Human Events Blog

The God plank

Much controversy ensued when the Democrats decided to surgically remove the word “God” from their party platform, changing a passage that formerly read:

We need a government that stands up for the hopes, values, and interests of working people, and gives everyone willing to work hard the chance to make the most of their God-given potential.

To say this instead:

We gather to reclaim the basic bargain that built the largest middle class and the most prosperous nation on Earth – the simple principle that in America, hard work should pay off, responsibility should be rewarded, and each one of us should be able to go as far as our talent and drive take us.

Why did “God-given potential” have to become “as far as our talent and drive take us?”  They could have inserted the rest of their windy, insincere garbage about how “responsibility should be rewarded” – which is pretty much the opposite of their actual political philosophy – without hustling poor old God off the stage.

You can see where “working people” and “everyone willing to work” had to be expanded to “the middle class,” since not as many people are working under Democrat policies, and they view “the middle class” as the new frontier of welfare dependency.  But there was still plenty of room for the creator of the Universe, who was way ahead of the Twitter curve by giving Himself a very short name.

The Democrats are not exactly confident and cheerful about their revised party platform.  Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) was very defensive about this omission of God (and the name of a certain city that is widely recognized as important to the Big Guy) when questioned about it on Fox News:

It seems like an awful lot of trouble for the omission of a three-letter word, which doesn’t seem difficult to square with the point being made in that particular passage.  They could have just made it say “talent, drive, and God-given potential,” and avoided all this criticism.

So taking God out of the picture had to be important.  Party platforms are not scribbled on legal pads by a couple of interns – every word is the subject of much thought and debate by the platform committee.

I think God had to go because the Democrat agenda has become so profoundly incompatible with the Founders’ vision of God-given, unalienable rights that they can’t even hang onto the word as an insincere sop to religious Democrats.  They’re increasingly hostile to religion anyway, particularly since it became such an inconvenience to ObamaCare.

But this idea of rights that transcend the power of the State, and which therefore cannot be redistributed in the name of “social justice?”  That’s just gotta go.  The State gives all, and can take whatever it needs.  The new platform language explicitly frames economic opportunity as a “basic bargain” between citizens and their government, which they think “built the largest middle class and the most prosperous nation on Earth.”  Bargain.  A deal, whose terms can be altered at any time… rather than an inviolate obligation to respect the right to economic liberty, which existed before and beyond any particular government, inherent to every American from the moment of his or her birth.

This is not an isolated event.  Liberals have grown increasingly uncomfortable with the actual formulation in the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”  They were very unhappy when Paul Ryan said “our rights come from nature and God, not from government” during his RNC speech, and other speeches he has given.  It has been claimed that this language is some sort of racist dog whistle.

Barack Obama has occasionally found it difficult to recite the language of the Declaration without omitting the reference to the Creator.  This seems odd at first, because he loves to preach the gospel of Christ the Tax Collector, frequently using Christian religious imagery to promote the notion of confiscatory taxation as an expression of charity.  He’s especially fond of talking about being “my brother’s keeper” in the Big Government redistributive sense, which is grimly amusing, considering that his actual brother had to plead with a film director for money to buy medicine for his sick child.

You see, God-given rights are an obstacle to government power, but God-given obligations?  Now you’re talking!  A divine imperative behind obligations provides a sturdy moral framework for expanding the power of the State.  If God ever makes his way back into the Democrat platform, He’ll be carrying a briefcase full of mandates.

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