The Long Retreat in the Culture War

The Long Retreat in the Culture War


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By Patrick J. Buchanan

The Republican rout in the Battle of Indianapolis provides us with a snapshot of the correlation of forces in the culture wars.

Faced with a corporate-secularist firestorm, Gov. Mike Pence said Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act would not protect Christian bakers or florists who refuse their services to same-sex weddings. And the white flag went up again.

Politics follows culture. And the cultural revolution of the ’60s is triumphant. Traditional Christianity, driven out of schools and the public square, is being whipped back into the churches and told to stay there.

America has gone over to the revolution.

Looking back, the sweep of the capitulation becomes stark.

First came the plea of atheists not to have their children forced to participate in prayers at school. Fair enough. Americans do not believe in compelling people to do as they disbelieve.

Then followed the demand that no child be exposed to prayers or religious books, including the Bible, nor have any day or week set aside as a holiday if connected to Christianity.

Out went Christmas and Easter. In came winter break and spring break. Coaches of high school teams were ordered to dispense with prayers before games. The coaches complied.

No matter what the majority wanted, the minority prevailed, thanks to a Supreme Court whose dictates were never challenged by democratically elected presidents or Congresses, nor ever defied by a Christian majority.

In the sexual revolution there came first the plea that abortion in extreme cases be decriminalized, then legalized, then subsidized, then declared a right. From crime to constitutional right in two decades!

Under Obamacare, Christian businesses must dispense abortion-inducing morning-after pills to employees.

On gay rights, first came the demand that a bar in Greenwich Village patronized by homosexuals be left alone by the cops.

Next came the demand that homosexuality be decriminalized and then that this, too, be declared a constitutional right. And so it went.

Soon, same-sex marriages will likely be declared a right hidden in the Constitution and entitled to all the privileges and benefits accorded traditional marriages. Next, those who refuse to provide services to same-sex weddings will become the criminals.

Thus does biblical truth become bigotry in Obama’s America.

And the process has been steadily proceeding for generations.

First comes a call for tolerance for those who believe and behave differently. Then comes a plea for acceptance.

Next comes a demand for codifying in law a right to engage in actions formerly regarded as debased or criminal. Finally comes a demand to punish any and all who persist in their public conduct or their private business in defying the new moral order.

And so it goes with revolutions. On the assumption of power, revolutionaries become more intolerant than those they dispossessed.

The French Revolution was many times more terrible than the Bourbon monarchy. The Russian Revolution made the Romanovs look benign. Fidel Castro’s criminality exceeded anything dreamt of by Fulgencio Batista.

Looking back, one appreciates why we hear so often, “This isn’t the country I grew up in.” For it isn’t.

But how did this moral-cultural revolution succeed so easily?

How was it that the Greatest Generation that won World War II let itself be intimidated by and dictated to by nine old men with lifetime tenure who had been elected by no one?

How did this happen in a republic where minority rights exist but the majority rules? Why did Middle America meekly comply and not resist?

By the mid-’50s and early ’60s, black folks were engaged in civil disobedience, refusing to move to the back of the bus, sitting at segregated lunch counters, getting clubbed by cops, and marching for equal access to schools, hotels, motels and voting booths.

And across the South there was resistance to the civil rights revolution: Southern manifestos, governors standing in schoolhouse doors, federal marshals and federal troops called out.

Whatever side of the civil rights revolution one was on, folks on both sides fought for what they believed in.

Amazing. The old segregationists who, morally speaking, held a pair of deuces resisted. But a Christian majority that had the Faith that created Western civilization behind it rolled over and played dead.

Christians watched paralyzed as their country was taken from them.

What explains the rout in Indianapolis? The GOP simply cannot stand up to media denunciations as intolerant bigots, especially if the corporations upon which they depend threaten economic reprisals.

With the Democratic Party irretrievably lost, and the Republican Party moving to neutrality in the culture wars, traditionalists should probably take comfort in the counsel, “Put not your trust in princes.”

When that father and daughter at Memories Pizza in Walkerton, Ind., said their religious beliefs forbade them from catering a same-sex wedding, they were subjected to a hailstorm of hate, but were also showered with $840,000 from folks who admired their moral courage.

Religious folks who do not believe in collaborating with what they think is wrong should go forth and do likewise.

Courage as well as cowardice is contagious.

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