By Steve Woodward
The church where I worship recently welcomed a young associate pastor who, owed to growing up in the mid-1980s and during the 1990s, draws from a more contemporary trove of cultural memories.
When during a Sunday sermon he referenced a heavy metal rock band known as Guns N’ Roses and its lead rocker, Axl Rose, along with its hit recording, “Welcome to the Jungle”, I was fairly certain that I had never heard a pastor compare the secular world to lyrics composed by a heavy metal rocker.
It’s also a safe bet that 90 percent of the congregation had no idea where the pastor was going with the opening passages of his sermon, but the intent came to light when he shared a few lines of “Jungle” lyrics.
“Welcome to the jungle, it gets worse here every day. You learn to live like an animal in the jungle where we play.”
The gist of the sermon was that the world in which we dwell outside of the walls of the church is wrought with savages, peril, lust, greed, conflict and pain. And it seems to get worse every day, every month, every year.
In contrast, a Christian has a choice to make. The good news is that there is a choice that will lift us above the fray of the jungle and armor us to weather its torment. But a lot of Christians fail, or refuse, to make the choice. They either pretend to believe, or believe on Sundays when it’s convenient, or yield to the jungle entirely and suppress, or discard, their beliefs.
So it is when we consider the coexistence of core, uniquely American principles — and Americans who stand for them — and the intrusion of the Marxist Left into our culture on multiple fronts — education, the media and, yes, religion.
Ronald Reagan’s most enduring speech on America’s future was presciently entitled, “A Time for Choosing”. It was a speech that found the America we knew and loved at a crossroads in 1964. With all due respect to Axl Rose, its words were considerably more eloquent.
“You and I have a rendezvous with destiny,.” Reagan said. “We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness.”
Reagan’s speech had one glaring deficiency. It was 60 years premature. Yes, America has come through dark hours over the decades since Reagan launched his political career — Viet Nam, 1960s assassinations, 1970s economic stagnation, Watergate, the space shuttle Challenger, 9/11, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the scourge of a Chinese bioweapon assault, aka, Covid-19.
But could Reagan have imagined how close we are in this moment to sentencing our Republic and, thus, our children to death? The United States is essentially on a war footing with a nuclear rival, China, which is sending deadly fentanyl across our southern border with Mexico to kill our citizens. Our national infrastructure is incredibly vulnerable to a crippling cyberattack.
The American corporate media is so obscenely corrupt that we will never see an honest investigation into how the 2020 Presidential election was compromised by pandemic hysteria that fueled wholesale election law violations, and mishandled and improperly mailed ballots. We likely won’t see the willful suppression of the scandalous content of Hunter Biden’s laptop brought into the light of day, or how Hunter’s role as a hustler and conduit for this father, Joe Biden, has compromised America’s standing with China.
Even a federal judge’s ruling last week to demand that social media platforms stop colluding with Democrat party forces to censor content posted by Republicans, or purveyors of truth about Covid “vaccines” and the Left’s war on medical liberty, has been derailed by an activist court.
Mainstream Catholicism, and major Christian denominations, have been hijacked by “woke” overlords. A recent report identified 6,000 United Methodist church congregations breaking away to protest open acceptance of LBGTQ marriage and related deviance.
The Presbyterian church also is in a state of upheaval with a decline of 700,000 members in the past decade. It has pledged greater inclusiveness and the ordination of gay and transgender priests. In a 2019 report about a Manhattan Presbyterian church that has dropped all pretense of a faith-driven congregation, The New York Times made this blanket observation: “Houses of worship — including Christian churches from a range of denominations, as well as synagogues — have positioned themselves as potent forces on progressive issues, promoting activism on social justice causes and inviting in the L.G.B.T.Q. community.” Times readers love this, of course.
The aforementioned decline in America’s Christian foundation is no doubt fueled by a ruthless hijacking of education by the Left, which first drove God and freedom of speech out of universities before it sent its pre-wired graduates into the education workforce to target high schools, then middle schools and, now, elementary schools. Curricula has been dumbed down and the aim of educators today is hidden in plain sight: Everything is viewed through the prism of race and gender fluidity. The children are endangered in the hands of unenlightened parents, they insist, even as these same parents rescue their kids from public schools in droves.
The recent annual conference of the National Education Association (the Left’s most reliable source of funding) featured a throwing down of the gauntlet by NEA President Becky Pringle, who is black. She delivered a speech that conjured memories of Nation of Islam cult leader Louis Farrakhan’s fiery rants.
The NEA, Pringle intoned, will “reclaim public education as a common good, and transform it into something it was never designed to be: racially and socially just, and equitable.”
The Marxist Left, the media and education overlords are, effectively, the jungle. As Christians and Americans in 2023 we have only one choice. Put on the armor of God, embrace the spirit of or America’s founding fathers, and stand in the breech. Or step into darkness of the jungle.