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Democrats and religion, Trump and QAnon

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


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

Democrats and religion, Trump and QAnon
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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.


Jamie Dean

Jamie is national editor of WORLD Magazine. She is a World Journalism Institute graduate and previously worked for The Charlotte World. Jamie has covered politics, disasters, religion, and more for WORLD. She resides in Charlotte, N.C.

@deanworldmag

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