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Can a Moral Minority Survive?

On April 27, 1979, Jerry Falwell addressed thousands of conservative Christians from the steps of the Capitol. Asserting that the “vast majority” of Americans were opposed to pornography, abortion, and homosexuality, he announced the establishment of a new organization to promote “pro-family, pro-life, and pro-morality” policies. In a statement before the rally, Falwell explained the motive behind what he called the Moral Majority: “We’ve had enough and we want America cleaned up.”

Times have changed. Formerly confident in their numbers and clout, conservative Christians are now on the defensive. Falwell dreamed of cleaning up America. Nearly two generations later, his heirs are reduced to pleading for exemptions from sweeping anti-discrimination policies. Although popular with voters in some states, these pleas have not survived national scrutiny—even where Republicans hold power. In Indiana, a law that might have allowed bakers and photographers to decline service to gay weddings endured just a few months before it was “fixed” by the legislature. In Georgia, a similar bill was vetoed by the governor under intense pressure from big business.

The cultural transformation has been even more dramatic than the political one. Especially among highly educated people, beliefs that gender has a physiological basis or that procreation is a central purpose of marriage are proceeding from outré to unacceptable. In an ironic reversal, conservative Christians have adopted an idiom of concealment from a minority they once demonized: until recently, it was gays who spoke of being “in the closet.” Now they are joined by followers of traditional orthodoxy.

Mary Eberstadt is horrified by this development. In It’s Dangerous to Believe, she describes religious traditionalists as targets of a distinctly modern brand of intolerance that mirrors the history of religious fanaticism.

To support this interpretation, Eberstadt offers a parade of horribles drawn from around the English-speaking world. The incidents she cites range from the ouster of Brendan Eich as CEO of Mozilla to penalties imposed on teachers who defended Catholic doctrines on sexuality to the withdrawal of recognition from religious clubs at several universities. Eberstadt acknowledges that her examples are “disparate.” But she insists that they add up to a “widespread and growing effort to shame, punish, and ostracize people because of what they believe.”

There is nothing inherently novel about such campaigns, which have occurred with some frequency since the emergence of Biblical religion. What’s different is the issue at stake. This is not a dispute about the nature of God, proper form of worship, or correct rendering of revelation. Instead, “every act committed in the name of this new intolerance has a single, common denominator, which is the protection of the perceived prerogatives of the sexual revolution at all costs. The new intolerance is a wholly owned subsidiary of that revolution. No revolution, no new intolerance.”

Eberstadt offers a compelling analysis of the ideology that developed to justify the sexual revolution. Rather than a libertarian demand to leave people alone, it functions as an ersatz theology with its own its dogmas, theory of history, and canon of saints and martyrs. This parallel structure may be rooted in a process of secularization, as religious concepts were drained of their religious meaning. More likely, it reflects a basic human inclination to form systems, to make sense of the world. 

Whatever its source, the internal coherence of moral progressivism explains the bitterness with which it responds to challenges. Critics of the new dispensation aren’t harmless dissenters. They are heretics whose denial of the truth threatens the possibility of a virtuous community.

In this respect, Eberstadt argues, the guardians of the sexual revolution can be understood as successors to the Puritans. Contrary to their reputation in some quarters as defenders of religious liberty, the Puritans were mostly interested in the freedom to do things their way. Error, concluded the divines of New England, had no rights. That is why they were so bitterly opposed to allowing members of other denominations to dwell among them.

When it came to Baptists and Catholics, this suspicion was not altogether irrational. But the Puritans’ fear of subversion did not stop with actual rivals. The logic of their theology turned them against adversaries that did not even exist. The witch trials were no aberration but a consequence of systematic intolerance.

Eberstadt contends that a similar logic is being turned against religious traditionalists today. The Moral Majority posed a plausible challenge to the sexual revolution. Today’s dissenters from the sexual revolution, by contrast, are symbolic sacrifices at the altar of progress. According to Eberstadt, “the notion that the religious counterculture” can enforce its vision of righteousness on a majority is “downright absurd.” In her judgment, it is because they have so little real influence that recalcitrant bakers or photographers have to be publicly shamed by progressives.

