In today’s moral debates, always choose reality | WORLD
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In today’s moral debates, always choose reality

Reality isn’t always popular, but it aligns with truth


Rainbow colors illuminate the White House to mark the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling to legalize same-sex marriage on June 26, 2015. Associated Press/Photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais

In today’s moral debates, always choose reality
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Over the last half-century, Christians and other people of traditional views have been shocked at social innovations coming from cultural progressives. The response has been to expose these audacities in the expectation that Joe and Jane Public would be jolted into vocal opposition to these brazen, perverse, and poisonous corruptions of public moral understanding. But it has not worked out as hoped.

Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority raised the alarm against gay liberation, radical feminism, abortion-on-demand, and more. And where are we today? We have same-sex marriage, abortion to the point of birth or beyond, and feminism that is, oddly enough, now a (somewhat) conservative redoubt against transgenderism.

The outrage appeal works in a stable, Christian society, even if the Christianity is largely just cultural. Any “moral majority” campaign today falls flat because the country is no longer governed by a culture that is moral in a Christian sense. We now prize individual autonomy in what is assumed to be a godless universe. You’re in charge of you. No hell below you. Above you, only sky. Christians can intrude with reminders of what God has said and what Christ has done, but they are intrusions, like a Jesus ad during the Super Bowl.

Notice how fast drag queen story hour for children was followed by raunchy, drag queen floor shows for children. Whereas it was once beyond imaginable that anyone but a depraved parent would bring her child to a burlesque show, it now shocks only certain conservatives that people would take their little ones to a gay pride parade featuring either nudity or overtly sexual acts. It tells you who is in charge in our culture. Opposing it just shows that the change has passed you by, as though you were a New England Puritan waking up today in a Boston suburb and crying out to everyone around you against the sabbath shopping going on right under their noses.

If a man presents himself as a woman, even conservative news outlets obediently call him “she.” Even FOX News referred to Dylan Mulvaney, whom President Biden affirmed with a televised interview opportunity as an “actress” and called the White House event “her sit-down interview with Biden.” The public drama surrounding Sam Brinton, the Biden administration’s flamboyant and camera-hungry deputy assistant secretary of Spent Fuel and Waste Disposition in the Office of Nuclear Energy, is another prominent case in point. Even the conservative workingman’s New York Post referred to Brinton, obviously a man, with his preferred they/them pronouns, as though that’s just what we do now.

In Roman times, Christians were keenly aware of the sharp difference between Christian thinking and the pagan thinking that governed the depraved norms of their world.

And you had better conform, or ugly names are coming your way. Even “de-platforming”—denial of access to precious, liberal-controlled social media outlets—is akin to being disappeared or unpersoned. In the current reality, there is Rightthink, and any contradiction of it is “hate.”

There is always a reigning orthodoxy. The White House lit up with LGBT rainbow colors to celebrate the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage decision in 2015 and again in December 2022 for its codification in law. U.S. embassies flying the rainbow flag beneath Old Glory signal how we now collectively understand “liberty and justice for all.” And this understanding of liberty has bipartisan support. In a prominent speech at the 2016 Republican National Convention, Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel brought loud applause from the assembled delegates when he declared, “I am proud to be gay. I am proud to be a Republican. But most of all I am proud to be an American.”

More recently, Donald Trump quietly affirmed the new national creed in a Mar-a-Lago celebration of same-sex marriage without a murmur of notice on Truth Social. The Respect for Marriage Act was passed with significant Republican support. And there was a drag queen at CPAC in 2020.

In Roman times, Christians were keenly aware of the sharp difference between Christian thinking and the pagan thinking that governed the depraved norms of their world. As evangelism and the witness of Christian holiness proceeded, the thinking of the Bible became the thinking of western society (though, of course, not entirely). Today, we find ourselves faced again with that old challenge from early days.

So, let Christians resolve: We will live in reality. This means living with a prudent awareness of who is in charge among us. In America 2023, the post-Christian, pagan arbiters of what is morally acceptable police us legally, socially, and professionally. Still, we are not helpless.

Living in reality also means living in principled awareness of who is in charge of all things and thus living in recognition of what is true. These two sides of the resolution are often in conflict in a fallen world. But as this fallen world is still God’s world, what is true must, and ultimately will, have the final word.

This story has been corrected to note that a drag queen appeared at CPAC in 2020.


David C. Innes

David C. Innes is professor of politics in the Politics, Philosophy, and Economics Program at The King’s College in New York City. He is author of Christ and the Kingdoms of Men: Foundations of Political Life, The Christian Citizen: Faith Engaging Political Life, and Francis Bacon. He is also an ordained minister in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.


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