Editor’s note: The following is a transcript of an address delivered by Todd Starnes on Sept. 9th at the 2016 Values Voter Summit in Washington.
I don’t know about you but I am honored to share a fox hole not only with you but also with the Family Research Council as we fight to defend religious liberty.
Several years ago when I addressed this incredibly attractive crowd of conservatives I told you that I was one of those folks to whom President Obama referred to back in 2007: one of those "bitter clingers."
And today I stand before you and proudly say that I am still a gun-toting, Bible-clinging, flag-waving son of a Baptist and I’m not bitter -- I’m blessed.
I’ve been in New York City for more than a decade now -- living among the indigenous liberal population of Brooklyn. Many people ask me, “Todd, why would you subject yourself to such harsh living conditions?”
And I tell them that to truly understand the American liberal I felt like I needed to study them in their natural habitat.
Unfortunately, my cover was blown when my vegan neighbors caught me brewing a jug of sweet tea and smoking a pork butt.
Just imagine nearly getting trampled by a thundering herd of vegetarian hipsters stampeding to their safe spaces.
You’d be surprised how fast they can move in those skinny jeans.
Now before I begin my remarks, I want to issue a warning, especially to any of you folks who suffer from micro-aggressions. It’s about to get politically incorrect up in here — and as I promised you guys on the radio this morning -- I’m about to shuck it to the cob.
I want you to know something this morning — if you hear nothing else -- I want you to hear this:
You still have a friend at the Fox News Corner of the World. And I consider it a sacred honor to be able to write for you and to broadcast my radio commentaries for you.
Friends we are living in very dangerous times. Liberty is under assault. Our freedoms passed down from one generation to the next are in jeopardy. A recent study by Pew Research found nearly 40 percent of millennials support some limitations on free speech. Troubling times for the land of the free, the home of the brave.
President Obama promised to fundamentally transform the United States of America. And ladies and gentlemen, he has fulfilled that campaign promise.
In less than eight years, the president has turned the most exceptional nation on Earth into a vast wasteland of perpetually-offended snowflakes.
We’ve gone from the Greatest Generation to the Entitlement Generation.
Instead of creating and innovating, many Americans are hunkered down in their safe spaces, waxing poetically about gender fluidity, taking selfies and debating which lives matter and which lives do not.
The country’s gone plum nuts.
These are indeed precarious days for our great nation. Franklin Graham said we are close to a moral tipping point. There is a deep seated antagonism and hostility toward Christianity in every seat of power in the nation.
Consider the evidence. Wrong is right. Right is wrong. The Supreme Court has redefined what God defined. The nation has become a killing field for Islamic radicals. The president refuses to even acknowledge the name of the enemy. And our nation has been invaded. Our government provides sanctuary for illegals who would do harm to our citizens.
In recent days we have seen Christian Americans hauled into court and thrown into jail, bullied and slandered by those who preach tolerance and diversity.
It has become open season on gun-toting, Bible-clingers in America.
Just this morning I wrote a column about the football team at the U.S. Military Academy.
The team is now under investigation because they were caught praying in the locker room. Video of the prayer was posted online and that prompted a complaint from the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.
Under investigation for a prayer.
If George Washington had been a general in President Obama’s military -- he would’ve been court-martialed and hauled off to jail.
Our public schools have been turned into radical indoctrination centers for the left — leading the charge in massive assault on the family.
A lawsuit filed this week by Alliance Defending Freedom should alarm every parent in America.
A group of girls say their privacy was sacrificed for the sake of a boy who identifies as a girl. They were exposed to all sorts of debauchery in the locker room and the school district turned a blind eye. They did nothing. One girl told her coach she could not play on the basketball team with a transgender teammate. So the coach told her to turn in her uniform and leave the team.
Charlotte, North Carolina was the latest battleground on the issue of gender identity and inclusivity. They instructed the teachers to stop calling the children boys and girls for the sake of inclusivity. Instead, they were told to call the kids "students" and "scholars." Even if the kid is dumb as rocks. “No Billy -- three plus 2 does not equal 78 -- but by golly -- you’re a scholar!”
That got me to wondering what the gender inclusive word for stupid is because there’s a whole mess of it in Charlotte, North Carolina.
One of the more disturbing incidents from the past year involved religious liberty bills. Sadly, in several states Republican lawmakers betrayed Christians. Political Cowardice and Political Expedience.
They caved to the militant activists and their big business cronies -- Comply with the demands of their cultural radicals or else suffer the consequences.
But North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory refused to bow down to the radicals. He refused to sacrifice the safety of women and children on the altar of political correctness.
PayPal punished the state by moving one of their offices. And yet they still do business in countries where homosexual behavior is illegal including five according to Congressman Robert Pittenger -- where the penalty is death.
In Georgia, Mississippi, Arkansas and Indiana – religious liberty bills have come under attack from a number of Fortune 500 companies – from Coca-Cola and Delta Airlines to UPS and Marriott Hotels.
