POLITICS
02/25/2016 11:03 pm ET Updated Dec 28, 2016

GOP Candidates Are All About Religious Liberty, As Long As You Don't Ask About Muslims

Religious liberty for some, miniature American flags for others.

The issue of religious liberty is not very broad in the GOP.

At Thursday's Republican presidential debate, candidates were asked who could be most trusted to appoint judges who would defend the first right laid down in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Their answers centered entirely around Christianity, the right to discriminate against gay people and fruit salad.

Billionaire real estate mogul Donald Trump, who has proposed a complete shutdown of all Muslim immigrants into the U.S. and targeting of mosques, claimed he would stand up for religious liberty. Then he attacked Texas Sen. Ted Cruz for supporting Chief Justice John Roberts' nomination to the Supreme Court more than a decade ago.

This touched off a prolonged back and forth, in which Cruz appeared to suggest he may be a "crazy zealot" for religious liberty, as long as the religion in question isn't Islam -- Cruz has also called for increased monitoring of the Muslim community.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who accused President Barack Obama of "pitting people against each other" by visiting a mosque, chimed in to attack Trump for being a former liberal who supports Planned Parenthood. 

Ohio Gov. John Kasich bravely argued that Christian bakers should just go ahead and make cupcakes for gay weddings already.

"If you're in the business of commerce, conduct commerce," he said. "And if you don't agree with their lifestyle, say a prayer for them when they leave and hope they change their behavior."

The last word went to retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who claimed that giving the LGBT community equal rights was actually giving them extra rights. He then promised that if voters gave him the duty of appointing judges, he'd make sure to take a long, hard look at "the fruit salad of their life" before making any final decisions.

What further concerns could anyone possibly have about religious liberty?

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