Kelly Duarte: Asad and Trump’s Prayer Breakfast

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Almost three weeks ago, Trump attended the National Prayer Breakfast and talked about the several ways he wants to prioritize religion in his presidency. He claims he wants to stop terrorism and protect Middle Eastern Christians from persecution. He instills fear by talking about all the horrific crimes that ISIS is committing in the Middle East. He briefly talks about how Muslims and Jewish people are also brutalized by ISIS and states that the biggest threat to religious freedom is terrorism. Another alarming religious statement that he makes is his plan to abolish the Johnson Amendment, which makes religious institution endorsements illegal. This plan could make it possible for churches, while remaining tax-exempt, to do donate to political parties or candidates.
Based on this article, it’s obvious that Trump want’s to return to a certain type of religious nationalism, one that promotes Christianity. According to Pew, 57% of White Protestants echo this agreement. The irony is not lost that although it seems that many want to return to a Christian nation yet are fearful of a Muslim one. Talal Asad writes in “The Construction of Religion as an Anthropological Category”, that “Yet this separation of religion from power is a modern Western norm, the product of a unique Post-Reformation history. The attempt to understand Muslim tradition by insisting that in them religion and politics..are coupled must, in my view, lead to failure.”
Despite the fact that Trump talks about religious freedom, he keeps emphasizing on Christianity, which has some Americans ferverously supporting him and others afraid that he will use this religious point of view to limit the freedoms of others.


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