Pope Francis' call for a truce notwithstanding, the culture war rages on in America.
Last week, a Utah judge struck down part of the state's anti-polygamy law, clearing the way for men to marry multiple spouses. Methodist pastor Frank Schaefer, defrocked for officiating at the same-sex marriage of his son, refused to recant, and joined a Dupont Circle congregation, declaring from the pulpit to repeated ovations Sunday, "Change is coming" to the United Methodist Church.
Major media stories both. Yet these were skirmishes alongside the culture war clash last week over the remarks to GQ magazine of Phil Robertson, patriarch of the clan of "Duck Dynasty," the wildly popular show on A&E.
Using crude terms, but biblically correct arguments, Robertson told GQ what he thought of homosexuality and moral relativism. Said Robertson: "Everything is blurred on what's right and what's wrong. Sin becomes fine. ... Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men. ... Don't be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexuality offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers — they won't inherit the kingdom of God. Don't deceive yourself."
The homosexual lobby GLAAD swiftly demanded that Robertson be purged from "Duck Dynasty." And A&E suspended him indefinitely.
The backlash was swift and huge. Followers of "Duck Dynasty," Evangelicals, politicians and free-speech champions arose to defend Robertson's right to speak without punishment. Millions endorsed his views on what the Bible says and Christianity professes and promises.
The battle revealed an immense and intense hostility in Middle America to the moral agenda being imposed by our cultural elites.
While defenders of Robertson invoked the First Amendment, that is not the issue here. No one is denying Robertson his right to speak. What GLAAD wants to do is to blacklist Robertson, to punish him by taking away his podium, "Duck Dynasty." The gay rights militants cannot silence him, but they do have the power to cost him his job and take away his megaphone so that his vast audience can no longer hear him.
The blacklist of the Truman era did not deny the Hollywood Ten their right to produce movie scripts. It was an agreed-upon Hollywood policy not to commission or to use the work of unrepentant Communists as writers, producers or directors. Who were the Hollywood Ten? They were closet Communists, secret members of a Communist Party USA, then a wholly owned subsidiary of the greatest mass murderer in history, Joseph Stalin.
And of what were the Hollywood Ten guilty? When Stalinists were eradicating freedom and exterminating Eastern European Christians and overrunning China and murdering millions, as President Truman tried to rally the forces of freedom, the Hollywood Ten took the Fifth Amendment. They refused to repudiate Communism or name names of fellow Communists who were still reshaping the thinking of America from their upholstered perches in the film industry.
Today, however, the Hollywood Ten are regarded as martyrs, moral heroes. Had they been secret Nazis rather than secret Stalinists in those years, they would likely not be so beloved of the Hollyleft.
Contrast if you will the sins for which Phil Robertson is being blacklisted with those of the Hollywood Ten. He is a fundamentalist Christian professing his belief in what he holds to be Bible truths about sin, homosexuality, heaven and hell. For so doing, he is being censored by elites who wish to deny him access to the medium they largely control — television.
And what were the comparable sins of the Hollywood Ten? They were witting collaborators in a 70-year Communist conspiracy responsible for the murder of millions, which, in the 1940s, looked on the United States of America as the last impediment to world conquest. In that era, we were agreed that Communism and Communists were the enemies of America and mankind and should be regarded and treated as such.
To our modern moral and cultural elites, it is those who condemn the values of GLAAD who are the enemies of decency and progress who ought to be fired and blacklisted to prevent their poisonous views from being disseminated. In the Hollywood of the late 1940s, Communism was persona non grata. In the 21st century, biblical Christianity is persona non grata.
No, this is not the America we grew up in. And it is becoming less so. According to a CNN poll last week, while belief in God and the divinity of Christ is still shared by two-thirds of Americans, that share — older, more Republican, less educated — is falling.
Worldwide, too, Christianity at Christmas 2013 seems in a long retreat. Receding slowly in America, and moribund in Europe, Christianity is undergoing merciless persecutions in Africa and the Middle East — from Nigeria to the Central African Republic to Egypt, Syria and Iraq.
Compared to these folks suffering martyrdom for the faith, we have it easy here.
So, Sursum Corda. Lift up your hearts. And Merry Christmas.
(Syndicated columnist Pat Buchanan has been a senior advisor to three presidents, twice a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination and the presidential nominee of the Reform Party in 2000. He won the New Hampshire Republican Primary in 1996.)