Editor's Note: This is part 1 of a two-part article. Watch for part 2, coming soon on Charisma News.
President Trump receives nonstop criticism in the press. I agree that criticism is necessary when a president makes mistakes, but where are the voices expressing appreciation for the good things Trump has done? It's unfair always to criticize and never to recognize any of the good things a president has done.
It might be a refreshing change to recall some of the remarkable, nation-changing good things that Trump has accomplished for America. Here is my personal list. At the end of this list, I address the question, "Are these actions an indication of divine judgment or divine blessing on the United States of America?"
Because of space limitations, I have not given extensive arguments explaining why I think these actions are good for the United States. But more extensive arguments can be found in my books Christian Ethics, Politics According to the Bible and The Poverty of Nations.
1. Judges: Trump has appointed two Supreme Court justices, 53 federal appellate judges and 146 District Court judges (as well as two judges for the Court of International Trade ) who have been confirmed by the Senate so far. In addition, 64 more have been appointed and are awaiting Senate confirmation. All of them are committed to interpreting the Constitution and laws according to the original meaning of the words, rather than according to what a modern liberal judge thinks the law should have said.
As an evangelical Christian, I am glad to see that Trump's two Supreme Court appointments have already been responsible for highly significant cases that increase religious freedom, such as the decisions 1) to allow state aid that is given to nonreligious schools to be given also to religious schools (Montana decision), 2) to protect the right of religious schools to hire and fire employees based on the school's religious convictions and 3) to allow religious groups to be exempt from government regulations that would otherwise cause them to violate their consciences in matters of birth control (and, by implication, probably in matters of abortion and same-sex marriage, but that has not yet been tested).
2. Historic tax cuts and deregulation: After eight years of high unemployment and meager growth under President Obama's administration, the Trump tax cuts of 2017 and Trump's extensive canceling of excessive government regulations on businesses have given a tremendous boost to the American economy. An estimated 25,000 pages of regulations have been canceled, resulting in a savings of $3,100 per household per year. Another result of tax cuts combined with deregulation has been the addition of thousands of new jobs, so that unemployment (before the coronavirus crisis) fell to the lowest point in 50 years, and unemployment among African American and Hispanic workers was the lowest it has ever been in history.
On Election Day 2016 (Nov. 8, 2016), the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 18,332.74.
This afternoon (Aug. 28, 2020, at 2:44 p.m.) it stands at 28,618.39 which is an increase of 56% in 3.5 years, even including several months of the coronavirus epidemic. This is remarkable.
These economic changes affect ordinary people's everyday lives, not just wealthy people. Tens of thousands of people who were unemployed have recovered the dignity of steady employment (including getting paid during the coronavirus crisis). Millions of ordinary Americans whose retirement savings are partially invested in the stock market (including my wife and me) are finally receiving some protection and even growth in their savings.
3. Building a stronger U.S. military: Reversing the massive budget cuts that had seriously weakened our military under the Obama administration, President Trump has increased military spending by nearly $150 billion per year from $605 billion in 2016 to $750 billion, steadily rebuilding US military readiness.
4. Protecting unborn babies: Numerous executive orders have increasingly restricted government funding for abortions (such as the reinstatement of the Mexico City policy). On Feb. 22, 2019, the Trump administration announced that it would not allow organizations that provide referrals for abortions to receive federal family-planning money, which implies a cut in funding for Planned Parenthood (the nation's largest abortion provider) unless they perform abortions in a separate facility and not refer patients to it. And on May 2, 2019, the Trump administration's Department of Health and Human Services issued a new rule protecting health care workers who decline on the basis of conscience or religious conviction to participate in procedures such as abortion or assisted suicide. Trump was the first president ever to personally attend the pro-life March for Life in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 24, 2020.
5. Expanding educational freedom: President Trump appointed Betsy DeVos, one of America's leading advocates for greater school choice, to be Secretary of Education, resulting in rising support for charter schools, taxpayer-funded vouchers and tax credits for private-school vouchers, programs aimed at expanding options for parents looking beyond traditional public schools as she brings attention to them.
6. Standing with Israel: Reversing President Obama's repeated marginalization and shunning of Israel, President Trump has reaffirmed our commitment to support and defend Israel. He decisively moved the United States Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. He recognized the Golan Heights as part of Israel. He has welcomed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House several times and has repeatedly reaffirmed our support for Israel. I recently read in the Jerusalem Post a statement that Israel has never had a better friend in the White House than Donald Trump.
7. Negotiating a historic agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates: On Aug.13, 2020, President Trump announced that Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) had come to a historic agreement to establish full diplomatic relations between the two countries, including the establishment of permanent embassies and the beginning of direct airline flights between the two countries. This is important because Dubai, the largest city in the UAE, is the leading financial center in the Middle East and plays a leading role in world air travel and tourism. The agreement will "strengthen regional checks on Iranian power." It also has the potential to set a pattern for future agreements establishing peaceful relations between Israel and other Arab countries in the Middle East.
