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A Front-Row Seat at the Culture War
Frank Miele
May 12, 2014
Is it just me, or has the culture war between right and left been escalating wildly over the past few months?

Everywhere you turn, there is another leftist assault on traditional values, as well as the occasional volley fired back by the retreating forces of Christianity and sanity.

This is not a fight about religion; it is a fight about freedom -- and believe it or not, the Judeo-Christian tradition provides the philosophical underpinnings of Western culture, which in contradistinction to every other long-lasting culture on the planet, values the individual over the collective, and thus values individual freedom over the whims of the state.

Or, at least, it did. Now, however, we are seeing the fundamental transformation of Western culture and even Christianity itself into a monolithic, totalitarian society in which the state -- with the acquiescence of the people -- controls all aspects of public and private life.

Call it 1984+30, the nightmare scenario created by novelist George Orwell in his "1984" but with 30 more years to perfect the program. "War is Peace" -- check. "Ignorance is Strength" -- check. "Freedom is Slavery" -- check. But also "Truth is a Lie" -- check. And "Law is Oppression" -- double check.

It appears that the goal of pro-tolerance agenda being promoted by the leftists is to stamp out diversity. In other words, a "tolerant" society makes room for (or actually glorifies) illegal aliens, oppressive dictators, homosexual marriage, abortion rights, convicted killers, sharia law, unrestricted pornography, teen-age sex and redistribution of wealth, so anyone opposed to these is not just intolerant and outside of the mainstream, but actually subject to shunning and possibly incarceration.

Moreover, the left is intent on co-opting traditional defenders of values such as the Boy Scouts, the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the Republican Party, and turning them into mouthpieces for a form of "tolerance" that not coincidentally turns their own tradition-upholding members into purported agents of hate. I've provided a variety of examples in this column over the past few months. Here are a few more:

Brandeis University in Boston was supposed to award an honorary doctorate to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the former Muslim, who had written extensively against female genital mutilation, honor killing and child marriage among various Islamic institutions. Perhaps it was brave of the secular Jewish university to have honored a woman who had become so controversial for defending human rights for Muslims, but it was nothing short of cowardly for Brandeis to later say that Ali's spirited attack on Islamic fundamentalism was "inconsistent with the University's core values."

Do the university's core values really include defense of honor killing or of the assassination of Ali's colleague Theo van Gogh, who directed the film she wrote about the abuse of women in Islamic society?

Perhaps Brandeis needs to re-examine its own Jewish heritage and its core values, and find out why they have diverged so radically. The same could be said for almost every institution in America.

Last week, for instance, we saw a pair of stories involving twins that showed that America is becoming more and more intolerant of traditional American values. In one case, boxer Floyd Mayweather publicly declared that he broke up with ex-girlfriend Shantel Christine Jackson "because she got a abortion, and I'm totally against killing babies. She killed our twin babies."

This resulted in outrage against Mayweather, who because he disagreed with the idea of killing his children, was called all manner of vile names and was found by some to be disqualified from buying the Los Angeles Clippers. That last point is especially ironic considering that Mayweather is black, and the Clippers are potentially for sale only because their current owner made racist comments against black men.

The second set of twins involved in the abortion debate are the Benham brothers, who were set to debut their new show "Flip It Forward" later this year on HGTV until it was discovered that the brothers are (shudder!) Bible-believing Christians.

Ironically, they were outed as Christians by a spinoff of People for the American Way, the liberal progressive advocacy group that thinks the way forward for America is to do away with conservatives, if not bodily then by making sure there is no room for their ideas in the town square.

It's not like the Benhams were hiding their light under a bushel. HGTV knew exactly what they were getting. David Benham had led a prayer rally outside the Democrat National Convention in 2012 (not sure if he was in one of those dwindling Free Speech Zones or not!) during which he said that America's Christians must repent for tolerating "homosexuality and its agenda that is attacking the nation" and "demonic ideologies tak[ing] our universities and our public school systems."

David and his brother Jason also oppose abortion, which is not entirely surprising since they are practicing Christians and since their father heads Operation Save America, an abortion clinic protest group.

What it comes down to, of course, is an effort to de-legitimize Christianity and to relegate the Bible to the trash heap of history. People for the American Way and other liberal groups are smart enough to realize that as long as people believe in the Bible, there is a chance that they will start following its rules again. And some people, like the Benhams, have already made their choice.

"If our faith costs us a television show, so be it."

That statement could be the very credo of 21st century Christians, with the words "a television show" substituted variously as "a job," "a college degree," "a relationship," "a friend," or anything else that can be taken away from you.

But how many people are going to make the same declaration as the Benhams? How many will surrender their beliefs for the comfort of "getting along" or the opportunity for a bigger paycheck?

Turns out, all of us have a front-row seat at the culture war. We all have to be rooting for something, and there is no middle ground. The stakes are high; the battle is heating up.

The situation reminds me of the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the young German minister who died in a Nazi concentration camp because of his beliefs. He wrote a book called "The Cost of Discipleship."

How much are you willing to pay?

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