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Biden’s State of the Union address a ‘boxing match,’ leaders say

President Joe Biden delivers the State of the Union address March 7 as Vice President Kamala Harris and Speaker of the House Mike Johnson look on. (C-Span screen capture)

WASHINGTON (BP) – President Joe Biden delivered a State of the Union address Thursday night that was considered a stump speech by many, coming only days after Super Tuesday.

“That was not a speech we saw, but a boxing match,” said Brent Leatherwood, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission president. “And sadly, the American people came away bruised.”

Biden spent significant time on issues that concern Southern Baptists. Among them were abortion and immigration.

“Like most Americans, I believe Roe v. Wade got it right,” Biden said. “And I thank Vice President Harris for being an incredible leader, defending reproductive freedom and so much more.”

Biden did not call former president Donald Trump by name in the speech, even though he referred to “his predecessor” often.

“But my predecessor came to office determined to see Roe v. Wade overturned. He’s the reason it was overturned. In fact, he brags about it. Look at the chaos that has resulted,” Biden said.

Making his case for the ensuing “chaos”, the president noted, “There are state laws banning the right to choose, criminalizing doctors, and forcing survivors of rape and incest to leave their states as well to get the care they need.”

The speech, delivered in the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives, highlighted Biden’s frustration on the issue of abortion.

“Many of you in this chamber and my predecessor are promising to pass a national ban on reproductive freedom. My God, what freedoms will you take away next?” he said.

Looking to November’s general election, he said, “If Americans send me a Congress that supports the right to choose, I promise you, I will restore Roe v. Wade as the law of the land again!”

Albert Mohler reacted to the address during Friday’s edition of his daily podcast, “The Briefing,” saying, “Biden’s speech was an undiluted call for maximum abortion rights and for minimal respect for human life,” Mohler said. “He grandstanded on issues like IVF and in vitro fertilization and thus dismissed human embryos as if they possessed no moral significance whatsoever.”

Mohler said the president broke protocol as he directed comments toward the Supreme Court.

“Most egregiously, he directly addressed sitting justices of the United States Supreme Court and he chastised – calling them out – the justices of the Supreme Court for reversing Roe v. Wade in the 2022 Dobbs decision,” Mohler said.

“Joe Biden has sold his everlasting soul for the cause of abortion.”

The president also spoke of immigration reform, saying that on his first day in office he, “introduced a comprehensive plan to fix our immigration system, secure the border, and provide a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers and so much more.”

He blamed Trump for derailing a plan in Congress weeks ago.

Much of the speech featured jeers and cheers from Congressional members with Biden addressing comments being shouted from the floor.

“These events have largely become political theater over the years, ignoring reality on Capitol Hill,” Leatherwood said of the speech. “Instead of getting an uplifting speech that calls America to our better angels, we get partisan, performative, and pointless rallies.

“Speaker Johnson asked for decorum to be the order of the night and it was nowhere to be seen – from anyone involved.”

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) interrupted Biden while he was speaking on immigration.

Leatherwood added that much of what the president said is not possible if he chooses to go the road alone.

“No, the president cannot bring back Roe v. Wade on his own, nor can he secure the border by himself,” he said. “Our system requires the Executive Branch to work with Congress to seek solutions for our challenges, not unilaterally impose them.

“But the sophomoric back and forth between our leaders last night did not offer much in terms of that sort of constitutional collaboration we sorely need. Our nation is the lesser for it.”

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  • Brandon Porter

    Brandon Porter serves as Associate Vice President for Convention News at the SBC Executive Committee

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