Ex-President Trump has promised his base that he will expand his previous travel ban and start “ideological screenings” of immigrants, rejecting anyone who doesn’t “like our religion,” if he gets elected again.
“We don’t want you in our country,” Trump has added.
The FFRF Action Fund reminds Trump that the United States does not have a religion, much less a collective one — despite the efforts of white Christian nationalists who make up Trump’s most ardent supporters. The very notion of a former president referring to a national religion — and refusing entry to those who don’t “like” that religion — is fundamentally un-American and a betrayal of the Bill of Rights.
In 2018, the Trump administration convinced a narrow 5-4 majority of the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold its ban on immigration from a group of Muslim-majority countries. The court’s packed majority bought into the lie that the ban was a matter of national security rather than the obvious reality that it was religiously motivated discrimination. FFRF filed an amicus brief against the ban, pointing out that it contributed to violence and bigotry not only against Muslims but against immigrants more broadly.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor blasted that 2018 ruling in memorable fashion, writing that the decision “leaves undisturbed a policy first advertised openly and unequivocally as a ‘total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States’ because the policy now masquerades behind a façade of national-security concerns.”
Once again, Trump is openly promising to ban non-Christians from entering the United States, in clear defiance of the Constitution’s guarantee of religious liberty. But he’s gone one step further in openly espousing that the United States has a state religion — and obviously a Christian one. In fact there are more than 200 Christian denominations in the United States who disagree with each other on numerous points of doctrine; there is no unified “Christian religion.” Trump clearly means a white Christian nationalist form of Christianity and is espousing that certain kinds of Christians are “more equal” than everyone else.
Trump’s vow is particularly misplaced given that those identifying as Christians are at a new low, about 64 percent of Americans (including children), dropping from 90 percent in the early 1990s. Pew Research reports that in each new generation, 31 percent of Christians become religiously unaffiliated before they turn 30, while a smaller percentage of the unaffiliated become Christian. It projects that by 2070, only one-third to slightly more than half of Americans will identify as Christian, while the nonreligious (“Nones”) will rise from the current 30 percent to as much as 52 percent of the U.S. population. The shrinking numbers of Christians help explain today’s desperate Christian nationalist backlash.
“The Supreme Court’s failure to hold Trump accountable in 2018 is leading to a predictable repeat of history,” comments Ryan Jayne, senior policy counsel with the FFRF Action Fund. “Trump now thinks the Constitution doesn’t apply to him. The justices knew this was a choice between Trump and the Constitution, and unfortunately only four justices chose to stand up for true religious liberty.”
The FFRF Action Fund is committed to advancing policies that promote true religious freedom, which includes reminding lawmakers and candidates about their duty to uphold America’s godless and entirely secular Constitution — protecting the religious liberty of all.
FFRF Action Fund is a 501(c)(4) organization that develops and advocates for legislation, regulations and government programs to preserve the constitutional principle of separation between state and church. It also advocates for the rights and views of nonbelievers, endorses candidates for political office, and publicizes the views of elected officials concerning religious liberty issues. FFRF Action Fund serves as the advocacy arm of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, which has more than 40,000 members and works to keep religion out of government and educate the public about nontheism.