There exists in America today what can be called a balance of fear, and it is nowhere better described -- through the acts of young Christians who overcome it -- than in Tony Perkins' new book, "No Fear: Real Stories of a Courageous New Generation Standing for Truth."
In political relations between nations, there is a balance of power. It is the place where conflict ceases because one nation, or alliance of nations, has sufficient power to intimidate others from acting against it. Or: It is when one nation, or alliance of nations, has sufficiently obvious power that it can compel others to do what it wants them to do without having to put its power into action.
Whether it serves good or ill, it is a form of intimidation: Do what we say or we will hurt you -- perhaps even destroy you.
The balance of fear in American life today is exerted by a secular, increasingly godless, establishment against Christians and other people of faith.
This establishment -- an alliance that now reaches across our political, cultural and corporate elites -- says to Americans of faith: We will make you pay a price -- perhaps even destroy you -- for doing the right thing.
In "No Fear," Perkins tells the stories of a number of young Americans who decided to do the right thing.
One of them is Moriah Peters, a southern California teenager who was persuaded by her mother to try out for "American Idol."
She made it through multiple rounds of pre-TV auditions conducted by the show's noncelebrity staff.
"I'm not going to lie," she told Perkins. "There were moments when I thought, Oh my gosh! I could be famous."
But there were things that set Moriah Peters apart other than her voice -- and one of these things was not well-received by the celebrity judges when she finally got to sing for them.
"At every level of audition, contestants are interviewed by a panel, and the transcripts of each interview of those who make it to the celebrity stage are given to the judges," writes Perkins.
"So by now, these judges knew Moriah's entire life story," he explains. "One of the things she consistently focused on in her interviews was the fact that she felt called to purity in her life and that when she was 14 she decided that she wanted to save her first kiss for her wedding day."
The American Idol judges liked her singing -- but not this particular life choice.
"They thought that was pretty odd," she told Perkins. "Avril Lavigne was a guest judge that day and she said, 'I think you're just trying to be too perfect.'"
Kara DioGuardi told her: "Maybe you should go kiss a guy because there's something about kissing that makes you feel sexy. Then after you kiss someone, come back and audition for us.'"
"I'll admit I was pretty disappointed," Peters said afterwards, "but God gave me the strength to use this disappointment for His honor."
Out in the parking lot, after she had been dismissed by American Idol's celebrity judges, a woman named Wendy Green -- who was from Nashville -- came up to her and offered to help get her a recording contract there.
American Idol refused to choose her, but Peters went on to record her first album, "I Choose Jesus."
"American Idol" was the loser. She was the winner.
Tony Perkins, who is president of the Family Research Council and host of the nationally syndicated "Washington Watch" radio show, tells equally inspiring stories of several other young Christian heroes in "No Fear."
They all have one thing in common: They did not back away from their faith. They acted on it.
At the beginning of this book, Perkins cites several passages in the Old and New Testaments where God tells men: "Fear not."
"The only way to counter the fear of man is with faith in God, which provides the courage and the strength that God requires for his world-changing work," writes Perkins. "That doesn't mean we're never afraid. Only a crazy man swims against the current of his day without a sense of his humanity and the limitations that come with it. Having faith in God means you overrule your fear with a greater fear of disappointing the One who created you and called you to be a world changer."
That is the correct balance of fear -- and the example shown by the young heroes in No Fear cannot help but inspire those who read it to pursue it.