Many people, when they hear talk of the growing "war on Christianity," roll their eyes and dismiss the charges as mere political hyperbole designed to fire up the values voters come election time.
While it's true that one's Christian identity is currently not grounds for explicit political or legal persecution, there is a subtler process underway which is gradually pushing Christians to the margins of public life. As the forces of secularism continue their march to dominate virtually all aspects of the culture, the faithful remnant of Christian disciples find themselves daily confronted with situations in which their religious convictions come into conflict with reigning secular dogma. The repercussions of such conflicts are significant, and increasingly, unavoidable.
The American Conservative's Rod Dreher recently drew attention to a story out of the United Kingdom, where physicians with the Catholic Medical Association were told that their adherence to traditional Catholic sexual ethics would effectively preclude them from practicing as OB/GYNs in Britain. This is not due to explicit discrimination against Catholics, but a result of the requirements that all licensed OB/GYNs must be willing to carry out in the course of their work with patients.
As reported by the international Catholic news site, the Tablet, the conference of physicians was advised to "emigrate" if they had any notion of allowing their Catholic identity to influence their actions as physicians:
"Dr. O'Donnell told the conference at Ealing Abbey, west London, on 17 May that a Catholic training to be a consultant in obstetrics and gynecology would soon find he or she had conscientious objections to such tasks as prescribing artificial contraceptives, giving unmarried couples fertility treatment or Viagra to gay couples.
'To be a sound Catholic regarding sexual ethics it is not possible to train as a consultant obstetrician and gynecologist but this is not because of discrimination against Catholics. There is a total conflict of culture of what is good sex, a dichotomy of belief between what we as Christians believe is good overall for the individual and what secular society believes.'
Mr. Dreher is exactly right: this is how it will happen. The total eradication of any and all Christian influence on society will be achieved by the strategic pitting of secular norms against Christian values. "Of course Christians are welcome to serve as OB/GYNs, so long as their personal beliefs don't impede their ability to perform all functions of the job." "Of course Christians are welcome to run adoption agencies, so long as they don't allow their personal beliefs to color their policies towards prospective clients." "Of course Christians can run hospitals and own businesses, so long as they don't allow their personal beliefs to influence their personnel policies."
All of this is intended to communicate clearly that the Christian faith and the ethics and morality that flow from it have become obsolete. The problem with Christians, we're told, is that they stubbornly cling to archaic notions of good and evil and right and wrong – or, as our President so famously put it, "guns and religion" – while civilized society has evolved to a higher level of social consciousness. They are, to borrow a phrase from the Progressive Left, on the wrong side of history. They have no one but themselves and their own stubbornness to blame if they find themselves increasingly on the outs with mainstream society. Christians have a choice: they can get with the program, or get out of the way.
For those that would seek solace at least in the fact that America's constitution reserves a hallowed place for religious liberty, this too is going by the wayside. Under the guidance of secularist lawmakers and judges our Constitution has evolved from a document of law and order to a manifesto of radical "equality", in which the law is used as a tool of social engineering. Traditional ethical and moral beliefs are no longer considered legitimate matters of opinion, they are tantamount to hate crimes, and if the Left gets its way it won't be long before they are prosecuted as such.
More and more, the architects and operatives of the modern nanny state are utterly convinced of their moral superiority. They are the experts, the intelligent and thoughtful and enlightened ones, and hence the people best qualified to make the rules regarding what is acceptable public speech and behavior. I shudder to think what will happen if this trend is allowed to proceed unchecked, for the forces of government benevolence have already begun making inroads into that most private realm of human life: the family. If ever there was a clear example of the danger of a slippery slope it is evident here. If the denizens of political correctness have already determined that it's unacceptable to publicly question the moral legitimacy of gay marriage, how long before the State decides that it's unacceptable to teach your children that marriage is meant to be a union of man and woman? How long before it's declared intellectual child abuse to raise your children to believe in Creationism, or the divinity of Christ, or the sanctity of unborn human life?
If we wish to know what such a dystopian society would look like we need only look across the ocean at our European cousins. I only pray that enough of the American spirit remains burning in the hearts of the silent majority that we can finally say, "enough is enough" and stem the tide of "progress" that is destroying this great nation.