President Donald Trump finally delivered his delayed 2019 State of the Union address before a joint session of the 116th Congress after the speech had been delayed. Political divisions, lack of cooperation or compromise, and the eventual government shutdown led to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi revoking her invitation to the president for him to come and deliver the State of the Union address. When a follower of Christ looks neutrally at the almost an hour and half long speech, as well as the responses from both sides, there are a few things that shine through in a Christian scope.
First, a few dozen women in Congress wore all white as a way of standing in solidarity with the women’s suffragette movement and standing for women’s rights. Representative Katherine Clark (D-MA 5th District) posted a photo of the women together with the hashtags #reprorights, #equalpay, and #paidleave on Twitter. To use the hashtag #reprorights in connection with the suffragette movement is an oxymoron and represents the lack of education on proper historical teachings many people have or choose to gain. Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman to receive a medical degree in America, would have disagreed with the women fighting for abortion rights. In fact, Blackwell would have been joined by many others in the movement such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, leading figure of the early suffragette movement, Sarah Norton and Victoria Woodhull.
“Child murderers practice their profession without let or hindrance, and open infant butcheries unquestioned. Is there no remedy for all this ante-natal child murder? Perhaps there will come a time when an unmarried mother will not be despised because of her motherhood and when the right of the unborn to be born will not be denied or interfered with.” (Sarah Norton)
“When we consider that women are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit.” (Elizabeth Cady Stanton)
“Every woman knows if she were free, she would never bear an unwished-for child, nor think of murdering one before its birth.” (Victoria Woodhull, first female candidate for president) The president acknowledged every child born is created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26) and therefore every unborn child should be protected. The Bible would support his stance on that and Christians who believe in and support the Bible should stand with him as well on that issue.
Before taking too much of a critical eye to the president’s speech, whether for or against him and his policies, Christians must realize there is a significant difference in the role of government and the role of the Church. The Church is absolutely supposed to welcome everyone in with open arms, and dare I saw we do not do that very well sometimes. The Church is supposed to reach out to everyone and lend a helping hand when it can so that it can reach hearts and minds with helping others have a relationship with Jesus. That is not the role of government, as the Bible shows us. The role of government is to uphold the law.
“Everyone is to obey the governing authorities, because there is no authority except from God and so whatever authorities exist have been appointed by God. So anyone who disobeys an authority is rebelling against God’s ordinance; and rebels must expect to receive the condemnation they deserve. Magistrates bring fear not to those who do good, but to those who do evil. So if you want to live with no fear of authority, live honestly and you will have its approval; it is there to serve God for you and for your good. But if you do wrong, then you may well be afraid; because it is not for nothing that the symbol of authority is the sword: it is there to serve God, too, as his avenger, to bring retribution to wrongdoers.” (Romans 13:1-4 NAB)
The role of government is to uphold the law and the role of citizens and others is to obey the law. At this current moment there are laws regarding how and who may enter the United States and under what circumstances. There are no wide open borders and therefore those who are participating in the caravans and entering into this country illegally are breaking the law and the Bible upholds the government’s stance on enforcing the law. The Bible is very clear we are expected to obey the laws of the government.
The Bible affirms that borders for nations are good and have a purpose. The promised land of Israel had specific borders, along with other countries of course in Biblical times. We see the issue of border security and country borders come into play in Numbers 20:17-21 when Moses asked permission from the King of Edom to go through their country and the king denied Moses permission to enter the country. Moses respected that denial and went another way.
Let’s face it, there is a border in the afterlife between heaven and hell. God believes in specific borders and shows that Christians should respect borders, just as Moses did, and do things legally.
The largest challenge Christians face in this country is the ability to be neutral. If you read the headlines from the State of the Union address it would seem as if there were two different speeches delivered, depending on where you are getting the headline. There is a lack of neutrality and objectivity and as Christians we are expected to look at things through the lens of the Bible and nothing else.