The vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court is being hailed as a great victory for President Trump and the Republican Party, and it certainly is. A fierce battle has been won. But for those who supported Kavanaugh’s nomination, now is not the time to go to sleep or rest on your laurels. In a very serious and profound sense, the battle has just begun. The war has fully arrived, and it is here to stay for the foreseeable future.
I’m speaking about an ideological war. A cultural war. A war between radical progressives and staunch conservatives.
It is a war between the “Shout Your Abortion” camp and the “Choose Life” camp. A war between extreme feminism and the traditional family. A war between LGBT activism and Bible-based definitions of gender and sexuality.
It is a war that new laws cannot stop. A war Congress cannot thwart. A war that neither the president nor the Supreme Court can end. A war whose hostilities will not be assuaged by electoral changes.
How, then, do we “win” this war?
In my last article, I made clear that I had absolutely no intention of compromising any of my core values, nor did I envision finding some happy, “middle ground.”
Instead, I suggested that in the midst of our profound differences, we at least seek to practice civility and befriend our ideological enemies. After all, they are fellow human beings. (For some readers on some conservative websites, even this was an act of compromise. Others suggested that our opponents were hardly human. I find sentiments like this unfortunate.)
But that will certainly not turn the larger cultural tide. That can only happen when hearts and minds are changed on a wide scale across the country, since this is ultimately a battle for the soul of our nation.
Of course, I continue to advocate for Gospel-based transformation, for another Jesus revolution, for a reformation of culture based on spiritual renewal and awakening. For that we pray and preach and reach out.
But there is something else we must do as well: We must win the battle of ideas. We must demonstrate that God’s ways are best. We must show that the values we hold lead to life and to thriving. We must expose the culture of death.
What, exactly, do I mean?
Think back to the story of Dr. Bernard Nathanson, of whom I wrote in a 2014 article titled, “From ‘Fetus Slayer’ to Pro-Life Champion.”
Nathanson was “an obstetrician who oversaw the performance of about 75,000 abortions before becoming a leading pro-life advocate and a convert to the Catholic faith.”
As the Daily News reported upon announcement of his death in 2011, “After performing his last abortion in 1979 and declaring himself to be pro-life, Nathanson produced the 1985 film ‘The Silent Scream,’ which shows sonogram images of a child in the womb shrinking from an abortionist’s instruments, and the documentary film ‘Eclipse of Reason,’ which displays and explains various abortion procedures in graphic detail. Both films had a significant impact on the abortion debate, solidified his credentials among pro-life advocates and earned him the scorn of his former pro-abortion friends and colleagues.”
He is only one of many abortion activists who turned pro-life. (To listen to a very relevant and moving firsthand story, watch this.)
Then there are the former LGBT activists, now raising their voices on behalf of traditional family models and gender distinctions.
I’m thinking of women like Rosaria Butterfield, formerly a lesbian, feminist professor, today an articulate Christian witness, married to a pastor at that. Or Charlene Cothran, also a former lesbian who published Venus, a gay activist magazine, who has since devoted her life to helping others find freedom.
And while it’s true that all those I just mentioned experienced religious conversions, they also experienced ideological conversions.
At the same time, there are many who are influenced today by the likes of professor Jordan Peterson, without specific reference to religious conversion. (Atheists like David Rubin are making an impact, too.)
And then there are those who have had it with the ugly tactics of the left, joining the #WalkAway campaign, without any reference to religious conversion.
People of conscience are repulsed by the actions of the antifa movement. They are disgusted by the character assassination of Justice Kavanaugh. They are put off by calls to attack and harass Republican leaders. They can be won over if we show them a better way and demonstrate a different spirit.
Then there are the women who are not pro-life but who still hurt over their abortions. They have no desire to “shout out” what they did. With tenderness and compassion, their hearts can be turned.
There are the partying singles who cry themselves to sleep at light, feeling lonely and depressed.
There are the militant, young socialists who are just realizing how the tax system works.
There are the now-grown children of broken homes, devastated by cheap and easy divorce.
All these people can be reached, if we will engage them with wisdom and respect and perseverance and love.
And in all this, there are young conservative voices like Ben Shapiro and Lila Rose, who are making a difference in many millennial lives (and beyond).
What I’m saying is that the overturning of Roe v. Wade will more likely spark a civil war than bring societal reformation. (To be clear: I absolutely want to see it overturned.) The same holds true for other SCOTUS rulings, including Obergefell vs. Hodges, which redefined marriage.
There’s only so much the government and the courts can do. The direction of the nation will be determined by the people of the nation. Our values must ultimately prevail in the marketplace of ideas.