This is the season to discuss President Obama’s legacy. After all, he is the first black president set to leave the Oval Office this week that begins with Martin Luther King Day and ends with Inauguration Day for his replacement.
Perhaps history will always remember him as the likeable man with a likeable family that he is. History is kind that way. We don’t focus on the negative aspects of, say, the founding fathers’ personal lives, but on their achievements.
But what achievements, exactly, will Obama be remembered for? It seems likely that each of his major achievements will backfire.
Most significantly, Obama redefined marriage. Today, elite opinion at universities and in the media hails Obama for breaking his campaign promise and embracing homosexual marriage.
But will that last? The state became involved in marriage not because the state has any interest in romance but because the state has an interest in the next generation. Marriage bonds parents to each other and turns their focus to bettering the world for their children.
Redefining marriage so that non-procreative couples can get married turned that on its head. Now, marriage has become a way to register your romantic relationship with the state. What will that lead to? As a religious guy, I reject same-sex marriage on principle. But I expect that before too long secular people will also reject the idea that the government should keep a registry of sex partners.
Second, Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize. Obama won high praise for his peace efforts early on. Then his commitment to peace drove his foreign policy.
But at what cost? He promised to leave Iraq and he did — with disastrous consequences. ISIS rose to fill the vacuum America left, and Obama waited too long and did too little to address the rise of ISIS. And his foreign policy failures continued, leading to the rubble of Aleppo and the annexation of Crimea. Won’t his commitment to peace be remembered for the violence that resulted from it?
Third, Obama “fought for women.” Obama promised early on to support abortion — for the sake of women —more than any previous president, and he did. How will history remember that?
Think of the ways abortion is wrong: We know more than ever about unborn human beings. We even operate on them. So abortion denies science, it denies the right to life, and suggests that women have to kill their own children to be the equal of men. Abortion will leave a darker stain on our generation’s legacy than even slavery did on our forefathers’. Obama’s support for killing children born by mistake and his promotion of taxpayer-funded abortions will horrify future generations.
And to do it all, Obama had to fight against religious freedom.
Above all, Peter Heck argues, one act will define Obama:
“Barack Obama will forever be the president who worked diligently to put the gun of government to the heads of the Little Sisters of the Poor, demanding that they either pay to destroy children in the womb or be crushed. You can’t candy-coat that.”
His fight against religious freedom was relentless, including curtailing the free speech of military chaplains, but it reached its high point in the HHS Mandate, the rule he imposed on Catholic institutions and which he had to go to the Supreme Court to try to enforce on the Little Sisters of the Poor.
But lest we forget, by redefining marriage he also took a stance against every major religion: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism all define marriage as the union of a man and woman.
So — how will Obama be remembered?
History is the tale told by the victors. If modern secularist thought outlasts religion, then Obama will be a hero. If it doesn’t he won’t. In fact, as I have argued before, secularism is already falling by its own weight even economically. And, alas, even on strictly philosophical terms, it looks like religion is winning the battle for hearts worldwide.