America Today

Posted on November 17, 2019


A few weeks ago we left off with some Attorney General William Barr’s assessment of modern America. He presented this view in a speech he delivered October 11 before the School of Law at Notre Dame University on the freedom of religion and its underpinning of American life.

Christianity is on the decline in the U. S. and the “modern” view dismisses “morality as other worldly superstition imposed by a kill-joy clergy,” whereas, in fact, “Judeo-Christian moral standards are the ultimate utilitarian rules for human conduct.”

Barr does not hide his bias. The rules and principles expressed in Christianity are the only absolute truths in our universe, they are “like God’s instruction manual for the best running of man and human society.”

We have been, on the other hand and as a nation, gradually abandoning these moral laws and the consequences are transparently bad in the natural, and sinful in the spiritual realm.

As moral standards and discipline decline, they are replaced by “the growing ascendency of secularism and the doctrine of moral relativism.” Or, you’re right and I’m right and she’s right; morality is simply a relative value. We’re all right. This is, as Barr notes, the “new orthodoxy.”

Monogamy in marriage and heterosexuality are old fashioned rules that simply perpetuate sexism, male dominance, racism (everything we do is racist), misogynism, and crimp us all as free individuals.

What are the consequences of all this?

Today the illegitimacy rate is over 40 percent, as high as 70 percent in large urban areas. Where is father? WHAT is a father?

Record levels of depression and mental illness mark the landscape, the suicide rate is soaring (right here in River City, especially among the college and university population), a deadly drug epidemic scars the land, and the local and state governments give drug addicts their needles and drugs in the cities on the West Coast in “safe injection sites.”

The results of pretty much unbridled sexual license are not to emphasize sexual responsibility within the family, but to protect abortion, destroying lives in the name of women’s “rights.”

Barr writes, “the solution to the breakdown of the family is for the State to set itself up as the ersatz husband for single mothers and the ersatz father to their children.” Can this be true? What is true is that social programs run by the government have expanded like staph viruses that wreck individuals andfamilies.

The rights of Christians to practice and live their faith is being undermined by rulings in courts “to subscribe to practices and policies that are antithetical to their faith,” such as forcing Christian employers, for example, to fund “contraceptive and abortifacient coverage in their health plans,” and so violate Christian beliefs and practices.

Religion in the schools is “ground zero” in the new moral order’s attacks on Christianity. Barr writes, “for anyone who has a religious faith, by far the most important part of exercising that faith is in the teaching of that religion to our children. The passing on of the faith. There is no greater gift we can give our children and no greater expression of love.”

Government’s interference in the process “is a monstrous invasion of religious liberty.” That’s a mouthful. Is it true? Since education, both at the K-12 level and especially at the college and university level, is important to us here in Tuscaloosa, let’s examine this a bit.

Secularists, according to Barr, are attacking on three fronts. One is the curriculum, forcing schools to adapt curriculum which is incompatible with traditional religious principles that parents need to enforce as they raise their families.

For example, New Jersey, California, and Illinois now require public schools to adopt an LGBT curriculum that is Biblically wrong.   The Orange County Board of Education in California ruled that “parents who disagree with the instructional materials related to gender, gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation may not excuse their children from this instruction.”

A second front of attack is depriving religious schools of generally available funds, while a third area is undermining religious freedom.

Among the assault on religious freedom in education have been recent efforts to use state laws to force religious schools to adhere to secular orthodoxy, like in Indianapolis where a teacher sued the Catholic Archbishop of Indianapolis for directing the Catholic schools within his diocese that they could not employ teachers in same-sex marriages because the example of those same-sex marriages would undermine the schools’ teaching on the Catholic view of marriage.

Meanwhile, pressure is placed on religious schools to abandon their religious convictions by starving them of funds and not funding students, for example, who want to attend religious schools with a religious character. This is a violation of the doctrine of the separation of church and state.

Barr wrote with passion that “we cannot have a moral renaissance unless we succeed in passing to the next generation our faith and values in full vigor.” Moral relativism is on the rise, driving Christian viewpoints and basic theology from the “public square.”

Reading the Attorney General’s talk is to sense a pushback working its way back into that public square.

While we aren’t going to return to the seventeenth century, recall that Henry Dunster, the first president of Harvard, drafted rules for the students, one of which read: “Let every student be plainly instructed and earnestly pressed to consider well, the main end of his life and studies is to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life.” 

Since universities are now promoting diversity and the inclusion of all points of view and ways of life, perhaps Dunster’s can be the theme of a great UA conference on the meaning of Christianity in American life across the centuries in its multifarious complexities, condemning the bad but extoling the good.

Published November 17, 2019 in The Tuscaloosa News.