Eberstadt’s description of the bewildered faithful, caught up in rapid social change, is deeply affecting. She is an acute critic of the way some Christian institutions have distanced themselves from their own teachings at the expense of low-level employees, who didn’t get the memo about what’s now politically acceptable in time. Eberstadt also discusses shocking incidents in which the mere expression of religious beliefs has led to denial of educational and job opportunities. This is prejudice pure and simple. One hopes liberals and progressives will accept her call to reject it—particularly in institutions of higher learning whose leaders speak ceaselessly of their commitment to diversity.     

Yet many of the cases Eberstadt discusses are more complicated than the Manichean struggle she depicts. More than attacks on unpopular ideas, they are disputes about the discharge of political office or participation in government programs.

Take the hapless Kim Davis, who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in Rowan County, Ky. What provoked Davis’s more thoughtful critics was not the refusal in itself. Instead, it was her expectation that she could reject the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges while keeping her job. This was not the conventional understanding of conscientious objection that allows believers to avoid otherwise compulsory duties—most prominently, military service. Instead, it looked like an attempt by a sworn public servant to have it both ways by choosing which responsibilities of her office she was willing to discharge.

After several months of wrangling, the state of Kentucky reached a compromise that removes county clerks’ names from the marriage licenses they issue. This seems a reasonable policy that protects the rights and dignity of all involved. It was necessary, however, because the connection between traditional religious belief and civil authority is not as dead as Eberstadt suggests.

The challenges to the Obamacare contraception mandate recently argued before the Supreme Court also defy Eberstadt’s depiction of a war on traditional belief. Rather than targets of an “ideological power play,” for-profit corporations such as Hobby Lobby and religious institutions like the Little Sisters of the Poor were collateral damage of a massive expansion of the administrative state. The underlying problem here is not the pseudo-theology of the sexual revolution but the cooptation of private enterprises and associations to supply a public benefit.   

Eberstadt is too quick to attribute controversies about the political role of religion to irrational animus on the part of progressives. She also tends to reduce religion to Christianity and Christianity to its more traditionalist currents. This reduction makes it easier to treat religious belief as such as the target of hostility from a monolithic secular consensus.

But the American religious scene is more varied than Eberstadt acknowledges. In addition to the conservative Christians on whom she focuses, many believers have made their peace with the sexual revolution and the world it has made—or at least figured out how to live alongside it. That includes American Jews, including many who hold politically incorrect views on sexuality.

Why do Jews escape the opprobrium to which traditionalist Catholics or Baptists are subjected? Partly because they have never been more than a tiny minority, but also because they make few claims on political and cultural authority. Apart from a few neighborhoods in and around New York City, no one fears that religious Jews will attempt to dictate how they live their own lives. As a result, they are able to avoid most forms of interference with their communities.

thisarticleappears julaug16 [1]There is a lesson here for the Christian traditionalists for whom Eberstadt speaks. They are more likely to win space to live according to their consciences to the extent that they are able to convince a majority that includes more liberal Christians and non-Christian believers, as well as outright secularists, that they are not simply biding their time until they are able to storm the public square. In addition, they will have to develop institutions of community life that are relatively low-visibility and that can survive without many forms of official support. The price of inclusion in an increasingly pluralistic society may be some degree of voluntary exclusion from the dominant culture.     

There is no doubt that this will be a hard bargain for adherents of traditions that enjoyed such immense authority until recently. As Eberstadt points out, however, it will also be difficult for progressives who resemble Falwell in their moral majoritarianism. The basis for coexistence must be a shared understanding that the Christian America for which some long and that others fear isn’t coming back—not only because it was Christian but also because it involved a level of consensus that is no longer available to us. There are opportunities for believers and nonbelievers alike in this absence.

Samuel Goldman is an assistant professor of political science and director of the Loeb Institute for Religious Freedom at George Washington University.

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33 Comments To "Can a Moral Minority Survive?"

#1 Comment By Mungling On August 2, 2016 @ 7:11 am

Up here in Canada, where religion has ceased to be a meaningful force for decades, I can see the truth to this. While orthodox Christianity is disliked, no one really goes out of their way to track us down. Where Christianity collides with the culture, Christiand are squashed. Where we create those low-visibility communities we are left to our own devices.

What Dr. Goldman doesn’t explicitly mention is the fact that both Christian institutions AND Christians themselves need to be “low visibility”. Christians plumbers and laborers will be left in peace, but doctors, lawyers and politicians are in for a rough ride unless they are willing to pay at least lip service to the revolution. The situation is somewhat akin to the Ottoman Empire where Christians were tolerated but barred from higher office.

