In essence, the Times is claiming that the Trump administration is not to be trusted when it defends religious freedom. The reason? Most Christians, the editorial suggests, are religious bigots who oppose freedom for others. But how does a newspaper that sees most American Catholics and Evangelicals as bigots have any standing to speak about the sort of religious liberty that its editorial page endorses?
How can we explain such unabashed religious bias, even in the context of an editorial claiming that the administration isn’t sincere about protecting religious freedom? Clearly, some liberals are questioning the legitimacy of the entire subject of religious liberty. Evangelicals and Catholics have found themselves under fire in the culture wars for refusing to accept federal mandates about abortion drugs and contraception or participation in gay weddings. Many Christians worry that religious freedom is being sacrificed here in the U.S. to encourage progressive social goals, such as the celebration of abortion and same-sex marriage. But leftists see such worries as a reason to distrust all calls to protect our “first freedom,” as Mike Pence called religious freedom in a recent speech.
The belief that conservative Christians are an obstacle to progressive measures is so ingrained among liberals that they often dismiss the genuine peril that this faith group faces throughout the Muslim world and in totalitarian countries.