The Battle for the Soul of America

America has changed considerably in the nearly 250 years she’s been alive. Yet, through a Civil War that nearly tore the country in two, advances in technology beyond the Founders’ wildest dreams, two World Wars on a scale too great to fathom, the Depression, the Cold War, and countless other near-crises—America remains the same in the most important ways.

What makes America… America? It’s not just bacon cheeseburgers, football, the wild west, cowboy boots and the star-spangled banner—though it is all of that. America is a nation, and yet more than a nation. America is an idea, a belief, a people—it’s “We the People,” and the belief that people matter, really matter. Our nation is based on a trinity of inalienable, fundamental, universal human rights: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Together, they are the roots of the same tree—human dignity.

In his 2020 presidential campaign announcement, Joe Biden recalled the tragic events that took place in Charlottesville, VA in August of 2017 driven by white supremacy and anti-Semitism. He condemned hate and called out President Trump’s less-than-forceful response to the activists. Biden believes we are in a “battle for the soul of this nation,” and I believe he’s right. But he thinks Trump is the greatest threat we have ever faced, and that’s where he’s wrong.

“America is an idea… it gives hope to the most desperate people on earth, it guarantees that everyone is treated with dignity, and gives hate no safe harbor.”

Those are Biden’s words, and here, he’s absolutely right. It’s what makes America so beautiful and unique—from the foundations of this country, America has believed in human dignity, the sanctity of human life. The Constitution established a justice system that protects every American, regardless of age, race, color, or creed, and gives them an opportunity to pursue happiness, build a life for themselves, live their own American Dream.

Human Dignity in American History

This belief in the value of human life is a thread that runs throughout our nation’s history. It’s the reason limited government and the defense of civil liberties were so important to the Founders: they believed in the inherent worth of every human being.

Sure, slavery still existed when the Constitution was ratified. It was a deeply-ingrained cultural and economic fact, and the Founders knew they couldn’t create a new nation AND abolish slavery all at once. They recognized that if they focused on the slavery issue, they would lose the support of the Southern states and the Constitution would never be ratified, so they split the difference: the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, which established a system for admitting new states into the Union, also forbade slavery in the new territory.

The American Founders did not approve of slavery. In his first draft of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson described slavery as a “cruel war against human nature itself,” and railed against King George III’s introduction of the slave trade into the Western Hemisphere.

John Quincy Adams, son of John Adams, said the following about the apparent inconsistency between the ideas stated in the Declaration and Constitution, and the fact of slavery in America—including slave ownership by some of the Founders:

“The inconsistency of the institution of domestic slavery with the principles of the Declaration of Independence was seen and lamented by all the Southern patriots of the Revolution; by no one with deeper and more unalterable conviction than by the author of the Declaration himself [Jefferson]. No insincerity or hypocrisy can fairly be laid to their charge. Never, from their lips, was heard one syllable of attempt to justify the institution of slavery. They universally considered it as a reproach fastened upon them by the unnatural step-mother country [Great Britain]; and they saw that, before the principles of the Declaration of Independence, slavery, in common with every other mode of oppression, was destined sooner or later to be banished from the earth. Such was the undoubting conviction of Jefferson to his dying day.”

The Founders believed so strongly in the principles they were codifying into law—protection of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness—that they believed those principles would eventually surmount the challenge of slavery. Their task was to establish a government capable of holding the nation together throughout the movement towards abolition.

Slavery is not unique to America—it exists around the world even today. What is unique to America are founding documents, and later, Constitutional Amendments, that protect human life and liberty as the absolute most important thing, and therefore make slavery impossible.

Protection of human dignity is also behind America’s involvement in many foreign conflicts. Whatever your opinion on America’s intervention in “other nations’ wars,” it’s hard to argue that we get involved solely for our own interests. There’s a definite pattern of America intervening against a dictator, government, or organization that is violating human rights. World War II, Vietnam, Korea, Mogadishu, pretty much any other conflict America has been involved in—it may not have been the only reason we were there, but it was sure on the list. America isn’t motivated by empire-building or colonialism; the fundamental principles of our nation make it impossible for us to tolerate human rights violations and the killing of innocents.

