Yes, Mr. President, the World Is Watching
There was much to disagree with in President Biden’s recent State of the Union address, but he was right about one thing: the world’s eyes are on America. However, those eyes are seeing some things that the president celebrates but which committed Christians should find disturbing.
Here, specifically, is what the president said the world is looking to America to do:
“Make no mistake; if Congress passes a national abortion ban, I will veto it. … Let’s also pass the bipartisan Equality Act to ensure LGBTQ Americans, especially transgender young people, can live with safety and dignity. … Let’s remember the world is watching.”
First, as FRC and many other organizations have documented, “transgenderism” is fraught with physical and mental health concerns. Then there are the inequities in sports participation and the potential dangers of men and women who identify as transgender spending time with young children. Even The New York Times admitted recently, “as an increasing number of adolescents identify as transgender — in the United States, an estimated 300,000 ages 13 to 17 and an untold number who are younger — concerns are growing among some medical professionals about the consequences of the drugs.” As Wall Street Journal columnist Abigail Shrier has documented, transgender surgery and the drugs attendant to “transitioning” can cause “irreversible damage” to children and teens.
Yet there’s another dimension to all of this: As Matt Walsh has shown, people around the world know that men are men and women are women. This has been uncontroversial throughout history. It is as obvious as the sun rising in the east. This does not mean that discomfort with one’s body or the emotional distress that can accompany certain gender stereotypes are not real. Persons with gender dysphoria need compassionate medical and mental healthcare and hope for a good future.
So, back to the president’s remarks: When the world watches America, what does it see?
- A nation whose policymakers are forcing a radical social agenda on a people who don’t want it. According to a survey published in 2022 by Pew Research, most Americans want to protect people who identify as LGBTQ from “discrimination” (Pew does not define the term), but “60% say a person’s gender is determined by their sex assigned at birth, up from 56% in 2021 and 54% in 2017.” Put more clearly, very few Americans believe physical or verbal abuse is ever right, but most of us know intuitively what we see and experience — sex begins in the womb and is irreversible biologically.
- A nation where abortion is allowed after 20 weeks of pregnancy, fully five months into the gestation of the unborn little one. According to the Mayo Clinic, when the unborn baby is just four months old, her “heartbeat may now be audible through an instrument called a doppler. The fingers and toes are well-defined. Eyelids, eyebrows, eyelashes, nails and hair are formed. Teeth and bones become denser. [The baby] can even suck his or her thumb, yawn, stretch and make faces. The nervous system is starting to function. The reproductive organs and genitalia are now fully developed, and your doctor can see on ultrasound if the [unborn child] will be designated male or female at birth.” But what Joe Biden called in his annual message “reproductive healthcare” means abortion-on-demand, period. As of 2017, only seven countries allowed “elective abortions after 20 weeks … Canada, China, Netherlands, North Korea, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam.” America, China, and North Korea — nations with which we should hardly be associated with respect to human life.
- A nation where houses of worship are increasingly under attack. “Between January 2018 and September 2022, at least 420 acts of hostility against U.S. churches occurred. The types of acts identified include vandalism, arson, gun-related incidents, bomb threats, and more,” according to a new report by FRC’s Arielle Del Turco.
There is so much to celebrate in this great land. There are uncountable millions of Americans for whom the things I just mentioned are deeply troubling. Our liberty, prosperity, and opportunity remain blessings to be cherished and upheld.
Yet when the President of the United States implies that extremism in social policy must become normative for the sake of a watching world, my heart sinks. This is not the example we should set for the world, so much of which still lives under oppressive regimes.
Instead, America needs to realize its great foundational promise more fully, namely that human dignity and liberty can flourish under just law and the consent of an honorable people. That economic opportunity can combine with initiative and creativity to produce extraordinary prosperity. That our legal system, grounded in an honest reading of the Constitution, can promote both justice and security for all of our citizens. And that the value of human life, from conception to natural death, is esteemed because it is the gift of a personal and omnipotent God.
If the world watches us for these things, we can be grateful and, under our Creator, proud.
Rob Schwarzwalder is Senior Lecturer in Regent University's Honors College.