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Let’s observe Fidelity Month

A call to celebrate something far higher than humanistic pride

Robert George Robert George

Let’s observe Fidelity Month

When I was a graduate student at the University of Georgia, there was an office at the top of a central set of stairs. You could see it from the lobby of the building. A sign of some sort was on the door. It beckoned. I, like many I am sure, ventured to the top to look more closely. It read (in a slashing, dramatic, bright red script), “SOLIDARNOSC!”

Later, I would have a class with the professor assigned to the office, one of the giants of mid to late 20th-century social science, Robert Golembiewski. He was a Catholic and was deeply committed to the cause of Polish freedom. I will never forget his office, which was filled with various photos and framed letters, including one from the great Aaron Wildavsky informing Golembiewski of his imminent death. The “SOLIDARNOSC!” on Golembiewski’s door was the slogan of those who refused to go quietly in the face of what was proclaimed (especially by intellectual elites) to be the historic and scientific inevitability of Soviet communism and the death of God.

In the same way the Polish resistance to Soviet domination rallied around solidarity, the well-known Princeton political philosopher Robert George is now seeking to rally people to the banner of Fidelity. As he’s noted on social media, survey data from The Wall Street Journal shows dramatic declines during the last quarter century in the importance Americans attach to religion, patriotism, and community involvement. One item surveyed in that same poll can claim a significant increase in the importance accorded to it—and that’s money.

In response to the decadence of so-called “Pride Month” that ubiquitously celebrates a seemingly limitless autonomy with regard to sexual identities and practices, Professor George hopes to turn each June into a Fidelity month celebrating values that have been so badly eroded. He is calling upon all of us to revive “fidelity to God, spouses and families, our country, and our communities.” To that end, he is asking legislators, clergy, and other civic leaders to find ways to celebrate Fidelity Month this June.

At first glance, this effort by Dr. George may appear quixotic in nature. Fidelity is a word some of us associate mostly with sound equipment. But it is worth the work necessary to revive the concept. A people primarily united around consumerism and hedonism are poor candidates to build families, to be good parents, and to maintain a free and virtuous republic. And yet, it appears that pleasure and money-seeking constitute the mold into which we are being formed. Those are the things that are beginning to appear to be the most real and the most important.

Can the responsibility of citizenship be borne by such persons? Have C.S. Lewis’ “conditioners” secretly had their way with us, making geldings who cannot be fruitful? Based on the survey results, it appears we may have become like the cynical young English schoolmasters whose nihilistic worldview so alarmed Lewis that he answered it with The Abolition of Man and thus created an instant classic.

The Poles had the Catholic church to sustain them in their trials. What do we have? Or do we assume we are beyond such things?

The concept of fidelity will be a hard one for us to recover because it implies duties that go beyond our own subjective desires. It has to do with keeping promises and fulfilling obligations. To demonstrate fidelity means to recognize the debts that are owed (such as with mother and father or to one’s creator) and to be mindful of paying them via honor and respect.

Of all these fidelities to be emphasized, the fidelity to the creator is the most important for Christians and the one from which all the others flow. Fidelity to God means refusing to yield the things that belong to Him to tyrants or other social manipulators. Fidelity to God means loving and caring for parents and children. Fidelity to God means sharing his love with the church and the surrounding community. Most of all, it means breaking away from our endless fascination with ourselves and the worship of mammon so as to seek direction from our transcendent creator and sustainer.

There is life available to us, but it doesn’t come from within. God is so much larger and so much higher. We’ve grown fond of saying, “Love is love,” but the love of God is a whole different category. Fidelity month is an opportunity to remind ourselves of that truth.

Hunter Baker

Hunter Baker serves as dean of arts and sciences and professor of political science at Union University in Jackson, Tenn. He is a research fellow of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission and the author of three books (The End of Secularism, Political Thought: A Student's Guide, and The System Has a Soul).

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