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ss triple helix - summer 2006,  Culture Wars – Defining the Battle Line

Culture Wars – Defining the Battle Line

The 20th Century was defined by economic and class-based divisions between socialists and capitalists. But with the main political parties now increasingly embracing free market capitalism and in the absence of an argument about economic management, culture rather than economics will be the future's defining political divide. The 21st Century will be defined by cultural and social divides, between liberals and conservatives.

American culture wars are already being fought.[1] Liberals embrace abortion, gay marriage, drug legalisation, sexual permissiveness, embryo research, euthanasia, easy divorce, cohabitation, political correctness, positive discrimination, government interference, and higher taxes and spending to pay for welfare; Conservatives most likely go to church and oppose all of the above.The best predictor of whether a white American voted Republican in 2000 was church attendance more than once a week – 79 percent of this group voted Bush.

By contrast, British liberalism reigns largely unchallenged. Small victories are won – the government defeat over the Racial and Religious Hatred Bill, and the rejection of the Joffe Bill – but the general policy thrust, both Conservative and Labour, is liberal. Daily, the headlines are dominated by yet another liberal triumph. Cohabiting couples are to have equal rights as the married; churches and mosques are to be forced to rent out their premises to homosexuals; under-age sex is actively encouraged by the media; single parent families are to be admired as much as married families; drug-taking celebs are condoned; Christian teaching is thought freakish and extreme; and the Human Rights Act makes a mockery of the criminal justice system to the point of virtual collapse of law and order.

The British liberal establishment is now so powerful that it is a wonder we won the euthanasia vote. Government departments, institutions, the media, and even medical journals and organisations like the BMA are increasingly influenced by powerful liberals. As a result, Christians are increasingly marginalised, left without a voice, by the new establishment.

Many UK Christians will have reservations about some of the issues supported by our brethren in the US. Christian morality is in some ways a strange mixture of right and left wing politics – mixing traditionally left wing concerns for the poor, disabled, ethnic minority groups and developing world with a more traditionally right wing opposition to abortion, euthanasia and sexual immorality. The common factors we would want to emphasise are a concern for the vulnerable and marginalised, and recognition that those most easily exploited need to be both strengthened and protected.

But following in the footsteps of Christ in these days involves both the willingness to speak out on behalf of the voiceless, and the willingness to suffer and expend energy on their behalf. And to do that effectively, we need to be involved at every level of society, not only at the grassroots, but also in the media and institutions.

  1. Micklethwait J, Wooldridge A. The Right Nation. London: Penguin, 2005
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