When Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina launched his 2024 presidential exploratory committee April 12, he said the challenges of the day would take faith in God to overcome.
Though he only announced an exploratory committee Wednesday, Scott appeared to be jumping into the Republican primary field that currently contains former President Donald Trump, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, among others.
Scott is the only Black GOP senator. ABC News reports:
“I bear witness to what America can do for anyone, what she’s done for me. But we must rise up to the challenges of our time. This is a fight we must win. And that will take faith, faith in God,” Scott said in a new video.
“I will never back down in defense of the conservative values that make America exceptional. And that’s why I’m announcing my exploratory committee for president of the United States,” he went on.
In examining Scott’s announcement, the conservative-leaning Washington Examiner looked not only at his words but at the imagery contained in his announcement, and declared that what Scott had to say should spark a conversation about faith in the public square:
Scott stated explicitly that America has infrastructure that helped him climb and that infrastructure is under attack.
“It pains my soul to see the Biden liberals attacking every rung of the ladder that helped me climb,” Scott said in the middle of the video. He then cited schools and neighborhoods. After Scott announced his exploratory committee, the “hero walk” started with Scott strutting into the Huguenot Church in Charleston. This is key.
Church is one of the rungs of the ladder of the American dream and so is America’s “Judeo-Christian foundation.” Scott also pledged to “protect our religious liberty.”
Republican politicians often play up their faith and show themselves in a church as a way of playing to the religious Right, but here, Scott is connecting dots that need connecting. The Democratic Party’s attack on religious liberty and the Left’s rejection of America’s Judeo-Christian foundation are part of their attack on the ladder of opportunity Scott is celebrating.
Scott described his climb out of poverty by saying, “We had faith,” and zoomed in on a Bible and a shot of him praying in church.
But religion isn’t some private aspect of individual life — it is a crucial pillar of public life. The irony is that President Joe Biden kind of gets this: He won the South Carolina Democratic primary in 2020 by campaigning in black churches and winning the church-going vote.
Go back to that hero walk scene and check out the Gospel passage above the door of Huguenot Church: “Be ye doers of the word, not hearers only.” That’s’ from the Epistle of St. James, and it is the last words the worshippers at Huguenot Church see as they leave church every Sunday to go back out into the world.
That is, a person cannot “do my religion on Sunday, in church,” as Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) once inartfully put it, then go out and support the government’s attack on religious liberty. A Christian will live his or her life every day out in public. He or she will do Christianity and not merely listen to it for an hour once a week.
Religion belongs in the public square. That’s something rejected by too many people these days. Hopefully, Scott can set the public straight on this.