February 2008 – In the middle to late 1970s a new movement began to grow out of the Christian church in America. It was a movement of people who wanted to stand for Biblical morality in the public square. Eventually, this movement came to aggressively resist the tide of secular humanism sweeping the country.
Simply put, secular humanism is the philosophy that denies the existence of God but rather considers man to be the ultimate authority on all matters of life. Evidences of the advancement of secular humanism in our society and culture includes the explosion of pornography; more and harder profanity in the arts; the killing of babies in their mothers’ wombs; homosexuality promoted in many areas of influence such as in entertainment and academia; successful legal attacks by the ACLU against schools, towns, municipalities, etc., thereby forcing the idea on the American judicial system that any expression of religious faith (especially Christian) other than on private property was unconstitutional; the decline in Americans who regularly attend church; societal mockery of anyone promoting even the idea of self-restraint with respect to sexual behavior; sacrilegious humor accepted in popular culture; the rise of the “diversity” cause which teaches that all religious and philosophical ideas are morally equal because to “judge” another’s religion or ideas as better or worse than another is intolerant which ironically (in the eyes of the secular humanist) is a “sin.”
The groups and people that came to prominence on the traditional values side include: Paul Weyrich / Free Congress Foundation, Phyllis Schlafly / Eagle Forum, Dr. Jerry Falwell / Moral Majority, Dr. D. James Kennedy / Coral Ridge Ministries, Dr. James Dobson / Focus on the Family, Beverly LaHaye / Concerned Women for America, Larry Burkett / Christian Financial Concepts, Marlin Maddoux / Point of View radio and Don Wildmon, my father, who founded the American Family Association in 1977. There were others that came along as the years went on, but these were the early generals of what became known as the pro-family movement. These leaders mobilized millions of people to become educated, informed, engaged and active in politics, government and public policy.
In 2007 I attended the funerals of Jerry Falwell and D. James Kennedy. These extraordinary men of God made their mark both in the pulpit and in the public arena for the cause of Biblical truth and righteousness.
Ironically, there have been vocal detractors of the pro-family movement, even within the Christian community. For instance, nationally syndicated columnist Cal Thomas – who was once Falwell’s right-hand man – doesn’t miss an opportunity to criticize pro-family leaders, portraying them as power-hungry egomaniacs leading millions to believe in a false notion that getting the right people elected to office is going to “save America.”
For example, when Dr. Falwell died, Thomas wrote, “Had he stuck to preaching about a King and Kingdom not of this world, most would never have heard of him.” The clear implication is that Falwell wanted attention so he got into politics and thus contaminated the Gospel. How silly. The truth is, Falwell engaged in politics only when it served the purpose of promoting Biblical values. He should be applauded, not impugned, for getting more Christians involved in politics.
When Dr. Kennedy closed down the Center for Reclaiming America shortly before his death, Thomas insulted Dr. Kennedy in a column, writing that he had wasted his time trying to promote Christian values in government, and worse, he wrote that Dr. Kennedy’s motive was the “crass pursuit of the golden ring of political power.”
In reality, Thomas himself is a walking contradiction. He positions himself as a Christian, conservative, pro-family writer, yet he lives near Washington, D.C., and makes his living writing about politics, government and the misguided pro-family movement.
I had the privilege of spending time with both Dr. Falwell and Dr. Kennedy. They were humble men whom God had gifted with rare leadership abilities. Through their ministries, they led many to faith in Christ and a deeper understanding of the Christian walk.
The bottom line is that just because a Christian is engaged in promoting Biblical values in government, it doesn't mean he believes government is going to bring national spiritual revival. But we are a nation of laws. And it is the Christian's civic duty to help shape those laws so that they conform as closely as possible to what God says is good. We fulfill that duty by being active in the political arena.