From the editor: August 7, 2015
Re: Building Blocks
David Brooks in "The Next Culture War" quoted my friend Rod Dreher, who says, "We have to accept that we really are living in a culturally post-Christian nation." I agree if by "accept" we mean recognize and acknowledge something pretty obvious.
Brooks, however, takes it to mean "give up." Stop fighting. For, he notes, "most Christian commentary has opted for another strategy: fight on." After the Obergefell decision for "gay marriage," "Robert P. George, probably the most brilliant social conservative theorist in the country, argued that just as Lincoln persistently rejected the Dred Scott decision, so 'we must reject and resist an egregious act of judicial usurpation'."
"These conservatives are enmeshed in a decades-long culture war . . . over issues arising from the sexual revolution."
As "a friend and admirer" of social conservatives, Brooks "would just ask them to consider a change in course. Consider putting aside . . . the culture war oriented around the sexual revolution." For it's "been a communications disaster, reducing a rich, complex and beautiful faith into a public obsession with sex."
Really? Who put sex on public display? Homeschoolers or pornographers? Where would you see sexual obsession? At a Promisekeepers rally or gay pride parades? At small Christian liberal arts colleges or at V-Day campus parties at elite or state-run universities?
Brooks asks us to "consider a different culture war, one just as central to your faith and far more powerful in its persuasive witness."
We live in a society plagued by formlessness and radical flux, in which bonds, social structures and commitments are strained and frayed. Millions of kids live in stressed and fluid living arrangements. Many communities have suffered a loss of social capital. Many young people grow up in a sexual and social environment rendered barbaric because there are no common norms. . . .
The defining face of social conservatism could be this: Those are the people who go into underprivileged areas and form organizations to help nurture stable families. Those are the people who build community institutions in places where they are sparse.
And those, I might add, are the people running institutions whose tax-exempt statuses may soon be in jeopardy. Who have been fined, sued, hounded from their jobs (remember Brendan Eichs at Mozilla)—not for carrying on a guerilla culture war but for simply believing what nearly of all their persecutors believed 10 years ago.
The culture war has barely started, if we mean by war the conquering of an enemy. Believers are the enemy to be subjugated. Surrender! Use your church funds to pay for abortions and contraception!
Go ahead, Mr. Brooks, "Repair a society rendered atomized, unforgiving and inhospitable." Communities languish, families are unstable and broken, kids live in fluid living arrangements: isn't this the fault of the sexual revolution? The family, the building block society, arises from the marital commitments of man and woman, to each other and to their children. You cannot bracket out sexual morality from this healthy social dynamic.
So, how do you rebuild families and communities without addressing sexual morals? With more condoms and Planned Parenthood "clinics"? Helping young boys become responsible fathers by suggesting they at least consider sodomy?
Too bad, conservatives! Shut up, move along, now, and do rebuild, but don't talk to us about building materials! Make us bricks without straw!
A real culture war, arising from the sexual revolution, may be just getting started. Yes, we must fight on all fronts: in our churches, homes, and in our hearts—so that chastity, fidelity, repentance, and a quest for holiness in Christ render our families stronger and our witness more powerful. This will help us stand our ground while pushing back against the devouring forces arrayed against innocent human life and the life of the family. Never give up, never surrender! Only hirelings do that.
Yours for Christ, Creed & Culture,
James M. Kushiner
Executive Director, The Fellowship of St. James