Right Opinion

For Dems, a Conflict of Centrist

Tony Perkins · Feb. 27, 2018

If you thought the Democrats’ party bosses were already too liberal, buckle up. After a 2016 platform that would have pushed Barack Obama to the left, headquarters is gearing up for an election cycle of all-out radicalism.

While most Democratic voters across the country are begging the party to rein in its over-the-top extremism, the DNC is stubbornly plowing ahead with a strategy that just might sink liberals’ comeback hopes. In California, where backing a five-term senator ought to be a no-brainer, the state party just delivered one of the biggest stunners of the campaign season: Democrats won’t endorse longtime Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). Feinstein, who just announced her bid for a sixth term, is well ahead of opponent Kevin de Leon in the polls — but that doesn’t seem to matter to state party leaders, who insist she’s “too moderate.”

Over the past two and a half decades in the U.S. Senate, Feinstein is known for a lot of things. But her conservative sympathies aren’t one of them. An extremist’s dream, she’s pushed for religious tests for public office, blocked qualified judges, trampled the Second Amendment, supported partial-birth abortion, and taken a hammer to federal marriage laws. If Dianne Feinstein is a centrist, I’d hate to see what a leftist looks like! Still, California Democrats think it’s time to take an even harder left turn.

“Ms. Feinstein,” The New York Times claims, “is viewed in Washington as someone who is genteel and serious, and not overly partisan.” Genteel? Is that what they call defending the process that tears apart full-term babies seconds away from birth? And I suppose telling a judge she isn’t qualified because she’s a Christian isn’t overly partisan either? Sen. Feinstein is about as centrist as Hillary Clinton. No one has shown more rigid allegiance to anti-faith, pro-abortion, anti-family orthodoxy than the oldest member of the U.S. Senate. And unfortunately for the 84-year-old, even that isn’t saving her.

Instead, it seems that Feinstein has become a victim of the same identity politics she and other liberals have been advocating. After the last several years of creating “protected classes,” the other side has projected an image that a lot of Democrats no longer fit. An aging white Senate female is no longer viewed the same way as a young, niche, minority candidate like Leon. “Normal politics,” Joshua Mitchell explains in National Review, “presumes that we can rise far enough above our small-group attributes — our race, class, gender, ethnicity, religion — and that we can arrive at a political arrangement that works well enough for us to live together as part of a larger polity until the next election.”

Identity politics, on the other hand, “rejects the model of traditional give-and-take politics, presupposing instead that the most important thing about us is that we are white, black, male, female, straight, gay, and so on. Within the identity-politics world, we do not need to give reasons — identity is its own reason and justification. Because identity politics supposes that we are our identities, it does not consist in the speech, argument, and persuasion of normal politics but instead, in the calculation of resource redistribution based on identity… Thoughtful Democrats see that identity politics is a dead end, but fear to speak up.”

Despite a smattering of special election wins, the heartland is crying out for some DNC soul-searching. The party is “relying on ‘too much identity politics’ where ‘winners and losers are picked by their labels.’” The Democrats in most Midwest states “feel abandoned.” In Illinois, where Politico talked to one conservative Democrat after another, the refrain was the same: The party is “out of touch with mainstream America.” And considering what it’s doing to people like Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL), that isn’t about to change any time soon.

Lipinski, one of the few pro-life Blue Dog Democrats in Congress, is in the same boat as Feinstein — for completely different reasons. More socially conservative than his peers, Lipinski’s values have played out well in a district that thinks like he does. Now, faced with a challenger from the far Left, Democrats are leaving one of their more successful incumbents twisting in the wind. That’s a sad irony, Politico’s Heather Caygle is brave enough to say. Because Dan is exactly the kind of candidate Democrats need more of to win back the House.

“After years of feeling ignored and sometimes shunned by the DCCC [Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee] — Blue Dogs have said the campaign arm is historically biased toward progressive candidates, even if they aren’t the best fit for a district. This election cycle,” Caygle wrote, “was supposed to bring a better working relationship between the two groups.” So much for that. Democrats would sooner die on their ideological sword than hear the message voters have been trying to send: Americans don’t agree with the radical direction of the party driven by identity politics that divide rather than unify.

Originally published here.

Poisoned Ivy: Harvard Sanctions Christian Group

Colleges should be celebrating students with a purity standard — not punishing them! Yet that’s exactly what Harvard University is doing to a Christian group on campus. Administrators have decided that living out the tenets of your faith will cost you — in this case, a year-long probation.

It started in September when members of the Harvard College of Faith & Action (HCFA) confronted one of its assistant Bible course leaders about her new relationship. She’d said she’d finally found someone who makes her “laugh, feel safe … and challenges her to be a better person.” “There was just one catch,” the Crimson explained. “This person was a girl.” After sitting down and talking through the situation, members of the group decided to ask her to step down from her leadership role.

Since then, HCFA has come under intense attack from the Harvard administration, which decided to put the club on a year-long probation, the first in the school’s history. “If the club reregisters as a student organization next spring, it will have to show that it is in compliance with the university’s nondiscrimination principles,” a spokesman said, arguing that the fellowship’s decision was “grossly inconsistent” with its student handbook, “which stipulates recognized campus student groups cannot discriminate on the basis of ‘sexual orientation.’”

Group co-presidents Scott Ely and Molly Richmond say nothing could be further from the truth. “We reject any notion that we discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation in our fellowship,” they wrote in an email. “Broadly speaking, the student in this case was removed because of an irreconcilable theological disagreement pertaining to our character standards.” HCFA’s guiding principles are clear that any extramarital sexual activity is wrong. “Our theological view is that — for professing Christians who are in leadership — celibacy is the only option outside the bounds of marriage. We have applied and do apply this policy regardless of sexual orientation.”

Our nation is desperate for young people with solid, moral principles — and this is how we treat them? It’s a sad commentary on the state of our culture that one of the most prestigious colleges in America doesn’t grasp the concept of religious freedom. For now, these students are getting quite a lesson in what’s awaiting them in the world, where religious groups everywhere are having to fight for the right to apply their standards. And while Ely and Richmond may not have school administrators in their corner, they have something far more important: the Constitution.

This is exactly the scenario Congress’s Higher Education Act tries to avoid. A powerful defense of free speech and free assembly, the bill “addresses a common college practice — requiring religious student groups that want school funds or meeting space to admit any student, regardless of their faith, and to grant them all the same access to leadership positions.” Although the measure would apply to public universities, it makes it quite clear that harassment like Harvard’s won’t be tolerated.

While they consider their next move, we applaud these seniors for their courage and pray that the decision to stand for truth helps other students do the same!

Originally published here.

Faithful to the End…

Before Rev. Billy Graham’s procession makes its way to the Capitol later this week, we reflect on his amazing life. Check out my new op-ed in The Hill, “Billy Graham: Faithful to the End.” Also, don’t miss my interview on Fox Business about America’s pastor and the impact he’s continuing to have, even now.

Originally published here.

This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.

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