Friday, January 03, 2014
2014: A Year Of Decision
This year we will see if America is still a politically center-right nation.
We will likely discover this year if conservatism has been marginalized to the extent that it is no longer a viable political ideology in America.
We will also discover if the continued moral decline in our culture is sufficient to awaken those who have been seduced to silence by political correctness and intimidated by a very small minority who claim right is wrong, wrong is right, up is down and down is up, moral is immoral and immorality is morality and virtue.
And tolerance is affirmation and endorsement. To disagree is bigotry and intolerance.
Is conservatism finally beaten and silenced in America?
Has secular progressivism become so enshrined in law and in the minds of our government educated children that we have crossed a cultural and spiritual "Rubicon?"
Is the Christian church so convinced that we are now living in "Post Christian America" that inevitability has become the only vision?
Bruce Thornton has label 2014 a "year of decision" for good reason.
He says, "This year we will see if America is still a center-right country, or if Obama's two terms will mark a historic shift to the left."
He says recent events and history give cause for optimism.
Some may remember, while many more of us have read of the pronouncement made by secular progressive icon Lionel Trilling in 1950.
He said, and a complicit press dutifully reported, "In the United States at this time Liberalism is not only the dominate but even the sole intellectual tradition. For it is the plain fact that nowadays there are no conservative or reactionary ideas in general circulation...But the Conservative impulse and the reactionary impulse do not, with some isolated and some ecclesiastical exceptions, express themselves in ideas but only in action or in irritable mental gestures which seek to resemble ideas."
His conclusion was that a very few had ideas contrary to secular progressivism...a few political extremists and a few out of touch, dogmatic, legalistic, uninformed religious people who were very upset, but had no real ideas.
Trilling could only see the tip of the iceberg he was about to encounter.
Two things were happening that Trilling was clearly unaware of. Or did not understand in his arrogance.
Thornton reminds us that even as Trilling wrote those words, the works and writings of Russell Kirk, H.A. Hayek, Richard Weaver, William F. Buckley and many others were developing a powerful conservative philosophy that would bear fruit in the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980.
Many of us can remember the incompetence and naive idealism of President Jimmy Carter, who ultimately shined the light on the deep philosophical flaws of progressivism and created a climate that was favorable to Conservative ideas and helped galvanize people to act on and support those conservative ideals, such as limited government...one that is of the people, by the people and for the people.
This set the stage for Ronald Reagan's election.
Some years later even Bill Clinton said, "The days of big government are over."
But there was a second action at work in America during those decades.
Some Christian leaders were speaking to the issues of that day, calling on Americans, especially Christians to be vigilant. To be informed and discerning and pro-active.
Dr. Jerry Falwell formed the Moral Majority in response to the secular progressive's attempt to "remake" America. Dr. James Dobson founded Focus on the Family which would become a force to strengthen families and speak to the issues in the culture. Dobson also helped launch Family Research Council and American Family Association. Dr. D. James Kennedy launched a ministry that addressed the cultural issues in a dramatic way using television.
Destructive cultural Marxism was pushed back. The circumstances of that time and the vigilance of a number of Christian leaders had galvanized conservatives and people of faith.
History is suggesting this could be a time similar to that following the Carter years.
Once again the light is being turned on to the incompetence of President Obama and his administration by their arrogance and misguided leadership on almost every major issue.
Even the President's most loyal base---young adults, are turning away because they were misled regarding Obamacare.
Even the press is turning away, unable or unwilling to defend him as they once did, now directing their attention toward ensuring the presidential nomination of Hillary Clinton in 2016.
2013 marked a turning point in our culture. From Chick-fil-A to "Duck Dynsaty," conservative religious Americans found their footing. Even many of those who favor so-called "same-sex marriage" took pause as Dan Cathy and Phil Robertson were attacked for their personal biblical beliefs. And neither caved in to enormous pressure from the secular progressive activists who seek to "remake" America.
Americans were awakened.
Those whom Trilling described as "ecclesiastical exceptions" who "express themselves not in ideas but only in action or in irritable mental gestures which seek to resemble ideas" were not exactly as described or perceived by the secular left.
I believe America is once again awakening to the realities of our times.
The Great Awakenings of the 1730s and 40s were a response to the "Enlightenment" movement that had begun to influence the culture of the American Colonies. People were turning away from biblical teaching.
The Enlightenment Movement was at its core, secular progressivism.
The spiritual awakening changed America forever. It strengthened families and led to the Colonies declaring their independence from England and winning what many felt was an "unwinnable" war against one of the most powerful military establishments in the world.
Ben Franklin was hardly an evangelical, however, even he was impacted by the spiritual awakening of that time. He became a friend of preacher George Whitefield, one of the leaders of the Great Awakening. In fact, he contributed money to Whitefield's ministry.
After Whitefield's services had been completed in Philadelphia, Ben Franklin wrote, "It was wonderful to see the changes soon made in the manners of the inhabitants from being thoughtless or indifferent about religion, it seemed as if all the world was growing religious, so that one could not walk through the town in an evening without hearing Psalms sung in different families of every street."
Perhaps the strong winds of change are not yet blowing, but I believe there is a breeze, a refreshing breeze as people awaken to the realities of our time in history.
2014 will be a year of decision. We will decide what we really believe about God and faith and freedom and family and the Bible. And these decisions will not be confined to the four walls of church buildings, but will be discussed and debated in the public square.
This is the year to share the Truth of God's Word and ring the bell of liberty throughout the land.
Be Vigilant. Be Discerning. Be Informed. Be Prayerful. Be Blessed.