Straight Priority

In 2016, Dennis Prager began a column for National Review by praising various politically conservative writers as "the most profound thinkers in America today." "There is, however, a 'but,'" he went on. "The vast majority of leading conservative writers, just like their liberal colleagues, have a secular outlook on life." He continued:

[M]ost conservative thinkers are not only secular themselves but seem to have no idea how much of the American civilization rests on religious foundations. They don't seem to understand that the only solution to many, perhaps most, of the social problems ailing America and the West is some expression of Judeo-Christian religion.

Mr. Prager has returned to this theme frequently ever since. Good, it's a discussion worth having. There is, however, a "but." He sometimes sounds as though he thinks solving America's social problems is the main concern and that "some expression of Judeo-Christian religion" is desirable primarily as a means to that end.

But that is getting the priorities reversed. As Christ taught, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matt. 6:33). Or, as C. S. Lewis wrote, "Put first things first and we get second things thrown in," but "put second things first & we lose both first and second things."

J. Douglas Johnson is Deputy Editor of Touchstone.


more on America from the online archives

29.4—July/August 2016

Deep Roots

Russell Kirk: American Conservative by Bradley J. Birzer by Hunter Baker

30.5—Sept/Oct 2017

Passions' Republic

The Christian Cure for What Ails Modern Politics by David Bradshaw

29.2—March/April 2016

Family Phases

The History of Family Strength in America May Reveal Good News by Allan C. Carlson

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