The Summit of All Fears for the Left
If there’s one thing the Left can’t stand more than a conservative, it’s 2,000 of them. Over the last eight years, we’ve grown accustomed to the liberal media either being dismissive or outright mocking those Americans who are motivated by moral values. But this year, there was something different about the Left’s reaction to the biggest gathering of pro-family voters in DC: fear. For the first time since FRC launched this event 12 years ago, it understood what the men and women crowded in the Omni Shoreham ballroom did: Conservatives finally have a president who doesn’t just make them political promises, he acts on their policy priorities. And liberals are terrified.
Before the motorcade even arrived at the venue, liberals had fired their first shots. First, they took aim at Donald Trump for speaking to a “hate group.” When that didn’t work, they started in on Christians, shaming them for supporting a man they claim “contradict[s] Jesus directly.” Conveniently (and selectively), they quote Scripture to make their point, desperate to prove that conservatives are betraying their faith by sharing an agenda with the president. “We have to stop pretending that these men and women are leaders in the Christian church,” Rev. William Barber argued. Why? Because they appreciate a leader who will finally go to bat for that church? Say what you will about Trump’s past or his fiery personality, but he’s done more for Christian conservatives than any president since Ronald Reagan — and this is only his first year!
This isn’t blind allegiance on the part of evangelicals. This is the earned respect of a man who’s kept his promises. We wanted to move public policy, and this president has. Look at what he’s done since taking office: defunding global abortion, protecting religious liberty, rolling back President Obama’s social experimentation in the military, appointing originalist judges, overturning the HHS mandate, and fighting for mothers and their unborn children. As I’ve said before, our support isn’t unconditional. But Donald Trump has done more to restore a pro-family, pro-faith culture in eight months than George W. Bush did in eight years! Were Christians foolish for supporting him?
Yet still, people like Rev. Barber fumed, “Last week, the men and women who crowded into that D.C. ballroom claimed to be attending a values conference. But instead, they proved yet again how morally bankrupt a vocal segment of Christians has become.” Morally bankrupt for advocating for the unborn? Morally bankrupt for advocating for the freedom to live according to stated biblical values? Rev. Barber, who was a part of the Democratic National Convention, which called for forcing taxpayers to fund abortion and pushed religious freedom to the back of the bus so that sexual libertines could impose their values on the nation, is looking in the mirror of moral bankruptcy.
Of course, we expect this hypocrisy from the Left, but from the moderate Right? A Washington Post column from Jennifer Rubin dripped with contempt, insisting that values voters are “misnamed.” The idea that “they and their candidates operate from some high, moral plane and are the true repositories of American values should end with this president. They are nothing more and nothing less than an anti-abortion, anti-gay lobby group that seeks to enlist government to impose their ideological positions on others. In short, they are what their critics have always claimed.”
Like a lot of so-called Never Trumpers, her opposition isn’t based in fact or reality. From the beginning, I said that the general election was not about personalities but about policies. And the president has spent the better part of 2017 rewarding the trust of millions of voters who felt likewise. Does that mean Donald Trump is suddenly the moral standard bearer of the conservative movement? No. But it does mean that he’s succeeded where some of the Right’s conventional leaders have failed: keeping his promises. If these naysayers were as schooled in the faith as they claimed, they would understand that God has been using imperfect people to accomplish His purposes since Genesis.
After eight months of progress on the conservative agenda, what do Never Trumpers want? What would make them supportive of Donald Trump — or anyone, for that matter? The president has had the courage to tackle issues that other Republicans wouldn’t even talk about publicly. That doesn’t mean conservatives should give him a pass — but it does mean he warrants the appreciation he’s getting from evangelicals. MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough meant to criticize the White House when he said, “They will know them by their fruits.” In the case of the Trump administration, he’s exactly right.
Originally published here.
The Push and Poll of Life…
Donald Trump isn’t just doing what conservatives want. On matters of life, he’s doing what Americans want. According to a new national poll just released by our friends at SBA List, a majority of voters back two of the president’s major policy initiatives. While the White House works to roll back the oppressive HHS mandate, he’ll have the backing of 51 percent of the country.
Less than two weeks ago, the president’s team set to work on one of the country’s biggest complaints about the last administration: Barack Obama’s order that strong-armed Americans into surrendering their beliefs. Under two new rules from Donald Trump’s HHS, pro-lifers will no longer have to choose between violating their conscience and being fined for their faith. It was a major victory for groups like the Little Sisters of the Poor, who became the face of the Left’s war on religious liberty. If the move was unpopular, you wouldn’t know it from McLaughlin & Associates. In its survey, only 36 percent of Americans opposed the president’s decision.
Even more popular, experts point out, is the Republicans’ Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which bans abortion at the five-month mark, when children start feeling the torture of their abortion. A whopping 62 percent are behind the bill that’s before the Senate. Amazingly, only 25 percent disagree with the legislation, which President Trump has vowed to sign the moment it hits his desk.
SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser understands that the momentum for the Pain-Capable bill is only growing. “Voters overwhelmingly want to get the United States out of the disgraceful club of only seven nations that allow elective abortion after five months of pregnancy,” she said. “They recognize that abortion is not health care and that freedom of conscience is a foundational American value. Candidates running for office in 2018, especially vulnerable Democrat Senators in states won by President Trump, should take note: this is what a winning agenda looks like. Going against the will of the majority of voters who eagerly want pro-life reforms is politically perilous.”
Originally published here.
Pastors Ready to Sink Left’s Censorship
It used to be that liberals didn’t want faith in the public square. Now they don’t want it in churches either! That’s been the message of the Left’s IRS for decades. Under Obama, the agency breathed down the necks of nonprofits and religious entities in the name of the Johnson Amendment, threatening to take away their tax-exempt status if anyone spoke openly about the political issues of the day.
Conservatives have pushed back against this onslaught for years, insisting that Americans don’t give up their right to speech when they enter a church. Donald Trump has been an outspoken ally, vowing from the beginning of his campaign that he’d knock out the Johnson Amendment, taking away a major weapon of censorship for the Left. If he succeeds, he’ll have almost unanimous support from pastors.
Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) released some jaw-dropping numbers in a letter to Congress on Monday. Based on new Lifeway polling, 91 percent of pastors want the freedom to speak freely from the pulpit without the threat of government penalties. Another 73 percent want Congress to “remove the IRS’s power to penalize a church because of the content of its pastor’s sermons.” For the Trump administration, which hasn’t been shy about its disgust over the Johnson Amendment, this should be fuel to the Free Speech Fairness Act fire.
Sen. James Lankford (R-OK), House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), and Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA) have been trying for months to put an end to the Left’s culture of intimidation. “Every American should be able to speak freely about their conscience and convictions — no matter what their job is… Critics who say this blurs the line between church and state misunderstand the principle. Thomas Jefferson’s ‘separation’ coinage doesn’t mean that there is a wall of separation between the two; it just means that the state should not have control over the church, nor shall the church maintain control over the state.”
“We’re going to get rid of that [amendment],” President Trump said. And based on how he has fulfilled his other promises, he means it. Like us, he knows government bureaucrats shouldn’t be bouncers at the door of free speech and religious freedom. It’s time to rewrite the Johnson Amendment, once and for all.
Originally published here.
This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.