One in every six Democrats believes that “force [is] justified to restore abortion rights,” a new poll has found, underscoring the secular Left’s growing support for political violence.
The number of Democrats backing abortion-related terrorism has doubled, from 8% to 16% since January — a period when multiple states have enacted pro-life protections. In all, 31 million Americans support the use of violence to reinstate abortion in U.S. law, up from 22 million just three months ago, according to a survey from the University of Chicago’s Chicago Project on Security and Threats (CPOST) released this month.
The same percentage of Democrats agrees that “force is justified to prevent Donald Trump from becoming president,” as well as to “coerce Congress or government officials.”
Support for violence against Congress began to rise after Republicans took control of the House of Representatives. “Public support for the use of force to coerce members of the US Congress grew from 9 percent in January 2023 to 17 percent as of June 26, 2023, effectively doubling. While increasing across the political spectrum, the rise was sharpest among Democrats where it grew by about 2.5 times,” the report notes. That translates to 44 million Americans willing to justify domestic terrorism to influence legislation.
The Left has engaged in more than theoretical support for abortion-based violence (a redundant phrase). There have been at least 67 attacks against pro-life pregnancy resource centers since the still-unsolved leak of the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision last May, including the vandalism of Republican Congressman Tim Walberg’s Michigan offices (which shares space with a pro-life organization) last June 21 and the firebombing of a CompassCare office in New York two weeks earlier.
Churches have also borne the brunt of the onslaught. Family Research Council’s Arielle Del Turco has documented a total of 543 attacks against churches between January 2018 and March 2023 — including 57 abortion-related assaults on churches in the first nine months of 2022 and numerous attacks related to LGBTQ issues, often in tandem with legislation protecting children from the predatory transgender industry. Worse yet, the Department of Homeland Security has warned that churches face an elevated threat of violence until at least the 2024 election, 15 months from now, due to their stance on “sociopolitical issues.”
The new report points to the broad, deep, and metastasizing problem of politically motivated violence, especially on the Left. Radicals threatened to kill and dismember Sonja Shaw, president of the Chino Valley (California) Unified School District Board of Education, after the district defied Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom and prevented teachers from hiding a child’s gender transition from his or her parents.
Four hundred miles to the north, students and LGBTQ activists assaulted and chased former NCAA women’s swimmer Riley Gaines through the halls of San Francisco State University in April — only for the vice president of Student Affairs to thank the mob for its restraint. A similar scene played out last year as police had to escort Alliance Defending Freedom’s general counsel, Kristen Waggoner, through a threatening crowd that pounded on the walls while canceling a debate at prestigious Yale Law School.
Although the CPOST poll does not cover the issue, LGBTQ advocacy has already spilled over into bloodshed. The mass shooting at The Covenant School in Nashville by a woman who identified as transgender left six people dead, including three children. After the far-Left Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) added Family Research Council to its “hate list,” a deranged shooter attempted to kill FRC’s entire staff. He succeeded in wounding building manager Leo Johnson and was later convicted of domestic terrorism.
Even gay, lesbian, and transgender “allies” live in fear of left-wing extremists’ wrath. Radical LGBTQ activists threatened to blow up Target stores in multiple states after the chain removed some of their Pride-themed displays of infants’ and toddlers’ clothing bearing the rainbow insignia. “We will not tolerate intolerance nor indifference,” said one such bomb threat, which called Target officials “pathetic cowards” for soft-pedaling products designed to groom babes and sucklings into the LGBTQ lifestyle.
For the Left, the phrase “culture war” isn’t a euphemism.
Previous polls have tracked Americans’ progressive support for reaching across the widening political divide with a closed fist. In 2020, Democracy Fund’s Voter Study Group found 21% of Americans said physical violence would be justified “if the opposing party wins” the presidential election. A 2018 poll from the Buckley Institute found one-third of college students agreed “physical violence can be justified to prevent a person from using hate speech or making racially charged comments.”
The polling data hint at a reality people of faith already know: Secularists have adopted politics as a substitute for religion. Left-wing ideology makes for a graceless faith that visits retribution upon its enemies in this life. Rather than measuring the heart’s relationship with God the Father through Jesus the Son, woke inquisitors relentlessly monitor any signs of deviation from the party line, punishing heretics to condition Pavlovian obedience. As this author wrote in 2008:
“Leftists lack the religious grounding to recognize everyone as a divine soul and a tradition that teaches them to ‘hate the sin but love the sinner.’ The faith of the Left is a political faith, not a religious one, their politics is the politics of bad faith, their God ‘The God that Failed.’ As they share a secular religion, they promote a secular demonology: Those who fight for The Cause are not ‘on the side of the angels’ — they are the angels. … Those who stand in their way are not good people misled; they are Beelzebub in gray suits. … Their opponents’ deaths simply clear the battlefield of hostile infantrymen.”
As this 15-year-old analysis shows, dehumanizing — and, in extreme cases, eliminating — one’s perceived political enemies predates our present political moment. Political idolatry “is, in fact, man’s second oldest faith,” noted Whittaker Chambers. “Its promise was whispered in the first days of the Creation under the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil: ‘Ye shall be as gods.’”
Unfortunately, the CPOST survey shares this erroneous view, stating the fact that the majority (52%) of Americans believe “elections will not solve our most fundamental political and social problems” constitutes a dangerous “deep distrust of democracy.” In reality, healthy skepticism of government understands that external force cannot solve our most fundamental problems, because they arise from within, “out of the heart of men.” Therefore, the solution must also ascend out of a purified, quickened, and illumined heart.
Christians must restrict politics to its proper sphere in our culture. Legislation reflects, but does not set, our moral compass. We must normalize respect for the human person and its logical conclusion that the ends do not justify any means. Finally, Christians must speak courageously and without compromise, no matter the results. Unlike secularists, we do not measure our results solely by their impact in this world: Standing for truth in the word of our testimony brings an eternal reward. Thankfully, some leaders have met political idolatry with newfound determination never to back down.
Ben Johnson is senior reporter and editor at The Washington Stand.
EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2023 Family Research Council.
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