"One of the biggest applause lines of Pete Buttigieg's latest trip to Iowa came when he said: 'Faith isn't the property of one political party.'" So starts a June 12 Politico article by Elena Schneider titled "Democrats make a play for faith voters turned off by Trump."
Buttigieg is correct. Political parties are groups of individuals, known as party constituents, with similar political goals and opinions, whose purpose it is to get candidates who represent their values elected to public office. The ultimate battle in America is between two competing religions vying for control of the public square: Christianity versus secularism.
Pete Buttigieg, it may be recalled, is the "openly gay, happily married" Millennial presidential candidate portrayed by the media as a "devout Christian." The "devout" Buttigieg lately appears to be trying to recast biblical Christianity to fit his own image. Entering into marriage with his male companion, Chasten Buttigieg, has moved him, as he says, "closer to God."
"But the Democratic focus on religion comes with a new twist," the Politico article continues. "While some previous Democratic candidates have used their faith to connect with conservative or traditionalist voters, 2020 hopefuls like Pete Buttigieg, Kirsten Gillibrand, Cory Booker and others are using their religion to justify liberal positions on same-sex marriage, abortion and other policy areas that have traditionally animated the conservative religious right in the other direction."
"Buttigieg, the openly gay mayor of South Bend, Indiana, went viral in April saying that Vice President Mike Pence's 'quarrel, sir, is with my Creator' if he had a problem with Buttigieg's sexuality. Gillibrand has championed abortion rights by squaring her support through her belief in 'free will, a core tenet of Christianity.'"
While clearly unable to uphold abortion on the basis of Scripture, Gillibrand frames the debate around "free will." Yet, in her effort to obfuscate the moral dilemma of ending a human being's life in utero, Gillibrand, like Buttigieg, makes up her own religion.
That America has been reduced to a biblically illiterate nation, replaced by a secular culture diametrically opposite to the foundation and structure laid down by America's Founding Fathers, provides secularists such as Buttigieg and Gillibrand with an advantage.
Learning to read in early America was accomplished by Bible reading, thereby establishing a culture securely anchored in the Judeo-Christian worldview. Worried about the state of 18th-century education, Founder Fisher Ames, one of the authors of the First Amendment, observed: "We've become accustomed of late of putting little books into the hands of children containing fables and moral lessons. We are spending less time in the classroom on the Bible, which should be the principal text of our schools."
The key ingredients of the founders' formula for sustaining freedom were virtue and good character. With the emphasis of religion in early America thus being placed on education and culture, the 13 original colonies adopted Christianity as America's "official religion" in their charters and Constitutions.
Which brings us to contemporary America. Neither secularism or paganism nor religious neutrality establishes or produces liberty. Exactly the opposite, as Os Guinness points out: "The plain fact is that no free and lasting civilization anywhere in history has so far been built on atheist foundations."
The American conservative journalist and author M. Stanton Evans [1934-2015] insightfully offered that "If we want to grow orchids instead of weeds, it is well to know what kind of climate, soil and nurture are congenial to orchids; ignorance of or indifference to these matters will predictably result in failure. Ignorance of or indifference to the safeguards needed for the growth of liberty will issue in a like result, but with effects more baleful to consider."
According to the Politico article: "What Gillibrand calls the 'misuse by the Republican right of faith-driven people' started well before Trump, she said in an interview with Politico before a Sunday church service in Iowa. 'I think there's [now] a reclamation to say, well, if you really are driven by the gospel, you should feed the poor, you should help the weak, you should help the vulnerable.'"
Gillibrand is trying to communicate that her definition of Christian responsibility to "feed the poor, help the weak and vulnerable" is the responsibility of the state.
Former Ohio Congressman Bob McEwen offers the perfect rejoinder: "God ordained three institutions in Scripture: the family, the church and government. He calls upon you, me and the church to care for the needy. I don't need a book of the Bible, I don't need a chapter, just give me one verse, in the Old or New Testament, where God calls for using the confiscatory power of the state (read IRS) to steal from one person and give to another."
As Christians, we are called upon to accept this responsibility.
As a consequence of the last century's spiritual dumbing down of America, we find ourselves in the middle of a "revolution involved [in] the overturning of all laws rooted in Christian doctrine regarding divorce, homosexuality, abortion and the purge of all Christian symbols, books and practices from public schools. This revolution [is] about de-Christianizing and secularizing America." The result is a new religion, established by secular humanists. A direct threat to Western civilization, this new religion declares who to worship and how to worship, while redefining God's moral laws.
"There is nothing remarkable in one believing what all his associates believe," A.W. Pink insists, "but to have faith when surrounded by skeptics, is something noteworthy. To stand alone, to be the solitary champion of a righteous cause when all others are federated unto evil, is a rare sight."
Gideons and Rahabs are beginning to stand.
David Lane is the founder of American Renewal Project.
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