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The End of the Culture War?

Tom Hymes
The rather startling recent remarks by founder James Dobson to the effect that the conservative keepers of morality have lost the culture war could be read many ways, but I would advise against interpreting them as anything close to abject surrender. In fact, I feel pretty confident that as demoralized as the religious right is by the election of Barack Obama, its leaders have no intention of surrendering the high ground this easily.

Instead, I think we can safely assume that Dobson is engaged in passive aggressive behavior of a very sophisticated sort, a high stakes game of chicken, a cultural slight-of-hand, if you will, in which the ultimate goal is the original one, that the meek shall inherit the earth. The claim that all has failed, our best efforts have been in vain, the evil doers have prevailed and the end is nigh, is rather disingenuous coming from the lips of a man who has fanned the flames of intolerance and divisiveness for decades.

Unless the End Times literally are around the corner, which I truly hope they are not, there is no alternative for those who believe in religious orthodoxy but to continue the great fight with the unwashed. This is precisely where secular types like me tend to lose focus and fall down. We do not think in terms of eternal battles; we prefer to believe that once the idea that we should pretty much mind our own business sinks in, we can continue to live our lives in relative peace and security.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. The hobgoblins of our nature don’t let us off that easily, and people who are committed to saving souls don’t give up the ghost so readily. In fact, true believers amount to only a part of the problem facing those who believe that sexual freedom of choice is the ultimate battle of the culture war. The politically correct liberals are out there, too.

I do not mean to overstate the threat from the left, but it does exist and only a fool would discount the political reality and influence of shrewdly employed political correctness. Industry attorney Larry Walters, no novice to legal and cultural battles involving citizens expressing their constitutional right to expression, recently warned of his concern about the specter of PC and the damage it can do to the industry.

Walters is right to express his concern. I have never felt as though the Democrats were our allies. It’s an absurd idea, in fact. They run on all the same issues as all politicians, and skate on the same thin ice. Yes, the industry was not prosecuted during the Clinton years nearly as aggressively as during Bush’s, but that doesn’t mean the dems are our friends.

Just keep your eyes open and your powder dry. The James Dobsons of the world are not going far; they will be right here when the backlash against unrestrained hedonism that they expect arrives. Not only are they expecting it to happen, they are subtly stoking the flames in anticipation of a holy revival the likes of which this nation has never seen.

For my part, I am going to work more diligently than ever to engage rather then avoid, deny or retreat. More than ever, I think we need civil debate on powerful issues that affect all of us, and I cannot think of an issue more important for individuals or nations than sexual rights, identity, speech and freedom; the final great battle in the Culture War.

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