Hard Lessons


One of the first targets in a culture war is education. I have actually witnessed this back when I was still attending evangelical church services. Churches in my rural township were always on the brink of financial disaster, but there was one segment that ALWAYS got a huge chunk of change: the youth ministry. The Sunday School materials flowed freely, as did the youth activities and teen missions trips, even when the sanctuary roof was leaking so badly that we had to have services in the basement kitchen. The youth were to be reached and saved for the future of the church.

It didn’t work for my church or for thousands of others that closed up shop across the country. Yet, the remnant which remained vowed to double down on the perceived debauchery behind the sanctuary closures. They blamed people like myself who abandoned their facades of conformity-demanding, hollow-walled, empty faith. We were certainly used to being blamed for everything from being a divorced woman to being a gay man and everything in between. But they also had to find a way to recover and rebuild. The political climate was ripe for the picking with the onslaught of anti-liberal sentiment.

Public schools soon became enemy number one as the people were hammered with the idea that a huge part of our problem was caused by those who took God out of our education system and replaced Him with a false idol – the God of Science. Evolution was denounced as heresy and climate change was all part of the apostates’ plot to deceive young minds so they would embrace the hedonistic global culture in which they were immersed. Their foolhardy ways and laziness were bound to kill our economy and our pure American way of life.

The attack on education didn’t stop with higher education either. Labeled “Den’s of Satan,” colleges and universities were taunted for their liberal slant. Fortunately, children had been groomed from elementary school to take upon themselves a sense of religious superiority. By the time they went off to college, they wore the “full armor of God” as required for members of “the Lord’s army.” They carried their Holy Bibles into their “Young Republican Clubs” where they would draw up their battle strategies. Controversial right-wing speakers were hired to disrupt campuses under a guise of “free speech.” The hate and bigotry that ensued were the results of the unholy alliance they had made with an increasingly authoritarian government.

Photo by GregVos (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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