When it comes to a faith-related speech and the first letter of reference to a specific individual is capitalized 21 times, you would think we were talking about “God.” To give Vice President Kamala Harris a very little bit of credit, it’s entirely possible she was — at least from her perspective.
However, that’s not who Harris was referring to during the Monday speech at the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor in California before she had what was described as a “roundtable with faith leaders on reproductive healthcare.”
Instead, that capitalized reference to a specific individual is “I” — Harris herself, according to the White House transcript. God didn’t manage to work His way in there, even though you would think He would be important enough to mention before a meeting with faith leaders.
Now, in reality, this may have been for the best. The roundtable was meant to address “reproductive health” issues (read: mostly abortion) — and bringing faith leaders into a discussion the White House described as being about “protecting reproductive rights and addressing the epidemic of hate that is gripping our nation,” as per the Christian Post, was already sacrilegious enough.
However, if you’re going to cloak the murder of the unborn in the cloth of the Deity, you may as well go all the way. Again, giving Harris the benefit of the doubt: Maybe she thought that’s what she was doing by using the first person personal pronoun 21 times. That said, if you do that, it might be nice to name-check God at least once.
That didn’t happen, though — nor did any reference to “Jesus Christ,” “the Holy Spirit,” “ol’ INRI” or even “the big guy upstairs.”
Harris was speaking in the context of the Supreme Court’s pending decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which could overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion across the country.
Instead, there were a lot of sentences like this: “I’m looking forward to our conversation,” “I know that no matter the differences among us in a society, there’s so much more in common than what separates us,” and, “I do believe that when we look at the challenge that we will face when that decision comes down, a part of it will be that it will directly, if not indirectly, impact other privacy rights, including the right to have access to contraception and the right to marry the person you love.”
While not necessarily self-aggrandizing in every instance, it certainly gave a window into where the vice president’s head was at.
However, there was this admission by Harris: “We need faith.”
“I know that no matter the differences among us in a society, there’s so much more in common than what separates us,” Harris said. “And I think most people, regardless of who they are, would agree.”
Doesn’t that qualify? Shouldn’t that count as a vague, ecumenical nod toward the Empyrean? Not … quite, not in the least when you look at the kind of “faith” Harris is referring to.
“We need faith in each other, in our nation, and in our future,” Harris said. “And so, that’s why we are coming together today with a goal of instilling in folks a belief that gives them a sense of hope and optimism in themselves, in their community and our future.”
Another statement by Harris with which you might disagree: “I think we all would agree that, in particular, these last few years have, in many ways, tested our faith — tested our ability to believe that everything will be OK, should be OK, can be OK.”
In the first instance, this is hardly the same kind of “faith” that makes one a “faith leader;” I may have faith in America, in the fact my wife is a good cook or in the near certainty Joe Biden will commit at least one gaffe during comments that last longer than five minutes, but I don’t go to a church, temple, mosque or synagogue on an appointed day to worship any of these things.
In the second case, it’s definitionally better if things are OK than if they aren’t OK, but that isn’t what faith promises, either — unless one only has a shallow faith, at best. Faith arguably offers the opposite of these things, at least from the standpoint of physical comfort.
Consider the words of Jesus: “If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.”
Contrast with Kamala 3:16: “We should have the ability to believe that everything will be OK, should be OK, can be OK.”
Of course, what are we to expect when the White House brings together faith leaders to talk about, first and foremost, the dreaded possibility that the invented constitutional right to abort an unborn child might be taken away?
If that was a primary concern to the faith leaders present, then their god was the one hosting the roundtable — and yes, she referenced herself quite often. But then, if that’s the case, I’d argue everyone who attended has bigger problems than whether or not Roe v. Wade is struck down. Just like this speech, that kind of mindset is godless and selfish.
Author: C. Douglas Golden