Charlton Heston is a superstar actor. He is unusual for being a conservative in Hollywood and having the courage to speak out as an activist for conservative causes. He gave a speech at Harvard University titled "Winning The Cultural War" saying, "Dedicating the memorial at Gettysburg, Abraham Lincoln said of America, 'We are now engaged in a great Civil War, testing whether this nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure.'"
" Those words are true again. I believe that we are again engaged in a great civil war, a cultural war ...."
He attacks those who have created a climate where people can only say what is "politically correct" and those who do not conform are subject to not just ridicule, but punishment by the police. He says, "I've come to understand that a cultural war is raging across our land, in which, with Orwellian fervor, certain acceptable thoughts and speech are mandated."
"In his book, The End of Sanity, Martin Gross writes that 'blatantly irrational behavior is rapidly being established as the norm in almost every area of human endeavor. There seem to be new customs, new rules, new anti-intellectual theories regularly foisted on us from every direction. Underneath, the nation is roiling. Americans know something without a name is undermining the nation, turning the mind mushy when it comes to separating truth from falsehood and right from wrong. And they don't like it.'"
RIGHT VS. LEFT
The cultural war in America is between two sides that go by different names. The most common are Conservative vs. Liberal, Right vs. Left, and Republicans vs. Democrats.
ORTHODOX VS. PROGRESSIVE
Professor James Davison Hunter has written several books on the cultural war. He uses the terms "orthodox" and "progressive" to decribe the two sides in his book, Culture Wars: The Struggle to Define America. He has chosen his words carefully to depict each side. "Orthodox" gives a feeling of respect for past, time-honored traditions. "Progressives" captures how liberals see themselves -- optimistic, creative and making progress away from old-fashioned virtues and toward a brave new world with constantly changing rules and values.
The inside cover of his book says "Abortion, funding for the arts, women's rights -- the list of controversies that divide our nation runs long and each one cuts deep. This book shows that these issues are not isolated from one another but are, in fact, part of a fabric of conflict which constitutes nothing short of a struggle over the meaning of America."
"Culture Wars presents a riveting account of how Christian fundamentalists, Orthodox Jews, and conservative Catholics have joined forces in a fierce battle against their progressive counterparts -- secularists, reform Jews, liberal Catholics and Protestants -- as each struggles to gain control over such fields of conflict as the family, art, education, law and politics. Not since the Civil War has there been such fundamental disagreement over basic assumptions about truth, freedom, and our national identity." The public debates "are topics of dispute at the corporate cocktail party and the factory cafeteria alike, in the high school civics classroom, in the church lounge after the weekly sermon, and at the kitchen table over the evening meal. Few of us leave these discussions without ardently voicing our own opinions on the matter at hand. Such passion is completely understandable. These are, after all, discussions about what is fundamentally right and wrong about the world we live in -- about what is ultimately good what is finally intolerable in our communities."
He writes, "Within communities that hold orthodox views, moral authority arises from a common commitment to transcendence, by which I mean a dynamic reality that is independent of, prior to, and more powerful than human experience. God and the realm God inhabits, for the orthodox, is indeed super- and supranatural. Of course transcendence has a different content and meaning in each tradition. In each tradition moreover, transcendence communicates its authority through different media: for example, through the spiritual perrogatives of the inerrant Scriptures, both Old and
New Testaments; through the Torah and the community that upholds it; through the pope and the traditional teachings of the Catholic Church; through the Book of Mormon; and, small though the Unification Church may be, through Reverend Sun Myung Moon and the Divine Principle. Within each faith, the commitment to these specific media of moral authority is so forceful and unwavering that believers in each would consider sources other than their own as heretical."
"Yet despite these differences, there are formal attributes to their faith that are held in common with the others. As argued earlier, each maintains a paramount commitment to an external, definable, and transcendent authority. For the believers in each tradition, moral and spiritual truths have a supernatural origin beyond and yet barely graspable by human experience. Although the media through which transcendence speaks to people varies, they all believe that these truths are divinely 'revealed' in these written texts and not somehow discovered through human endeavor or subjective experience apart from these texts."
"God, they would say, is real and makes Himself tangible, directly .... From this authority derives a measure of value, purpose, goodness, and identity that is consistent, definable, and even absolute. In matters of moral judgment, the unequivocal appeal of orthodoxy is to these uncompromisabale standards. It is, then, an authority that is universally valid -- adequate for every circumstance and context. It is an authority that is sufficient for all time."
"... the world, and all of the life within it, was created by God .... Another 'truth' is that the human species is differentiated into male and female not only according to genitalia, but also according to role, psyche, and spiritual calling. Related to this idea is the belief that the natural and divinely mandated sexual relationship among humans is between male and female and this relationship is legitimate only under one social arrangement, marriage between one male and one female. Homosexuality, therefore, is a perversion of the natural or created order. Building on this is the conviction that the nuclear family is the natural form of family structure and should remain inviolable from outside (state) interference."
Hunter says this about the Left: "The progressivist vision of moral authority poses a sharp contrast. For progressivists, moral authority is based, at least in part, in the resymbolization of historic faiths and philosophical traditions." What liberals do, he says, is first make it crystal clear that they are against the conservatives. He writes, "What compels this rejection of orthodoxy is the conviction that moral and spiritual truth is not a static and unchanging collection of scriptual facts and theological propositions, but a growing and incremental reality."