#2 Comment By Kurt Gayle On August 2, 2016 @ 8:14 am

You wrote, Mr. Goldman: “[Christians] are more likely to win space to live according to their consciences to the extent that they are able to convince a majority that includes more liberal Christians and non-Christian believers, as well as outright secularists, that they are not simply biding their time until they are able to storm the public square. In addition, they will have to develop institutions of community life that are relatively low-visibility…”

As Christians we are not called upon to “win space to live according to [our] consciences” or to “develop institutions of community life that are relatively low-visibility.”

Rather we are called upon to follow the words of Christ (Mark 16):

“14 Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen.

“15 He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned’.”

Again, we as Christians are not called upon by Christ to either “bide our time” or to be “low-visibility.”

#3 Comment By icarusr On August 2, 2016 @ 8:23 am

This is a lucid exposition and critique of a too often intentionally obscured topic.

“Eberstadt is too quick to attribute controversies about the political role of religion to irrational animus on the part of progressives.”

Before you get clobbered on this, let me stress your two qualifiers. To be sure, irrational animus there is, as rife among puritanical progressives as among religious fanatics of all shades. The issue is, I think, that by and large, most of us “progressives” or liberals or what have yous just want to be allowed to live our lives of faith in private and enjoy our public lives in the public sphere. People talk of bakers and photographers and gays, but there are real life examples of other faiths and other matters close to one’s faith. There was a Toronto butcher (Muslim) who refused to sell to Baha’is, who are considered apostates; to him, this touches his faith far more than SSM. Well, what does one do? Dump on Muslims, carve out religious exemptions, or simply say, “have your faith, but you can’t discriminate when you sell lamb in a licensed store”?

More to the point, most of us have believing friends, family, partners or children. A close friend does not eat pork; another is vegetarian; a third will not have beef … it would be difficult for me to comprehend going into a restaurant, asking if they have something without beef, and being told by the owner that they cannot sell to a customer who holds cows sacred, as it reminds her of the Golden Calf …

Animus there may be, there the picture is more complicated than animus as the source of all these policies.

“She also tends to reduce religion to Christianity and Christianity to its more traditionalist currents.”

Well, “reduce” is too kind. On Dreher’s blog, people are busy anathematizing one another; “false religion” is next door to “true believer”. Is this a surprise?

#4 Comment By LouisM On August 2, 2016 @ 9:34 am

Can a Christian minority survive since it will never again be a majority?

Mr. Goldman says “they will have to develop institutions of community life that are relatively low-visibility and that can survive without many forms of official support. The price of inclusion in an increasingly pluralistic society”

Pray tell us how a minority of jewish americans who represent 1% of the US population conduct themselves with low visibility institutions.

Pray tell us how a minority of muslim americans who represent a few percentage points of US population conduct themselves with low visibility institutions.

The author strikes me as conceited and prejudiced with his advise for Christians to act as a minority and to give up their traditional roles in the public sphere. Let me remind the readers that for millennia, Christians have fed and clothed the poor, studied medicine and opened hospitals, hospices, parochial schools, colleges and universities. Christians fought the civil war to end slavery in the 18th century and made illegal the ancient Canaanite and Judahite religions that sacrificed living babies upon a fire as a religious sacrifice. This is but a small list of the Christian role in society.

The opposite is infact true. Christians must shed diversity and multiculturalism and political correctness and secularism. Christians must unite and be cohesive and project the Christian agenda confidently, legally, forcefully. This is the lesson to be taken from the small radical atheist/secular/anti-Christian left. This is the lesson to be take from how jews and muslims project power successfully as a minority well above and beyond their actual % of the US population.

#5 Comment By Kurt Gayle On August 2, 2016 @ 9:58 am

Mr. Goldman, the final paragraph of Pierre Manent’s comments from this First Things interview (linked to today by TAC’s “OF Note”) might help you to better understand these issues:

“We do not know when the trumpet will sound. I cannot answer you in the name of some ‘expertise’; I can only answer ‘by hope.’ Christian hope is based on faith. I believe that, amid the crumbling of Western civilization, which has begun, the supernatural character of the Church will become, paradoxically, more and more visible. The hatred of the world will turn against it more and more clearly. More clearly than ever the fate of all will depend on the ‘little flock’ of Christians.”

