Cal  Thomas

Are cartoon characters such as SpongeBob SquarePants and Buster the Rabbit (who are, according to some critics, promoting homosexuality) threats to the "traditional family"?

It is distressing to have great intellectual and moral concerns reduced to the cartoonish, both in the form of animated film and the posturing of some who wish to fight the culture wars at this level.

Most people who accept the label "conservative Christian," or its synonyms, spend too much time throwing stones at the cultural citadels and too little acquiring and developing the skills and knowledge to allow them to compete in the ideological and cultural arena.

It has not always been so. Historically, Christians dominated the professions, not solely by force of law, but by the power of their ideas and example. William Blackstone's "Commentaries on the Laws of England" became a classic legal work, though most modern law schools rarely study it. Christian writers once occupied much of literature. Recall some of the names: John Milton, George Herbert, Flannery O'Connor, John Donne, G.K. Chesterton, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Dorothy Sayers and T.S. Eliot.

From the fifth century until the near-modern era, Christian thinkers dominated philosophy. They included Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, John Duns Scotus, Anselm of Canterbury and William of Ockham.

Politics was once populated with Christians whose lives and intellectual prowess influenced culture from the inside-out. In other eras, President Bush's faith was unremarkable. Today, many in the academic-cultural-political elites consider it odd, even dangerous.

For centuries, the arts virtually belonged to those of Christian faith. Their names are legion, including Rembrandt van Rijn and Albrecht Durer, not to mention scores of earlier artists, many of whom were under the direct patronage of the church.

Music? Handel, Brahms and Bach once defined the word.

Science? Again, the list is long, including Isaac Newton, Johann Kepler, Robert Boyle, Louis Pasteur, Michael Faraday and James Clerk Maxwell.

What happened to rob music, philosophy, law and science of such great thoughts and expressions? In part it was preaching that asserted engagement with "the world" would taint the believer and so it was best to separate one's self from its "corrupting" influence. The result has been similar to what happens when a feeding tube is removed from a comatose person. The patient starves to death.

Cal Thomas

Get Cal Thomas' new book, What Works, at Amazon.

Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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