In 2022, it’s not uncommon to hear concerned and bewildered Americans, shaking their heads at the shocking change in our moral, economic and social landscape, asking “How did this happen in America?” In retrospect, the slide seemed gradual. Once upon us, that slide has been further lubricated by the loss of cultural memory-what it was before? Evangelicals weren’t as prescient at reading the Signposts either. How’d we miss the longterm influence of compulsory sterilization, primarily of Black girls and women in Harlem, championed by Democrat eugenicist, Margaret Sanger, in the 1930’s, as a harbinger of the killings fields of Planned Parenthood.
There were Signposts along our road to moral decay. Most chose to ignore them; others were in denial; millions disengaged. A few sounded a clarion call. We were scolded to be “tolerant” of lifestyles that are execrable at the core, and inimical to clear Biblical teaching. Sadly, many chose tolerance at a cost they sorely miscalculated. The Humanist Manifesto, 1933, was a shot across the bow of Theism, warning that secularism will someday reign. There have been two more; 1973 and 2003. Early Signposts.
It’s true, the monogamous marriage of a man and woman hasn’t been perfect. The divorce rate is far too high. But that’s no reason to replace it with a more severely doomed relationship. Husband and wife-it’s not the result of a capricious act, but of Divine origin. Any other sordid act is an inordinate perversion. Some recall that Catholics, Evangelicals, and like-minded co-belligerents rallied to oppose the normalization of homosexuality by the American Psychological Association’s Board of Trustees, removing the deviant behavior disorder label in 1973, designed to “normalize” behavior, caving to pro-homosexual activists, ignoring seventy years of serious and scholarly psychiatric, clinical research, that labeled it “maladaptive behavior” and “mental disorder” previously subject to clinical therapy. 1973, Roe v. Wade was a disastrous ruling by SCOTUS, finding a constitutional reason, to slaughter 60 million unborn, where none existed. Another Signpost. Will SCOTUS reverse that disaster?
Sodomy laws outlawing sexual acts deemed “unnatural” were broadly defined, and varied from state to state. In practice, such laws were rarely enforced against heterosexual couples for obvious reasons. The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of sodomy laws in a 1986 case. However, in 2003, in Lawrence v. Texas, reversed that decision, invalidating sodomy laws in the remaining fourteen states. Montana held out until the Montana Supreme Court ruled in Gryczan v. State, that the state law was unconstitutional. Now nothing is unnatural. Sixty years ago, in most cities, pornography was available for those who had the thirst for it. However, they had to go in the “back alley” where it belonged. That thirst can now be quenched, undetected, with an unending stream of filth on the internet. No more brown paper bags. Social media enables teens to swap nude photos, like baseball cards. The “genie is out of the bottle.” It’s endemic. There’s no going back. Another Signpost.
Some recall the 1964, Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart’s famous quote, regarding a threshold for defining obscenity, in Jacobellis v. Ohio, remarked, “But I know it when I see it.” Since that time numerous cases have been heard by the “black robes.” Lower courts have only muddied the moral waters, leaving it to the whims of the court, as they feared trampling upon the First Amendment speech protection of purveyors of filth. “Prurient interests” and “no redeeming value” wins the day, trumping the 1957 Roth case that stated obscene material existed when “the dominant theme taken as a whole appeals to prurient interest.” The publishing and cinema moguls took great solace in the “serious literary, artistic, political or scientific values” clause.
Now, slithering down a brass pole, while dancing nude, is no less artistic than a Norman Rockwell painting. Generation Z see no boundaries in art in any form. It’s all about digital images. Morality’s couched in the latest image or sitcom. One recent digital blog claims 35% of all downloads are pornography. 64% of young Americans, ages 13-24 actively seek porno weekly or more. More Signposts.
The FBI reports that more than two-thirds of all sexual assault victims are under the age of eighteen-but most alarming-most are under the age of twelve. One in four sexual assault victims who experienced forcible sodomy or sexual assaults were five or younger. How wide spread is pedophilia and child molestation? There’s a paucity of solid data due to the fear or shame to report it. It took years for those molested by the clergy in the Catholic Church to report it. In 2020, Pope Francis and Vatican, after four days of focus groups the residue was an insipid “handbook” in lieu of a zero tolerance decree. More girls under twelve are sexually molested than boys. In a 2019, Ohio case, a 52 year old daycare operator served only 30 days in prison, as part of a plea deal for multiple charges of sexual misconduct with children. In many foreign countries children have no protection, and are at the mercy of perversion and sex trafficking. More Signposts.
Feminist, lesbian author, Leslea Newman’s 1989, “Heather Has Two Mommies” was a frontal assault, aimed at children, and a calculated attempt to neutralize the notion of the “traditional husband and wife.” For eons marriage between one man and one woman has been the linchpin of family solidarity in most civilized cultures. This upheaval isn’t happenstance. Could Grandma and Grandpa ever imagined that one’s sexual identity would be divorced from one’s gender at birth? What can inoculate us from the ravages of this insidious, pernicious moral decay? We’re being told to abdicate permanent things, shut up, and get out of the way. It’s not haute couture to say, “Bruce Jenner’s wearing a dress pretending to be a woman.” That’s transphobic. More Signposts. Wide spread genital mutilation is condoned, in some cases encouraged, by parents if a nine year old is confused on gender. Once upon a time parents protected their children from danger. Another Signpost.
Disquieting as these events are, they’re symptomatic of a towering moral problem. It transcends Right or Left politics., although the Progressive Left often advocate for such perversion. This onslaught’s about eradicating the old edifices that held our Judeo-Christian culture together. C. S. Lewis, “That Hideous Strength,” is about the full depth of man’s corruptive nature. Anyone who believes this trajectory toward moral paralysis isn’t linked to the decline of Western Civilization is deceived, or woefully ignorant of our foundational moorings. Our institutions decay when deprived of moral underpinnings. Burke, Locke, Coleridge, Frost’s “The Black Cottage” and T.S. Eliot’s “Murder in the Cathedral” were all emblematic of measuring its historical gravitas. A dwindling remnant understand there’s too much at stake to capitulate. Is our Republic in jeopardy? Sanguinity’s dangerous. Standing in circles shaking one’s head is pointless.
Events of the past cast an ominous shadow to this day. They weren’t random after all. It will demand sagacity and indefatigability on our part. Sagely, in 700 B.C., the Prophet Isaiah, sounded the tocsin, “Woe unto them that call evil good, that put darkness for light, and light for darkness.” When Signposts are ignored, how will current and future generations navigate these cultural and moral minefields? Do we offer them the hollow tagline of the American Humanist Association, “Good without God.” God forbid! What do you think?
Mike Pyatt is a Natrona County resident. His email is email@example.com