by Mike D’Virgilio
Issue 206 – June 20, 2012
It’s tough for conservative Christians to catch a break in America today. Even though Bible-believing Christians, be they Catholic or Protestant, are way more tolerant than leftist secularists, these Christians are portrayed throughout our media, entertainment and academia as sexist, racist, bigoted homophobes. In fact, the epithet “divisive” is regularly used by our lovable modern liberals to paint Christians as outside of the mainstream, beyond the pale. The culture war? Of course it’s conservative Christians’ fault, even though they didn’t come close to firing the first, second or 100th shot.
This is why when I see articles like this one in USA Today that calls for a “new form of Christian civic engagement” the old Italian blood gets to boiling. What this “new form” seems to mean is embracing the modern liberal political agenda, and they’ll graciously let you can keep being pro-life in there and you’ll still be OK. Here’s the intro:
Three decades ago, the evangelical faithful was galvanized by public debates over abortion, the size of the federal government, the future of the traditional family, and religious liberty. Many responded by following divisive leaders into the culture wars with the promise that voting for “moral” leadership would end abortion, protect traditional marriage and put our country on the right track.
I wonder why left-wing politicians and “activists” are never described as “divisive.” Of course we know the answer, but what is troubling about this article is that so many especially younger Christians are buying into the narrative. I can’t find it now, but there was a study put out a couple years ago by I think the Barna Group (they are referred to in the article) that showed that young people and even young Christians see the Church as bigoted and intolerant.
The reason conservative Christians are seen as bigoted and intolerant is not because they are bigoted and intolerant, but because our cultural elites believe they are bigoted and intolerant and portray them that way every chance they get. Christians, for them, are a caricature to be beaten down as ideological enemies; they are not real people, because they’ve likely never even met one or had an intelligent conversation with one.
But this highlights a real problem for Christians and the Christian faith in modern America; Christian cultural influence is minimal if it exists at all. David French at National Review Online recently wrote about Evangelicals collapsing cultural influence. He contrasts this with the conservative Christian political influence, which has grown substantially over the last several decades. The problem is that politics alone doesn’t move a society; institutions of cultural influence do.
Every day the vast majority of American children sit in classrooms that indoctrinate them with a secular view of reality, whose assumptions are never questioned. Every day, the vast majority of Americans through mass media and popular entertainment are spoon fed a world view antithetical to traditional orthodox Christianity, where such people are often portrayed as Martians. Is it any wonder that many Americans buy the caricature of intolerant and narrow minded Christians they are being sold every day? Of course not. I think Naomi Schaefer Riley knows who the real intolerant ones are in American culture!
Mike D’Virgilio blogs at The American Culture www.stkarnick.com/culture, where this first appeared.