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#6 Comment By Thymoleontas On August 2, 2016 @ 11:13 am

“…There is a lesson here for the Christian traditionalists for whom Eberstadt speaks. They are more likely to win space to live according to their consciences…”

Prof. Goldman, did you read the last chapter of the book? There Eberstadt addresses precisely the points you bring up in your last two paragraphs.

Her closing words are an eloquent appeal to traditionalists and progressives alike to live consistently by the principles of a genuine liberalism.

#7 Comment By JR On August 2, 2016 @ 11:15 am

The problem with this whole debate seems to rest on the following fallacy: If I don’t have the authority of the State, my actions don’t count. This is also the source of the confusion about marriage. As Archie Bunker once said, “I you don’t have a marriage license, God wasn’t listen’n!”

There is nothing to keep Christians, Jews, or Buddhists from practicing their faith. What is going to have to go by the wayside is the Dominionist delusion that your faith only counts when the power of the state is your theological club.

What Jerry Falwell was offering American Christendom was a poison chalice if ever there was one. It’s time to take freedom of religion seriously, or frankly admit that you want a theocracy proper.

#8 Comment By Lance On August 2, 2016 @ 11:15 am

“widespread and growing effort to shame, punish, and ostracize people because of what they believe.”

I don’t think this is true. I’ve seen little evidence that Christians habe been given trouble for what they believe. They are given trouble for what the DO.

Your example of Kim Davis is an excellent example. Her problems didn’t come from any beliefs she has. Her problems stem from actions(or refusal to act).

Perhaps it is very much ingrained in the religious mindset, but actions and beliefs are different things. We have never been promised consequence-free religious actions.

#9 Comment By Chris C. On August 2, 2016 @ 11:30 am

The author misconstrues the position that Kim Davis took. She never assumed that she could somehow “reject… Obergefell while keeping her job”. Her clearly stated position was that she would not issue a license under her own name, while making clear that she would not otherwise obstruct the issuance of the license. She was challenging Kentucky law, not Obergefell. If the author can’t bother to get that fact straight what else is he missing?

Also, the notion that “Jews make few claims on political and cultural authority” is at the very least debatable. Major GOP and Dem. donors are Jewish and often back causes that are anathema to conservative Christians. If one “follows the money” it isn’t hard to understand why the GOP stand on moral issues has gotten weaker over the years, with billionaires and mega-donors Sheldon Adelson and Paul Singer being pro LGBT rights and unconcerned with the pro-life cause, while remaining as firm as can be on a pro-Likud policies when it comes to Israel. Hence, the notion of “few claims on political and cultural authority” is in need of more than a simple assertion.

#10 Comment By JohnG On August 2, 2016 @ 11:35 am

Well, the way I see it, the moral majority miscalculated in its dealings with the neocons or the so-called war party. Or the whole movement was coopted by the neocons? The deal seemed to be “you guys get out and vote, and we’ll no less than ban abortion, and gay marriage is of course out of the question.” It is interesting that it is only the neocon side that got to impose its militaristic/jingoist/imperial agenda on the rest of the country. Maybe they were never serious about holding their end of the bargain, or they thought they could hold the carrot a little longer, until they found another partner or before they were forced to come through with the promises. And then the cultural change swept the country and the wars went sour, so the whole deal is history by now.

I think that the moral majority should scale back its ambitions and find better political partners. Rather than impose its values on the country, it should carve its own space where it can be left alone to practice its values and way of life. And who are the best partners to pursue this agenda? Certainly the libertarian movement, both on the left and the right, because the idea of limited government is the most consistent with this (more realistic) agenda. Needless to say, if one’s agenda is to impose one’s will, than imperialists/totalitarians are the best match.

Maybe there is poetic justice in this whole thing. Having aspired to impose its agenda on the rest of the society through brute political force and, more importantly, having enabled profoundly anti-Christian violence (against peoples of all faiths and especially Christians) in remote corners of the world (ME, North Africa, Balkans, and even Ukraine), it is actually a mild punishment that the moral majority is now forced to retrench and reexamine. Now that the movement is forced to defend itself against others trying to destroy it (again!) through brute political force, let’s see if we can get together (a Libertarian speaking here) and go back to the good old principle of limited government?

#11 Comment By grumpy realist On August 2, 2016 @ 12:01 pm

Well, if you continue to wish to throw your weight around like you are Big Cheeses, don’t be surprised when the rest of society gets mad at you.

I doubt many Christians living in the Ottoman Empire tried marching up to the ruler and chastising him for his polygamy.

