Religious Apartheid

By John W. Whitehead July 8, 1994

From Religious Apartheid, a Moody Press book by John W. Whitehead.

(July/August 1994)

The United States is in the midst of a series of cultural wars that threaten to undermine its basic foundations.

These cultural wars include the continuing strife between the races (primarily black and white), the poor and the wealthy, orthodox and progressive beliefs, the religious and the secular. It is the last category—the war between the religious and the secular—that is the concern of my book, Religious Apartheid.

Unfortunately, America is moving toward what I call a system of religious apartheid. Applied to the United States, apartheid describes the increasing hostility of secular concerns toward religious interests.

Religion is being systematically separated from American society. From the removal of crosses and nativity scenes in public places to the prohibition of individual prayer in the schools, examples of this apartness and separation are occurring daily throughout the country.

Now various liberal private interest groups, such as the American Civil Liberties Union, often in conjunction with public schools and local governments, search the public arena for any reference to God or Christianity and seek its removal.

As religious apartheid has gained a foothold in the culture, however, the threat to traditional practitioners of religion (such as Christians) has been made much worse by the decline in the moral principles that have undergirded America since its inception. Moreover, those who reject these moral values now dominate government circles and governmental policy making. That has created a series of crisis points that are having a great impact, changing the way people think and act.

For example, the doctrine of political correctness that has stampeded across university campuses is now affecting the general culture. It has created an aura of censorship and a climate of fear that is chilling the very right to speak and think freely.

The family, once the bedrock of society, is under siege from state agencies and the culture at large. As new forms of the family, such as homosexual liaisons, gain more acceptance, the traditional family is losing its authority.

The devaluing of human life continues unabated. Unborn children, as sanctioned by the Supreme Court, are the targets of private interest groups as well as state agencies that not only want to abort them but harvest their body parts as well.

The homosexual movement has blossomed into a national gay agenda that is altering politics, education, the church, the arts, and the family. The radical assertion of the rights of gays in all areas of American life will have far reaching effects that we do not yet fully comprehend.

What we are witnessing is the end of religion and morality in the public sphere. As Christianity is driven further away, American public life is increasingly vulnerable to radical lifestyles and opinions of a purely secular consensus.

Governmental agencies, such as the Supreme Court, the President, or Congress, however, do not shoulder the entire blame for these profound changes in the American cultural fabric. Far from it. Indeed, past generations of Christians and other religionists who were not involved in society or who sat silently by as the culture embraced the secular world view are also greatly responsible.

If the Judeo-Christian principles that served as the source of all law governing this republic are not recovered in the near future, the conflict that will naturally emerge over the changes sweeping across the cultural collapse due to opposing world views becomes more imminent, those supporting the system of religious apartheid in America will intensify the pressure, and oppression and even overt persecution of those holding a religious world view may result.