Come summer, the flags will fly and the fireworks will pop, and bands will ring out “Stars And Stripes Forever.” But these don’t seem to resonate in the broader culture anymore, the way vampires and zombies do. Year-round, TV and the movies are awash in the blood of horror flicks. Horror fiction seems to outsell everything else, for teens and adults. And in many neighborhoods, people seem much more excited about spooking up their homes for Halloween than they do about sprucing them up for Christmas.
Walking down the main thoroughfare of a major American city a few nights ago, I was taken aback by the level of sexual depravity and death depicted in one window display after another, block after block – a saturation of satanic commercialism.
Now, full disclosure: I’ve never liked Halloween anyway. But even with that, I can’t help wondering if our growing national obsession with this holiday is a dark reflection of things happening at deeper levels of our collective conscience. Looking past the masks we wear in most of our conversations about elections, government, and the society we share, any honest observer would have to admit that, in many ways, America is only a ghost of its former self.
Understand, in saying that, I’m not just pining for “a simpler time.” I’m not looking to drag us all back to delusions of Mayberry or some Norman Rockwell idealized yesteryear. I’m talking about the things that have always made America a nation apart from the rest – our extraordinary, even unprecedented, commitment to life, to family, to faith, to freedom.
Those things have mummified a bit in America today – we still see them, hear of them, talk of them, but like Halloween, they’re wrapped more and more in the things not of life but of death. We have a million extraordinary medical means at our disposal to physically save or prolong fragile lives – even those of babies, born months too soon. And yet life is cheaper now, in some ways, than it’s ever been, and babies are more vulnerable than ever to the caprices of reluctant mothers and the financial interests of profiteers like Planned Parenthood.
Alan Sears, a former federal prosecutor in the Reagan Administration, is president and CEO of the Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal alliance employing a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.