There is a clear divide in the nation – a divide that seems to be more distinct than ever.
- Stephen McDowell
(Editor's note: this is part 1 of a 3 part blog series)
A War of Worldviews
The response of many Americans to the election and early administration of Donald Trump reveals there is a great divide among the American people. One may think that the left side of the divide—those opposing Trump—are predominant since their actions and words make the headlines of the major media outlets and their ideology is embraced by a large majority of academia and Hollywood. Moreover, a majority of voters supported Hillary Clinton and, by default, her progressive, liberal, and secular ideas.[i]
The Left has become increasingly hostile, radical and perverse, not only pushing homosexuality as normal and requiring special protection for LGBTs, but also attempting to force transgenderism upon the nation and encouraging the harboring of illegal immigrants. Their tactics of violence and intimidation, suppression of free speech, and lying about positions of their opponents are becoming the daily norm. While they have cried out in the past, there is a new savagery in their words and tactics.
Divisiveness in politics is not new, but the Left’s illogical justification for its uncivil and unlawful behavior is new. And the rants and raves from liberals are louder than ever. That a majority of voters support such people and that a large percentage of the American people agree to such tactics is disheartening.
However, amid the Left’s acrimony and deplorable action, there is some good news. A map of the results of the 2016 Presidential election by counties shows most areas of the nation reject the extreme liberal ideas of the progressive Left, since only 16% of counties supported Clinton. While President Donald Trump is not a paragon of virtue, he does support many biblical virtues (life, property rights, freedom of religion, parental rights, the rule of law), and he has appointed many Christians and biblically thinking people to his Cabinet. The “red counties” also reflect growing conservatism in government, with the GOP now controlling both the U.S. House and Senate, 33 Governor’s mansions, and 32 state legislatures. While all of the Republican leaders are certainly not Christians nor principled conservatives, there is, in general, a clear difference in the worldview and morality of the people represented in the red and blue counties on the map.
Apparently, “Americans are no idiots, and they appear determined not to be slaves,” to use the words of Presbyterian Pastor John Zubly warning the British in 1775 to not deprive the American people of their liberty.[ii]
Interestingly, but not surprisingly, if we compare the election map with a map showing the most Christian areas of the United States, we see that the red states/counties generally coincide with the highest proportion of evangelical Christians. The worldview of this large voting sector (26% of all voters identified as evangelical) certainly affected who they supported, with about 81% of white evangelicals voting for Trump, and only 16% for Clinton.[iii] While it is likely many of these voted against Clinton rather than for Trump, either way, most evangelicals reject the secular, liberal worldview because it is contrary to biblical thought.
There is a clear divide in the nation – a divide that seems to be more distinct than ever. The divide is not just about the role of government in issues like helping the poor and public education (where Christians may have different positions). The divide is much more pronounced. It centers on such important issues as life, the family, and morality, views on which the Bible is clear. It also involves ideas on property rights, the role of government in business, and Constitutional laws and liberties.
The blue-state liberals have general agreement of worldview. They are pro-abortion, pro-homosexuality, for big government, and against biblical morality. There are some “socialist Christians” who are pro-life and pro-family but they voted for Clinton because they perceived she supported their positions on social justice (government provision of the poor and standing up for the oppressed), which to them outweighed the issues of life and traditional family.
The red-state conservatives do not all have a biblical worldview—while about one-half of these voters were evangelical, their depth of biblical reasoning varies greatly—but a majority do adhere to a common set of principles rooted in a biblical philosophy of man and government and expressed in the Declaration of Independence. They believe in truths rooted in God, embrace limited government, support freedom of religion, conscience, and speech, and are for Creator-endowed rights to life, liberty, and property. Throughout most of our history, the vast majority of Americans believed these principles, which, unfortunately, have been changing in recent generations.
Why is this? Why do an increasing number of Americans think homosexuality and transgenderism are okay?[iv] Why are an increasing number of Americans embracing a socialist/secular worldview? One primary reason is that public schools and most colleges have been controlled by the Left for many generations.[v] The control of ideology and moral development has been so absolute that it is a wonder that more of the American people do not embrace secularism. The great tool of socialist indoctrination has not had the overall effect its proponents had hoped it would. Yet, it is also a mystery that so many people still embrace leftist/socialist ideas because they always produce bad fruit wherever they are tried. They do not work.
What is behind this great divide in the nation? Why is there an ever-growing hostility among the “red” and “blue” states/counties? Why do so many Americans embrace ideas contrary to our founding principles and antithetical to biblical morality? At the root of the conflict is a war of worldviews, between one that is Christian and one that is humanistic.
[i] Just consider her positions on a few important moral issues: she is for abortions up until the time of birth; she embraces same-sex marriage; she supports forcing Christians via fines and civil punishments to embrace homosexuality as normal behavior.
[ii] Thomas S. Kidd, God of Liberty, A Religious History of the American Revolution, New York: Basic Books, 2010, p. 86.
[iv] A recent survey shows that 43% of Americans think it is morally okay to change the gender you were born through either surgery or taking hormones; 42% think it is wrong to do so. afaJournal, October 2016, Tupelo, MS: American Family Association, p. 4.
[v] While most colleges are liberal, conservative colleges are on the rise. See: https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2017/02/the-hot-new-brand-of-higher-education/515316/