A Christian professor of philosophy posted the following: “Phil is back on a meaningless show. The Republic is saved.” It’s been said that “culture is upstream from politics.” Duck Dynasty is not high culture, but it’s become the flashpoint of what’s been lacking among conservatives. Not only are the schools, media, and government controlled by leftists, but the entertainment industry is equally dominated by the same types of people.
Who do you think is having the greater influence? The culturists in everything from TV shows and films to the magazine culture of People and Entertainment Weekly and everything in between bombard us 24-7 with their view of the world. There’s almost no way to escape it.
Then there’s the bullying. Say something contrary to the dominate culture worldview, and you will be shut out and shut down.
Unfortunately, too many Christians have insulated themselves from the culture fight. So when someone like Phil Robertson speaks up and the culture elites take offense and there is no backing down by the truth-teller, that’s progress. The door has been cracked open.
Keeping Christians from being involved beyond the church building and Sunday worship hour has been the modus operandi of the Left for nearly a century. Christians can “rant and rave against humanism and feminism and any other ‘ism’ on Sunday, but come Monday the children belong in school.”1
For too long Christians have been satisfied for their safe place. But even the sanctuary is no longer a protection.
It wasn’t that long ago in a nation not that far away that Christianity was seen as a threat to the governing authorities. Over time, churches in Nazi German were “confined as far as possible to the performance of narrowly religious functions, and even within this narrow sphere were subjected to as many hindrances as the Nazis dared to impose.” This is the evaluation of a 1945 report published by the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the precursor to the CIA. It was called The Nazi Master Plan: The Persecution of the Christian Churches and was prepared for the War Crimes Staff. It offered the following summary: “This study describes, with illustrative factual evidence, Nazi purposes, policies and methods of persecuting the Christian Churches in Germany and occupied Europe.”
Where did the strategic plan begin? “Implementation of this objective started with the curtailment of religious instruction in the primary and secondary schools with the squeezing of the religious periods into inconvenient hours, with Nazi propaganda among the teachers in order to induce them to refuse the teaching of religion, with vetoing of . . . religious text books, and finally with substituting [a] Nazi Weltanschauung [worldview] and ‘German faith’ for Christian religious denominational instruction. . . . At the time of the outbreak of the war . . . religious instruction had practically disappeared from Germany’s primary schools.”
Does any of this sound familiar? This is a perfect description of our nation’s education system with the only difference being that a materialistic worldview and “secular” faith have replaced the once Christian worldview that served as the foundation of education in America.
The next step was to neutralize the impact that churches would have on politics. “Under the pretext that the Churches themselves were interfering in political and state matters, [the Nazis] would deprive the Churches, step by step, of all opportunity to affect German public life.” How often do we hear that the “separation between church and state” means that churches and Christians who attend them must remain silent on social and political issues, that pastors cannot use their pulpits (unless they’re liberal) to influence legislation?
When Martin Niemoeller used his pulpit to expose Adolf Hitler’s radical politics, “He knew every word spoken was reported by Nazi spies and secret agents.”2 Leo Stein describes in his book I Was in Hell with Niemoeller how the Gestapo gathered evidence against Niemoeller:
“Now, the charge against Niemoeller was based entirely on his sermons, which the Gestapo agents had taken down stenographically. But in none of his sermons did Pastor Niemoeller exhort his congregation to overthrow the Nazi regime. He merely raised his voice against some of the Nazi policies, particularly the policy directed against the Church. He had even refrained from criticizing the Nazi government itself or any of its personnel. Under the former government his sermons would have been construed only as an exercise of the right of free speech. Now, however, written laws, no matter how explicitly they were worded, were subjected to the interpretation of the judges.”3
In a June 27, 1937 sermon, Niemoeller made it clear to those in attendance had a sacred duty to speak out on the evils of the Nazi regime no matter what the consequences: “We have no more thought of using our own powers to escape the arm of the authorities than had the Apostles of old. No more are we ready to keep silent at man’s behest when God commands us to speak. For it is, and must remain, the case that we must obey God rather than man.”4
A few days later, he was arrested. His crime? “Abuse of the pulpit.”
The culture and political war is broader than the church pulpit. Phil Robertson was accused of abusing the secular pulpit – the entertainment industry.
Duck Dynasty may be “a meaningless show,” but as the Bible says, “God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong” (1 Cor. 1:27).
There’s a ton of work to do.
- Rheta Grimsley Johnson, “‘People’ vs. fundamentalists,” The Marietta Daily Journal (September 2, 1986), 4A. [↩]
- Basil Miller, Martin Niemoeller: Hero of the Concentration Camp, 5th ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1942), 112. [↩]
- Leo Stein, I Was in Hell with Niemoeller (New York: Fleming H. Revell, 1942), 175. [↩]
- Quoted in William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1960), 239. [↩]