Commentary

Trump Mute on Moral Issues

Bill Donohue
By Bill Donohue | March 1, 2017 | 9:45 AM EST

President Donald Trump addresses a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jim Lo Scalzo)

President Trump raised everyone's expectations by delivering a powerful speech last night outlining his agenda for defense, jobs, infrastructure, healthcare, education, immigration, and other policy matters. But he said not a word about moral issues.

The following words were never mentioned: abortion, assisted suicide, religion, religious liberty, and religious exemptions. The closest Trump came was to include support for religious schools in his school choice proposal.

While Trump is correct to cite education as a civil rights issue, he is wrong to say it is "the civil rights issue of our time." To be sure, children have a right to a good education, but that is predicated on their right to be born, a right that does not exist.

The fight for religious exemptions, as a cornerstone of religious liberty, is being waged with ferocity across the nation. One might have thought that a president, who has floated a very fine draft of an executive order on religious liberty, might have made mention of this subject, if not the draft, in his remarks.

The problem with Trump's speech is that it only spoke about missiles and markets, never citing morality. This is popular with many Republicans, whose only goals are making money and protecting national security. But without demonstrating a concern for the moral order, the two "M's" of missiles and markets are an insufficient condition of the good society: the third "M," morality, must be added if success is to be achieved.

Bill Donohue is President and CEO of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, the nation's largest Catholic civil rights organization. He was awarded his Ph.D. in sociology from New York University and is the author of seven books and many articles.

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