You want to be martyrs for the faith? Go ahead–just realize that to the outside world you’ve just turned yourself into being one of those annoying busybodies who Can’t Let Other People Live in Peace. You demand that right for yourself, but you won’t let other people have it. So who’s the hypocrite now?

#12 Comment By Montana Marvin On August 2, 2016 @ 12:46 pm

Right now the Holy Spirit is telling me that it is okay for some of us Western Christians to circle the wagons now during this transitory period, as opposed to outreach ministry. After we form our strong communities and virtual fortresses then He will instruct us what to do. But for the time being I feel all right putting my lamp under the table. At the same time we are blessed when we are persecuted in His name.

I hate to use the Mafia as a model, but one thing they did when they were a secret society was have an introduction between themselves and people they did not know. It was a barrier of protection They had their guard up.

And now Western Christians must have their guard up. During this transitory period we should set up codes or symbols so that we can find each other and support each other, and not engage with those who hope to entrap us, like the Pharisees tried to entrap Jesus. We should cut ourselves off from this poisonous culture around us, like the Amish. Some of the Mainline Protestant churches allowed themselves to get pulled into that foul Western Culture, and now they’re descending into irrelevance. Withdraw and passively resist!

And another thing – the time for splitting hairs between the Christian denominations should be over. I’m not asking Catholics to jump in the pews at a Pentacostal Holiness church, but Biblical Christians should support each other in these times.

#13 Comment By connecticut farmer On August 2, 2016 @ 1:02 pm

We will continue the downward spiral. When it will end, no one knows; indeed, it may continue for generations hence, eventually hitting rock-bottom, possibly resembling the kind of world envisioned by H.G.Wells “Time Machine.”

And at that point, in some fashion unknown to us, Christianity will rebound.

#14 Comment By Brendan Sexton On August 2, 2016 @ 2:07 pm

The entire discussion here accepts and builds on one of the key reasons the ‘moral majority’ and similar movements (or scams, depending on your view of the Falwells) failed: the conflation of ‘moral’ with ‘Christian’ and in fact with traditional, rather strait-laced Christian.
This just irritates the heck out of the rest of us who think of ourselves as very moral citizens, good contributors to a just and humane society, good parents and educators and so on, and not at all Christian–maybe not at all religious in any traditional sense.

The arrogance, smug disapproval and condescension in the Falwell approach–still much in evidence in various active political groups–is resented, and should be.

Sorry, I say ‘good riddance.”

#15 Comment By Nelson On August 2, 2016 @ 2:37 pm

During this transitory period we should set up codes or symbols so that we can find each other and support each other

Have you considered going to church instead?

#16 Comment By david m On August 2, 2016 @ 3:04 pm

Mr. Goldman’s review gets a lot of this very wrong. There is simply no way that his advice, which essentially boils down to “Just hunker down among yourselves, don’t say anything, and maybe your progressive masters will leave you be,” addresses the reality facing Christian believers in America today. The case of the Little Sisters is entirely apposite, and, despite Mr. Goldman’s soothing reassurances, it is actually not about administration but instead is about precisely what the Sisters say it is: Will they be able to run the institution they founded in accord with their moral beliefs? Or will they be forced to insure their employees (none of whom, incidentally, are made to work for the Little Sisters) in the fashion prescribed by a state whose officials are actively hostile to those beliefs, on the pretense that the Little Sisters somehow receive things from the state and are thus subject to its direct intervention in the management of their internal affairs?

This is the crux of the matter, and one that is dismissed in a deceptively offhand manner by Mr. Goldman, in his almost incidental comment that, if we Christians want to keep any freedom at all, we will have to build institutions ‘that require little official support’, or something of that nature. That is precisely the club that progressives use to force their rule upon our schools, hospitals, etc. “You use publicly funded roads to get to your schools, don’t you? Publicly supported police and fire officials protect you don’t they? Then you get state aid, and the state gets to tell you that you will have to hire teachers who publicly revile your teachings in the name of ‘inclusion’, and you will have to provide access to the girls’ room to little boys who feel comfortable there, and your hospitals will have to commit abortions, etc.” This is the reasoning of today’s progressives, who believe in the most emphatically un-American way that there should be virtually no aspect of life that is not subject to the control of government experts (except, perhaps, the sanitary and staffing conditions of abortion clinics run by Planned Parenthood).

