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Vigliotti: God still matters: Conventional wisdom and the American future | COMMENTARY

In America, it is often remarked that you can’t legislate morality. But in reality, all laws in the United States have a moral foundation, even unwittingly, as it was from distinct moral truths which appeared in the Declaration of Independence — that God has created all of us equally, and that He has endowed us all with natural rights — that the basis for the United States Constitution appears.

When we consider laws, actions, events, and more, we question whether these are constitutional — from immigration enforcement to potentially impeachable activity on the part of a president. At the very core of law is human action, and at the center of American law is the protection of the rights of the individual. Our laws are drawn from the very religious truth that the individual person has merit in his or her uniqueness and in possessing a soul handcrafted by God. This belief is and remains as natural to the American consciousness as are the rights God has given to each of us as human beings.

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Our nation thus can never be too far from God. A story gained traction earlier this week during the Republican National Convention about a lifelong Ohio Democrat who called into CSPAN programming to explain that, based on the Republican Party’s welcoming of God, he would be voting for President Trump in November. This caller explained he felt like the Democrats were pushing God out.

At the Democratic National Convention in 2012, many of those delegates assembled actually booed the inclusion of God in their party’s platform. This year, God was omitted by some members of Democratic caucus meetings in the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. But why does any of this matter?

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Because God matters to the vast majority of Americans. Belief in God is not a slogan — it is a way of life. God defies politics of any party, and transcends any and all divisions. God is love; and God is, in the end, a point of unity and the ultimate arbiter of moral truth. It is easy to see how much God matters when someone like the CSPAN caller from Ohio alters his political support due to something as simple and yet profound as faith.

And therein, Republicans were not shy about their faith in God at their convention. There was no proclaiming of God as a Republican, but there were Americans professing their faith in Him. That is how it should be — to allow one’s life, no matter how imperfect we may be, to be led by the Lord and to follow as best we can. We cannot bend Him to our will; but we must seek to abide by His. This is, in part, why we incorporate moral truths into our laws and why we respect the individual.

Excluding God, for whatever reason, ultimately does more harm than any purported good. Without God as a defining moral arbiter, individualism blurs and twists into factionalism, and ultimately the will of the state. God was incorporated into the Pledge in 1954 in part as a way to distinguish the United States from the Soviet Union, to distinguish a free society of individuals from a system which subjugated the human spirit into one collective.

Things that might ordinarily divide us into factions don’t matter under God. What matters is what you believe. The diverse array of speakers at the RNC were united in things like love of God and love of country. In a very Reaganesque way, they reminded Americans that it was still morning, here, and that our values and principles were timeless. They reminded Americans as well about the crises and challenges we have faced and overcome, and the accomplishments we have achieved.

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It wasn’t celebrities and elites who lectured us about what we needed to do that guided the convention, but average Americans who led the way by sharing their personal stories and experiences with the rest of the nation. They reaffirmed the American sense of individualism and second chances – and their faith in God.

As if riots, violence, mob intimidation, autonomous zones, complicit elected leaders, book burning, and the embrace of socialism by too many in the party were not enough to drive some people away from the Democrats, a growing effort to remove God was the final reason.

In his excellent book “Reclaiming Hope,” Michael Wear, a Christian who worked in the Obama White House Office on Faith-Based and Neighborhood partnerships, recounts the frustrating time he often had advancing the idea that Democratic leaders should indeed embrace faith, but too many on the Left rejected this view. It is unfortunate for believers in that party, but again, God is bigger than politics.

As the Rev. Norma Urrabazo prayed in opening the second night of the RNC, “This country was founded by the people for their God … Lord, we invite you into our homes, into our lives…” Amen. It is a prayer for all Americans.

Joe Vigliotti, a contributor to The Flip Side and a Taneytown city councilman, writes from Taneytown. His column appears every other Friday. Email him through his website at www.jvigliotti.com.

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