8. Actually building a border wall: President Trump has relentlessly battled against Democratic stonewalling and liberal federal judges to build an effective, secure border wall along more than 200 miles of our southern border, and it could possibly reach as much as 450 miles by the end of 2020. Critics object that most of this construction is simply replacing old barriers that were already in place, but they fail to recognize that the government's first priority has been to secure the highest traffic areas, and in many of those areas the old fence was not up to the job. An effective border wall is absolutely necessary to keep our nation secure and to gain some control over an immigration crisis that has spiraled out of control. It won't stop all illegal immigration, but eventually it will likely stop over 95% of people who try to enter on foot.
This is important, because once the American people feel that the border is secure, it will be much easier to gain the political consensus necessary for a humane and just solution regarding the undocumented immigrants who are already here, and for widespread support for the legal entry of large numbers of immigrants who will contribute much of value to this great nation.
9. Comprehensive immigration reform proposals: President Trump has proposed and worked for sensible, comprehensive reform of our broken immigration system that would change our policy on legal immigration from a system based on extended family connections and randomness to a system based on merit, so that we prioritize admitting people who will be most likely to contribute positively to American society (as well as those who are escaping from genuine threats to their lives in their homelands).
10. Religious freedom and freedom of conscience: President Trump's administration has repeatedly and continually worked to defend religious freedom, and his Justice Department has defended religious freedom in numerous court cases, such as supporting the case of Colorado cake designer Jack Phillips at the Supreme Court (Phillips faced massive fines for politely declining to design a cake celebrating a same-sex wedding), and the right of faith-based organizations not to be forced to provide access to abortifacients through their health care plans, overturning the Obamacare HHS regulation that had forced them to do so.
In addition, in the first year of Trump's presidency, the Department of Justice issued a strongly worded, 25-page memorandum detailing exceptionally strong protections for religious liberty.
11. Withdrawing from Paris climate accord: President Trump wisely and decisively removed United States from the Paris climate accord, a radical environmentalist program which, according to a Heritage Foundation study, would have brought massive increases to U.S. energy prices with no statistically significant benefit to the environment. Doubling or tripling of U.S. energy costs (as under the Paris climate accord, according to the Heritage Foundation) would have harmed the poor most of all as they spend the highest portion of their budgets on energy. In addition, it would have cost America more than 206,000 jobs by 2040.
12. Energy production and energy independence: President Trump gave approval to the Keystone pipeline, the Dakota access pipeline and oil production from the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge, a vast uninhabited region which could produce up to 20% of our petroleum needs. His administration has also granted more permits for mining of oil, gas and coal from federal lands. The result has been lower energy prices (which benefits everyone) and also U.S. energy independence so that we are now becoming the leading exporter rather than a net importer of energy.
13. Waterways of the U.S.: The Trump administration's decision to abandon the "waterways of the U.S." policy rightfully returned control of water on private lands to the owners of those lands, rather than the federal government seizing control over nearly all waterways in the United States. These rules have hindered farmers, ranchers and developers. American Farm Bureau Chairman Zippy Duvall praised the action, saying: "Farmers and ranchers care about clean water and preserving the land, which are essential to producing healthy food and fiber and ensuring future generations can do the same. That's why we support the new clean water rule. It provides clarity and certainty, allowing farmers to understand water regulations without having to hire teams of consultants and lawyers. We appreciate the commitment of the agencies involved and this administration to crafting a new regulation that achieves important regulatory oversight while allowing farmers to farm. Clean water, clear rules."
14. Halting the increase in Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards: The Trump administration decision halted the Obama-imposed harsh annual increases in projected average miles per gallon required in new cars every year. This decision will lead to more consumer choice and less expensive and safer cars, which is much better than the Democratic policy of ever-higher mileage goals, requiring ever-lighter and smaller cars, which means more dangerous cars and less consumer choice.
15. Defeating ISIS: President Trump gave our military forces the freedom to defeat ISIS and drive them out of large sections of Iraq and Syria, which they did. This is far superior to the Democratic policy of inaction and appeasement, which had allowed ISIS to take over large areas of the Middle East. Under President Trump's leadership, U.S. military forces located and killed ISIS founder and terrorist leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on Oct. 26-27, 2019. President Trump also directed the killing of Iranian terrorist mastermind Qasem Soleimani on Jan. 2, 2020.
Wayne Grudem is distinguished research professor of theology and biblical studies at Phoenix Seminary in Arizona. The views expressed in this article represent the views of the author and should not be understood to represent the position of Phoenix Seminary.
This article originally appeared attownhall.com.
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