Out of the 43 men who have been raised to the office of the presidency, exactly 43 have been some version of professed Christian. How genuine or thorough their beliefs were or are is, of course, an area of debate, but it’s simply inarguable that each of them claimed to adhere to some belief in Christ as a divine savior. According to Ken Blackwell, American Christians are to this day persecuted, and should rise up and take to the streets to fight for their beliefs and representation in our public discourse.
Out of the 43 men who have been raised to the office of the presidency, exactly one has been black. We can be pretty sure of that. According to Ken Blackwell, racism’s pretty much dead, and black people should stop whining about how hard things are for them.
Again, to clarify: Christianity being a de facto qualification for the highest office in the land is indicative of how many obstacles there are to Christian advancement in public life; one black president in nearly two and a half centuries means that all barriers to black advancement have fallen. There is one thing about Blackwell’s argument that deserves a deeper look, though, and it’s this:
There was no mandate to change our social culture.
The most visible social issue in this election is marriage. State constitutional amendments protecting traditional marriage passed in all three states where it was on the ballot. While such measures passing in Florida and Arizona is no surprise, the fact that it also passed in California, a liberal state, is proof that the vast majority of Americans regard marriage as a union between a man and woman.
Another cultural measure is racial preferences. The U.S. Supreme Court has struck down racial quotas as unconstitutional. In 2003, the Court also struck down a race-preference program that resembled a quota by giving extra points to the college applicants because of race. And in 2007, the Court also struck down a public-school districting program that made race a major factor in determining which school a student attends.
The thread of thought inherent in Blackwell’s remarks hearkens back to this famous passage:
The argument also assumes that social prejudices may be overcome by legislation, and that equal rights cannot be secured to the negro except by an enforced commingling of the two races. We cannot accept this proposition. If the two races are to meet upon terms of social equality, it must be the result of natural affinities, a mutual appreciation of each other’s merits, and a voluntary consent of individuals.
That’s Plessy v. Ferguson.
It’s hard to look at modern-day arguments against such steps as affirmative action and same sex marriage and not come to the conclusion that this same principle of culture superceding rights still governs the right today. Sure, they’re willing to accept those steps which are universally agreed to have been good for us after the fact (who didn’t support desegregation – except for the parts where they actually made people desegregate?), but Blackwell openly mirrors this rationale. Society (by which we mean his brand of Christian) cannot be forced to recognize the rights or even, necessarily, the humanity of those against whom they are bigoted until such point they decide to do so. Anything else is an unfair incursion upon their liberties, answerable only by social action focused on preserving their right to refuse the recognition of others as full members of society.
You could almost appreciate the originalist adherence to one of the most shameful moments in our nation’s history if it wasn’t coupled with the embrace of a totally ahistorical victimology. We’re supposed to resist the revision of our social history while guided by an even larger and far more dangerous revision of the exact same social history. Being a lying, hateful jackass isn’t justified by the fact that the lie would make your hatred the national pastime.