Thomas Griffin 1/28/21
The Times Needs a Lesson on Christianity – The Federalist (1/28/21)
Excerpt: “Biden’s Catholic faith grounds his life and policies.” This is the text in the photo caption of a New York Times article by Elizabeth Dias. Entitled “In Biden’s Catholic Faith, an Ascendant Liberal Christianity”, the Dias applauds Biden for being “the most religiously observant president in over half a century.” The article showers Biden with praises and likens him to Jesus Christ himself for leading the charge in promoting an “ascendant liberal Christianity” that is being proposed as the purest form of following Christ.
The keystone to Biden’s political Christianity, and the next evolution in faith that the newspaper calls every serious Christian to emulate, is evident and woven throughout this article. We must become “less focused on sexual politics and more on combating poverty, climate change, and racial inequality,” it claims, openly substituting politics for religion.
Note that we must not use the term sexual “morality,” but “politics,” which is more about policies and power than what is right and wrong. While every Christian must fight every injustice, it’s clear any nation that deems the unborn as worthless will likely fall far short in other avenues of morality. If the basic human right to life is deemed worthless, all other rights are apt to crumble as well.
According to Dias, however, Biden’s shift is closely united to the person of Jesus and parallel to the teachings of Pope Francis. Indeed, there is a concerted effort to align Pope Francis with the president and liberal ideology as a way to excuse Biden and others from clearly contradicting Roman Catholic teaching.
Somehow, someway, his open rejection of infallible church teaching on the protection of unborn life makes President Biden more like Jesus to The New York Times. Furthermore, although some of his comments may be ambiguous at times, Pope Francis stated in January 2020 that the protection of human life is the “preeminent issue” in both social and political life. The context of these words was a meeting with American bishops.
Even the homilist at the morning Mass on the day of the inauguration also noted Biden should be compared to Jesus. Fr. Kevin O’Brien serves as the president of Santa Clara University and has been a close friend of Biden for years. He crafted his homily around the personhood of Joe and Jesus, because they both desire, he says, “to help and protect people and to advance justice and reconciliation, especially for those who are too often looked over and left behind.”
O’Brien must be unfamiliar with the Biden administration’s plan to advance abortion rights under the guise of reproductive health. This will inevitably lead, not to the protection of the helpless, but further the attacks on the most vulnerable.
The Times notes “Jesus taught that a nation is judged by how it treats the least of these, the poor, the hungry, the sick, the immigrant.” Yet the keyword for emulating Christ is found in the understanding of the “least” in society.
How, by any reasonable definition, can the “least” not mean the unborn child in the womb — literally the weakest member of society? Indeed, the Times’s analysis neglects the fact that Pope Francis, the U.S. bishops, and the entire history of the church have stated abortion is a fundamental human rights issue and that no Catholic in good standing can support the heinous practice. Yet Biden does, adamantly, and The New York Times praises him as an exemplar of religion. If that’s so, it’s not of the Christian religion.
On the contrary, liberal Christianity states that faith in Jesus is only valid if it does not assume or propose that it is true, but merely a nice life philosophy. Dias notes that the president’s inauguration speech “rooted himself and the country in a Christian moral vision that makes room for a pluralistic society.”
Therefore, Biden is a better Christian because he does not concern himself with sexual “politics,” which is personified in the fact that he is a crusader of abortion and invited two transgender preachers to his inaugural prayer service. In the background we hear the refrain again: “We must never focus on sexual politics.”
Biden’s administration is viewed as a breath of fresh air because the last four years have been “embodied” by “white evangelicals laser-focused on ending abortion.” Apparently, it is more crucial to note that these preachers were white rather than discuss the logical position of the Christian stance on abortion grounded in biology and the teachings and life of Christ.
Why doesn’t Biden follow the science in this arena and truthfully ponder the faith that he speaks about so often? Science tells us that at the moment of conception complete human DNA is present. Jesus said that whoever receives a child in his name receives God himself (Mark 9:37). Biden quoted Psalm 30 at his inauguration, but forgot the psalmist who sang: “For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb” (Psalm 139:13).
Biden’s move to support intrinsic evil has already met contention from his own church. The president’s inauguration speech and his move to codify Roe v. Wade both met responses by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The bishops called for Catholics to pray for Biden and commented that it is “deeply disturbing and tragic” that any president would support abortion in such a manner, noting that Biden’s Catholic faith should change his life and policies. Explicit in these words is the fact that morality and truth are objective and not merely determined by those who set policy and happen to hold power.
The Times argues that Biden “adopted the position of a chaplain” at his inauguration and that he has taken on a “biblical posture” in his presidency thus far. Christians, however, must be on alert. Political operatives are now attempting to flip the script on what it means to be a follower of Christ and are moving to disqualify morality right along with it.
Catholics must unite on all fronts to combat this illogical distortion of Christianity that praises evil, neglects the sacred, and looks to craft its own version of reality. While some Catholics will devote the majority of their efforts to learning about the faith in order to defend its teachings (including abortion), others will spend their time in the slums with the poor and serving the world’s physical needs.
Whatever our different roles may be, we all have a part to play in practically, intellectually, and spiritually ushering forth a Christianity that is rooted in all of Jesus’s teachings while affirming what it truly means to love the least among us.
Thomas Griffin teaches at a Catholic high school on Long Island and lives with his wife and son. He received a master’s degree in theology and is currently a master’s candidate in philosophy. He writes for several Catholic media outlets.
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