My friend Tony Katz can be heard each morning on Indy’s news center, WIBC 93.1. This morning, Tony was preaching fire. Being in Indianapolis, Tony is at ground zero in the latest battle in the culture war.
Indianapolis recently passed and Governor Mike Pence signed into law the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. I think it’s safe to say that following the signing of the bill, all hell broke loose. Those opposed to the law made a lot of noise, threatened to boycott the state, and called supporters of the law a lot of nasty names. Although it wasn’t their intent, they even managed to make martyrs of a mall family-run pizzeria. An overzealous reporter thought it might be interesting to get these good folks on tape saying that while they have no problem serving anyone, they could not in good conscience serve a homosexual wedding. What remains unclear is where all the homosexuals are ordering pizza for their weddings. The pizzeria was immediately swamped with threats of violence that they were forced to close. Supporters of RFRA responded by donating three quarters of a million dollars to the unfortunate family. Let us hope they will take a few grand and invest in a few hours of media training.
Ultimately, those opposed to the RFRA were able to win concessions by Pence who negotiated changes to the law. In other words, says Katz, “the opposition won” and those who supported the RFRA, or simply don’t like to be bullied lost. Katz, went further, “Conservatives donated thousands of dollars to a pizzeria none of them would ever visit, which is great, but the opposition got the law changed!” The law represents one of the important battle grounds in the culture war and the opposition got the law changed.
Katz wondered, “Where were the 50 thousand supporters at the capital building, holding hands and singing we shall overcome?” Indeed! And what would have happened if RFRA supporters showed up a dozen at a time, to disrupt the brunches of diners? Tony’s point (and the one I am facetiously making) is that we are at war and if we intend to win (as opposed to merely complain) we have go to raise some dust.
Conservatives, however, by nature tend to dislike raising dust, and there’s the rub.
I have a theory. I believe that the fighting styles exhibited in the culture war are rather like those posited in the question: Who wins a fight between a lion and a tiger? The answer is, the lion. Why? Lions fight as a pride – a group, while tigers fight one at a time. Similarly, Progressives, love the idea of a group – a collective, so showing up downtown and chanting, or taking time out of a Sunday to irritate diners trying to enjoy brunch, comes rather naturally. On the other hand, Conservatives, by nature are people who dislike the idea of being part of a collective. Being a conservative, tends to mean that you want people out of your business – you want to be left alone to live your own life, on your own terms, in the best way that you see fit. Showing up to chant, or bothering people while they eat, goes against their very nature. On those rare occasions that Conservatives do show up to protest or hold hands and sing spirituals, it is usually at the 11th hour, and often times long after the battle has been lost.
That has to change! If Conservatives are serious about putting up a fight for our culture, we will have to go against our nature and kick up some dust: we will have to march, hold hands and sing, and annoy people. We are going to have to make some noise. If we aren’t prepared to do what it takes, we need to resign ourselves to defeat.
As Tony Katz passionately explained, giving money is great. However, if we actually want to win, we had better – uhm – “get on the bus.”