Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Letter to the Editor: On the Culture Wars

A Letter to the Editor from a former student of ours:

I have long maintained that the “Culture Wars” within Western Society are gravely overstated. That they matter much more to the handful of people on the far right and far left than they do the great majority of people.

While most people do have views on these issues and will express them given the chance, most people don’t let it dictate to their entire view of politics. For a simple example, look at Wisconsin where the Gay Marriage amendment passed despite Democrats taking the highest profile of contested seats (Governor, 8th Congressional District are the ones that people out in DC noticed). People are willing to express their views on these issues and to vote upon them, but aren’t so politically exorcized as to view these issues as the centerpiece of a political “war” that must be fought with the enthusiasm of a scorched-Earth campaign.

Quite simply, there are many people who usually vote Democratic who fall the opposite side expected in these issues and vice versa. There are Democrats who have plenty of children and oppose Gay Marriage, there are Republicans who have one or no children and could care less whether or not gays get married.

I suppose the reason I feel that the culture wars are truly overblown is that most everyone has friends that they disagree on these issues with. If this were truly a war of two Western cultures, this wouldn’t be possible. There are people who truly view this as a war and behave as this is a war with a distinct enemy that must be isolated and defeated. They live this out by isolating and shunning individuals who disagree with them on these wedge issues. However, these people do this because they’re jerks rather than being warriors, in a true sense. If they didn’t have the issues of abortion, gay marriage, etc. to inflate their own importance and to judge others upon, they’d find other ways to do so.

The vast majority of people in our American culture are fine with those who disagree with them, even on issues that rouse great passion. Because of that, I don’t see an American culture at war with itself. Do I wish that more people were supportive of Gay Marriage? Yes. Do I wish that some people would have more on their mind when entering the ballot box than abortion? Yes. However, there’s a vast world of difference between wishing that more people agreed with your own views (which is something everyone does) and feeling that there is a war to be won and that those who disagree are your enemy. At the end of the day I’m still able to hang out with people whose only determination at the polls is whether or not a candidate passed a single-issue litmus test. I’m able to have a drink with people who feel that homosexuality is a deviant lifestyle choice, and they’re able to do so with me.

This is not because there has been some bizarre cease-fire zone in this war at the bars and local hangouts in Washington, DC or Milwaukee. It’s because there isn’t a real war to start with.


This letter is doubtless a laudable expression of tolerance, but unfortunately not everybody is so tolerant.

Just what are Christians to think when Federal judges try to take “under God” out of the Pledge of Allegiance?

And how are Christians to react when a “diversity” curriculum attempts to indoctrinate children with the view that, not only is homosexuality normal and healthy, but that anybody who disagrees with this is a bigot?

And how are people supposed to react when the San Francisco school board bans Junior ROTC in the schools? Especially, how are the kids who are having what they consider a great opportunity taken away from them because of the political bent of a leftist school board supposed to react?

Preaching tolerance is fine. But it’s not very impressive when there is so much intolerance.

Further, telling people they should think about something besides abortion looks, quite frankly, like a tactic used by abortion supporters to put down people who oppose abortion. Remember, if abortion really is the murder of millions of innocent babies, it’s an issue that people ought to think about quite a lot.

Saying people ought to “think about something else” makes sense only if one is fine with abortion.


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