On a History of Problems and Culture Wars

On a History of Problems and Culture Wars November 27, 2019

“History” is not one story, but the stories of every human being who has ever lived.

For a Christian, all people are created in the image of God, so all the stories count. Every person will stand before the judgment seat of Christ and get justice: on themselves, but also against their oppressors. 

Reality, acknowledged by Christian theology, shows people as capable of great good and great evil. No nation or political order is all good. None are all bad, though some are so bad that it is not worth listing any good thing that they have done.

Patriotism is good, because it is love of our folks: the social order that has raised us. We need not find perfection there, thank God. There is none to be found in any nation. We can love her virtues. In the case of the American Republican, I love the aspiration that we “hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal” and that we are “endowed by our Creator” with rights that the government cannot take away. I love the liberty that most have been given most of the time to the fruit earned from labor.

None of that ignores a single vice.

Christians build culture, make art, create beauty. If we end up in “culture wars,” it is as a defense to our way of being that we think best fits reality. Americans could lie all they wish about the health of our Republic, but when many of our people were enslaved, we made a mockery of our ideals. The Tsar of Russia freed his serfs before our Republic freed our slaves.

Pathetic. Evil.

The 1950’s had Jim Crow bathrooms in many states and lynch laws. Yet teenage suicide was lower, in fact, suicide was much lower. . .  Some things are much better now, but some are much worse. As African-Americans are showing in every poll, we need not have destroyed Christian sexual morality to end Jim Crow. We could have had both. We should have both: no segregation, full racial equality, and virtue.

We all fail in both areas. I have. Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me a sinner.

Yet having failed, having confessed our sin, we press on to do better. We build new schools, new colleges, and we will not demonize, we will not lie, we will not deny any fact. We will love our enemies and pray for those who use us. This is perfectly consistent with advocating for our values. If someone’s values must prevail, why not ours?

Someone, somewhere, will say something about how Christians are the failures in America. True enough.

We were the supermajority that failed.

We are also the supermajority that succeeded.

You cannot blame us for America’s vices while withholding her virtues.

And, of course, we should repent of our vices and take courage in the virtue of our ancestors.

This Thanksgiving I am thankful for a Republic where in 2020 I can say what I will about our leaders, unlike atheist China. I will be thankful for a Republic where my atheist neighbor is protected from persecution like that of theocratic Iran. I will be thankful for all the good done by our founders while not excusing their vices at all.

I will pray for mercy on them as I hope for mercy.

Christians, after all, never win culture wars, we are simply losing to somebody new century after century. Sometimes we suffer and often this is because of our own faults, our own grievous faults. Sometimes, like in China today, real suffering is because of our virtues.

So we do not just endure, but this Thanksgiving go on being us joyfully.

 

 


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