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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

‘I’ve Been Saved’– Joe Biden And Jesus In The White House

Progressives have always been dismissive of religion, the opiate of the people, fol-de-rol, whoopn’ and hollerin’, vaudeville, popery, and terrorism ; so when Joe Biden who, despite more quiet and reserved  tenures as Vice-President and Senator, said he had found Jesus, his supporters were nonplussed.  How could a man so committed to secular issues have fallen so far? How could a man for whom religion had no place in a progressive America and had been a brake on social reform become all good news and happy talk? What had happened over that now notorious weekend at Camp David?

“I found the Lord”, the President said.

Image result for images jesus as personal savior

Of course any practical questioning – how, why, where, etc. – was irrelevant.  As born-again Christians will tell you (and as the Rev. Harley Phipps, a Southern Baptist with long evangelical roots explained to the President’s staff), there is no rhyme or reason to His coming, just a miraculous arrival thanks to prayer, an open heart, grace, and spiritual desire.

The conversion of the President, a Catholic, was no less than a miracle.  For a papist, a lifelong  believer in the Holy Mother Church, a devotee of Mary and the saints, priestly celibacy, and fasting, to have accepted the true Jesus, taken him into his heart and pledged allegiance to him as his personal Savior and Savior of the world, was revolutionary.

Now that the President had received the good news, he always wore a smile – a goofy one, said his detractors who claimed that this was but one more sign of senility – but the Old Joe, said his supporters who had become increasingly worried about the sourness of their President whose “Hey, man” retorts and abrupt departures from the podium were not good signs, was back.  They were reminded of Hubert Humphrey, the Happy Warrior, who felt that politics did not have to be the dogfight it had become, but an exercise in compassion, love, and conciliation.

The Rev. Harley Phipps, was formerly Biden’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Interracial Affairs, a go-between for the President with the black community.  The President really did not need one, of course, as committed as he was to civil rights and the restoration of the black man to his rightful place in society, but he could not talk black like Bill Clinton could, a man who understood the lot of America’s colored (Rev. Phipps was an older man with an older generation's language) people and not only promoted them in principle, but in deed.  He was at home with black people, delighted in their company, and was one of them.   Joe Biden was a stiff totem, a man whose political allegiance to minorities was indisputable, but whose personal identification with them was nil.

Image result for images black southern preachers on the pulpit

Now the Reverend Phipps was called on for something far more important – spiritual counselor to the President, a latter day Billy Graham.  The President was particularly drawn to Phipps’ black country church evangelical upbringing.  He had found Jesus as a boy, preached to the Ebenezer Baptist Church of Lavely, Mississippi as a ten-year old, and was sent by his congregation to the Bobby Ilkins School of Divinity and Prophecy for his Doctorate of Divinity.  

It was after his graduation that he had been persuaded by his local Congressman and member of Ebenezer Baptist to come to Washington to share his particularly graceful spiritual innocence with the nation.  It wasn’t long before he caught the eye of committee chairmen, White House liaisons, and Senate aides, and after years of quietly paying his dues, he was invited by Biden to serve in his Administration

As a preacher Phipps had been an animated, supercharged dynamo of passion, rectitude, and belief.  Every Sunday his church was filled to the rafters to hear him preach.  He drew from a well of natural inspiration but was also well-versed in the Bible.  He could be critical of wayward souls, but he was always conciliatory and welcoming.  ‘Jesus loves sinners’, he said.  “Come to the Lord, and you will be saved”.  He was the perfect counselor for the President whose epiphany at Camp David was transformative.  

Biden said that he felt a trembling as the Lord entered him, filling his space with love and goodness.  He wanted to stand up and shout, run around the Camp grounds, and praise the Lord, only held back from doing so by the Secret Service who were worried about his competence.

Taking a leaf from the Congressional playbook, the President instituted the spiritual invocation that had opened every day’s session of the House.  Whereas Congress skirted the obvious church-state issue by rotating religions – evangelical Protestant preachers were always preferred but had to wait their turn in the rotation of Catholics, Jews, and Muslims – the President made no bones about his spiritual allegiance to Jesus Christ.  His Oval Office prayers would be Christian, he would intersperse his speeches with references to Jesus and his apostles, and he would quote the Bible often and well.

