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Op-Ed: For the Countercultural Christian Family, Sitting in the Pews on Sunday Isn’t Enough

If there’s one lesson to learn from NHL player Ivan Provorov’s refusal to don the LGBT colors in a recent pregame warmup, it’s that Christ’s followers, as Jesus himself warns in John’s Gospel, will be despised as outcasts in the world’s eyes. Last summer, four Tampa Bay Rays players were similarly scorned and pilloried for failing to recite the “pride” creed. Worse, the faith-based decisions condemned as “sh***y personal opinions” today could quickly evolve into criminal hate speech tomorrow if the totalitarians at Davos have their way. It’s already playing out in Western nations like Ireland, England, Scotland and Finland. Christians mustn’t shun being “different.” Nor should they assume that being one of the declining numbers of Americans still in the pews post-pandemic will be enough to steel them for the trials ahead. Believers must prep their families to be countercultural Christians, not just church-on-Sunday attendees. This means opting out of extraneous influences, whether it’s at home, school, in their communities, or in the wider culture, that mock and subvert Christ’s kingship. The more families cultivate experiences that reinforce scriptural teaching, the stronger a defense system they will build. In preparation for his book “Live Not by Lies,” author Rod Dreher interviewed Christian dissident families who survived communist Eastern Europe with their faith intact, and concluded that “the traditional Christian family is … a survival strategy for the faith in a time of persecution.” He offered this salient advice: “[Christians] cannot simply live as all other families live, except that we go to church on Sunday. Holding the correct theological beliefs and having the right intentions will not be enough. Christian parents must be intentionally countercultural in their approach to family dynamics. The days of living like everybody else and hoping our children turn out for the best are over [my emphasis].” The anti-Christic siege of political, cultural and sporting institutions that has exploded in intensity in recent years is fundamentally an attack on the Christian family. There’s nothing coincidental about the infiltration of school teaching materials with pornographic content, the celebration of trans propaganda, the (Republican-supported) codifying of gay marriage, and the passing of abortion laws in states like Michigan that allow unrestricted abortion on demand through all nine months of pregnancy. It’s targeted and coordinated. Resorting to domesticated labels like “woke,” “leftist” and “progressive” just won’t cut it any longer. No, the “liberals” didn’t all just collectively lose their minds at the same time, in the same way. Millennia-old views on family, life and sexuality didn’t just suddenly become “alt-right” rhetoric. Instead, we’re witnessing the culmination of an orchestrated, atheistic-Marxist campaign that began in the 1920s and ’30s to push collectivism, materialism and sexual chaos. Conditions in turn-of-the-century Russia were ripe for communism to take root. The Bolsheviks’ subsequent campaign against marriage and the socialist obsession with “free love” resulted in the disastrous liberalization of divorce laws, the effective greenlighting of polygamy, and the unprecedented legalization and state funding of abortion in 1920. Having imported the poisonous anti-family Marxist ideology from Europe, the goal was then to export the juiced-up Stalinist strain back to the West and have obedient party members, agents and sympathizers push the propaganda. It never stopped. The end game of world communism hinges on the annihilation of the Christian family. The traditional family is the soil in which God’s Word — the seed of the Christian faith — is planted, fertilized and nourished. Destroy the family, and you destroy Christian civilization. The sooner one accepts that “they’re coming for your children” is not hyperbole or some right-wing kook talking point, the sooner battle plans can be devised and areas of critical vulnerability identified. In a 1953 Senate subcommittee hearing on internal security, Bella Dodd, a United States Communist Party member, activist and infiltrator turned defector and Roman Catholic convert, testified that to train the mind of the youth, “the communists will use the schools and every other education medium, whether it be comic books or the radio and television.” Seventy years on, these tactics haven’t changed. School, community, popular culture and technology remain the most permeable boundaries. They are relentlessly probed by the communists, who are always searching for a way in. A family might attend a faithful Christian church with a God-fearing pastor on Sunday, only on Monday to have their child’s kindergarten teacher spring a “we’re now going to be calling little James Janie” stunt on the class — this literally happened last year to a friend of mine whose 5-year-old daughter was attending a private Catholic school. Or perhaps their child’s sixth-grade teacher in a top-ranking public school district will escort kids on a field trip to a local strip club to have a whirl at some pole dancing. Maybe the public librarians in their conservative town will defiantly stock the children’s reading section with books that teach masturbation and affirm gender dysphoria. A beloved children’s TV show like “Clifford” might sneak a same-sex couple into an episode, or a favorite comic book superhero like Superman or Batman’s sidekick Robin could “come out” as bisexual. Maybe an iconic cartoon character, like Scooby-Doo’s Daphne, will be revamped as an “Asian American adopted by a black-white interracial lesbian couple” whose flame-colored hair is the result of a parent’s drug abuse during pregnancy. And while technology may offer the illusion of making parenting less stressful, the grim fact remains that, despite parent controls, filters on devices, and all the best intentions, roughly 3 in 4 adolescents have viewed pornography online, and for most the age of first exposure is under the age of 13. Faced with this onslaught, the church-on-Sunday line of defense is not by itself going to hold the fort. Keeping kids sane is a depressingly low bar; the goal for Christian parents is to make them saintly. If this means moving states, changing schools, home-schooling, ditching smartphones, avoiding public libraries, severely restricting screen time, canceling Netflix, turning off Disney, opting out of professional sports and so forth — so be it. My family has adopted pretty much all these changes and we’re better off for it. Ensuring that one’s family remains countercultural not just on Sunday mornings but in the schools they attend, the books they read, the movies they watch, the music they listen to, and the extent to which they access technology requires forethought, energy and sometimes sacrifice. And yes, as Dreher explains, our children will be “weird in society’s eyes.” But these are the cracks through which the enemy will enter if parents don’t proactively seal them shut. This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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