By Austin Ruse
Austin Ruse is a contributing editor to Crisis Magazine. His next book, Under Siege: No Finer Time to be a Faithful Catholic, is out from Crisis Publications in April. You can follow him on Twitter @austinruse.
Children as young as six are being taught “sex is assigned at birth.” They are being taught that boys and girls can be born into the wrong body, that boys can turn into girls and girls into boys. Children are being forced to use the “proper pronouns.” This is happening in the public school, where secularists believe religion was banned in 1962-63.
But none of these claims are based in science. There are no objective scientific criteria for being a new “gender,” for being non-binary, two-spirit, or even “feeling” you are the wrong sex. All of these propositions are based on faith, a new heretic-hunting faith that requires the imposition of its beliefs on younger and younger ages.
Consider forcing a boy to call another boy “she.” This is not only a monstrous lie; it is also forcing a boy to recite a religious dogma in direct violation of his own beliefs that God created them male and female.
Secularists insist that religion was banned in public schools with the school prayer decision of 1962. Secularists insist we live in a secular age. Nothing could be further from the truth. In my last column, I argued that we live in a deeply religious age, that those who claim “none” status are still profoundly religious. Even a certain percentage of atheists believe God is important to their lives. It is impossible to get away from some vision of the sacred.
In this column, I will argue not only that we live in a profoundly religious age, but that there is a new religion, perhaps a newly revived old religion, but more importantly, a newly established Church. This official state Church has been established through a series of Supreme Court decisions, beginning with the school prayer decision in 1962 and banning school-based Bible reading in 1963.
Understand, the banned school prayer was relatively anodyne:
Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers and our country. Amen.
It was written by a committee of Protestant pastors, Catholic priests, and Jewish rabbis. Thirteen New York judges upheld the constitutionality of this prayer. Thirteen. It was banned only when it reached the Supreme Court. This began the process to effectively remove Christianity from the public schools, and it also cast a disapproving pall over Christianity. Somehow, Christianity was henceforth suspect, if not dangerous for schoolchildren to hear.
A year later, the Supreme Court banned Bible reading in public schools and said that the Constitution demands government must remain “neutral” in matters of religion and that this neutrality is achieved only if the government limits itself to “secular” purposes having primarily “secular” effects.
This decision was the Supreme Court putting its thumb on the scale in the culture wars. Before this moment, there was a healthy debate in this country from the founding onward about who we are as a people. On one side are those we may call the “providentialists” who see the hand of God in history and believe this must play a role in our public life and even be taught to our schoolchildren. On the other side are the seculars who believe religion can have no part in our public lives. Both sides were represented at the founding, and the debate between the two parties continued until 1963 with this court decision.
These decisions were the beginning of an established church. “Secular” may have had many meanings over time. Most people reading this are “secular” since they are not “religious,” that is, not in religious congregations or ordained. But in the modern age, “secular” has come to mean without God, without religion. Therefore, a purely secular government must also be without God. But we also know no man can be without the sacred of some kind. And into this supposedly bare secularity came a new faith and a new established church that was spelled out in subsequent decisions of the Supreme Court; on contraception, abortion, sodomy, and same-sex marriage.
This newly established Church has been communicated down through the federal government, through the Justice Department, and the Department of Education, to the state and local governments, and down to the schoolhouse down the road.
Who are the priests in this new Church? Anyone who wears a robe; judges, academics, scientists, those who hand down the new encyclicals that the faithful accept without question. They say boys may be girls. This fanciful idea has no basis in science or even reason. It is a matter of pure faith. And the faithful accept it and then force it on others, including schoolchildren.
The Supreme Court decisions on school prayer and Bible reading were crucial because prayer and the Bible were part of the story that we told about ourselves, about who we were. In that way, there is no more important place to tell the story of who we are than what we tell little children. But we no longer tell little children that story about ourselves because it has been banned by the high priests of the Supreme Court and replaced with a new story.
Gender theory is not the only denomination in the new established Church. There is also pantheism, seeing the sacred in the environment. It is interesting to note that no less than Alexis de Tocqueville wrote in Democracy in America that Americans would have to choose between pantheism and Catholicism one day.
Yet another denomination in the new established Church is the sex-obsessed who see the sacred in the orgasm and their sexual pleasure. Those involved in things like bondage and domination speak openly about how their proclivities are deeply religious experiences.
All of these are one way or another being taught to little school children, and this has become the story we tell about ourselves in the 21st century.
At heart, it is a debate between what Professor Steven Smith calls the “Immanentists” and the “transcendents;” between those who place the sacred exclusively on the temporal plane and those who know the sacred may be present to us here and now but exists beyond our vision. This was the essential debate between the pagans in ancient Rome and the Christians. And now, the Immanentists have the whip hand, and they are using it.
Catholics and other Christians must understand that we are not merely up against a new faith but a new faith that is an established Church backed by the power of the federal, state, and local governments.
But I do not despair, and neither should you. On the contrary, as I write in my book—Under Siege: No Finer Time to be a Faithful Catholic—this is a time of rejoicing because God knows what He is about. He knew this degradation of society would be upon us. And what did He do? He sent the likes of us here, right now, to defend His creation. Things may seem very dark for us, but we must rest assured that future generations will look back with envy that they could not be here with us, when things look so very desperate, fighting against the newly established Church.