You Are in the Culture War. Deal With It


I’m in Guatemala today. I’ve been here since September 9th teaching and discussing every topic under the Sun with some very well-informed Christians.

I have five talks to give today, so I’m going to take a breather from writing an article today and post some comments from David Bahnsen‘s article that was posted today.

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EVERY SINGLE THING IS NOW DIFFERENT: THE KAVANAUGH MOMENT IS NOT DONE. IT IS JUST BEGINNING.

My intent in this writing is to articulate how the Kavanaugh matter has impacted me, not psychologically, but what it has revealed to me – with actionable implications – about the nature of the culture war in which we find ourselves.

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Stephen Colbert’s writer, Ariel Dumas, tweeted over the weekend, “Whatever happens, I am just glad we ruined Kavanaugh’s life.” We should be grateful for her honesty. But we also should transition from this as a discussion of the dirty politics of a Supreme Court confirmation to a commentary on a conservative’s plight in the present malaise. I am, frankly, despondent. And while I celebrate with the majority of the country that our Supreme Court has added such a virtuous and capable jurist to its midst, I also find myself totally paralyzed by the reality of the moment.

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At the heart of my statement that things will never be the same again is this discovery: The left does not wish to co-exist with the right in this country; they wish to extinguish them. They do not value the liberal order of society, or they would never say something so illiberal as “believe all women.” What we are living through right now is an unprecedented level of hate, dishonesty, distrust, and mistreatment. A strong disdain for the ideology of conservatism, of social norms, of Constitutional government, of western civilization – is what it is.

But that ideological divide is no longer a merely ideological divide. It really never has been. That transition from worldview to actionable behavior has accelerated faster than I or any humanistic critic could have ever anticipated. And what it means for our national politics and the culture-at-large is frightening.

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Conservatives have claimed (rightly) for some time that it would be quite difficult to win the war on terror if we could not label it and identify it for what it is – Islamic jihadism. I would say that right now, in the present context, conservatives will have a very difficult time surviving in this culture if we cannot identify, accurately, the battle in which we find ourselves. Well-meaning people of faith frequently comment that we must avoid getting sucked into the culture war. Good luck with that. You’re in it. You’ve been made to care. And no head-in-the-sand-ostrich routine is going to save you now. We are locked into an existential battle for the future of western civilization.

A romantic clinging to the idea of neutrality, denying the antithetical frameworks by which both sides see the human person, the human condition, and the nature of a free society, will lead to one side’s victory, and the other side’s annihilation. That is the reality in which we now live.

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As for me and my house, we will do our very best to love each other, to love our neighbors, to grow our businesses, and to build community in the places that we live. We will defend ourselves against slanderous accusations. We will fight like mad for the causes we believe in. And we will try to live our lives above reproach.

But in engaging those who would prefer we be squashed, silenced, and ruined, we will not seek to squash, silence, or ruin them. And it is in that final commitment, that we may just be sowing the seeds of our own destruction.

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