It’s been a unique Inauguration Day, beginning with now-former President Donald Trump’s early morning departure from Washington, D.C., and then President Joe Biden’s swearing-in on the western front of the Capitol.
At Focus on the Family, we began the day with a call to the nation for prayer – for President Trump and his outgoing administration and for President Biden and his team. If there was ever a time requiring God’s mercy and divine intervention in America, today’s events seem to cry out for it.
As Christians, we’re commanded to pray for our elected leaders. That’s an easy task when our policy views align with theirs, but a whole lot harder when they stand for policies our faith and morality object to.
When the apostle Paul was writing to believers in Rome, he undoubtedly had this conflict in mind given the oppressive government of the day. Yet he nevertheless instructed, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God” (Romans 13:1).
So, I am praying for President Biden – including that his eyes would be opened to God’s truth, specifically regarding the sanctity of life and the religious freedoms afforded all Americans by God and the United States Constitution.
In recent days, there has been a lot of talk about unity. Indeed, the great American experiment the Founders began in 1776 was built upon the idea that incredible things happen when a nation rallies behind shared noble ideals.
But one has to wonder where a similar call for unity was four years ago when President Trump assumed the presidency. Back then the streets of Washington, D.C., were filled with violent protestors. The inaugural parade was threatened, and four years of “resistance” began.
I’m all for unity – but unity around the right things.
Conversely, I’m opposed to rioting – whether inspired by radicals on the left or the right.
It was Thomas Sowell who recently observed, “For too many people, especially in the media, what is right and wrong, true or false, depends on who it helps or hurts politically.”
So, let’s all take a big deep breath.
Despite calls from the likes of Katie Couric and others, those who supported former President Trump don’t need to be “deprogrammed” in Orwellian fashion. It wasn’t crazy to support a candidate who championed so many of our deeply held convictions.
This is why nearly 75 million Americans voted for Mr. Trump. And I think a fair assessment of his administration has to take into account the totality of his time in office.
President Trump has been strongly pro-life, reinstating the Mexico City policy, which bans federal funds from going to international organizations that perform abortions. He signed an executive order to protect faith-based groups from violating their consciences with pro-abortion aspects of the Affordable Care Act. Last January, President Trump became the first president to speak in person to the hundreds of thousands attending the March for Life.
With the nomination and confirmation of Justices Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Barrett – along with hundreds of other federal judicial appointments – the 45th president masterfully shaped the federal courts in a constitutionally positive direction.
President Trump’s administration kept America from expansive wars, championed personal religious freedoms, supported family-friendly tax laws, strengthened America’s foster care and adoption systems, and issued hundreds of executive orders that in some form or fashion affirm many of America’s founding principles.
At the same time, my faith reminds me that everyone falls short, which is why I (and all of us) need a Savior – and He was never going to be found in President Donald Trump – and He won’t be found in President Joe Biden, either. Many of the outgoing president’s flaws were obvious because of his seat on the world’s stage, and his lack of political expression, but we all have our besetting sins.
Yet because of so many of his excellent policies, I don’t regret my votes for Donald Trump. I’ll never apologize for voting against the slaughter of innocent children.
I also want to acknowledge Vice President Mike Pence. He is a good, godly man. He was a person who created confidence for so many Christians these past four years.
In fact, I believe many of the Trump administration’s socially conservative policies were due, in large part, to Vice President Pence’s guidance and ideological convictions. Over the last four years, meetings and events I attended with administration officials almost always began or closed in prayer. That’s clearly due in large part to Mr. Pence’s strong influence and leadership, along with that of many other principled leaders who served the recent administration and this country often at great personal sacrifice, and to whom I believe is owed thanks and appreciation.
To be clear, my reflections today are not wrapped in politics but in principle. While I have great concerns about many of the incoming administration’s announced plans and policies, I nevertheless pray that President Biden and his team will somehow find a way to calm troubled waters and unite Americans around what is good and right and true.
Photo from POOL/REUTERS