Think this is exaggerated? Then you have not been reading ‘egregious RBG’s’ opinions or newspaper interview comments. Or maybe you missed the bathroom Diktat from Obama’s Education commissars. Better wake up. The discouraging truth – that cannot be wished away with comforting reassurances that, if we are just not any trouble, they won’t bother us – is this: Everything not prohibited will be compulsory. That is how they operate.

The groups that Mr. Goldman says have not drawn the ire of the progressives may not have done so for reasons other than he suggests. You can’t really try to tell Jews or Muslims how to run their institutions in America, because you will be called (rightly) anti-Semitic or anti-Islamic. And progressives are kind of sensitive about that, at least for the time being. Christians, on the other hand, particularly traditionalist Catholics and Evangelicals, enjoy no such moral immunity. They are not viewed by the progressive elite as having the same rights that less prominent religious minorities enjoy, and they are openly reviled, without reproach, by many in that elite. Anyone remember a famous guy who a few years back complained about people “clinging to guns and Bibles”? Pretty revealing statement.

#17 Comment By mrscracker On August 2, 2016 @ 3:22 pm

“Take the hapless Kim Davis, who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in Rowan County, Ky. What provoked Davis’s more thoughtful critics was not the refusal in itself. Instead, it was her expectation that she could reject the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges while keeping her job.
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Well,possibly she still believed in some vestige of states rights too.

#18 Comment By John On August 2, 2016 @ 3:54 pm

Does anyone think the horrific child rape scandals of the Catholic Church or the continued unmasking of conservative scolds as closeted homosexuals or adulterers has anything to do with the situation? It’s hard to revere institutions and people who turn a blind eye to atrocities and their own immoral behavior. Look at all the evangelical leaders aligned with Trump in spite if his history of infidelity, racism, etc.

There is no persecution of Christians in the USA.

#19 Comment By Will Harrington On August 2, 2016 @ 4:20 pm

JR

This isn’t the first time you’ve talked of Dominionists. The thing is, I think you have read a few things by a very few people and given into hysteria. I, personally, have never met a Dominionist, and I live not too terribly far from the buckle of the bible belt. You know the Kingdom of Heaven most of us Christians believe in was pretty clearly stated by our Lord to not be of this world, right? Seriously, If Christians ever take over the country, its going to be because a lot of people converted and, well, that’s how democracy works.

#20 Comment By Publius On August 2, 2016 @ 4:29 pm

Whether moral minorities did survive, can survive, or will be allowed to survive, are all questions that keep minorities on the defensive.

It seems to me these latter days represent an excellent moment to ask the putative moral majority how they’re doing lately. Things don’t look good.

The only people who should be playing defense are globalist mandarins, careless libertines, milquetoast conservatives, woolly-minded liberals, radical feminists, doctrinaire multiculturalists, Muslim supremacists, and Marxists of all stripes.

And it is they that should be forced to play defense at every possible opportunity.

#21 Comment By RFK 2016 On August 2, 2016 @ 4:39 pm

A moral minority has been surviving for years in Th US: those who reject materialism and believe the primary purpose of human existence is to treat the earth and the creatures who live on it kindly. One does not need a religion or off the grid style environmentalism to be part of this segment of society, but holding those two values as being most important certainly places one on the fringes of American culture.

#22 Comment By JWJ On August 2, 2016 @ 4:42 pm

“the ideology that developed to justify the sexual revolution. Rather than a libertarian demand to leave people alone, it functions as an ersatz theology with its own its dogmas, theory of history, and canon of saints and martyrs.”

Leftism is rapidly becoming the dominant religion in the US. Heretics will continue to be punished.

Loyalty oaths to “diversity”, “gay marriage”, and other liturgy are becoming mandatory to work in many companies.

More and more will be sent to re-education camps (see the University of Houston student vice-president’s “blasphemous” posting All Lives Matter).

#23 Comment By Thymoleontas On August 2, 2016 @ 4:51 pm

@ Brendan Sexton et alia:

The reference to “Moral Majority” is Goldman’s. Eberstadt (the person whose book is being reviewed in the article) never even mentions “moral” and “majority” together in the same sentence, let alone the Falwells…

Eberstadt approaches the matter in full cognizance that historically Christians *have* held political power in the past, and through her tone urges humility. She also, makes a strong *liberal* argument for why and how Christians and progressives can be part of one genuinely open, that is, liberal society.

