After a week-long delay due to the partial government shutdown, the 2019 State of the Union Address showed up in a big way. When the time arrived for President Donald Trump’s speech, it came with all the requisite drama that surrounds The State of the Union and then some. Indeed, the deep worldview divides represented by the current political climate overshadowed the usual political pageantry associated with this speech. It was an epic drama of democracy.
Long before he became President of the United States, Donald Trump understood television. He understood reality TV, and his expertise was on display last night. The President carefully orchestrated arguments and policy statements on a range of issues like infrastructure, women in the workplace, or the price of pharmaceutical drugs—issues that his partisan opponents could not help applauding. He understood the optics of this event and he crafted a message that would paint himself as a statesman of the republic who could speak to issues that bridged partisan divides. By evoking imagery of Ronald Reagan, the President summoned the divided congress to greatness: to pursue results, live for a grand vision, and promote America’s “destiny” as an example for the world.
At the same time, the President also knew exactly what he was doing when he articulated points that would not garner support from Democrats but remarkable disagreement. That, too, was part of the plan—and one issue, specifically, magnified the vast worldview divide present within the American culture.
During his speech, the President promoted a policy for paid family leave. This policy boasts the support of many Democrats and even some Republicans. The Democrats, along with many in the President’s own party, applauded the policy proposal. The President’s next series of words silenced the bipartisan applause:
“There could be no greater contrast to the beautiful image of a mother holding her infant child than the chilling displays our nation saw in recent days. Lawmakers in New York cheered with delight upon the passage of legislation that would allow a baby to be ripped from the mother's womb moments from birth. These are living, feeling, beautiful babies who will never get the chance to share their love and dreams with the world. And then, we had the case of the governor of Virginia where he stated that he would ‘execute a baby after birth.’ To defend the dignity of every person, I am asking the Congress to pass legislation to prohibit the late term abortion of children who can feel pain in the mother's womb.”
The President struck a contentious, volatile, and crucial chord with these words that not only condemned late-term abortion but called on Congress to completely ban the atrocity now legal in New York and championed in Virginia.
Abortion reigns as the only sacrament that remains amongst the political left. They treat it as a sacrament to cherish and defend at all costs—a worldview that presses them to pass legislation like the new law in New York State.
Indeed, the President’s words highlighted that great worldview divide over something as basic as the dignity and sanctity of human life. When the President condemned late-term abortions, the cameras in the House Chamber panned the faces of the Democrats who exhibited a stone-cold expression—they sat in disgruntled silence. As Donald Trump called for legislation to end the practice, their opposition to his call was painfully and visibly clear. The ideology and worldview of the political left has trapped them within an argument from which they apparently have no intention of escaping. On a nationally televised address with the eyes of the nation watching, lawmakers eagerly embraced a culture of death.
Then, the President did something remarkable, taking his comments in a direction virtually unprecedented in the language of recent presidents. The President said, “Let us work together to build a culture that cherishes innocent life. And let us reaffirm a fundamental truth: all children—born and unborn—are made in the holy image of God.” Right there, one of the most fundamental doctrines of Scripture and definitional truths about humanity was affirmed. That ought not to go without our attention. The President made very clear that the grounds for human dignity and the protection of the unborn flows from a biblical worldview—that all humanity is made in the image of God.
The left was unmoved. They sat as stone statuary. The worldview of the left, however, leaves them with no other choice. This has had two horrific consequences. First, the logic of the pro-abortion movement, if honest, must point to the unrestricted access of abortion at any point in the pregnancy for any reason. Second, the pressure of the pro-abortion worldview has made pro-life Democrats an extinct species.
The horror of abortion has dotted the headlines of recent days, and the President’s speech put the issue front and center in the national spotlight. It is my hope that this issue will not be swept under the rug in the coming days, weeks, and months, but that the nation’s leaders will, with zeal and urgency, pass legislation that will protect the lives of the unborn—precious creatures of God made in his holy image.
This article draws from the February 6th edition of The Briefing. To listen to the full episode, click here. To subscribe to The Briefing–Dr. Mohler’s daily podcast that serves as an analysis of news and events–click here.