- Saturday, April 8, 2023

Sunday was Easter. Passover ends on Thursday. What better time to consider the role of religion in American life and where its absence will inevitably lead us?

The results of the latest Wall Street Journal values poll, released late last month, should serve as a combination wake-up call and cold shower. Especially for the young, religion and patriotism are out. Greed is in.

Overall, only 39% said religion was important to them, compared with 62% the first time the survey was taken in 1998. For those under 30, religion appeals to a bare 31%, against 55% who grew up in an era before militant secularism held sway.

Patriotism is also increasingly unpopular — 70% said it was important 25 years ago, against 38% today.

Ours is a skeptical age that’s been taught to scoff at real values — God, family and country. In roughly the same period as the two polls, the marriage rate dropped by nearly 60%.

We are losing so much that’s fine and decent.

Over the past quarter-century, the importance of tolerance fell from 80% to 58%. The results are everywhere, from the savages who howl for the blood of dissident speakers to cancel culture.

Not surprisingly, materialism is in vogue. Between 1998 and today, those who see money as an important value grew from 31% to 43%. We’ve traded a love of God and country for an attraction to the things that money can buy, like cars and condos and cruises.

Bill McInturff, a pollster who worked on the earlier Journal survey, observes, ”These differences are so dramatic” that “it paints a new and surprising portrait of a changing America” — an America increasingly bereft of hope.

The attitudes reflected in the latest Journal poll are shaped by a culture controlled by the enemies of Judeo-Christian civilization.
The culture has become a megaphone for the left. The legacy media, Hollywood, public education, academia and even social media deliver a depressingly monotone message: Patriotism leads to war, religion is for superstitious fools, and this life is all there is.

What the media call the culture war is about ideas forced on impressionable minds, compelling compliance with the “woke” agenda, and using the law to target one side of the debate and turn dissent into insurrection.

Some of the most intense fighting is happening on fronts that we didn’t even know existed 25 years ago. Those who believe in something called transgenderism insist that we agree with them that sometimes boys will be girls, or be silenced, have our careers ruined, treated as pariahs or shot.

Transgenderism and critical race theory are current applications of the adage: “When a man stops believing in God, he doesn’t believe in nothing, he believes in anything.” Thus we have a president who tells us that mutilating children is what America is all about.

Faith isn’t about what happens in a house of worship once a week. It should pervade every aspect of our existence.

Computer programmers have an expression: Garbage in, garbage out.

The garbage that the left pours in our heads, especially those of the young, comes out as rage against the religious, an insistence on ”rights” that are the negation of rights — like abortion and the right to shout down opposition speakers — everything from corporations to the military run on diversity, equity and inclusion and proliferation of doomsday cults, like the pseudoscience of global warming.

It’s also reflected in our acceptance of urban encampments of addicts and crazies and open borders that criminals and drugs cross.

America started at Sinai and could end without it. The Founding Fathers understood this. For the Great Seal of the United States, Benjamin Franklin proposed a depiction of Moses leading the children of Israel through the Red Sea.

Our second president, John Adams, declared: “Our Constitution was made for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other. Morality and virtue are the foundations of our republic and necessary for our society to be free.”

Sinai is an acceptance of the yoke of heaven. It’s the only thing that can preserve our free republic. Our choice is between elite rule and divine law.

America is disintegrating before our eyes. We know where to find the glue that can repair it. The Forty-Niners painted on the sides of their wagons: “California or bust!” For us, it’s religion or moral anarchy: Sinai or bust!

• Don Feder is a columnist with The Washington Times.  

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