FPI /October 20, 2019
In a speech at the University of Notre Dame, Attorney General William Barr eloquently outlined the myriad ways the assault on religion manifests itself in America today. His remonstrance should be a clarion call – a come-to-Jesus moment, if you will – to take a good, hard look at our degraded culture and how we have reached this inauspicious condition. The society we occupy is less civil, more violent, less educated, more secular, and, yes, less moral than that of previous generations. There is to data prove all this and more, but do we honestly need statistics to back up what is so evident in our experience and observation every day and everywhere?
In his speech, Barr averred that the assault on religion is being carried out with “force, fervor, and comprehensiveness.” “This is not decay,” asserted the attorney general. “It is organized destruction.” And then he pinned the tail on the donkey: “Secularists, and their allies among the ‘progressives,’ have marshaled all the force of mass communications, popular culture, the entertainment industry, and academia in an unremitting assault on religion and traditional values.”
Dial in to any American cultural arena today, and you not only recognize Barr’s point but also cannot avoid it. The incessant secularist indoctrination hits you in the face; it offends and irritates. It’s not enough to say this assault on religious values has permeated the culture; it runs rampant and unbridled.
Try to think of a television program, an Amazon movie, or a recent Hollywood flick without a boundary-busting message. In the age of way-too-much information, we are offered scenes of transsexuals, gender fluidity, sexual promiscuity, and two men between the sheets, with a background score of continual derision of our faith and religious organizations.
The progressive cultural tsunami has sent the faithful remnant fleeing to hide out in the moral high ground. Some can no longer abide the incessant drumbeat of leftist propaganda; others have lost the will to fight the battle, declaring – maybe a little pridefully: “I don’t even own a TV.” “I’ve dropped out of popular culture.” “I haven’t gone to a movie in a year.” “I prefer to read.”
With a “why fight city hall” attitude, many of us hide in a safe, faith-filled ghetto. This “self-confinement” is an abandonment of our liberty. And, worse, our inaction permits the left to run us over unimpeded.
Perhaps this reaction to avoid a fight has its roots in our faith. We might reflect, however, if we are using a turn-of-the-cheek attitude to cover exhaustion or even cowardice.
The objective here is not to point the finger at others. In no way is this a case of the innocent calling out the guilty. This writer dropped out of popular culture years ago. It was a way to cope, sprinkled with a dash of piety, with an unpleasant and uncomfortable situation. But as the years went by and age-inspired common sense intervened, the question had to be asked: So, how is this working for us?
Not so well is an understatement.
The lack of resistance by people of faith in this country has served only to embolden our opponents. As Barr aptly remarked, any religious-expression dissension is met with the effort to “drown out and silence opposing voices, and to attack viciously and hold up to ridicule any dissenters.”
Sometimes the silent treatment does not produce desired results. Perhaps Barr’s call to action is an opportune moment to recognize that the strategy of closing our eyes to the progressive indoctrination of our culture has failed.
Ironically, what brought me back into the cultural battle was my friend Brent Bozell. He once said (paraphrasing here) that progressives go after the culture first, then politics is essentially a cakewalk. Bozell and his Media Research Center are on the front lines. These people don’t shrink from the fight; they stand up and say no. And they say it again, and again, and again. If you aren’t listening, they put it on bumper stickers and billboards. The inescapable conclusion is that Bozell is a man with courage. The guy has cojones. His willingness to fight, to take the blows and come up swinging, frankly embarrassed me and my inaction. How long can he do battle without the necessary troops?
The retreat of believing and faithful people from popular culture has not arrested the progressive attack on religion and values. The time has come for some of us to get into the clinch and follow our courageous leaders with all the moxie we can muster and engage.
It won’t be easy or pleasant. Barr put it in perspective: “Those who defy the creed risk a figurative burning at the stake – social, educational, and professional ostracism and exclusion waged through lawsuits and savage social media campaigns.” To which those of us with faith in God should stand up and echo Union Rear Admiral David Farragut: “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead.”