If there’s one thing conservatives have been looking forward to since President Obama’s first State of the Union address, it’s his last. Last night, that moment finally arrived — and with it, the overwhelming relief that this administration is writing its last chapter in America’s history. In this seventh and final installment, the president seemed to take us into a parallel universe where his failed policies on health care, foreign policy, climate change, social change, and the economy were hailed as victorious achievements.
For a man who used to thrill audiences with his rhetoric, that old magic was difficult to come by against the bleak backdrop of reality. That didn’t stop Obama from trying, as he glossed over the major missteps over his presidency and declared America stronger than ever. In one of the few moments of clarity, president talked about his inability to heal the nation’s divides — but never owned up to his part in deepening them. From Israel and guns to marriage, abortion, and race, few presidents have been as fiercely polarizing as this one. So when he speaks of “constructive debates,” while simultaneously silencing them, you’ll have to excuse Americans for their incredulity.
Like me, most of them probably watched Tuesday’s speech feeling like no one was more out of touch with the state of our union than the president observing it. He talked about the need to respect people’s beliefs, while two of the greatest failures of his administration to do exactly that sat in the audience: Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis and the Little Sisters of the Poor. Kim spent five days in jail because the president’s party refused to do what they admonished others: “reject any policies that targets people because of religion.” Instead, the Obama administration spent seven years at war with millions of Americans who dare to live and work according to their faith. Yet here was the president declaring that democracy “doesn’t work if we think the people who disagree with us are all motivated by malice.”
That’s certainly what the president has implied with every refusal to exempt nuns from his mandates or clerks from same-sex marriage licenses. In a desperate attempt to keep its power, the Left has tried to label all of its critics as “extremists” or “haters.” They’ve tried to silence opponents, not work with them. But even that should encourage us. President Obama’s party has tried to limit our freedom of speech because they fear its power. They’ve tried to restrain the expression of our convictions because they’re unsure of the truth of theirs. That’s why it’s so important for Christians like Kim to stand — and keep standing. As she sat, gracefully listening to the president talk about the last two terms, attorney Mat Staver wanted her to be a visual reminder that Obama’s policies have “not encompassed all of American citizens — and particularly Kim — with respect to religious freedom and marriage.”
Of course, to hear the president tell it, those are both consensus issues. Through hard work, he argues, “we secured the freedom in every state to marry the person we love. But such progress is not inevitable. It’s the result of choices we make together.” But Americans didn’t make those choices together — they were imposed on us by five black-robed activists! The choices we made together, as evidenced by 30 state constitutions, were to protect marriage. If redefining civilization’s oldest institution were the people’s will, Obama wouldn’t have needed the Court!
But what can we expect from a president whose State of the Union mentions “faith” once, “family” once, and “freedom” (not in the context of same-sex marriage) once? To be fair, it was probably one of the few times when his words accurately matched his actions. No wonder members like Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) skipped the 2016 edition. “I will be in the members’ chapel,” he said, “praying for God to raise up a leader whom he will use to restore the soul of America.” After the past seven years, we should all join him in that prayer!
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