded by the number-one enemy of the Catholic Church – George Soros," he reveals. "The atheist billionaire funds John Gehring's Faith in Public Life, and the letter to Dolan was written on the organization's letterhead. Gehring was the first to sign it. It does not speak well for the Catholic signatories that they allowed themselves to be used by Soros."
The Catholic League president explains this isn't the only instance of Soros' anti-Catholic influence.
"[He] funds dozens of organizations – both nationally and internationally – that have attacked the Catholic Church," Donohue notes. "They range from Catholics for Choice – an anti-Catholic front group with no members – to a host of pro-abortion entities."
With Soros and other anti-Trumpers sharply criticizing anyone commending the president for defending people's God-given right to practice their faith, Donohue indicates their opposition to the president is also opposition to the president's protection of faith communities – including Catholics.
"[W]hen it comes to the defense of religious liberty, [Trump] is more Catholic than JFK was," Donohue concludes.