Gov. John Kasich walked back his comments on religious liberty and commerce, but will it be enough to convince Christians he's on their side?
At the GOP presidential debate on February 25 in Texas, Gov. Kasich was asked his views on the religious liberty of Christian business people to maintain their faith at work.
"The court has ruled and I've moved on," he responded. "I mean, if you're in the business of commerce, conduct commerce, and if you don't agree with their lifestyle, say a prayer for them when they leave and hope they change their behavior."
News website Politico reported that Kasich had struck a "moderate" tone when addressing the issue, though such an observation didn't sit well for many Christians who have witnessed photographers, bakers, florists, and t-shirt designers punished for their beliefs.
A week later, at the March 3 debate, Kasich revealed he had flip-flopped (see video below) on the issue.
It's a "whole other issue," he said, if a store owner is asked to participate in an event they disagree with - even though that, too, is commerce.
"If you go to a photographer to take pictures at your wedding and he says, I'd rather not do it, find another photographer," Kasich said. "Don't sue them in court."
Travis Weber of the Family Research Council says it's doubtful that appealing to the better angels of homosexual activists is going to work
"There's nothing to indicate that they're going to listen to his advice," Weber observers, "and the activists looking to make everyone conform will not sue."
More importantly, he adds, even Kasich's revised answer is not the clarion call to religious freedom a presidential candidate should have. With religious freedom under attack, he says, the next president should be clear – and consistent – about his views.