Senator Tim Scott delivered the Republican response to President Joe Biden’s address to Congress on Wednesday night. Following shortly after President Biden’s speech, Sen. Scott made use of his personal story, biblical imagery and moving hymns to deliver his rebuttal.
Sen. Scott, friends of Focus President Jim Daly, has appeared several times on the Focus on the Family Broadcast to discuss racial tensions, and how his faith influences his life.
“Growing up, I never dreamed I would be standing here tonight,” he began on Wednesday night. “When I was a kid, my parents divorced. My mother, my brother and I moved in with my grandparents. Three of us, sharing one bedroom. I was disillusioned and angry, and I nearly failed out of school. But I was blessed. First, with a praying momma.”
Sen. Scott then sprinkled in a pinch of his testimony, using his conversion to Christianity to argue against the harmful impact that church closures have had over the last year.
“Becoming a Christian transformed my life — but for months, too many churches were shut down,” he said.
Additionally, Sen. Scott pulled from his experience as an African American to thoughtfully mull through the current conversation our nation is having over race and policing.
“Nowhere do we need common ground more desperately than in our discussions of race,” he said.
“I have experienced the pain of discrimination… I remember, every morning, at the kitchen table, my grandfather would open the newspaper and read it — I thought. But later, I realized he had never learned to read. He just wanted to set the right example.
“When America comes together, we’ve made tremendous progress. But powerful forces want to pull us apart. A hundred years ago, kids in classrooms were taught the color of their skin was their most important characteristic. And if they looked a certain way, they were inferior.
“Today, kids again are being taught that the color of their skin defines them, and if they look a certain way, they’re an oppressor. From colleges to corporations to our culture, people are making money and gaining power by pretending we haven’t made any progress at all, by doubling down on the divisions we’ve worked so hard to heal.
“You know this stuff is wrong. Hear me clearly: America is not a racist country. It’s backwards to fight discrimination with different types of discrimination.”
Following his discussion on the divisions our country is experiencing on the issue of race, Sen. Scott ended with a unifying message.
“Our best future won’t come from Washington schemes or socialist dreams. It will come from you, the American people. Black, Hispanic, white, and Asian. Republican and Democrat. Brave police officers and Black neighborhoods. We are not adversaries. We are family. We are all in this together,” he proclaimed.
Sen. Scott pulled from the Judeo-Christian tradition of Western Civilization and mentioned the reality of original sin, a topic that is usually avoided in modern American political discourse.
“Original sin is never the end of the story. Not in our souls, and not for our nation. The real story is always redemption,” Sen. Scott declared.
“I am standing here because my mom has prayed me through some really tough times. I believe our nation has succeeded the same way. Because generations of Americans, in their own ways, have asked for grace and God has supplied it. So, I will close with a word from a worship song that helped me through this past year of Covid. The music is new, but the words draw from scripture.
“May the Lord bless you and keep you, make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you. May His presence go before you, and behind you and beside you. In your weeping and rejoicing, He is for you. May His favor be upon our nation for a thousand generations, and your family and your children and their children,” he concluded.
Unfortunately, Sen. Scott’s moving speech garnered an ugly reaction from some.
Following the senator’s speech, where he noted that he has been “called ‘Uncle Tom’ and the n-word by progressives, by liberals,” the phrase “Uncle Tim,” was trending on Twitter.
Responding to the blatantly racist hashtag, Sen. Scott said on Fox News Thursday morning, “Intolerance so often comes from the Left with words like ‘Uncle Tim’ being used against me by the left…. It is stunning in 2021 that those who speak about ending discrimination want to end it by more discrimination.”
Twitter said on Thursday that it had blocked the phrase from trending.
The senator’s speech may have included more overtly biblical references and Christian phrases than any modern politician in years.
And since our country currently needs a large dose of healing, we can be grateful for Sen. Scott’s reminder that the Christian faith provides it.
You can follow this author on Parler @ZacharyMettler
Photo from REUTERS