About a week ago a storied tradition that brings together both faith and politics took place in New York. You may not have heard much about it because it was overtaken by the announcement of President Trump’s illness the following day.
The 2020 Al Smith Dinner, usually a glitzy, white tie and tails affair, like so many other events was transformed this year into a virtual event. It wasn’t an evening filled with the usual light-hearted, funny speeches by Presidential candidates.
Both President Trump and Joe Biden delivered serious recorded remarks.
Biden is a Catholic and I have little doubt that during the real personal challenges he’s faced in life, that he’s drawn strength from his faith. But actions as well as words are important. That’s the difference between empty rhetoric or political spin and true convictions.
Faith is something to be lived, not just for oneself but for the betterment of God’s kingdom on earth. Actions speak louder than words. For people of faith, particularly the Catholic faith, the choice between Trump and Biden is much like the parable of the two sons, told by Christ in the Book of Matthew.
Both were asked to work in the vineyard by their father. One son refused to go but then changed his mind and obeys his father’s wishes. The other son tells his father that he will go work, but then doesn’t. Obviously the first son, who resisted his obligation but later fulfilled it, was ultimately the better of the two.
Biden, a Roman Catholic, said at the dinner, “Throughout my life I’ve been guided by the tenets of Catholic social doctrine. . . "
Then quoting Christ’s own words he said, "What you do to least among us, you do unto me."
Mr. Biden’s actions don’t square with his words.
Throughout his career, Joe Biden has repeatedly denied the unborn any basic human rights. He now, after decades supporting the Hyde Amendment, has flip-flopped his position and supports using taxpayer money to fund abortion – even overseas abortions. His Democratic Party has lately trended increasing toward radical late-term and even infanticidal post-birth abortions.
If anyone fits the definition of "the least among us," it is an unborn child, Mr. Biden.
During the Obamacare debate, Biden was among those who promised Catholic leaders that the law would not attempt to force Church institutions to violate it own teachings. He was less than truthful, and the assault on religious freedom was unlike anything we’ve seen until the pandemic’s draconian restrictions on worship at the hands of Democratic primarily governors.
Joe Biden has also flipped his position on school choice, which impacts support for religious schools, who in many places serve lower-income and minority students, providing a better academic environments at lower cost. The Biden-Sanders unity plan opposes "any and all voucher programs… Education Savings Accounts and Tax Credit Scholarship programs."
The Democratic Party’s social agenda when it comes to gender, also supported by Biden, runs counter to Catholic social teaching.
Biden’s new-found support for the so-called Equality Act would force schools to allow biological boys to compete in girls sports, among other things.
The Leftist assault on gender which aims to make it a social construct rather than a biological fact is a minefield for Catholic and other religious institutions.
The Church has long been slow to adapt to the changing Democratic Party.
Too often Catholic leaders have believed that they could bargain with Democratic officials. Too often, they’ve been dead wrong and it has cost them dearly financially and in terms of influence.
It’s no longer the party of Kennedy.
It’s not even the party of Clinton.
It’s something far more radical on a host of issues including redefining gender, assisted suicide, drug legalization and even the relaxing of prostitution laws.
The rise of a socialist influence within the Democratic party and the prominence of moral-relativist, secular humanist financial support for its policies is a present threat to not only the Catholic Church but also religion in America generally.
The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, with its Marxist underpinnings and anti-family agenda also stands to impact policy should Biden win.
Donald Trump’s style, tone and personal life aren’t exactly model of Christian living. Christian faith, however, is about redemption, second chances and the belief that people can do the right thing.
Trump’s actions tell that story.
He has undoubtedly been a staunch defender of religious freedom, the pro-life cause and school choice initiatives.
He vehemently opposes the left’s rewriting of our history and cancel culture that has also targeted religion.
His record on issues that are of significant concern to the Catholic Church, including greater stability and peace in the Mideast, put him head and shoulders the alternative.
Trump has also put dozens of Catholic judges on the federal bench and nominated three Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court who are either practicing Catholics or have strong ties to the Catholic Church.
Church leaders placing style over substance will backfire on them. While there may be some allure to having another Catholic president, it will mean little if that person is the son who says he’ll toil in the vineyard, but actually has no intention of doing so.
Tom Basile is the host of ‘America Right Now’ on Newsmax Television, Saturday’s from 12pm - 3pm eastern. Basile has been part of the American political landscape from Presidential campaigns to local politics for more than two decades. He has served in government at the local, state and federal level including in the administration of George W. Bush in various capacities. He was an advisor to the provisional government in Iraq from 2003-04. From 2009-2011 he was the Executive Director of the New York State Republican Party. A columnist, commentator and former radio how, his new book "Let it Sink In: The Decade of Obama and Trump" provides a look back at the 2010s to prepare Americans to defend freedom in the 2020s. His critically-acclaimed book, "Tough Sell: Fighting the Media War in Iraq,” chronicled his time in Baghdad fighting media bias and driving coverage of the Iraq war. In 2011, he was featured in Time Magazine's Person of the Year spread about political activism around the world. Basile is an adjunct professor at Fordham University and runs a New York-based strategic communications firm. He is a member of the New York Bar and sits on a number of academic and philanthropic advisory boards. Learn more about him at TomBasile.com or follow him on Twitter @Tom_Basile. Read Tom Basile's Reports — More Here.
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