The media has declared Biden the winner of the 2020 U.S. presidential election. However, we will likely not know with certitude for some weeks, at a minimum, what the result of the election is.
The Trump campaign is currently preparing – or has already filed – numerous lawsuits alleging electoral irregularities. Allegations of widespread fraud are circulating widely on social media and in conservative media. In Georgia, at the very least, there will be an automatic recount. It is possible there will be further recounts in other states.
We can hope and pray that, whatever the outcome, these challenges and recounts will be conducted in such a fashion that the American people can feel confident in the fairness of the election.
However, regardless of the outcome, I am already disappointed by what is transpiring right now. On the issues of life and religious freedom, President Trump is worlds apart from Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Biden and Harris together represent the extreme progressive wing of a Democratic party that has been transformed into a vehicle for what we might call ‘wokeness.’
An Extreme Platform
There is a widespread notion among progressives that Biden and Harris will usher in a new regime of decency and unity, in comparison to the alleged bigotry and divisiveness of President Trump. This is sheer nonsense, pure and simple. I won’t rehash the details of Biden’s and Harris’ radical positions on various issues here. I have done so in previous columns. However, suffice it to say that their supposed tolerance does not and will not extend to those who disagree with their extreme views.
As but one example, Biden has vowed to overturn a Trump administration executive order protecting the Little Sisters of the Poor from having to pay for health insurance that covers contraception and abortifacient drugs. Forcing Catholic Consecrated Religious Women to fund abortion – this is the depth and quality of Biden’s supposed tolerance! Certainly, a Biden administration’s tolerance and compassion will not extend to unborn children, whose lives they view as valueless. Biden and Harris have vowed to enshrine Roe v. Wade in federal law.
By voting for the Democrat platform, it seems that one out of two voting Americans believe that murdering unborn innocent children is acceptable, as is the most extreme version of the LGBT agenda, with its advocacy of such insanities as child transgenderism, and enforced transgender policies in grade schools. Sadly, should Biden ultimately prevail, these evils will not be contained within the boundaries of the U.S. but transmitted through state policies to a great majority of the developing world, as we saw under the Obama administration, devastating many international pro-life advancements achieved over the last three and a half years.
Biden and Harris are completely incapable of restoring unity to the country, simply because their extremist ideology is anything but unifying.
Putting Things in Perspective
With all that said, however, I believe that in the midst of the extraordinary confusion of this political moment we must take a deep breath, and put things in perspective…that is, in the eternal perspective.
The best thing about being a Christian is that our loyalty to a transcendent Power liberates us from slavery to temporal principalities and powers. Whatever happens in the realm of politics, Christ is always and everywhere our king. If our favored politician wins, Christ is king. If our political enemy wins, Christ is still our king.
The children of this world look to worldly princes to create a paradise on earth. Inevitably, they are disappointed. Scripture admonishes us to take a different view, a longer view, a transcendent view. “Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save,” says the psalmist.
Whatever the outcome of the U.S. election, the role of Christians will be exactly the same – to hope in Christ, and to work with the same determination to further the aims of His kingdom. However dismaying the outcome of this election may appear to us, we have no right to give in to our feelings of despair or hopelessness. Such feelings are temptations. Christians do not live according to the vicissitudes of history; we transcend them, living in the security of Christ’s victory.
There are two reasons for our hope: Firstly, as mentioned above, we know that Christ has already won the victory. In moments like this, when it seems that the enemies of Christ are advancing, our freedoms threatened, and the vulnerable at greater risk of grave injustices, we can lose sight of this truth. But it is the truth. Our emotional responses to the transient events of the political world must be tempered by our eternal hope. We have no right to despair. Indeed, saintly Christians have faced far worse, and yet done so in a spirit of extraordinary peace and hopefulness.
I am thinking, for instance, of the attitude of German Christian pastor Dietrich Bonhoffer, who was arrested and imprisoned for opposing the Nazi regime. On the same day that he learned that the assassination plot he had helped coordinate against Hitler had failed, and that, inevitably, he would be executed for his role in the plot, he wrote a letter to a former student. “I am grateful and content with the past and the present,” he wrote. In this world, he said, we must “throw ourselves utterly in the arms of God and participate in his sufferings…and watch with Christ in Gethsemane.”
