Let’s be clear – the Culture War has entered a new phase. The war over gay marriage – the metaphor for the entire conflict – has been decided. The forces of tradition have been defeated by the forces of modernity. There will be more battles of course, with victories and defeats for both sides, but it has become clear that the traditionalists are fighting for an ultimately losing cause. The question now is what sort of victory the forces of modernity will demand and whether they insist on – and succeed in imposing – an unconditional surrender on the part of the forces of tradition.
This will be answered in a myriad of small ways – many of them centered around how iordinary people live their lives. One of these is being fought out now in Colorado, where the a bakery owner has been ordered to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple after refusing to do so for religious reasons. (Judge Rules Colorado Bakery Discriminated Against Gay Couple)
This is hardly the first such ruling (see, for example Colliding causes: Gay rights and religious liberty) and parallels widespread efforts to force the Catholics and Catholic institutions to provide contraceptive and abortion services (Catholic Bishops: We Will Not Comply With the HHS Abortion Mandate. (And Catholics are hardly the only ones under attack on the “healthcare” issue. The Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments in the cases involving other small business owners seeking exemption from the requirements of the Affordable Healthcare Act. (The righteousness in Hobby Lobby’s cause.)
In fact, the best evidence of the fact that the Culture War is now a fundamentally defensive one on the part of the forces of tradition is the proliferation of organizations aimed at protecting religious liberties, not in communist China or the Islamist Middle East, but here at home. (For example, LDS Church joins ‘growing chorus’ of faiths asking followers to defend religious liberty.
It is increasingly clear, however, that the forces of modernity will not be satisfied simpling winning on the issues of Gay Marriage, abortion and contraception. They will insist that there be no opting out and no real expressions of dissent. They are committed to a war of annihilation and the pleading of the faithful for “religious freedom” and toleration fall on deaf ears.
How things will turn out is hard to predict. Whether America’s Old Believers will be allowed a public existence in the next decades is a very real question – and one which will be answered by the ability of the forces of tradition to wage a successful rearguard action. Defeat cannot mean surrender.