Christianity is dying. It was once the bastion of Western civilization. Now, Christianity is a pitiful remnant of its former greatness. Across the West, it is in full retreat.
The sex-abuse scandal is ravaging the Catholic Church - tarring Pope Benedict XVI himself. The Anglican Church has been eviscerated, losing members as it succumbs to the liberal winds of female ordination and gay rights. Many Protestant denominations are abandoning their beliefs and fervent missionary zeal, embracing chic environmentalism and watered-down socialism as a cheap substitute for the traditional Gospel. Europe, the ancient stronghold of Christendom, has been transformed into a secular neo-pagan culture. For Europeans, God is dead; He has been replaced by materialist man.
The secular tidal wave has also hit and overwhelmed America. Since the 1960s, the United States has been the victim of the sexual revolution that glorifies hedonism and personal liberation. Pornography, abortion, homosexuality, promiscuity, the AIDS epidemic, soaring out-of-wedlock births, sky-rocketing divorce rates and the breakdown of the family - these are the poisoned fruits of the Playboy philosophy. MTV morality is in; Jesus is out.
The war waged by liberals on Christianity, however, has gone to a new, more dangerous level - one bordering on soft totalitarianism. Recently, the city of Davenport, Iowa, removed Good Friday from its municipal calendar. The Davenport Civil Rights Commission sought to change the name of the holiday to one that is less "divisive" and more ecumenical. Hence, a memo was sent to municipal employees stating Good Friday would be officially known as "Spring Holiday." City administrators stressed that celebrating Good Friday violates the separation of church and state.
"We merely made a recommendation that the name be changed to something other than Good Friday," said Tim Hart, the commission's chairman. "Our Constitution calls for separation of church and state. Davenport touts itself as a diverse city and given all the different types of religious and ethnic backgrounds we represent, we suggested the change."
After an uproar by outraged Christians, the city council decided to resurrect the name Good Friday. The multicultural secularists in Davenport have been defeated - for now.
Yet, the controversy is an ominous sign: The left is determined to extirpate Christian holidays and symbols from our society. Liberals are determined to smash traditional values and drive Christians underground. The American left is following in the shameful - and much more bloody - footsteps of Marxist regimes. Instead of eradicating religious faith through the barrel of a gun, leftists use bureaucratic dictates and mass propaganda.
The result is the same. Christianity is gradually being purged from the public square. Christmas celebrations have become offensive. "Merry Christmas" is now considered to be politically incorrect; the proper greeting is "happy holidays." The Ten Commandments cannot be displayed in courtrooms or classes. Prayer has been banished from public schools. Christians are regularly mocked in movies and TV. Taxpayer dollars are used to subsidize "art" that depicts Christ in unflattering ways. Hollywood makes films - such as "Angels and Demons" - portraying the Catholic Church as a repressive, sinister and primitive institution.
Anti-Christian bigotry is the last fashionable hatred. It is easy for Davenport's Christophobes to pick on Good Friday. What's the worst that could happen? Angry phone calls and e-mails? Town-hall meetings? Maybe public protests? But, in the end, progressive commissars realize they will not pay much of a price - in fact, they will be celebrated by liberal elites for their "enlightened ideals."
The same standards do not apply to Islam. Davenport's multiculturalists would never dare to remove say, Ramadan, from the calendar and rename it "Fasting Month" for fear of offending Muslims - and possibly triggering a fatwa. Self-preservation - and cowardice - dissuades them from attacking certain religions.
Christians, however, are an easy target. They do not believe in jihad or suicide bombing. Unlike radical Islamists, they espouse the rule of law and human rights. They accept persecution - even state-sanctioned persecution - as part of their religious burden. Liberals realize that Christianity is a genuine "religion of peace." This is why they do not fear systematically smearing it.
The Founding Fathers emphasized that the constitutional republic depended upon a vigorous religious society.
"Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people," said John Adams. "It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."
The Founding Fathers were not secularists. On the contrary, they were devout Christians (with the exception of some Enlightenment deists like Thomas Jefferson), who feared an established church - especially, the Church of England - which persecuted dissenters. They would regard it as bizarre and repulsive were they to witness how the concept of the separation of church and state would be twisted in our time into a form of radical secularism and anti-Christian bias.
Our Judeo-Christian heritage provides the underpinnings to our constitutional government for one simple reason: It acknowledges the transcendental nature of man. Our fundamental liberties flow from God almighty - not the state. This is why individual rights - to life, liberty and property - are the essential bulwarks against government power: What God has given, no man - or regime - can take away. Once America loses its Christian identity, it will inevitably lose its freedoms.
Christophobia forms the basis of modern liberalism. Leftist progressives are determined to destroy traditional America and its seminal institutions - the Constitution, capitalism, national sovereignty and the family. This is why they have declared war on Christianity. If Christians do not rise from their apathy and man the ideological barricades, they will be driven into the catacombs once again. And with their defeat comes the end of our great republic.
We must boldly stand against any who attempt to degrade our Christian heritage. We must identify them as practicing one of the last acceptable forms of bigotry and hatred: Christophobia. Our right to embrace Christ is no less than their right to embrace a perverse lifestyle.
Jeffrey T. Kuhner is a columnist at The Washington Times and president of the Edmund Burke Institute, a Washington think tank. He is the daily host of the "Kuhner Show" on WTNT 570-AM (www.talk570.com) from noon until 3 p.m.