George Orwell in his dystopian novel 1984 coined the term “Newspeak” to describe the totalitarian regime’s government-sanctioned politically-correct language that powerfully and coercively shaped and controlled the thinking of the masses. In a pervasive surveillance state (“Big Brother is watching you.”), those who dared oppose, even if only in their thinking, the ideological purity of Newspeak were rooted out by the Thought Police and convicted of thoughtcrimes. Thus, it was not only a violation of the law to speak or act in opposition to the prevailing totalistic cultural narrative; it was a crime to even think it. If convicted of ideological rebellion, you would be sentenced to beatings, torture, indoctrination and reprogramming by the comically and ironically named “Ministry of Love.” Eventually, thought criminals were executed. Undivided fealty to the state and statist ideologies was absolutely mandated and viciously enforced in Orwell’s dark totalitarian vision.
Therefore, belief in God was a thoughtcrime in 1984. Thankfully, we are not quite there yet. But, we are not very far removed from a similar state of affairs today. As our culture has drifted from its Judeo-Christian roots (and at a seemingly geometrically progressing rate of late), biblical Christians who believe in a God Who precedes and transcends the state find themselves increasingly at sharp odds with culturally elitist state-sanctioned beliefs and practices. The areas of disagreement are many but include, among others, the existence of transcendent moral values including the definition of life, the meaning of gender and sexual identity, the definition of marriage, and the meaning of family. Yet, perhaps no other issue has more poignantly highlighted this gaping ideological chasm more than 2015’s radical redefinition of marriage by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Today’s increasingly prevailing American Newspeak affirms that is “gay is good,” and that if you don’t absolutely agree and affirm this, you are committing the unforgivable thoughtcrime of being a homophobic bigot. This sad state of affairs leaves little to no room for individuals with traditional biblical views on sexuality or marriage to believe, express, or live out their ideologically-incorrect and unpopular Christian beliefs in the public square—without paying an increasingly high price.
Tragically, in our era of unprecedented cultural propaganda, objective truth and logic matters less and less. Libelous labels abound while the actual facts are increasingly irrelevant. You see, the poor individual callously convicted of the false charge of “hate,” may actually know and love people who experience same-sex attraction and are “married.” Yet, because we are just now supposedly morally enlightened, having only very recently culturally discovered our prior traditional beliefs are purportedly “perverted” or “wrong,” ideological outliers who reject the powerful “sexual liberty” narrative must now be aggressively marginalized, bullied, judged, shamed, shunned, and even hated by the new Though Police. Why? Naturally, the only palatable explanation must be that they “hate,” simply because they ideologically disagree with the tyranny of absolute “sexual liberty.” Recent examples include the menagerie of Christian bakers, florists, photographers, and others who have refused to participate in faux same-sex “marriages” and, as a result, have been coerced by the state to pay a high price for their ideological treason. Yet, there are some glimmers of light in the midst of this dark and morally confused ethical mire. For poignant positive examples of this, we need look no further than Houston or Kentucky.
In Houston, Major Annise Parker and the City Council adopted a very bad ordinance regarding sexual orientation and gender identity last year that allowed purported transgender individuals to use opposite-biological-sex restrooms and other public facilities. When pastors and churches rose up to oppose the new ordinance, the City Attorney retaliated by unlawfully invalidating thousands of signatures in favor of a measure repealing the ordinance. In the ensuing litigation, the City aggressively tried to obtain copies of five prominent pastors’ sermons in a desperate attempt to try to prove anti-homosexual bigotry. And throughout the fight, the Thought Police media was no friend of the Christians, pillorying them for their backwards traditional un-Newspeak-like beliefs. But all of this moral chaos suddenly changed earlier this month when, in a moment of increasingly rare moral clarity and courage, the people of Houston voted 68 to 32 to overturn the sexually confused “bathroom bill.” And that’s not all.
In Kentucky, after the U.S. Supreme Court in June “legalized” same-sex “marriage,” Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis sought an accommodation from Democratic Governor Steve Beshear for her religious conviction that marriage is the sacred bond between a man and a woman. The governor flatly refused, informing Davis that she must comply with the law and issue same-sex marriage licenses or quit her job. This led to Ms. Davis being incarcerated and the legal challenge to her predicament. Enter Republican candidate for governor, Matt Bevin. He not only visited Ms. Davis the day she was released from jail, but made religious liberty a key facet of his campaign. Bevin, who focused on social issues like defunding Planned Parenthood and defending Kim Davis, encouraged the conservative base to turn out to vote. Bevin won in a landslide, becoming only the second Republican governor in the state in the past 40 years! Bevin committed to provide Kim Davis with a religious accommodation, and has now agreed to take Davis’ name off of the marriage licenses.
According to Dr. Ryan T. Anderson, the lesson to be learned from Houston and Kentucky is “conservatives can win when they refuse to be bullied by elites into silence. Making the public argument against bad policy and in support of good policy can win the day.”
We should thank our heavenly Father that we are not yet at the dark Orwellian point where belief in God is outlawed and we are tortured or murdered into submission and silence for thoughtcrime. Yet, we must soberly recognize certain windows may be closing and we must now continue to fight for and make the most of the freedoms and opportunities we still enjoy. In the meantime, we must refuse to be silent and must continue to stand, speak, and fight for the cause of religious freedom. Faithful Christians must never bow to the growing cultural pressure to compromise, capitulate, and assimilate. We must stand with God on principle and continue to make the public argument by speaking the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).