Always at his side was the Reverend Phipps, whispering in his ear, reviewing drafts of his speeches, meeting with him in private to pray and to give counsel.   Phipps was dutiful, and felt privileged to have such a trusted place in government.  Secretly he was overjoyed at this chance to evangelize on a grand scale.  If the President listened to him, so would the whole country.

‘Church and State – Is Biden Impeachable?’ asked newspapers of record and media outlets of all political views.  Of course not, retorted his legal spokesperson.  The Constitution is very clear on the issue – no matter what the forum, no public official must ever impose any one religion on anyone else.  However, the expression of faith is not an imposition, but the right of every American.  In fact the increasing secularization of America exposed the very need for spiritual rejuvenation.

‘Hallelujah”, answered the President.

Political conservatives were delighted.  They had always been overwhelmingly Christian, fundamentalist, and immovable in their faith in Jesus and the truth of his word.  They were never sure what to do with Jimmy Carter, a liberal Democrat and a devout Christian, but dismissed him summarily because of his secular views.  A true Christian would never behave this way, they said.   

They never even gave Joe Biden a second look.  Although a desultory lip-service Catholic, he could at any moment return to his parochial roots and become beholden to the Vatican.  Yet when he returned from Camp David a profoundly changed man, they changed their opinion.  Hated though he might be for his tax-and-spend policies, his glorification of the gender-altered, and refusal to stand for traditional American, patriotic values, his conversion won many of them over.

They were rewarded.  The President now sided with the bakers who refused gay cakes, against teachers’ unions whose race-gender educational distortions had become traitorous, and for the restoration of all previously cancelled historical figures who were, in the President’s words, ‘children of God’ and their Christian faith trumped any temporal, time- and era-based political decisions.

Progressives, whose distance from religion was always disingenuous at best and deceptive at worst, came out loudly and angrily at this baldly unconstitutional behavior by the President.  Religion was not only a brake on progressive reform, nor was it merely an obstacle in its way.  It was counter-revolutionary, ignorant, and anti-historical.

Image result for anti religion posters

“Let us bow our heads in a moment of silent prayer”, the President said on the South Lawn on Veterans Day to a group of military men and women who had gathered in tribute to their comrades, "for our heroic brothers and sisters who have responded patriotically to their country’s call and performed bravely and admirably; and most of all for those who have given their lives and now reside with Jesus”.

His aides had pleaded with the President to leave out this last clause, sure to enrage his progressive base.  His Administration was, after all, built on the premise of diversity and inclusivity.  Jesus might be his Lord, but not everyone’s.  The President respectfully disagreed and said that those who saw an empty chair in heaven or believed in false prophets could ignore his words at their peril.  Judgment Day was not far off.

“Please, Mr. President”, stick to the here and now, his closest advisors counselled to no avail.  The President had gone around the bend, and he would be soon removed from office.  “I don’t care”, the President replied, “I am in His hands and in His heart.  I am His and His alone”.

Biden was not the first President to avow his deeply-held Christian faith.  Other than Jimmy Carter, McKinley was a devout Christian who avoided drinking, swearing, and smoking and other “sins.” He was a regular church attender while in office and according to eyewitnesses was enthusiastic about his faith.  He also believed that the government had a duty to spread both democracy and the Christian religion abroad. McKinley’s last words before death were reportedly, “Good-bye, good bye, all. It’s God’s way. His will, not ours, be done. Nearer my God to Thee, nearer to Thee.”

Image result for Images President McKinley. Size: 150 x 200. Source: thehallofpresidents.com

President Madison was a faithful Episcopalian who signed a federal bill to appropriate funds for Bible distribution. Madison served on the Congressional committee that established and selected Congressional chaplains and he encouraged all public officials to openly declare their faith. Later in life, president Madison retracted many of his beliefs–arguing that government-paid chaplains and president-led prayers were unconstitutional–but he is still one of America’s most religious heads of state.

Though Lincoln often struggled with faith, he often utilized religious language and quoted the Bible in public speeches. Many of Lincoln’s friends attested to his personal conversion.

After his epiphany, however, Biden became far and away the most outspoken, uninhibited, tireless Christian ever to reside in the White House.  Until his electoral defeat, he was more preacher than President, more evangelical prophet than secular leader.  “Jesus loves me”, the President responded, no matter what the question, the occasion, or the venue.  “One of us, one of us”, chanted the members of the Ebenezer Baptist Church urged on in glorious praise by the Reverend Harley Phipps.

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