Since the beginning of the Culture Wars in the wake of the Sexual Revolution, conservative Americans have come to believe that many fellow citizens are at war with God. From abortion to same-sex “marriage” to the proliferation of gender and transgender ideology—and the celebration and promotion of these by the government and public schools—it does not take much to conclude that God’s Creation of the human person has been thrown out. His handiwork is rejected in favor of mankind’s own design.
Many who see this contempt for God are Christians. This taking up arms against the Creator is even easier to understand when one considers that Christians themselves have been endlessly targeted for their faith. Bakers, florists, teachers, doctors, prospective adoptive parents—anyone who dares to live according to a Biblical standard—is fair game for ostracism and even violent attacks. Christianity has become anathema to America’s rotten liberal establishment. The rapid rise in popularity of satanic cults makes it impossible to deny that Christians and their faith are under siege.
This is the premise of a new book by David Horowitz. The influential conservative pundit left militant Marxism and became one of the most powerful fighters against the Left on the American political scene. In Dark Agenda: The War to Destroy Christian America, Horowitz shows how, over at least the past fifty years, atheists and others with a hatred for God have done everything they could to erode America’s Christian heritage.
Madalyn Murray O’Hair, the flamboyant God-hater who went on a lawsuit-rampage in the seventies to eradicate Christianity from the public square, was just part of the full-scale attack. The lawyers who duped the vulnerable Norma McCorvey—“Roe” in the notorious Roe vs. Wade—were also on the front lines of the assault on Christianity. Countless attorneys, authors and foundation directors pushed for contraception, easy sex, vulgarity, and the general desacralization of American life. Horowitz skillfully lays out, in a dozen concise yet informative chapters, how the Kennedys to the Obamas, and sundry politicians and political operatives in between have gutted Christian America and tried to replace it with a secular, Godless, “therapeutic” culture (Rieff).
This is a most welcome critique of American life, and a much-needed reminder that the United States, more than any other country, must belong to God, or it will be lost. As a different kind of nation with a different kind of national character, we need God to keep us together and set us apart.
The results of this Godlessness are striking. As Americans, especially leftists, have rejected God, the national culture has concomitantly coarsened. Tens of millions of unborn children have been killed. Likewise, even more women have been physically and spiritually wounded by the culture of death, the result of spurning the Author of Life. The nation as a whole has succumbed to the “dark agenda” to tear down Christian America and replace it with a false idol. Horowitz needs to be thanked for standing up and saying so.
But reading Dark Agenda shows how even those with the best of intentions can sometimes contribute to the very thing against which they rightly fight. Horowitz doesn’t define “Christianity” in his book, but his concept appears to be more Protestantism than Catholicism. For example, he relates that “by 1776, 98 percent of the American colonists were Protestants.” Elsewhere he recounts Thomas Jefferson’s scissors job on the New Testament. Like Martin Luther, Jefferson simply edited out whatever he found in the Bible that did not agree with his private theological preferences. For Horowitz, this made Jefferson “practically a religious denomination unto himself.” Indeed, “America,” Horowitz affirms, “is the logical, if not inevitable, development of the Protestant Reformation.”
Thus, Horowitz seems to take the view, typical of many American conservatives, that the Enlightenment represents the perfection of Christianity. It is the capstone to Saint Augustine’s City of God. On the question of same-sex “marriage,” for instance, Horowitz seems to believe that democratic debate would have sufficed to solve the problem of whether two men or two women may somehow be married. Although Horowitz does not address the further conundrum of polyamory now entering the mainstream, the logic is the same.
This evolving notion of morals is offensive to revealed religion and natural law, but Horowitz seems not to notice the real tension between political ideology and abiding truth. In other words, he believes that the Enlightenment can supplement the Church—a view shared by countless others (whether they know it or not) who call themselves “conservative.” Progress comes from liberal ideals, working on the raw material of tradition provided by the Christian past.
Careful reflection will reveal that this liberal framework supported by Horowitz can also be found in the views of say, Barack Obama, who Horowitz roundly criticizes in this book and his many other writings and speeches. Obama famously “evolved” on the question of same-sex “marriage,” to keep ahead of the shifting political winds.
However, can Christianity change to suit the same? Catholics and Protestants can both open their Bibles and read that God made us male and female, that we are fearfully and wonderfully made, that we are knit together in our mother’s wombs, that we are loved into existence, that Jesus died on the Cross for each of us, and that we are to leave off adultery, fornication, sodomy, drunkenness, and a host of other sins and repent and believe in the Gospel. Did this change? Can this change? And, if it can, is liberal democracy sufficient to overrule Scripture? Barack Obama’s “evolution” was clearly a cheap political trick. Horowitz sincerely wants to carve out a place for Christianity in America, but if this is the price, then the question is whether the game is worth the candle.
David Horowitz is among the best diagnosticians of the cultural rot in America. In Dark Agenda, he turns his keen eye to America’s Christian heritage, finding it tattered by the hurricane of progressivism. He laments the loss and wants to see America strong and healthy again. He recognizes that this can only happen if she recovers her faith in God and starts living in a way worthy of human dignity. What remains unanswered is whether the kind of Christianity that Horowitz envisions will suffice to repair the myriad breaches and put America back on track.
Indeed, only a vision consistent with the Catholic Church’s traditional Magisterium can really turn the tide. As all Americans of goodwill seek a “return to order,” this question—What is the real Christian truth about man?—will become increasingly important.
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Jason Morgan is assistant professor at Reitaku University in Chiba, Japan. His work has appeared in Japan Review, Logos, the Michigan Historical Review, Human Life Review, Chronicles, Society, New Oxford Review, The Remnant, Japan Forward, Seiron, Crisis, Modern Age, Asia Times, and the proceedings of the Historical Awareness Research Committee.