The culture wars are intensifying, and the culture in sliding dark-ward. One of the contributors to that slide is the apathy of Christian business people, who have been content to compartmentalize their Christianity and their business.
A recent survey confirmed a trend that is of incredible impact: The US has gone from a predominately Christian population to a country where Christians are now less than 50 percent of the US population. (1) This trend, which has been gaining strength over the past 20 years, is just one of that factors that have coalesced into what is often characterized as “culture wars.” The term refers to the growing polarization of the country.
The left side of the spectrum generally supports abortion – even infanticide – big government solutions to all sorts of issues, open borders and, recently, socialism.
On the right side of the spectrum are those who support conservative, and often traditional Christian, positions. Typically, pro-life and pro-constitution, these folks generally support lawful immigration, a strong military, and the rule of law.
This polarization has ushered in a new era that is ominous for Christians. The increasingly vocal left-wing often attempts to marginalize Christians. Making use of social media and the cable news stations, they routinely portray Christians as intolerant and uneducated. Christians who are visible and verbal about their beliefs are routinely demonized. We’ve all seen the negative comments made about Chick-fil-A, for example, because of its Christian values.
And, despite the world-wide growth of Christianity, persecution of Christians has increased, and the radical Islamists have made Christians the most persecuted religious group in the world.
Dismiss the Culture Wars?
It is easy for North American Christian businesspeople to look at these trends and dismiss them. Our businesses exist in a world that seems light years away from the heated rhetoric of the cable stations. A common thought is this: “The atheist leftists are in Washington and have nothing to do with my business.” Or, “All this noise and conflict is just the media trying to attract viewers with sensational and outlandish stories. It has nothing to do with me and my family.”
There may be a grain of truth in those ideas. The moment when these trends hit home, however, is just around the corner. You recall that the Obama administration mandated that businesses, regardless of their ethical positions, had to provide free contraceptives to their employees. That had the potential to touch almost every business.
The IRS, under the Obama administration, routinely delayed applications from conservative groups for non-profit status. You may recall Lois Lerner, the IRS person most clearly associated with this effort, taking the 5th Amendment in her testimony before congress. If you were one of those people trying to form a conservative non-profit organization, the culture wars were impacting you in a dramatic way.
Recently, a number of state governments have acted to remove foster children from the faith-based organizations who place them, on the grounds that they prefer to place children in a family with a father and mother. (Anti-Religious hostility takes aim at foster care and adoption agencies)
While the contraceptive provision was eventually overturned because a Christian business challenged it, it hasn’t discouraged the left-leaning politicians in Washington from encroaching on Christian culture. Recently, for example, the House of Representatives passed a bill mandating that high schools across the nation allow males to compete in female sports.
Armed guards now patrol the hallways of high-schools and park outside of church services. Streets in San Francisco and Los Angeles are littered with spent hypodermic needles and human feces.
What’s the Point?
The culture wars are intensifying, and our culture is descending into an ever-darker place. What was seen as decadent just a decade ago has become routine today. For example, you may recall that Obama originally opposed gay marriage. And, despite the terrorist attack on 9/11, today we have a radical Islamist on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
The sad truth is that Christians are losing ground in the culture wars. If your business and your family has not yet been impacted, wait a little while. The dark-ward slide of the culture will eventually touch you.
How Did We Get Here?
Look around, and it’s not hard to find culprits. You can point to the progressive tilt of Hollywood as a contributing force. So, too, the radicalization of the news media. The left’s overreaction to Donald Trump’s rhetoric has contributed. So, too has the censorship of conservative conversation on Facebook and other social media. Add to that the emphasis, in many of our colleges, of left-wing philosophies and the abandonment of the commitment to teach college students how to think, not what to think. Add to it the sense of entitlement on the part of younger generations, who it seems, are abandoning independent thought for follow-the-herd positions.
The list can go on and on.