Instead of bending over for big business, the governors should’ve given Disney and all those other corporate bullies the heave-ho.
I don’t know about you folks -- but I’ve just about had it with all those lawmakers who campaign as Conservative Christians but govern as godless liberals — As we say in the South, "don’t let the door hit ya where the Good Lord done split ya."
So what are we going to do about all this left-wing whackadoodle nonsense?
Well, first we need to understand that our public schools are being used against us. Why do you think we’ve seen such a rapid shift in the culture? The story about the 2016 presidential race is not Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton -- it’s the millions of young Americans who supported an avowed socialist -- young Americans who believe they are entitled to what’s in your bank account.
Moms and dads: pay attention to what they’re teaching your children in the schoolhouse. Look at their lessons and if you see something say something -- because trust me folks -- there’s something rotten about Common Core.
But the most important place we can fight the culture war is our home. Set a Godly example for our children and grandchildren. Teach them right from wrong.
Support groups like Family Research Council and American Family Association. Ask your pastor to start a team dedicated to staying informed on the issues of the day.
And let me say this: those of us who cherish traditional American values must vote on Election Day. Engage the political system.
Remember the five Houston pastors who nearly got thrown in jail because they refused to comply with the mayor’s subpoena? Remember that story?
Well, I never could figure out how a conservative town like Houston would elect a mayor that was so liberal. I mean just about everybody’s a Baptist in that part of the country. Even the Methodists are Baptists. So it turns out that most of the city’s church going crowd never bothered to show up on Election Day. They stayed home.
And that decision — nearly got those pastors thrown in jail.
Now let me say something about Hillary Clinton - I hope I don’t get choked up.
Heaven Forbid she gets elected - because on her first day in the White House she’s going to brag the nearest hammer and do to the United States Constitution what she did to those blackberries and cell phones.
To paraphrase Dietrich Bonhoeffer - not to vote — is to vote.
Now folks — I’m not going to stand up here and tell you who to vote for - that’s between you and the Good Lord. But I plan on voting to protect the Supreme Court. I’m going to vote to secure our borders and to protect the American working man and working woman. And I’m going to vote to save religious liberty and those precious unborn babies. That’s what I’m going to be voting for on Election Day.
And what we oughta be doing on Election Day is hollering #NeverHillary.
President Reagan said freedom is just one generation away from extinction. But it may be just one election away…
But I sense a great stirring across the land. Farmers and school teachers. Construction workers and police officers -- students defending their faith and the country in the classrooms.
I was especially moved by a story from Brandon, Mississippi. The marching band had been pulled off the field. School leaders feared that one of the songs might violate a federal court order.
The song was “How Great Thou Art.”
You might remember this story -- the federal judge was appointed by President Obama -- he threatened to fine the school district 10 thousand dollars if they did anything remotely related to religion.
So the marching band got benched. There was no half time show.
Friday night at the end of the second quarter - fans sat quietly in the stands as the football teams trotted off the field. Suddenly - a lone voice began humming a familiar tune - others began to join in - hairdressers and electricians - moms and dads and cheerleaders. The melody rose from below the press box — until it became a mighty choir of hundreds rose up in defiance - belting out the forbidden song — Then Sings My Soul My Savior God To Thee!
They took a stand for religious liberty in the great state of Mississippi - and it’s spreading like wildfire across the fruited plain.
Bonhoeffer once said, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”
I believe this is a Bonhoeffer moment for ever Bible-believing Christian in America.
We can no longer be silent. We are to be civil but not silent. We must roar like lions.
And the time has come for all of us to stand together - Baptist and Wesleyan - Presbyterian and Pentecostal. Catholic and Calvinist — and with one voice declare that we are one nation under God.
There’s a scene in that wonderful film - "We Were Soldiers" — the Battle of the la Drang Valley.
Lt. Col. Hal Moore and his Army rangers were surrounded. The enemy was advancing. All appeared hopeless.
Joe Galloway -- A United Press International reporter was caught in the melee -- and when the bullets started flying -- the reporter dropped to the ground.
In the middle of the chaos and carnage, Sgt. Major Basil Plumely stood resolute. He walked over and delivered a swift kick of his boot and told the terrified journalist — You can’t take no pictures from down there, Sonny.
He tossed the reporter a rifle but the reporter rejected the weapon — I’m a non-combatant.
To which the sergeant major replied — there ain’t no such thing today, Sonny.
My fellow countrymen — we are surrounded. The cultural bullets are flying. The enemy is advancing. And the time has come for all of us to stand resolute.
You say, “Todd, I’m not a fighter.”
Well, there just ain’t no such thing today, Sonny. Do not hide Liberty’s light under a bushel. No! Hold it high!
Let the nations be glad. Let the people rejoice. Let the flame of freedom burn bright so all the world can see that we are once again that shining city on a hill.
Thank you! Thank you Family Research Council and may God Bless America!