Donald Trump has affirmed his commitment to honoring his campaign promise to Christians and conservatives when it comes to filling the seat being vacated by Justice Anthony Kennedy. If he keeps his word, anyone who says they can't understand how a man like him can enjoy Christian support is being dishonest.
It's fair to say that the significant number of Christians who supported President Trump in the election did so for one reason: the judiciary. For decades the left, unable to advance their agenda through the law-making branch, has effectively overrun the courts with activist judges who impose progressivism through judicial fiat.
They have struck down duly enacted laws, rewritten long-standing legislation, ignored centuries of precedent, and have codified their pet policy objectives through legal imposition. Liberal judges have redefined the role of a judge (or justice) from that of umpire to that of ruler (which is precisely why they are so utterly panicked about one retiring).
It's certainly fair to say that no ideological perspective has suffered legally during this era of activism more than social conservatism, the predominant political philosophy of practicing Christians. When Antonin Scalia's reliably originalist voice was lost on the Supreme Court with his death in early 2016, the stakes were clear for those Christian conservatives. The prospect of a Hillary Clinton presidency meant that Scalia's seat would fall to a known liberal activist, and the tenuous balance of four conservatives, four liberals, one swing vote would be lost for a generation to a 3-5-1 unraveling where the Constitution became Gumby, twisted and contorted in whatever direction necessary to permit far-left social engineering.
Therefore, the vast majority of Christians in the country shifted a long-standing public opposition to men of poor moral character in high office into a pragmatic long-term calculation. If the thrice-married, philandering, callous and braggadocios Donald Trump would vow to appoint originalist judges to the federal judiciary, he could rely on their support. Trump made the vow, Christians offered their support, and now the gamble is paying its political dividends.
Proof of that actually came the day before Justice Kennedy announced his retirement when the Court issued its ruling in National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra. That was the case brought by a pregnancy resource center against the state of California for their tyrannical law that literally compelled pro-life volunteers to advertise abortion. Justice Thomas explained:
"As California conceded at oral argument, a billboard for an unlicensed facility that says 'Choose Life' would have to surround that two-word statement with a 29-word statement from the government, in as many as 13 different languages."
That's insane. Think about the draconian implications it would have for the future of even non-abortion-related speech if this were permitted: the state decides its policy preference, and then compels any person or group that disagrees to promote the state's view. It's blatant fascism, and yet the Supreme Court only struck it down by a 5-4 margin, with the man Trump appointed to fill Scalia's vacancy being the deciding vote. If Christians had not supported Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton would have been elected and Neil Gorsuch (pictured at his swearing in with Justice Kennedy) would never have been on the Court. In his stead would have been a Ruth Ginsberg clone who would have mindlessly approved of fascism, so long as it was being used to advance a liberal agenda.
For Christians who supported Trump and endured the cries of hypocrisy and moral compromise in the process, it was a vindicating moment to be sure.
And with the announcement of Anthony Kennedy's departure, that feeling of vindication may soon transition into one of triumph. Neil Gorsuch replacing Scalia was a move that merely maintained the judicial status quo – no doubt a culture-saving move, but not one that advanced the ball down the field on critical cultural and constitutional issues.
With Justice Kennedy, it's different. Kennedy was the author of the God-mocking Obergefell decision. He was the justice who preserved the practice of child sacrifice by authoring the intellectually stunted, relativistic tripe in the infamous Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision. His seat could tip a 4-4-1 divided Court into a 5-4 majority for Constitutional originalists.
Trump has affirmed his commitment to honoring his campaign promise to Christians and conservatives when it comes to filling this seat. If he keeps his word, anyone who says they can't understand how a man like him can enjoy Christian support is being dishonest.
Peter Heck (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a speaker, author and teacher who hosts a weekly radio broadcast on WIBC (93.1 FM) in Indianapolis, Indiana. This column originally appeared on his website.
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