Protecting Pro-Life Values, Religious Liberty Must Define the 2010 Election Effort

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 13, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Protecting Pro-Life Values, Religious Liberty Must Define the 2010 Election Effort

by Tony Perkins
September 13, 2010 Note: Tony Perkins is the president of the Family Research Council. This is an except from the address to the Faith and Freedom Conference in Washington, D.C. on September 10.

Good morning, and thanks to each of you for attending this event. I’m thankful to stand with each of you in defending faith, family, and freedom.

In the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon states that a cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart. That observation, born of Solomon’s long experience as king during a difficult reign, has a profound application to our own time, as well.

That principle of three – three sturdy strands being entwined together into one cord that is hard to tear apart – is essential to the conservative movement and to America in our time.

Economic growth and national defense are strands that intertwine. Without a robust economy, we will lack the means of sustaining our military security. And without a strong defense, our economy and our nation will be continually at risk.

But both of these are entwined with the third strand, a strand without which the other two will surely fray: The critical need for a just and good society, one where children are protected in the womb … where families thrive … and where religious liberty is the bulwark of the freedoms we enjoy.

Let’s begin with the children in the womb, the sanctity of life. Let me be clear about one irreducible principle: Abortion is, above all else, immoral. Regardless of its ramifications for our economy, let conservatives never retreat from that principle.

But abortion is also an economic issue. Journalist Dennis Howard, writing in 2008, suggests that using the estimated contribution of individuals to our Gross Domestic Product,

” … the 50.5 million surgical abortions since 1970 have cost the U.S. an astonishing $35 trillion dollars in lost Gross Domestic Product … If you include all the babies lost to IUDs, RU-486, sterilization, and abortifacients, the number climbs to $70 trillion!”

These future citizens are gone. They cannot be replaced. And according to an Associated Press report from last month, our birthrate is at its lowest point in a century.

Of the roughly 50 million unborn children aborted since 1973, probably three-fifths of them would be in the workforce. They would be paying taxes, serving in the military, adding innovation, and producing American goods. And many would be building strong families and communities.

So to suggest, as some have, that abortion should be sidelined as part of the conservative agenda is not only morally wrong, it simply doesn’t make sense economically. The idea that children are an economic burden that draw down on a limited supply of resources is a deceptive message that endangers our republic. There is no greater natural resource than a human being.

The sanctity of life and the dignity and viability of the family tie in directly with the economic health of our country. So does religious liberty.

Only a belief that our rights come from God – itself a very religious proposition that is foundational to our country – assures that those rights will be protected by government. Our Creator has bestowed our rights, not Uncle Sam. If we jettison this religious affirmation, we jettison the whole basis of the United States of America.

If true religious freedom is lost, all our other freedoms are undermined, since it is only religion that teaches the rights we enjoy as Americans come from God, not the state.

Religious liberty … the sanctity of life … and sustaining traditional marriage compose a strand in the cord of three without which the other two will never securely hold the nation.

We are on the verge of a major national election. One recent Gallup Poll found that in the generic ballot, ten percent more American voters are now identifying themselves as Republicans rather than Democrats. This is a potentially historic partisan shift.

That’s why it is so important that we remind some of our friends who claim that we have to be quiet about social issues and talk only of the other two strands of the conservative cord that to be pro-life and pro-family wins politically.

Just ask Joe Miller in Alaska, who has credited pro-life voters with giving him the edge over the pro-abortion backed candidate, Republican Lisa Murkowski. There are hundreds, even thousands, like him across the United States, from school boards to the U.S. Senate, who will tell you that social conservatism is what put them over the winning line.

Lest they forget, 32 states have approved measures opposing homosexual marriage. To be pro-life and pro-family is a winning formula.

But before we get too excited about GOP gains, please let me caution you: The Bible says, Put not your trust in princes for a reason. Major Republican wins in November will not guarantee good governance. They will not assure a return to sound economic, military or family policy.

Christians must not be seduced by the siren call of those who tell them to push aside their moral convictions – rooted in the truth of Word of God and vindicated by social science and history – in favor of mere economic concerns. This is a form of idolatry, of putting mammon ahead of our Maker. As theologian Russell Moore has written, its like worshiping a golden calf.

We can have great economic power, abundant goods and services, a thriving financial system, the finest and best equipped and most technologically advanced military in the world, but they cannot last without strong families and a culture that upholds the sanctity of life and the centrality of religious liberty. To paraphrase Jesus, “What will wealth and power profit us, if our nation loses its soul?”

Theodore Roosevelt once said, “No people ever benefited if their prosperity corrupted their virtue.”

The Lord Jesus Christ put it this way: “A man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” Neither does a nation’s.

The cord that has bound our national life and held us together in the great enterprise we call America is fraying. But what gives me great hope is that Americans see it and are responding. That’s why you’re here today and why, next week, so many will be at Family Research Council Action’s Values Voter Summit.

Let me close with a quote from George Washington, that great visionary God raised up to help establish our country.

“The … smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained.”

It’s up to us never to disregard those rules, those principles, those convictions. To hold fast to the sanctity of life … the centrality of marriage … and the imperative of religious liberty … and, by doing so, to prevent the fraying of a cord that must never be broken.

Thank you, and many God guide and bless each of you and our country.


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