I do not have an “official” definition of “The Culture War”. I know it when I see it. It’s all utter bullpucky of course. Christians have no purpose or point in any so-called “Cultural War”. We are a minority. Our Culture is the Kingdom of God. We save babies and widows, we feed the hungry even when it is illegal and we venerate icons even though Muslims try to kill us for it. But those are not cultural propositions in the way that “democracy” or “fascism” are. It makes no nevermind to us under what sort of gov’t or laws we are called to live and worship. We will live and worship.
However, there are some who would use our own struggles for salvation and our own lust for power for their own ends. “I will make you like gods” is the constant whisper. “I will give you all these kingdoms.” To this end, “Culture Wars”.
In the 1970s and 1980s various parties on the American political right decided that they could court Christian votes by pretending a political goal that was “Christian”. Many folks in my social circle are too young to remember that there was a time when “Christian” and “Politics” had nothing to do with each other. The first time I ever heard a sermon about a presidential election was during Ronald Reagan’s first run for the White House. To conservative sorts at that time it seemed like if we didn’t vote for Ronald Reagan we were ignoring a gift from God. It mattered not that he and his political handlers had many many goals that were not Christian. It mattered not that he was (shock!) divorced. Christians needed to support him. We needed to ignore all our differences and vote for Republicans. We tried it in Prohibition and it flopped there. We’ve not yet learned.
This, to me, is cultural warfare: the idea that we can ignore all the things we usually think important, in order to band together and force the world around us to wear a Christian veneer. We don’t want to preach the Gospel to them: we just want them to be constrained by law to act as if they were Christian. At the end we want to close our doors at night and now that no one out outside them is acting in any way that will challenge our moral hegemony. Prohibition was a huge progressive action. “Saving Christmas” or “Saving Marriage” are conservative ones.
The world is going to hell in a hand basket. What else can we do?
In short: evangelize them. It’s hard work but it is what we are actually sent to do. Not to pass laws to change the world, but rather to change ourselves.
So when I hear heretics whine about how they support the Church’s morality – just treat them as normal Christians for this purpose – I know I’m reading Cultural Warfare rather than any other sort of writing: even when it is disguised as theology. Personally, I don’t care if you agree with the Orthodox Church on abortion, marriage, sex and the rest. If you don’t accept the 7 Ecumenical Councils and the last 2000 years of Orthodox Teaching, we’re not on the same side. We are, perhaps, struggling for the same salvation (only God knows that), and we may even vote the same way, but that’s not the same thing.
I’ve got one thing to say to you: Come to Church with me on Sunday. Taste and see that the Lord is good.