Abortion is the New Slavery

Abortion, like slavery, is fundamentally incompatible with the values this country is built upon. Long, long ago, Joe Biden almost believed that. In 1982, then-Senator Biden supported a Constitutional amendment that would have allowed individual states to overturn Roe v. Wade. He was divided on the issue at the time, but he has since made a firm stance on it. Now, he is in full support of abortion, saying he “will not vote to curtail a woman’s right to choose abortion.”

Well, what about that unborn infant’s right to life? Abortion is not a right, as I expressed in this article—but the right to life unequivocally is.

According to Joe Biden, President Trump’s supposed white supremacy and nationalism pose a threat to this nation “unlike any I had ever seen in my lifetime.” This, from a man who was a senator during the Cold War. Biden thinks Trump will “forever and fundamentally alter the character of this nation.” Don’t forget that President Obama swore to do just that—to “fundamentally transform” America—and Biden was in lockstep with his agenda.

No one person—not even a president—has the power to fundamentally alter the character of this nation, because the character of this nation runs far, far deeper than politics or policies, the immoral actions or loose lips of a president or any other officeholder.

Since 2016, Christians and patriots have had very good reasons to dislike and distrust President Trump. He was twice divorced, bragged about sexual pursuits outside of marriage, and frequently treaded the fine line where exaggeration turns into outright lie. A lot of people wanted anyone else to win the Republican primary, and understandably so. But once we got him, the choice was clear for anyone who still holds to our Founders belief in freedom and human dignity.

Trump promised to nominate conservative, Constitutionalist, pro-life judges. He was facing a radically pro-abortion opponent sure to pack the courts with judges who would try to dismantle the Constitution piece-by-piece. That is the sole reason I voted for him, and I know I wasn’t the only one. It came down to a choice between a candidate with a strong pro-abortion track record and one who said he was pro-life, someone who was sure to grow the reach of government and one who promised to limit it. We had no real assurance that any of those promises would be kept—but there was hope.

So far, Trump has kept his campaign promises to nominate Constitutionalist judges and pursue pro-life policies. Conservatives breathed a sigh of relief when Trump appointed Neil Gorsuch to fill the SCOTUS seat left by Antonin Scalia; Gorsuch has proven himself to be “an unabashed defender of Constitutionalism.”

Conservative Brett Kavanaugh was next to take his seat on the Supreme Court; the Senate has also confirmed 63 Trump-appointed judges for district courts, and 37 for circuit courts—they’re not all perfect (nobody’s perfect, remember?), but their staunchly pro-life front has Planned Parenthood running scared—“These judges and nominees could rule on legal cases that could fundamentally restrict our right to access safe, legal abortion and affordable health care for decades.”

The Soul of America

Biden quoted the most oft-quoted sentence of the Declaration of Independence in his campaign video… but he awkwardly stopped in the middle: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights…” Apparently, he’s so devoted to abortion “rights” that he just couldn’t bring himself to say out loud that the right to life is inalienable.

Trump is definitely no moral giant, but he also isn’t the first American president to practice sexual immorality—and Bill Clinton is just the tip of the iceberg. Jefferson kept a mistress; Franklin D. Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson all had affairs, some during their time in the White House… the point isn’t that the behavior is excusable—the point is simply that Trump is not that unique, at least not in this way.

Sad as it is to say, perhaps a moral giant isn’t what America needs right now. I wrote in 2016 that the election wasn’t about Trump vs. Jesus—that’s just as true in 2020. It was about who would protect the core of who we are as a nation, and defend the life and dignity of all Americans, including the unborn ones. Trump was that candidate in 2016 and remains so as we move into 2020.

Of course we’re in a battle for the “soul of America”—conservatives have known that for a long time, just not always in so many words. It’s why we’re so intent on conserving the Constitution and the values that keep this country grounded, and it’s part of why, in general, we’re so fiercely pro-life.

The soul of America is rooted in the core values of human life, freedom, and happiness—values that trace all the way back to the Declaration of Independence. It’s not just happiness, because happiness is meaningless unless each person has the liberty to define it for themselves. But it’s not just liberty either—because who cares about liberty if you don’t get a chance to live?

Abortion is on its way out—legally and culturally—because just like slavery, it’s fundamentally incompatible with the soul of America. It’s only a matter of time before the courts, legislatures, city halls, churches, and living rooms of America reject it wholesale. That, or America must eventually cease to be America.

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