Lincoln * Institute

Dr. Paul Kengor

Dr. Paul Kengor

Executive Director
Center for Vision & Values
at Grove City College


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Kengor's Corner

God, Democrats. and the Europeanization of America

by Paul Kengor

The battle at the Democratic convention to exclude God from the party's platform

is no minor moment. Do not underestimate what transpired there.

And while it speaks to so many things, at many levels, it reminds me of the

recent battle within the European Union to exclude God from the EU constitution.

That comparison is no mere academic one. It speaks volumes about the ongoing

direction of the Democratic Party, and this nation.

About 10 years ago, the EU was in an intense debate over whether to mention God

in its new constitution. The God opponents were the predictable Western European

progressives: leftist Eurocrats in Brussels, Labor Party atheists in Britain,

German socialists, Scandinavian secularists, and, naturally, the French

leadership. The God supporters included new EU member states that survived

godless communism–with Poland in the forefront–and the continent's preeminent

religious figure: Pope John Paul II.

The pope, suffering from advanced Parkinson's, took up the fight with vigor. In

the summer of 2003, he devoted a series of Sunday Angelus addresses to this

political issue that transcended politics. He made arguments akin to those made

by the [4]American Founding Fathers: It is crucial for citizens living under a

constitution to understand the ultimate source from which their rights derive.

Their rights come not from government but from God. What government gives,

government can take away. What God gives, government cannot take away.

The pope was countered by the likes of French president Jacques Chirac, who

sniffed: "France is a lay state, and as such she does not have a habit of

calling for insertions of a religious nature into constitutional texts." The

"lay character" of France's government and public institutions, according to

Chirac, simply did "not allow" for a reference to God in a constitution.

Chirac displayed precisely the misunderstanding of church and state that secular

liberals in the United States have heartily embraced.

In the end, the EU compromised on a bland statement grudgingly conceding the

continent's "cultural, religious, and humanist inheritance." It was a nod to God

that George Weigel, in his superb "The Cube and the Cathedral," described as "so

bland as to be meaningless."

But, in an important way, it was actually not meaningless. Hilaire Belloc once

said that "the (Christian) faith is Europe and Europe is the faith." Well, it

isn't anymore. Perhaps, then, it was perfectly fitting that the Europeans

excluded God from their platform.

That brings me back across the Atlantic, to Charlotte. That the Democrats, in

2012, would find themselves in a similar battle is no surprise.

I'll never forget the night Barack Obama won the 2008 election, when I turned on

CNN and glimpsed an unknown Republican congressman from Wisconsin named Paul

Ryan. When asked about Obama's victory, Ryan said he was most concerned about

"the Europeanization of America."

"That's it!" I said to myself. "That's exactly it. Who is this guy? He nailed


A further "Europeanization" of America is the best description of what has

transpired under the Obama administration, especially its first two years under

a fully supportive Democratic Congress. In 2009-10, we witnessed incredibly

wasteful Keynesian-style prime-the-pump "stimulus," partial nationalizations,

"[5]Obama-care," explosive public-sector growth and unionization, demonization

of the banking and investment and oil industries, stagnant unemployment,

[6]class-warfare rhetoric unlike anything I've ever heard in this country, and

debt-to-GDP ratios approaching [7]Greece standards. We've experienced a

record-long non-recovering [8]recovery reminiscent not of the American

experience but of Western Europe.[9]

[10]As someone who researches communism, I'm often asked if the Obama

administration is pursuing socialistic or even communist policies. No, no, I've

always said. If you want the closest model to what Obama is doing, look at the

Attlee government in Britain after WWII or Western Europe today generally.

I recently did an interview with the BBC in Ireland. The host asked: "What's

wrong with you Americans? You call Obama a 'socialist' as if socialism is bad.

Here in Europe, we think he's doing exactly the right thing." Likewise, a friend

of mine recently returned from Spain. She was shocked by the overwhelming

support for Barack Obama's policies. It's really no shock at all–not in Spain.

Here in America, the staunchest liberal-Democrat areas, such as California,

Massachusetts, and New England, all have European-level birthrates, divorce

rates, abortion rates, and even church attendance. New England, in many ways, is

a microcosm of Western Europe.

By the time of the 2012 Democratic convention, party delegates had already

(following Barack Obama's lead) embraced everything from unlimited

taxpayer-funding of abortion to gay marriage. How does one get to these

positions? Answer: by removing God. Fittingly, then, the delegates merely need

to take the next evolutionary step: exclude God. It was very … European.

The soul of the Democratic Party continues to change dramatically.

– Dr. Paul Kengor is professor of political science at Grove City College,

executive director of [11]The Center for Vision Values, and author of the

book, [12]"The Communist: Frank Marshall Davis, The Untold Story of Barack

Obama's Mentor." His other books include [13]"The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and

the Fall of Communism" and [14]"Dupes: How America's Adversaries Have

Manipulated Progressives for a Century."

2012 by The Center for Vision Values at Grove City College. The views &


expressed herein may, but do not necessarily, reflect the views of Grove City


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