"There is, therefore, no objective and final revelation directly from God, and Scripture (of whatever form) is not revelation but only, and at best, a witness to revelation. ... moral and spiritual truth can only be conditional and relative." He gives an example of an organization of progressives as the American Humanist Association. "Moral authority on the progressivist side of the cultural divide tends not to be burdened by the weight of either 'natural law,' religious prerogative, or traditional community authority. ... it is a 'loose-bounded' authority, detached from the cultural moorings of traditional group membership. As such it carries few, if any, of the burdens of the past. Memory does not inhibit change: authority is distinctly forward-looking, open-ended, and malleable." Liberals like the words "flexible," and "creative" and "variety." They see things often as case by case. They like situational ethics.
Professor Hunter has no solution to the problem. He ends his book by saying that it is best for society to live by laws that are upheld "voluntarily" instead of by force. He rightly sees that politics is not going to make a harmonious society. The liberals and conservatives are both wrong if they think all will be well if people are forced to be moral as they define it: "To establish the 'good' society, it is essential to establish and maintain laws that reflect the good. The assumption is that -- to speak concretely -- if Roe v. Wade is reversed, if obscenity laws are enforced, if sodomy laws are upheld, and prayer is legally permitted in the public schools, all will be well because these laws, once again, reflect the 'good.'" He is right to see this as wrong thinking on the part of conservatives.
What is the solution to the problem of the polarization of society over the many black and white issues it hotly debates? The answer is that America and the world will become united as one family when they accept the ideology of the Divine Principle. You can read our version at www.DivinePrinciple.com.
BATTLE OF THE SEXES
Hunter is right to see that the most divisive issue in our cultural war is over the family. What are true family values? All the aspects of family deal with sexuality. We are having an intense national argument over the meaning of masculinity and femininity. What is a man, woman, boy and girl. The ultimate war is the battle of the sexes. He writes: "In many ways, the family is the most conspicuous field of conflict in the culture war. Some would argue that it is the decisive battleground. The public debate over the status and role of women, the moral legitimacy of abortion, the legal and social status of homosexuals, the increase in family violence, the rise of illegitimacy particularly among black teenagers and young adults, the growing demand for adequate day care, and so on, prominently fill the headlines of the nation's newspapers, magazines, and intellectual journals. Marches and rallies, speeches and pronouncements for or against any one of these issues mark the significant events of our generation's political history."
Pessimists and Optimists
He says there is a division over those who are optimistic and those who are pessimistic over the changes that the American family is going through. "The pessimists view rising trends in divorce, single-parent families, dual-income couples, couples living out of wedlock, secular day care, and the like, as symptoms of the decline of a social institution." This view is held by such writers as William Bennett, Maggie Gallagher, David Blankenhorn, Phyllis Schlafly, and the LaHaye's.
"The optimists, on the other hand, regard the changes as positive at best and benign at worst and, therefore, they believe that social policy should reflect and accomodate the new realities. The American family is not disintegrating, the optimists say, but is adapting to new social conditions. The resilience to the family, therefore, signals that the family is 'here to stay.'" This view is held by Stephanie Coontz.
"Few would disagree that the family is perhaps the most fundamental institution of any society. This has been acknowledged again and again: from the pronouncement of a Puritan minister from Connecticut, who in 1643 wrote, 'The prosperity and well being of the Commonwealth doth much depend upon the well government and ordering of particular families,' to the oratory of President Lyndon Johnson, who in 1965 stated that 'the family is a cornerstone of our society. More than any other force, it shapes the attitudes, the hopes, the ambitions, and the values of the child. When the family collapses it is the children that are usually damaged. When it happens on a massive scale the community iself is crippled.'"
Reverend Moon has even changed the very name of his organization from being called a church to being about families. Instead of Unification Church it is now called Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU). The solution to mankind's problems comes from fixing our families, not from churches and legislatures. When families are peaceful and united then there will be world peace and unity. The focus should be on the leadership in families, not the leadership of the State. The leader of the State should first be a good leader of his family. The Bible says that a man must first have built a good family before he can lead others. Hillary Clinton wrote a book called It Takes a Village. Village to her is the federal government. The title of her book should be It Takes Big Government. She has not been able to create an exemplary family. In the future when mankind comes to its senses it will not let anyone be in leadership who has not shown excellent leadership in the family. The Left was very wrong to not impeach Clinton for "just" having an affair and defiling the Oval Office, let alone for the lying he did in court.
Pat Schroeder worked for 24 years to get the government to force people to do what she felt was best for the family. All of her legislation that she got passed and tried but didn't was a waste of time and just made families more dysfunctional. She is not a champion of the family; she is its worst nightmare. She was so busy being a busy-body that she never cooked a meal for her family. Her view that big government regulations to force people to pay high taxes for everything from minimum wage laws to women becoming combat pilots just threw a wrench in the machinery of families. Because of big government and naive zealots like her most families do not run as well-oiled machines.
Hunter says, "For those on the progressive side of the debate, family policy is understood to mean economic assistance and social services that would put a floor under family income and lead the way to self-sufficiency. ... Those on the conservative side tend to view such policies as promoting indolence, promiscuity, easy abortion, and parent indifference to the task of childbearing. They believe that the infusion of public money into social and economic programs would lead to greater family instability. For this reason, the government should leave the family alone. As Phyllis Schlafly said at the White House Conference on Families in 1980, 'Pro-family groups don't think the Federal Government has the competence to deal with the family: it aggravates problems rather than solves them.'"