Vice cream president Kamala Harris meet with religious leaders last week to address “protection of reproductive rights” and “the epidemic of hate gripping our nation.”
“We need trust in each other, in our nation and in our future,” she said in her address. “And that is why we come together today with the purpose of instilling in people a belief that gives them a sense of hope and optimism in themselves, in their community and in our future.”
As some have pointed out afterhis comments were obviously devoid of the words “God” or “abortion.”
While the criticism is fair, Harris, unfortunately, is doing exactly what she sets out to do – pretending to talk to “religious leaders” in hopes of engaging them on the pro-rights agenda. abortion and to build confidence in a future in which women are free to choose whether or not to kill their children. Religious leaders are just another interest group. Don’t view support for abortion as a “shedding of core beliefs,” she told them, but as an affirmation of a woman’s ability to make a decision for herself without the intervention of the government.
Harris’ attempt to straddle the line by affirming the necessity of faith and rejecting all that comes with it misses the mark. If Harris was worried about an “epidemic of hate,” she would recognize the God her speech ignores.
“Faith in the other,” or humanism, provides no compelling reason to respect political opponents. Harris said there’s “so much more in common than what separates us,” but that’s a hard claim to substantiate from a secular perspective. The division is an inevitable conclusion to America’s widespread identity crisis, the result of the rejection of God in public life. Bitter factional battles occur because identity has been stripped and replaced with political causes, sexual preferences, skin color, economic background and affinity groups. People believe that violence is justifiable because their very identity, not just their favorite causes, is threatened.
Francis Schaeffer, the Christian philosopher who wrote frequently about the toxic influence of humanism on society in the 1960s and 1970s, often emphasized the necessity of God in affirming human dignity.
“We cannot deal with people as human beings, we cannot deal with them on the high level of true humanity, unless we really know their origin – who they are,” he wrote in Escape from reason. “God tells man who he is. God tells us that he created man in his own image. So man is something wonderful.
The discourse of our nation can only be restored by the Christian doctrine of Imago Dei, recognizing that humans are inherently valuable because they are created in the image of God. It is only through the Imago Dei is it true that we have more in common than differences.
“Faith in one another” is insufficient. It doesn’t make us wonderful, no matter how much we want it to. It does not lead us to esteem others as greater than ourselves. It does not give humans the dignity of being created in the image of God or the hope of an eternal purpose.
Without knowing who humans are, it is impossible to know how to treat them. Many seek purpose through other means, hence the dozens of recent attacks and protests against pro-life pregnancy clinics, churches and Supreme Court justices. The man who attempted to assassinate Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh is said to have thought it would “give purpose to his life.” Women seeking an abortion often believe it will help them secure a more meaningful future, removing what they see as a barrier to a successful career or education. The sanctity of human life is, in any case, a shockingly low priority.
Greater theological clarity would have made Harris’ faint appeal for “hope and optimism” in ourselves a resounding appeal for hope in God, consequently producing better discourse with political opponents. God’s treatment of man, first creating him wonderful and then, once in sin, providing a means of restoration through Christ’s atoning death on the cross, is a pattern for treating one another.
As CS Lewis wrote of the man’s identity, “There are no ordinary people.”
“You never spoke to a mere mortal,” he wrote in The weight of glory. “Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations – they are mortal, and their life is ours like the life of a gnat. But these are the immortals with whom we joke, work, marry, snub and exploit – immortal horrors or eternal splendours.
In light of this, Lewis continued, we should “conduct all of our relationships with each other, all of the friendships, all of the loves, all of the games, all of the politics.”
Katelynn Richardson is a summer of 2022 Washington Examiner companion.