Jeb Bush Answers Evangelicals’ Top Question

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Pastor Robert Jeffress lifted the veil on a private meeting the nation’s Christian leaders had with a half-dozen presidential hopefuls, revealing the top question evangelicals want candidates to answer: Do you plan to fight the persecution of Christians by ISIS abroad and by the secular Left at home? This week Jeb Bush answered that question loud, clear, and publicly.

Bush said the Obama administration has been six “rough years for religious charities and their right of conscience. And the leading Democratic candidate recently hinted of more trouble to come.”

Hillary Clinton, Bush said accurately, “insists that when the progressive agenda encounters religious beliefs to the contrary, those beliefs ‘have to be changed.’”

The former first lady made the comment before an international feminist conference co-sponsored by the New York Times (which did not report her comment).

He said the “most galling example” of the Left stomping on religious freedom “is the shabby treatment of the Little Sisters of the Poor,” a group of Catholic nuns whose life mission involves prayer and service to the poor, but who “dared to voice objections of conscience to ObamaCare.”

The nuns objected to being involved in providing abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraception to their employees. Now, the nuns find themselves in a position of having to ask for the right to follow their religious beliefs in their ministry.

It comes down to a choice between the Little Sisters and Big Brother, and I’m going with the Sisters,” Bush said.

Jeb then pivoted to the second half of the question, asking why President Obama “a few months ago thought it relevant at a prayer breakfast to bring up the Crusades. Americans don’t need lectures on the Middle Ages when we are dealing abroad with modern horrors committed by fanatics” – a clear reference to the public beheadings of Christians by ISIS and their Islamic fundamentalist allies.

Bush pledged to “rebuild our armed forces” and “rebuild our vital friendships. That starts by standing with the brave, democratic State of Israel.

On Hannity the next night, Bush answered several other questions evangelicals wanted answered: He said he is pro-life with “exceptions for rape [and] incest.” He added that he supports traditional marriage, but “I don’t think we should discriminate based on sexual preference.”

Whether those answers – and his stand on Common Core, trade, and amnesty for illegal aliens – will satisfy evangelicals as much remains an open question.

But he offered an impressive statement about their most pressing concern.