Over the weekend United States Vice President Kamala Harris gave a pro-abortion speech in which she misquoted the Declaration of Independence, omitting both “life” and “Creator”.
Speaking to a crowd in Tallahassee, Florida on the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Harris told cheering crowds, “We are here together because we collectively believe and know America is a promise… of freedom and liberty — not for some, but for all.”
No problems so far. But she continued: “… a promise we made in the Declaration of Independence that we are each endowed with the right to liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
The Declaration of Independence actually reads: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” (emphasis added).
While politicians are free to paraphrase as they wish, and they rarely speak with perfect coherence, Harris’ omissions were telling. As critics were quick to point out, it significantly weakens the pro-abortion case if the most famous words in America’s founding document must be truncated to remove the pro-life stance of its drafters.
A slip of the tongue, perhaps? Unlikely, given the official White House transcript did not offer a correction but published Harris’ words verbatim.
Unlikely also, since Harris went on to apparently keep God out of the picture. “Be clear,” she asserted. “These rights were not bestowed upon us. They belong to us as Americans.”
Thomas Jefferson and his overwhelmingly Christian co-belligerents from the Thirteen Colonies would beg to differ. Unless “bestowed” and “endowed” have opposite meanings? Not last time I checked.
Nor would America’s founders affirm the current VP’s erasure of life from their tripartite formulation of humanity’s basic rights. As pro-lifers regularly point out, life is the foundational human right upon which all other rights rest, which is why the founders listed it first.
Once again, slip-of-the-tongue is a meagre defence for Harris, given that she neglected to mention life later in her speech when she referred to “the fight to protect the freedom and liberty of all people, of all women everywhere”.
The Democrat VP’s disregard for life in her recent speech follows directly on the heels of House Democrats’ disregard for life on the floor of Congress. Earlier this month, a Republican-controlled House passed the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which would require immediate medical attention for babies born alive after a botched abortion. Incredibly, only one Democrat (Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas) voted in support of the legislation.
The Kamala Harris speech is an illustrative, if accidental, reminder that both God and the right to life present inconvenient roadblocks for abortion-happy lawmakers.
Harris’ own religiosity is something of a mixed bag. Her mother was a Hindu and her father a Christian. She attended predominantly black churches in her younger years and is married to a Jewish man. She says she still attends church regularly, though her faith is apparently a mixture of American folk Christianity and civil rights activism.
In her latest speech, she referred to the Christian concept of “sin” — but in a narrow formulation. She spoke of the “determination and dedication possessed by some of our greatest patriots: those Americans who fought a Civil War to end the sin of slavery”.
What is clear is that the faith of Kamala Harris provides little defence for the sanctify of life. Addressing the issue of abortion, she has previously stated: “there’s nothing about this issue that will require anyone to abandon their faith or change their faith”.
But changing the Declaration of Independence? That’s a different matter entirely.