News & Politics

Liberals Are Already Gearing Up to Attack the Notorious ACB... for This Common Christian Phrase

University of Notre Dame Law School via AP

President Donald Trump announced he would nominate a replacement for the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Friday or Saturday, but some on the Left have already taken aim at one of the frontrunners, 7th Circuit Appeals Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett. On Sunday, The Washington Post‘s book critic Ron Charles suggested Barrett’s religious faith makes her a dangerous radical.

“Amy Coney Barrett, the judge at the top of Trump’s list to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg, has said we should always remember that a ‘legal career is but a means to an end … and that end is building the Kingdom of God,'” Charles tweeted.

Charles and a few others appeared to seize on the “Kingdom of God” phrase as if it were a dog-whistle for a radical and nefarious agenda.

“Amy Coney Barrett, Trump’s top pick, believes a ‘legal career is but a means to an end…and that end is building the Kingdom of God.’ I’m a Christian but this is terrifying RT if you care about the separation of church and state,” tweeted Lindy Li, a Joe Biden delegate to the Democratic National Convention and a former Princeton University class president.

Yet many conservatives — and even some pro-Biden political observers — rightly castigated Charles and others for attacking Barrett’s faith. Barrett, who taught at Notre Dame Law School for 15 years and who is a practicing Roman Catholic, was merely using a common term in Jewish and Christian circles, meant to reference doing justice and following God’s will in her work.

“I hate to break it to you, Ron, but all believing Jews and Christians think that our purpose is to build the kingdom of God,” Yoram Hazony, an Orthodox Jew and president of the Herzl Institute in Jerusalem, tweeted in response to Charles.

Patrick Brennan, a former writer for National Review, noted that “All Christians devote their lives to building the Kingdom of God.”

“This kind of cheap, ignorant misinterpretation of Barrett saying she believes what Catholics believe — here, just that we must effect justice and peace in this world — is a preview of things to come,” Brennan warned.

Andrew Figgy, a law school student who describes himself as a “left-conservative for Biden,” condemned the attacks on Barrett as “ignorant and malicious.”

“We’re all called to build towards the Kingdom of God and that has nothing to do with ‘theocracy’. See: Romans 14:17, Matthew 6:33, John 18:36,” Figgy tweeted.

No, ‘New York Times,’ Romans 1 Doesn’t Call for the Execution of Gays

So, what does the Kingdom of God really mean?

The Kingdom of God is a central concept in Judaism and Christianity. Judaism established the idea that the awful power that created the entire universe was also the giver of the moral law, the one who speaks through conscience. God chose Israel as His chosen people. When the people of Israel asked for a king, God described Himself as offended — God Himself was their king, speaking through the judges and the prophets.

The prophet Daniel envisioned a future in which the God of Heaven would establish a kingdom that would forever abide (Daniel 2:44). The prophet Zechariah predicted that “the LORD will be king over all the earth. On that day the LORD will be one and his name one” (Zechariah 14:9). The prophet Habakkuk, writing amid the oppression of the Babylonian Empire, predicted that empire’s fall, saying, “for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea” (Habakkuk 2:14).

These Kingdom of God prophecies looked forward to a time when true justice would become the order of the day — when the God who cares for the widow and the orphan would stand up for the weakest members of society and establish justice.

The Kingdom of God arguably has even more relevance in Christianity. When Jesus taught His disciples to pray, He said they should begin, “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Only after these two petitions does Jesus tell His disciples to pray for their daily bread and for forgiveness from their sins.

The Kingdom of God is an already-and-not-yet phenomenon in Christianity. Many of Jesus’ parables refer to the judgment of God on the last day. Jesus and His disciples proclaimed the Kingdom of God, but its ultimate fulfillment will not come until Jesus’ Second Coming. In His famous beatitudes, Jesus said, “Blessed are those who suffer for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Bringing about the Kingdom of God can refer to preaching the saving gospel of Jesus Christ, but in the context that Amy Coney Barrett used it, it refers roughly to the lifestyle of Micah 6:8: “What does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?”

The purposeful twisting of Barrett’s words into some kind of radicalism echoes the notorious words of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) during Barrett’s confirmation hearing for the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. “The dogma lives loudly within you,” Feinstein said, suggesting that Barrett’s religious convictions disqualified her from service on the federal bench.

Author and pastor Ed Stetzer put it best. “As you see the vitriol directed at the simple words of Jesus, ‘Kingdom of God,’ it may remind you why so many think a Supreme Court that will protect religious liberty is essential in this day and age,” he tweeted.

Indeed, it very much does.

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Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.

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