The optics of the culture war

by Nick Eicher

Posted on Friday, September 11, 2015, at 2:40 pm

Each week, The World and Everything in It features a “Culture Friday” segment, in which Executive Producer Nick Eicher discusses the latest cultural news with John Stonestreet, president of the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview. Here is a summary of this week’s conversation.

This week, John Stonestreet of the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview and I talked about the optics of the Kim Davis case. Some commentators, including Rod Dreher of The American Conservative, have said Davis’ supporters have done harm to the religious liberty cause.

Davis spent five days in jail for refusing to issue marriages licenses to same-sex couples in her role as Rowan County, Ky., Clerk. On her release, she appeared at a rally outside the jail with presidential candidate and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. She took the stage as the 1980s rock anthem “Eye of the Tiger” played in the background.

“That one actually made me cringe a little bit,” Stonestreet said of the rally. “I don’t understand that rally. I’ve been to a lot of presidential candidate rallies where they do play that sort of music, and I get that. But I don’t understand how this event should’ve had that sort of vibe.”

Stonestreet noted in today’s culture, the term “religious liberty” has a negative connotation. 

“It’s not heard for what it is. It sounds like a license to discriminate. I’m not saying that’s a right perception, but, for these folks, perception is reality, and it has to be counted. We’ve got to actually make thoughtful arguments for religious liberty,” he said. “I guess I’m in the middle. I think [Dreher] overstated some of his case, but his description of how it looked on the outside to a whole lot of people I think was dead-on.”

Meanwhile, another cultural battle has spilled into the political realm as Congress considers cutting federal funds for Planned Parenthood. Some Republicans have proposed playing a game of political chicken: If Planned Parenthood keeps its funding, they will force an end-of-fiscal-year impasse known as a partial government shutdown.

“I think the public is on board … with the defunding of Planned Parenthood, but the legislators are not,” Stonestreet said, noting that a series of investigative videos about Planned Parenthood’s harvesting of aborted babies for scientific research has helped rally more people to the pro-life cause. But would the public forgive Republicans for forcing a government shutdown in defense of the unborn?

“If the Republicans actually took this to the bitter end, if they were willing to do it, I wouldn’t care if the public forgave them or not. I would be so surprised that they would do it because that’s going to take a huge battle. Even if it’s a black eye, … they need to do it,” Stonestreet said. “They need to fight this one to the bitter end. It is the right cause at the right time. And history and morality and God himself will be on their side.”

Listen to “Culture Friday” on The World and Everything in It.

Nick Eicher

Nick is chief content officer of WORLD and co-host for WORLD Radio. He has served WORLD Magazine as a writer and reporter, managing editor, editor, and publisher. Nick resides with his family in St. Louis, Mo.

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