Facing his own painful and early death, and the failure of all his carefully-laid plans to defeat one of the greatest evils this world has ever seen, Bonhoffer simply fell on his knees, and expressed hope and gratitude for everything. Such was the attitude of the early Christian martyrs, who went to their deaths with smiles, and blessings for their tormentors. What right do we, potentially facing difficult months and years ahead, have to give in to despair?
Advancing the Cause
The second reason for our hope is less theological and more practical: that is, even if we do lose the presidency to the radical left, this does not mean that opportunities to advance the pro-life and pro-family cause are gone. Far from it.
In recent months, you may have seen many Democrats claiming that, in fact, abortion rates fall faster under Democratic presidents than Republican presidents. This simply isn’t true. It’s Democratic propaganda designed to lure disillusioned Republicans into justifying casting their vote for Biden. However, there is a seed of truth in the claim. The fact is that abortion rates have been falling steadily for several decades now – during both Republican and Democrat presidencies. In fact, the abortion rate in the U.S. currently sits at historic lows.
However, rather than indicating that in some paradoxical fashion pro-abortion Democratic presidents are better for the pro-life cause than pro-life Republican presidents, what this fact does do is point to the incredible success of the pro-life movement in advancing the pro-life cause, even in hostile circumstances. During the Obama presidency, the legal arm of the pro-life movement passed literally hundreds of pro-life laws at the state level. Meanwhile, the social arm of the movement continued expanding the number of crisis pregnancy centers, reaching out to women in crisis pregnancies, and saving countless children in the process.
Of course, we never want a pro-abortion president. A president has vast executive powers that can be used in, for instance, exporting the pro-abortion cause globally, putting all the wealth and power of the U.S. government in service of this cause. Nevertheless, it remains within our power to view a pro-abortion presidency as a challenge, even as an opportunity: an opportunity to strengthen our resolve to fight for the unborn children using every means at our disposal, instead of simply putting our trust in, or relying on the efforts of those in positions of power.
That is precisely how we must respond to a Biden presidency, if it comes to that. We can count on the Biden administration doing everything it can to make life difficult for social conservatives and Christians. They will rescind all of Trump’s pro-life executive orders. They will push for additional funding for abortion overseas. Well, let them try. We’ll show them what we’re made of, fighting back in state legislatures, in pro-life pregnancy centers, in prayer vigils in front of abortion clinics, in the halls of the UN: “[W]e shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender…”
A Biden administration will re-inaugurate the Obama era, but we must take advantage of what has been accomplished, use it wherever possible, and be determined to fight the good fight. The Trump administration has done a lot of good, for which we must be grateful. But politics is fickle, and we should never depend solely upon a federal administration. It is up to each of us, in our own unique capacity, to defend and fight for a Culture of Life and for the family, and to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Pray for Peace
Above all, we must pray for our country.
We are engaged in a spiritual battle. The wounds of this nation are rooted in sin and the rejection of God. As this election has proven, we are deeply divided. The only way for us to move forward and transform secular culture and its hedonistic values is for the Catholic Church, Judeo-Christians, and all peoples of religious belief to live in word and deed authentic faith as taught by the Word of God.
By being salt and light, we can restore the sanctity of human life, the sacredness of human sexuality within the covenant of marriage, family life, rights of conscience, and religious freedom. There are those right now who are giving in to despair and trying to make us afraid of the next four years. What will happen to our country, to our freedoms, the gains we have made under a Trump administration? And even if Trump does win, how can he make any progress in the face of the bias of the media, the extremism of progressives, the stonewalling and undermining of powerful global forces?
We must not listen to them. Instead, we must recall the constant cry of Pope St. John Paul II, and the scriptural authors: “Be not afraid!” Or, as Padre Pio frequently repeated, “Pray, hope, and don’t worry!” That is true wisdom. Biblical wisdom.