- The Washington Times - Friday, March 25, 2011

Underneath headlines about Libya, the Japanese disaster and the Republicans’ dainty attempts to nip around the edges of our massive federal debt, the culture war is raging.

The left is lobbing nukes into the institution of marriage and the military. Obamacare is going forward, complete with funding for abortion and massive increases in the size of the already enormous Department of Health and Human Services. Defunding this increasingly unpopular power grab should be in every budget bill - but it’s not.

Using a combination of judicial activism, executive malfeasance and legislative cunning and counting on an anemic “defense” from the leaders of the “party of family values,” the left is advancing its cultural agenda with remarkable ease.

Despite no promised certification that lifting the military’s ban on homosexuality will harm readiness, recruiting or retention, President Obama’s Pentagon already has produced materials hatched in a theater of the absurd. As Washington Times correspondent Rowan Scarborough reports, Marine commanders will have to ponder, for example, what to do if two male Marines are seen kissing in a shopping mall.

Now there’s a scenario for building respect for the military among the nation’s youngsters.

Boy: “Look, mom, those Marines are, uh, making out right there in the food court! I’m not sure I want to be a Marine after all.”

Liberal mom: “Well, that’s a relief. I didn’t want you to be in the military anyway. All those guns give me the creeps. But why do you find this odd? Are you some kind of religious bigot? Honestly, we’re going to have to call your school and ask them to step up the tolerance training. You won’t even wear that nice polka-dot dress and the pumps I bought you.”

On the plus side, the House Armed Services subcommittee on personnel, chaired by Rep. Joe (“You lie”) Wilson, South Carolina Republican, will conduct a hearing on Friday with Clifford Stanley, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, and Vice Adm. William Gortney, director of the joint staff, answering questions about how gutting the law will affect the troops. They will be expected to insist that it will have little impact, but they will be on the hot seat if House members pose some of the 25 pages of tough questions compiled by the Center for Military Readiness.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration has announced its refusal to defend in court the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which a liberal Massachusetts judge found unconstitutional. House Speaker John A. Boehner has questioned the “timing” of this dereliction of duty and has said the House will move to defend the law. Fine, but is there ever a good time to trash marriage and the law?

The national assault on Judeo-Christian morality mirrors what is going on in communities all over the country.

For example, the usual suspects at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) are intent on tearing down a banner in a Rhode Island high school that encourages good behavior.

Here’s the text of the banner, which has hung in Cranston High School West’s auditorium since 1963:

Our Heavenly Father,

Grant us each day the desire to do our best,

To grow mentally and morally as well as physically,

To be kind and helpful to our classmates and teachers,

To be honest with ourselves as well as with others,

Help us to be good sports and smile when we lose as well as when we win,

Teach us the value of true friendship,

Help us always to conduct ourselves so as to bring credit to Cranston High School West.

Amen

The ACLU and a single complainant are frothing at the mouth because of the references to “Our Heavenly Father” and “Amen.”

Those words make Rhode Island’s ACLU lawyers shudder like hobbits exposed to the black language of Mordor. Fortunately, school officials have told the ACLU to take a hike. The usual threat of ruinously expensive lawsuits appears to have failed - for now.

From the halls of Congress to high schools in Rhode Island, the culture war has not slowed a bit despite lack of coverage in major news media.

At bottom, the culture war is really about whether America will remain a God-fearing nation - and a nation with respect for the rule of law. Despite promises by the left that we can have respect for the law without respect for God, history is replete with contrary evidence.

Let’s hope and pray that the courage and clarity exhibited by school officials in Cranston, R.I., filters up to the national level.

Robert Knight is a senior fellow for the American Civil Rights Union and a columnist for The Washington Times.