http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:PeoplesCrusadeMassacre.jpg

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:PeoplesCrusadeMassacre.jpg

If so, the paynim have won. New Jersey’s now got same-sex marriage, with GOP presidential wannabe Chris Christie throwing in the towel. Marijuana dispensaries are open in more and more states, and for the first time most Americans are cool with that.

While the needle on abortion is stuck pretty much where it’s always been, there will soon be more Nones than Catholics, which doesn’t bode well for the pro-life camp.

Assessing the situation, the culture warrior who used to head the Southern Baptists’ Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, Richard Land, told the Wall Street Journal the other day that the leadership of his denomination was “divided into those who think the culture war is lost; those who are weary and want it over; and those who think they are losing the war but feel victory is still possible.” Putting himself in the last group, Land declared, “We are like where Britain was in 1940, under heavy attack but still not defeated.”

If Land is hoping for Spitfires to reverse the tide, he knows he’s not got one in his successor Russell Moore, who is urging church leaders to be “winsome, kind and empathetic.” Winsome is not a word that leaped to mind when Land was in the saddle. Moore’s approach, like Pope Francis’, is geared toward relating to the wide world as a friendly interlocutor. Francis meets with atheist editors. Moore has coffee with pro-gay pastors.

Sticking with World War II analogies, the alternative is the Hitler’s bunker approach: Secularists are attacking from the West! Muslims from the East! Let’s barricade ourselves in our churches — or maybe in Texas and Oklahoma and Kansas — with our guns and our Bibles and our laws against Sharia law.

After the Kingdom of Jerusalem fell in 1187, it took another century for the Crusaders to lose their last stronghold in the Holy Land. Culture wars don’t end quickly.

If so, the paynim have won. New Jersey’s now got same-sex marriage, with GOP presidential wannabe Chris Christie throwing in the towel. Marijuana dispensaries are open in more and more states, and for the first time most Americans are cool with that.

While the needle on abortion is stuck pretty much where it’s always been, there will soon be more Nones than Catholics, which doesn’t bode well for the pro-life camp.

Assessing the situation, the culture warrior who used to head the Southern Baptists’ Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, Richard Land, told the Wall Street Journal the other day that the leadership of his denomination was “divided into those who think the culture war is lost; those who are weary and want it over; and those who think they are losing the war but feel victory is still possible.” Putting himself in the last group, Land declared, “We are like where Britain was in 1940, under heavy attack but still not defeated.”

If Land is hoping for Spitfires to reverse the tide, he knows he’s not got one in his successor Russell Moore, who is urging church leaders to be “winsome, kind and empathetic.” Winsome is not a word that leaped to mind when Land was in the saddle. Moore’s approach, like Pope Francis’, is geared toward relating to the wide world as a friendly interlocutor. Francis meets with atheist editors. Moore has coffee with pro-gay pastors.

Sticking with World War II analogies, the alternative is the Hitler’s bunker approach: Secularists are attacking from the West! Muslims from the East! Let’s barricade ourselves in our churches — or maybe in Texas and Oklahoma and Kansas — with our guns and our Bibles and our laws against Sharia law.

After the Kingdom of Jerusalem fell in 1187, it took another century for the Crusaders to lose their last stronghold in the Holy Land. Culture wars don’t end quickly.

Update: Russell Moore backs and fills.

Categories: Beliefs, Culture

Mark Silk

Mark Silk

Mark Silk is Professor of Religion in Public Life at Trinity College and director of the college's Leonard E. Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life.

8 Comments

  1. And they accomplished it through respectful informed, thoughtful Socratic debate….just kidding…they accused everyone that disagrees of hatred, bigotry and ignorance…indoctrinate your kids…and threaten your livelihood…because being tolerant is awesome!

    I have a natural born attraction to multiple women…been that way my whole life…why don’t I have a right to have that attraction affirmed and validated?

    • Tony, being tolerant mean accepting actions and people who are trying to use the color of the law and culture to deny others basic human dignity and a normal life. The only thing worse than bigotry is when people whine about being called out on it. It is usually an admission that one is acting in an intolerant manner but just has thin skin about it.

      Fact of the matter is the people on the losing end of the culture war for the most part ARE ignorant, bigoted and big on making ridiculous statements in public.

      “I have a natural born attraction to multiple women…been that way my whole life…why don’t I have a right to have that attraction affirmed and validated?”

      Because it wreaks havoc on existing estate, matrimonial, property laws and makes a mess of financial debts and obligations of a married couple. But being the clear thinking, educated, tolerant, intelligent person you are, you already figured that out. =)

      • Marriage is a civil right…remember…it should not be contingent on society, property laws or financial complications….IT IS A CIVIL RIGHT….civil rights aren’t voted on….they are not affirmed only when beneficial…if you want to weigh the consequences of an institution, polygamy has a longer history and produces more children than gay marriage…which is the important thing for a country that has to run trillion dollar deficits in order to grow at 2% a year. but being a smart guy, I am sure you already thought of that.

        thanks for the compliment…i know among the self appointed elite calling someone intolerant is just short hand for saying they actually relate to facts and are able to make prudent decisions rather then shutting their brain of calling people names.

        • What do you think civil rights are? They are rights to carry on a normal existence. This includes property rights and legal recognition of one’s self and family. Until the polygamists are willing to draft laws affected by it in order to shoehorn it in, we don’t have to bother.

          As for gay marriage, it is obvious you don’t have a legitimate argument against it other than bad analogy.

          Calling a bigot, a bigot is just being direct. Some things are not worth pussyfooting around. The only thing worse than bigotry is whining about being called one. Its not a denial of such things. Just a sign of being thin skinned.

  2. Seriously? You used a term “paynim” which relates to the era of the Crusades and arguably is a derogatory term for Muslims and/or pagans. Sad.

  3. The country is changing, evangelical right wingers do not hold the frying pan by the handle anymore. -It’s over- the Christian message has skewed away from love, compassion and replaced with a logarithm of hate and insidious speech. Folks “on the other side” (non Christians) of the culture war want validation, and they are succeeding due to their civil (secular) based argument-Equality-. Evangelical Right Wingers (ERW) live inside a bubble that does not tolerate by design anything that disagrees with their version of their Myths, they barely tolerate them and attempt to invalidate humanity as it expresses itself. Their mistake was to try to contain and manipulate- like stopping the Sun from shinning bright.-.
    In 30 years or so USA will be very different . We may even have atheists in Office and even Gay governors, Just like 60 years ago a Black American US President was nothing but a off – center, skewed notion- of millions Consciousness is moving unstoppable a decade at a time.

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