Maybe we should use an example from history to illustrate what we mean. In the 1870s, the Chancellor of the newly united German Empire, Otto von Bismarck, tried to bring the whole force of the state against the Catholics of his nation. He found the Catholic Center Party in the Reichstag to be a thorn in his side. He restricted Catholics’ rights in education and worship. It was called a kulturkampf, or cultural clash. This clash threatened to tear apart the new German state. It led to deep divisions that are felt to this day in Germany. Only when Bismarck, “the Iron Chancellor,” relented, hoping to gain Catholic support for his new fight with German Socialists, did the threat of disunion subside.
It would not be a stretch to call Mr. Obama’s health care Mandate a kulturkampf. If he can force Catholic institutions—hospitals, schools, and para-church ministries—to provide drugs that can cause abortions now, why wouldn’t his next move be to mandate they actually provide for surgical abortions next year? And why not force all of us to pay for sex change operations, too?
He might say then what he says now of his former defense of marriage: His views are evolving. Now, with this HHS Mandate, we can see the little toes emerging from the fish’s body. We know which way liberals evolve. Once they crawl out onto the land of political correctness, they never return to the sea of common sense.
In all of this evolving, Mr. Obama will have the panting devotion of a media that feels a tingling up and down its leg whenever he orates. Telegenic academics like Michael Beschloss will tell us he is the most intelligent man ever to occupy the White House.
TR, Lincoln, Mr. Jefferson don’t call your office.
TIME’s editor, Amy Sullivan, has actually written with some appreciation of the attempt to isolate Christians in a country still largely, even vibrantly, Christian. She sees, too, the cultural vertigo that comes from a media-driven effort to marginalize Christians, making them strangers in a strange land.
For nearly 2,000 years, the story of Jesus and broader biblical epics had infused the cultural environment of the average Westerner. Now those influences were suddenly nowhere to be seen….On television, Linus's recitation from the second chapter of Luke at the end of A Charlie Brown Christmas in 1965 was perhaps the last respectful reference to Jesus that Hollywood offered America's children.
Note the tense. Had infused. To liberals like Amy Sullivan, we are the past. To liberals like President Obama, his brave new world is the future. That’s why there’s a kulturkampf.
Bismarck lost his clash with the Catholic Church. His united Germany plunged the world into two world wars and was itself cut in two for forty years. This is the danger that comes from such statist kulturkampfs. It’s what we will continue to resist.