From the Editor—Friday Reflections

Defensive Linemen

The Friday Reflection by James M. Kushiner

September 25th, 2020

"We Won't Put Up With Bigoted Attacks on Amy Coney Barrett."

Amy Coney Barrett: regardless of whether she turns out to be the president's nominee to the U. S. Supreme Court to replace Ruth Bader Ginsberg, her name has already become a flashpoint in the ongoing culture war.

Many have said that the culture war was lost long ago; I might concede the point, but only to insist that the loss occurred earlier, and certainly no later than January 1973 in Roe v. Wade. Then, the U. S. Supreme Court, the creme del la creme of the American judicial system, 27 years after the Nuremberg trials, declared that a woman had a constitutional right to slaughter any of her offspring in her womb, even to the drawing of the first breath.

In another sense, however, the culture war had already begun through mainstreaming the Playboy, the Pill, and the sexual revolution that followed. But those items in turn arose from an ongoing global pandemic: sin.

Roe was the flashpoint that commenced the most recent culture war, inspiring the pro-life movement, which has not miscarried and continues its clear witness to the humanity of the child. If pro-life activism is a sign of a culture war, the war grinds on. Yes, LGBTQRST agendas have won most if not all contests, yet there is a hidden factor at play called the family.

The state needs children, but it wants to systemically indoctrinate them and herd them into the new world order. Yet it's still the decision of parents whether to hand over the future generation to an increasingly hostile state or not. If "conservative" Christians of the 1970s and beyond had welcomed more children into their lives than the recommended "replacement" number 2.0, perhaps we wouldn't be having this conversation.

Amy Coney Barrett is hardly alone in being a devout married Christian woman who has welcomed many children into her family. Some think that such people have no place on the high court unless they genuflect before Roe v. Wade, not to mention other recent court decisions on sex and "gender."

Robert P. George is gearing up for Barrett's possible nomination and the attacks she will receive, and invites others to join the Facebook community, "We Won't Put Up With Bigoted Attacks on Amy Coney Barrett." How much of the attack will be about her views on abortion or on her Catholic faith remains to be seen.

Speaking of attacks on faith and religion, "An Open Letter to Our Fellow American Citizens" was issued this month, with signatories including Touchstone editors Hunter Baker, Thomas S. Buchanan, Allan C. Carlson, Rod Dreher, Anthony Esolen, James Hitchcock, Douglas Johnson, and Mark Tooley. At the bottom of this page you can sign the letter and "see all the signatures."

Among the points addressed:

"Religion. Civilization is fragile. If religious institutions and beliefs are marginalized and mocked, the indispensable civilizational supports for a free and decent life will quickly vanish. In a plural society like America, people are free to pursue their own paths to truth. But a truly plural society cannot abide the deliberate attempt to undermine, and even destroy, churches and synagogues. A pluralism that denies the legitimacy of religious faith and practice will not produce a "diverse" America; it will, instead, produce a tyrannical America in which the freedom of conscience is lost, the inherent dignity of the individual is denied, and the strongest support for just and moral living is erased. As Alexis de Tocqueville noted, despotism can do without religious faith, but freedom cannot."

Despotism here is trying to "cancel" religion; not in one fell swoop, but bit by bit. The next bit may be seen in how Amy Coney Barrett, if nominated, is treated.

"This crisis is acute, and the hour is late. Like our forebears, we aim both to conserve and reform our institutions in light of enduring principles of justice. That is the task of self-governing people who know they live in an imperfect world and yet are not deterred by its challenges."

In America, "self-governing" means we're responsible, like it or not. Were we living under a dictatorship or emperor, our responsibility would be more limited.

While such statements never seem to "do any good," speaking the truth is itself a good. What "good did it do" when Franz Jagerstatter to refused to swear an oath to Hitler and was executed? Someone is always listening.

There will never be any Christian victory in the culture war until the eschaton, for the enemy which we must fight relentlessly is sin. Sometimes a sin becomes systemic in a society. It's not racism. Ask the babies, black and white. Their fate is at stake. So is ours. Amy Coney Barrett: May her tribe increase.

Yours for Christ, Creed & Culture,

James M. Kushiner
Executive Director, The Fellowship of St. James

—James M. Kushiner is Executive Editor of Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity, and Executive Director of The Fellowship of St. James.