A Vision of Division
January 22, 2013 - Tuesday
Of the two enduring themes of Barack Obama's first inauguration, one remains: change. The "hope" that propelled more than a million and a half people to Washington four years ago, has dimmed--replaced, as we watched yesterday, by the promise of more strident and aggressive liberalism. When the President put his hand on Abraham Lincoln's Bible and swore to uphold the office, he did so as the leader of a deeply divided nation. And although his inaugural speech contained several noble themes--unity was not one of them.
As he launched into his vision for a second term, his premise was not "We, the People," but "We, Some of the People." Gone was the inspirational rhetoric of four years ago--and in its place was a profoundly political and partisan warning. "We have always understood that when times change, so must we; that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges; that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action."
With every reinvention of the Founder's ideals, President Obama made it clear that he is committed to continuing his push for big, centralized, and expensive government. And paramount to that push is a highly controversial vision that includes everything from unlimited entitlements and gun bans to illegal immigration to special rights based on sexual behavior. "Our journey is not complete," the President said, "until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law--for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well." In these instances, a speech that could have built bridges only widened the gaps.
To many, the President's combative tone was a striking contrast to the uplifting vision cast barely two miles away from where the President stood. There, 50 years ago, in the midst of one of the greatest injustices of our time, the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke not of division--but of hope. "With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day." Dr. King, whose legacy Americans honored yesterday, sought to "conduct our struggle"--not with hostility--but "on the high plane of dignity and discipline."
As we enter these next four years, let that be our call. The President agrees with you and me on very little. However, that does not absolve us of our duty as Christians to pray for him as Paul instructed I Timothy 2:1. "Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence." Paul understood that God can use even those who are against Him to accomplish great things. Proverbs says the Lord can turn the hearts of kings like He turns the rivers of waters.
As Christians in America, I think we have an even greater reason to pray. We are a government of the people, by the people and for the people. That means we are the government. Our leaders are not given to us by birth or other means--we elect them. And as Americans, we bear a higher level of responsibility for what they do. Just as God's word compels us to pray for this President, it compels us to actively oppose the policies that run counter to the transcendent truths our country was built upon. Let us be, as Dr. King said, "those creative dissenters who will call our beloved nation to a higher destiny. To a new plateau of compassion, to a more noble expression of humanness."
There Is Life after 40
While yesterday's festivities still dominate the news, pro-lifers awoke today remembering that 40 years ago, America was inaugurating something else: a new era of abortion-on-demand. Four decades ago, the nation's eyes were on the Supreme Court, where the decision of seven unelected men in Roe v. Wade led to the largest loss of life in human history. One generation and 55 million abortions later, the debate is as fierce today as it was in 1973. There are some, like Time magazine, who insist that pro-lifers have been losing ever since the war on the womb began. And then there are others, who will stand on the National Mall this Friday, in a crush of hundreds of thousands of protestors for the March for Life, and recognize that the culture, despite what the media says, is changing.
In the face of the most aggressive, pro-abortion administration in history, more Americans are rallying to the defense of the unborn than ever before. According to a Gallup poll, the number of people who identify themselves as "pro-choice" is at its lowest point ever: 41%, a 10-percent drop in the past five years. Just last week, a Marist poll confirmed what state leaders have already recognized: 83% of Americans support significant restrictions on abortion, 60% believe it to be morally wrong, and just 11% feel, as President Obama does, that abortion should be allowed for any reason, at any time. While the Left is desperate to write our movement's obituary, the fact remains that Roe v. Wade is losing its grip on more American hearts, minds--and, more importantly--state legislation.
As President Obama continues his march toward conscience-killing, taxpayer-funded, freedom-restricting, abortion policy, an unprecedented number of states are chipping away at Roe's influence. In just two years, states have signed into law an unprecedented 135 pro-life measures requiring ultrasounds, abortion waiting periods, ambulatory safety standards, parental notification, and limitations on abortions after 20 weeks. Others defunded Planned Parenthood. Still more required abortion doctors to have hospital admitting policies. In four states, only one abortion clinic remains.
These are not the signs of a dying movement; these are the signs of a movement saving the dying! As Anna Higgins and I wrote in USA Today, we look forward to time when this grave error will be corrected--and we can build a culture in which all human life is protected and treasured. As the world will see in the determined faces of young marchers this Friday, the next 40 years hold great promise for that goal.
It's Time to Pray Our Respects
Earlier today, at the Capitol, I had the privilege of opening the first session of the Republican Study Committee in prayer. As some of you know, the RSC is the largest caucus of House conservatives, and its leaders have included some of our strongest allies for life, faith, family, and freedom--Reps. Jim Jordan, Jeb Hensarling, Tom Price, and now-Governor Mike Pence. The RSC's newest chairman is a man I know well, Congressman Steve Scalise of Louisiana. Steve and I were elected at the same time in the Louisiana legislature and served together through some of the state's stormy economic times. His leadership over the next two years will be crucial, when the road to protect America's ideals is rockiest.
Unfortunately, most people don't realize the tremendous burden on these conservatives and their families, which is one reason I feel called to pray for the RSC--not just today, but every day. Under this administration, there will be no easy days, but I believe that on the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, God can use this body to lead a new generation to protect life. In the meantime, I encourage you to pray, as I did, for boldness and unity among these many members of character.
** FRC continues to be the go-to organization for commentary on the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Check out what our experts have to say in columns all across the country including: Anna Higgins's "Reflection and Rededication as Roe v. Wade Turns 40" in the Washington Examiner; David Christensen's "Abortion and the Live-and-Let-Live Ethic" in the Daily Caller; and Ken Klukowski's "40 Years of Roe v. Wade: What Happened and What Comes Next."
*** For all things pro-life, check out FRC's new one-stop webpage for resources and educational material, OneLife.
**** This morning, CNN invited FRC's Peter Sprigg on their early show to give reaction to the President's speech and its unprecedented support for homosexual rights. To watch, click below.