Watch for yourself how he answers. The Federalist translates it as “God’s Great, But Let’s Talk About My Amazing Business Deals.” I mean this in all sincerity: As an atheist, I respect Trump for not even trying to BS his supporters with a smoothly rehearsed answer about the extent of his Christian devotion. It’d be the easiest thing in the world for him to call up a socially conservative friend and ask for pointers on how he should respond to questions like this to impress evangelicals, then script a tidy 30-second response. He doesn’t even need pointers, really; anyone who’s heard politicians talk about their religious beliefs already knows what’s called for in a situation like this. You talk about moments when you’ve struggled and your faith has sustained you, about giving back to others through public service as a way of thanking God for His many blessings, and about needing a strong moral compass when there’s so much evil and temptation in the world.
Trump offers something instead about the wonders of creation, but even that’s filtered through the prism of how awesome his golf course is, which, by the way, he bought for a song, presumably another sign of God’s grace. (“I have no more mortgage on it as I will certify and represent to you.”) Says Charles Cooke, describing the clip, “Donald Trump explains God’s under-discussed role as Overseer of Kickass Property Deals.” That’s funny, but I’m legitimately impressed that Trump seems content to stick with answers like this about faith knowing that they’re not, shall we say, Biblically conversant. Maybe that’s pure arrogance at work — if he could talk his way into a billion-dollar fortune and presidential frontrunner status, he figures, he can talk his way past the evangelical voting bloc in Iowa — or maybe he thinks it’s more important to protect his image as the non-politician in the race with awkwardly candid responses than to suddenly start delivering too-smooth answers about Christianity. Whatever you think the truth is, the fact remains that he’s not pandering much to believers. He’ll allow that the Bible is the one book ever written that’s better than “The Art of the Deal,” but that’s about it.
Speaking of which, is his new policy on Syrian refugees what we’d call the proper Christian policy? I’m not saying it’s the wrong policy. But I’m pretty sure our Papal guest this week would disagree with Trump on this one:
“This is very simple, the bottom line is we should take in zero,” [Trump campaign manager Corey] Lewandowski said when asked by radio host John Fredericks what a President Trump would do about the refugee crisis.
“And the Untied States, to be clear, has a process for bringing refugees into the country, and an individual must qualify as a refugee to begin that process, is how it works. Individuals caught in a civil war do not necessarily qualify as refugees,” Lewandowski continued…
“While I understand our position in the global economy, and how important the United States is in world public affairs, it is time to look at the people who are in our country first who are struggling — the middle class, the bottom class of people who can’t survive — and give them opportunities,” said Lewandowski. “And this is exactly what the issue is, when it comes to not just bringing in refugees, but illegal immigrants.
Before anyone starts tut-tutting him about that reply, bear in mind that (a) Assad is aggressively trying to depopulate the Sunni areas of Syria, meaning there’ll be many millions more refugees in time and endless pressure on the U.S. to keep accepting them as they come, and (b) many of the “Syrian refugees” now crowding into Europe aren’t Syrian refugees at all. They’re migrants from across the Middle East posing as Syrians to claim asylum. What’s the U.S. protocol for distinguishing the genuine article from people merely posing as Syrians who are trying to escape Assad’s horrors?