Judges: Wise Men Still Seek Them
With the House’s impeachment circus sucking most of the air out of Washington, it’s easy to forget that there’s other business taking place on the opposite side of the Capitol. While Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is wasting her majority on the biggest witch hunt of the 21st Century, her Senate counterpart, Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), is a confirmation machine — carefully stuffing the court’s stockings with loads of qualified judges.
Most Americans can’t help but be impressed with what Senate Republicans have done, but Thursday, it was what their leader said that turned heads. In a powerful and somewhat unexpected speech, McConnell took to the floor to decry what the Left is trying to do to religious liberty in America. Much like Attorney General William Barr, the Kentucky Republican decided it was time for a teachable moment, namely on why this freedom is so important.
“I want to take a moment to help clarify why I and millions of other Americans care so much about having federal judges who believe in the radical notion that words matter and that a judge’s job is to follow the law and the Constitution,” he started. “Take, for one example, the subject of religious freedom. The liberty of conscience and the freedom to live out our faiths has been a foundational principle from the Republic’s earliest days. Many of the first Europeans who arrived in the New World came here fleeing religious persecution.”
But, he insisted, “Let me contrast the understanding of the Founders, with a couple of current events. Last month, New York State convinced a district judge to throw out the Trump administration’s conscience protection rule for health care providers.” All that rule did, McConnell pointed out, was protect the right of doctors, nurses, and other health care workers from participating in procedures that violate their religious beliefs. Radical liberals can’t stand that. They want to punish Christians and force them to do their bidding on abortion and gender transitions.
“New York’s behavior is part of a disturbing trend. Powerful interests on the "Left want to shrink freedom of religion until it means ‘freedom to go to church for an hour on Sundays as long as it doesn’t impact the rest of your life.’ That shrunken interpretation is nothing like what our Founders intended,” McConnell insisted. “And, candidly, I’m not sure how much longer the modern Democratic Party will even believe in that.”
Taking on the extremism of the far-Left, McConnell blasted the Democrats for wanting to take away churches’ tax-exempt statuses or trying to impose religious litmus tests on nominees.
“Look — these warning signs on religious freedom are popping up everywhere the modern political Left rears its head. Religious freedom in America has never meant, and will never mean, solely the freedom to worship privately. It has never meant, and will never mean, the ability to practice only a subset of faiths acceptable to some subset of politicians. It means the right to live your life according to the dictates of your faith and conscience — free from government coercion.”
“If those statements strike anybody in this chamber as remotely controversial, that is exactly why President Trump, Senate Republicans, and millions of Americans are focused on confirming federal judges who will apply our Constitution as it was originally understood.”
Americans who care about the Constitution, freedom, and conscience owe a great deal to this administration and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. They’ve made balancing the courts a priority, but just as importantly, they’ve built a clear case for why protecting religious liberty matters. Not just on the bench — but everywhere. Years from now, that will be the legacy that lasts.
Originally published here.
Salvation Army Gets Ringing Endorsement from Trump
America isn’t the only thing making a comeback under President Trump — so is Christmas! The candidate who vowed, “We’re gonna be saying Merry Christmas again,” delivered on that promise again in a big way Thursday night. Thirty-feet of big, to be exact. In front of the giant spruce, the president made it very clear that this event wasn’t about illuminating the tree — but shining a light on the real reason for the season.
In a speech that no one would mistake for Barack Obama’s, the president talked about the wise men coming to worship Jesus. “Christians give thanks that the Son of God came into the world to save humanity. Jesus Christ inspires us to love one another with hearts full of generosity and grace… As one grateful nation, we praise the joy of family, the blessings of freedom, and the miracle of Christmas.”
His words were a breathtaking departure from Christmases past, which were full of nothing but the pageant of political correctness. To millions of Americans, Donald Trump hasn’t just tapped into the frustration they feel about Christmas, but the mockery of the values they hold dear. And he took another moment to prove it, intentionally recognizing the Salvation Army for its important work — despite the Left’s latest attacks over its Christian roots.
“Joining us today are David and Sharron Hudson of the Salvation Army. Each year, through their Angel Tree program, the Salvation Army brings new gifts to more than 600,000 children. David and Sharron are an inspiration to us all. And, David and Sharron, thank you very much for being with us. Thank you.” After Chick-fil-A walked away from the group and the Cowboys almost lost their halftime show over the Red Kettle campaign, it matters that this president made a point of standing alongside the nonprofit. The message was subtle but clear: he isn’t caving to the cultural bullies, and Americans shouldn’t either.
For the Salvation Army, the support couldn’t come at a better time. As Rich Lowry points out, the red kettles that used to be a sign of charity and goodwill are suddenly a symbol of liberal controversy. “It takes a perverse worldview not to have fond feelings about this tradition, which is spectacularly successful on its own terms, raising almost $150 million a year.” But then, the Left has never let “sentimentality interfere with their dictates.”
“If you think that volunteering for an organization that is raising funds to provide food and housing, among many other services, for the needy is an inherently praiseworthy act, you haven’t been following the woke Left-wing activists cutting a swath through American culture. Any institution, no matter how storied or how generous, is subject to a punitive campaign of social ostracism that is often highly effective. In today’s environment, what seems preposterous one moment is inevitable the next, and after one target is ground into submission, another is quickly found.”
Fortunately, President Trump doesn’t believe in surrender. And he’ll go to the mat to guarantee that Christian organizations like this one can continue serving Americans — for the same reason he’ll keep fighting the war on Christmas: because no one should ever have to compromise their faith in a country like ours.
Originally published here.
This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.