President Donald Trump recently signed “an executive order…to establish a faith-based office, the White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative.” Now, I have never been a fan of government-sponsored faith-based initiatives. The opening paragraph of a blog post I wrote in 2009 (entitled “Obama’s Pietism: Helping faith or enforcing Godlessness?”) epitomizes my longstanding view of such initiatives:
When G. W. Bush established the Office of Faith-based initiatives, I was among those who made myself unpopular by telling fellow believers in Christ who that I thought they should steer clear of such government largess. Now, as if to confirm the truth of that warning, the present occupant of the White House is moving quickly to transform what was supposed to be a helpful support for socially beneficial religious initiatives into a means of enforcing a godless approach to public life, albeit clothed in the pietistic language of church-state separation.
Unlike the Obama faction, however, the Trump administration’s faith-oriented initiative comes in the context of a commitment to protect religious liberty, a commitment reflected in this most recent executive order, as well as another he signed last year. Thus President Trump and his colleagues seem unlikely to be slyly seeking to impose government control over religious institutions in order to suppress the evangelizing mission Christ commanded his disciples to pursue.
In the context of our constitutional separation of powers, it remains to be seen whether the Judicial branch will be sufficiently reformed by President Trump’s judicial appointments to shift the Federal Courts away from the anti-constitutional jurisprudence that enforces prayerless, Godless secularism on the specious grounds of “separation of Church and state.” So far, however, even the SCOTUS’s conservative justices have shirked their duty to remember that the sine qua non of all God-endowed unalienable rights is the obligation to respect the terms of the Creator’s will, wherein He directs all human beings to perform the duties from which such rights arise.
The primordial right to worship God by acting in obedience to His will is inarguably among the rights “retained by the people” which, according to the Constitution’s Ninth Amendment, “the enumeration of rights in the Constitution… shall not be construed to deny or disparage…”. Yet, the SCOTUS and other courts throughout the United States are now denying and disparaging enactments, of the States, respectively or the people, that obey God’s will regarding:
- the definition of marriage;
- the duty of parents conscientiously to “raise up their children in the way that they should go”;
- the duty of children to “honor thy father and thy mother;
- the duty of mothers to safeguard and not to kill their nascent offspring;
- the duty of all human beings to refrain from murder (i.e., intentionally taking the life of innocent persons.)
For those who follow Christ the first commandment of loving faith is to love God with our whole heart, soul, mind and strength. Christ says plainly “If you love me, keep my commandments.” The governments of the United States, were instituted to secure the unalienable rights that derive from the duties God has bequeathed to our care. But as long as the Judiciary continues to disregard their Ninth Amendment duty to respect that bequest, not just religious liberty, but all the liberty premised upon God’s will, being denied and disparaged. Far from passing the blessings of liberty to our posterity, we are casting every binding obligation of liberty into oblivion.
Among the organic laws of the United States, only the American Declaration of Independence preserves the logic required to throw back the judicial assault against all our God-endowed unalienable rights. Tragically, we have let the meaning, the logical implication of its words, fade from our conscious public discourse. Though we still obsess about “rights”, we no longer routinely explore their connection with doing what’s right. We still clamor for justice. But ideologues, rampant for power, have duped us into believing that our whimsical self-will, as individuals or as a people, provides a standard for justice. In fact, such whimsy assures perpetual conflict, in the midst of which there is no standard but power, and the will of those who prove they have the most of it.
Where is the “equal justice” in that? Nowhere but in the general burden of oppression and abuse imposed upon those who consistently lose in battle. Such oppression was the persistent lot of people everywhere before Christ raised the standard of the Cross to be the eternal standard of God’s will for the liberation of all humanity. For Christ accepted defeat and even death, once and for all, in obedience to God’s will. And yet He lives to prove the power of God that overcomes defeat in and for all who follow His way of obedience to God’s will. Death did not erase the standard of the Cross. For Jesus, lifted up in death, proclaimed to all the defeated innocents of the world the indefeasible tribunal of God, in whose court defeat is not the end, but the beginning of their appeal.
I am the offspring of one such defeated race. Inspired by the history of God’s liberation of the Israelites, we turned defeat into a victory for God’s justice, not just for ourselves, but for all the defeated bodies in whom the soul of God’s anointing lived on because of trust in Him. This was the history of the ancient Israelites, freed from Pharaoh’s malignant rule. It became the history of people drawn to the United States from every corner of the earth. They were drawn to the promise of a nation that rid itself of the spreading cancer of slavery, on the land and in the heart. But one key to understanding what America’s history means to all the world lies in a truth once grasped by every generation of black Americans.
Like Christ, and indeed many other people and races on earth, we spent our time on the cross. But thanks to faith in God, (which persists in many of us today, in spite of all) we could see ourselves victimized, and yet celebrate the victory of God in every spark of decency, loyalty and goodwill we inwardly preserved. Injustice strove mightily to extinguish them, and could not. Our trust in God erected in us monuments of faith that Douglass, Tubman, King, and all who battled for America’s better destiny held out to rouse the decency of a nation that professed to see the justice of God as the standard of justice for all humanity.
I still see great danger in any government office that encourages people of faith to rely on human government’s largess. Our best resources come from the government of God, ruling over the hearts and practices of those who trust only in Him. But it might be good to have an office in the White House working to revive America’s living sense of our nation’s dependence on the God’s government, as the ultimate standard that defines our justice and vindicates our rights, including liberty. When Americans once again understand how much our common identity depends upon God’s standard, our courts will have to bow, to our goodwill as a people, as they have had to do before, time and again. Then ‘MAGA’ will represent our striving toward a goal I wholeheartedly applaud — to Make America God’s Again.
Alan Keyes is a political activist, a prolific writer and a former diplomat.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.