Time to take down Pride flags and put ‘In God We Trust’ on buildings, Sen. Hawley says

'In God We Trust' is emblazoned above the American flag in the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. (Video screenshot)
‘In God We Trust’ is emblazoned above the American flag in the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday, April 28, 2021.

[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by The Daily Signal.]

American recovery begins with religion, Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., said Monday evening in a speech at the National Conservatism conference in the nation’s capital.

The theme of Hawley’s speech: that the West’s Christian legacy has been hollowed out in the past half-century, that the economy has been distorted to fit the interests of a globalist elite, and that if Americans want to conserve what’s best about our country, then we must reestablish a God-centered worldview in our society and institutions.

Hawley began by referring his Capital Hilton audience to the year 410 A.D., when Rome—once thought of as the eternal city—was sacked by Alaric and the Visigoths.

In that moment, a “fading empire, the ancient world of antiquity, came to a close,” the Missouri Republican said.

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At the same time, old, pagan Rome was falling into ruin, the Christian theologian Augustine of Hippo was writing and setting the stage for a new, Christian era, Hawley said, and this marked the beginning of the “West” as it became known.

Guests attend a Pride celebration, Wednesday, June 26, 2024, on the South Lawn of the White House. (Official White House photo by Cameron Smith)
Guests attend a Pride celebration, Wednesday, June 26, 2024, on the South Lawn of the White House.

Augustine defended Christian virtues such as humility and service, which pagan critics said had weakened the empire.

“Augustine knew that just the opposite was true,” Hawley said. “The Christian religion was the only vital force left in Rome at the time of its collapse and now Augustine imagined that religion rising from the ruins of the ancient world to forge a new and better civilization.”

Rome began by loving glory and self-sacrifice, the Missouri senator said, but ended by loving pleasure and self-indulgence. With the collapse of old Rome, this past worship of glory was replaced by the “sturdier” virtues of the Bible, Hawley said, specifically the love of “life and children, the love of labor and neighbor and home, the love of God.”

This change created the basis of a new kind of nationalism, Hawley said, a “Christian nationalism organized around Christian ideals.” The new ethos would be animated by common purpose rather than conquest and by common love rather than fear, he said.

This Augustinian dream became “our reality” in America, Hawley said, and provided the moral center of American society for centuries. We must reclaim our Christian principles now, he urged, for the “sake of our future.”

“Christian nationalism founded American democracy,” Hawley said, to applause. “The Christian political tradition is our political tradition.”

Hawley argued that Republicans of past years argued too much for free markets and tax cuts without considering the needs of working Americans and families. He said that working Americans now struggle to provide for their families, or to create families in the first place, because the economy and politicians aren’t really working for them.

“The free market is valuable exactly to the degree that it sustains the things we love together; otherwise, it’s just called profit. And somewhere along the line Republicans just found the love of profit at any price,” Hawley said.

This came at the expense of the base of the Republican Party, which is mostly religious Americans, he lamented, saying that the Left at least knows that “people make politics.”

Hawley noted how the Left puts trans flags on buildings and gives federal taxpayers’ money to various left-wing cultural projects.

He accused his fellow Republicans of offering no resistance to the social liberalism of the Left and said the GOP of the future must “put people before money and prioritize the interests of the working person.”

Most importantly, Americans must revive the idea that religion—not just religious liberty—unites Americans.

This shared set of religious beliefs, he said, were embedded in America’s founding documents and the national motto on our currency: “In God We Trust.”

Hawley called the long-term attempt to erase religion from the public square just “class warfare by other means.”

The effort isn’t simply about eliminating religion, he said, “it’s about replacing one religion with another.”

In the end, the Left wants a new kind of religion, he said.

“They want the religion of the Pride flag. We want the religion of the Bible,” Hawley said. “So, I have a suggestion: Why don’t we take down the trans flag from all the federal buildings from which it’s flying, and instead, inscribe on every building owned and operated by the federal government our national motto: In God We Trust?”

“Symbols matter,” Hawley concluded, and it’s up to conservatives to defend America’s national religion and its role in public life.

[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by The Daily Signal.]

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