“More than 2000 years ago, God sent his only begotten son to be with us.” So began President Trump’s video greeting on Christmas Eve.
In addition to this video message, the White House issued a written statement on Christmas Day that referred to “the selfless love of God” and spoke of Christmas as an opportunity to “show our heartfelt gratitude for the abundant blessings God has bestowed upon our lives and country.”
In this message, President Trump expressed deep appreciation for “our sacred right to worship freely.”
Joe Biden also released a holiday video. Conspicuously absent from his message, however, was any reference to God or faith. Instead, Biden spoke of a “common humanity.”
From our family to yours, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. pic.twitter.com/NzVEFFfrG1
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) December 25, 2020
All of these messages were carefully scripted. While President Trump’s words demonstrated his party’s respect for religious liberty, Biden’s refusal to mention God highlighted the Democratic Party’s growing antipathy toward faith.
Indeed, as Justice Alito recently noted in a speech to the Federalist Society, religious liberty is under assault.
There’s the campaign against the Little Sisters of the Poor to extinguish the religion-based exemption to Obamacare’s birth-control mandate, the backlash against the Colorado baker who declined to provide a same-sex couple with a wedding cake on religious grounds and the refusal by the city of Philadelphia to allow Catholic Social Services to participate in the foster care system due to its religious views.
These attacks on faith have escalated during the pandemic. Government-imposed restrictions have effectively shut down communal prayer at places of worship while casinos, OTBs, liquor stores, bowling alleys and strip clubs remain open.
Last May – while Justice Ginsburg was still on the bench – the Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, refused to block enforcement of COVID-related attendance limits on churches in California. In explaining why he sided with the liberal bloc in that case, Chief Justice Roberts wrote:
“Our Constitution principally entrusts ‘[t]he safety and the health of the people’ to the politically accountable officials of the States ‘to guard and protect.’ … When those officials ‘undertake to act in areas fraught with medical and scientific uncertainties,’ their latitude ‘must be especially broad.’ … [Those broad limits] should not be subject to second-guessing by an ‘unelected federal judiciary,’ which lacks the background, competence, and expertise to assess public health and is not accountable to the people.”
The problem is, courts in blue states defer to public health experts when it comes to restrictions on the First Amendment’s free exercise guarantee, but second-guess them when the rights at issue are ones favored by the left, such as the abortion right recognized in Roe v. Wade.
For example, despite an FDA regulation requiring that patients make an in-person visit to a medical office to receive a pill used to induce abortion, a federal judge in Maryland, substituting his own judgment about drug safety for that of the FDA’s pharmacological experts, blocked the FDA from enforcing that rule during the pandemic.
To be sure, the Supreme Court recently struck down some of New York’s restrictions on churches and synagogues, but it’s anyone’s guess how long they will continue to do so with threats of court packing looming.
When religious liberty is smothered, all constitutional rights are imperiled.
The Declaration of Independence’s pronouncement that we are “endowed by [our] Creator with certain unalienable Rights” means that these rights, being God-given, cannot be repealed by human laws.
The phrases “In God We Trust” on our currency and “One Nation Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance are not just rhetorical flourishes, but central tenets of our republic.
Once God is removed from the equation, however, these rights and liberties will no longer be considered our birthright, but will become mere privileges bestowed on us by government. And what government gives, it can take away. Just look at oppressive nature of communist regimes, which view religion as an illusion to be abolished.
Given the Democratic Party’s march toward socialism, Joe Biden’s religion-free Christmas message and his use of the phrase “common humanity” – a core socialist principle that asserts that human nature desires to cooperate with others to serve the collective, and that the individualism inherent in capitalism corrupts this tendency – is chilling. It telegraphs an intention to purge the faith of the people.
Ronald Reagan admonished that “without God, democracy will not and cannot long endure. If we ever forget that we are one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under.”
Now is the time to heed that warning.
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