In the end, this article is a poor review as Goldman doesn’t present all of Eberstadt’s argument.

#24 Comment By Zoltan On August 2, 2016 @ 5:31 pm

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.”

#25 Comment By Quartermaster On August 2, 2016 @ 6:49 pm

Can a moral minority survive? Yes. But, an immoral majority can not. Morality is based on natural law which was determined by the creator. Immorality defies natural law and is, hence, destructive of those that act in such a manner.

#26 Comment By Evan On August 2, 2016 @ 7:23 pm

Eberstadt seeks to prove too much here.

First, even if Eberstadt is right about the persecution that conservative Christians are facing at the hands of progressivists, it is notable that conservative Christians tend to persecute dissenting groups with the same kind of zeal in the places where they retain a majority (e.g., Mississippi, North Carolina, etc.) Conservative Christians set the precedence for a scorched-earth strategy. Can they be surprised that, when those whom they once persecuted become a majority, those folks also resort to scorched-earth strategies.

Second, I suspect that most conservative Christians will come to terms with these issues. I’m a younger third-generation evangelical. I have little interest in the culture war issues, most of which are just relics of the social struggles of the ’60s and ’70s. For example, I have no issue with civil same-sex marriage, and even have friends who are in same-sex relationships. Most evangelicals my age feel the same way. Opposition to same-sex marriage is more of a generational/educational issue than a Christian issue. Within a few years, most Christians who oppose same-sex marriage will have retired from the white-collar work force.

#27 Comment By Mickey3 On August 2, 2016 @ 9:35 pm

Jr. had best statement. When religion and the state collude people die. Live your faith but don’t force it on people.you seem to worship a very small god not the great creator God!

#28 Comment By Reid E. Pagliaccio On August 2, 2016 @ 10:16 pm

Historical perspective, anyone? Christians are acting as if this has never happened before. In the 4th and 5th centuries when the Christians were closing down philosophy schools, razing temples, and destroying or appropriating pagan institutions and cultural patrimony, were the pagans happy? Not the ones who could write about it. 2000 years and the page turns. Sic transit, baby.

#29 Comment By Emanuele Ciriachi On August 3, 2016 @ 4:42 am

Some people lament the alleged infringement of “live and let live” from Christians – but this is often untrue.

Refusing to provide service for a same-sex “marriage” is completely not the same thing as refusing service to a minority – is unwillingness to provide a specific service, which should be a basic civil freedom for everyone.

The ousting of Mozilla CEO, the persecution against businesses that refuse to cater to same-sex “marriage”, and lastly forcing ChristianMingle to cater to homosexual unions are examples of the opposites – where social regressives force their will on others against their right of freedom of association. Intolerance is on THEIR side, it’s no longer a religious matter.

#30 Comment By Kurt Gayle On August 3, 2016 @ 7:17 am

@ Montana Marvin who writes: “…For the time being I feel all right putting my lamp under the table.”

It’s too soon to put the lamp away, Brother Marvin. For now, hold a steady course.

Events will continue to unfold for a long time before we’ll need to consider the catacombs.

”You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.”

Hold steady.

#31 Comment By mrscracker On August 3, 2016 @ 11:24 am

In addition, they will have to develop institutions of community life that are relatively low-visibility and that can survive without many forms of official support.”
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Sounds like the Amish, who are thriving & among the fastest growing denominations in North America. Maybe the meek will inherit the Earth after all

#32 Comment By Ken Zaretzke On August 3, 2016 @ 6:52 pm

“Take the hapless Kim Davis”

The good professor is hapless, not Kim Davis. She may have been Quixotic, but that’s different. So long as there is a difference–a gap–between legality and legitimacy, it isn’t correct to call Kim Davis hapless. But that a professor of political science doesn’t recognize this difference is surely a sign of haplessness.

Obergefell established the legality, in the fundamental positive law, of same-sex marriage. It did not establish the legitimacy of same-sex marriage, whether that is understood as the fundamental non-positive law (i.e., natural law) or as the convention of society. As for whether same-sex marriage might, in the course of time, be legitimized, that entirely depends on whether it can finally find support in reason and the consensus of society. I believe that’s the most truly Quixotic quest of all.

#33 Comment By Stephen Johnson On August 3, 2016 @ 8:58 pm

…”actions and beliefs are different things.”

No, they are not. What you’re describing is called hypocrisy.