“How did you go bankrupt?” Bill asks Mike, an oft-drunk Scottish war veteran in Ernest Hemingway’s classic 1926 novel, The Sun Also Rises. “Two ways,” Mike replies. “Gradually and then suddenly.” The same could be said about how sinkholes form, how people go to Hell, and how cultures descend like Sodom into spiritual darkness — gradually and then all at once. The election just past is a case in point.
Today evangelicals — many of whom have spent the last few decades speaking up for the unborn, warning against encroachments on religious liberty, and highlighting the harm promised by the new sexual orthodoxy — find themselves standing in a radically different political and cultural landscape, with unfriendly eyes all around. Instead of a society that honors religious faith, the Protestant work ethic, and delayed gratification, they see one that bows to the postmodern idols of expressive individualism and sexual revolution.
These changes didn’t happen suddenly on Nov. 3. They developed gradually over centuries, as the Judeo-Christian worldview that proved instrumental to the founding of the republic was systematically undermined by an Enlightenment paradigm that diminishes religious faith as a matter of mere private feeling. The church’s salt has lost its saltiness.
Here’s what has changed:
The unborn: With abortion rates falling for years, the new administration promises to make abortion much easier to obtain. The president-elect says he will nominate only Supreme Court justices who support Roe v. Wade (the landmark 1973 ruling that legalized abortion on demand across the nation), pass legislation codifying Roe, repeal the Hyde Amendment (which prevents Medicaid from covering most abortions), reverse the Mexico City policy (which blocks American aid to international organizations that provide information about abortion), and again allow Title X funding for organizations within the country, such as Planned Parenthood, that provide abortions or abortion referrals.