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DETROIT (ChurchMilitant.com) - The significance of patriotism, faith and family — once considered the bedrock of America — is measurably waning among the majority of U.S. citizens.
Earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal conducted a poll with NORC, a research group at the University of Chicago, that gauged where Americans stand on everything from the economy to the use of gender-neutral pronouns. But responses to questions about patriotism, religion and the importance of having children were what sparked unmistakable concern, especially within conservative circles.
"Recent polls that show Americans are abandoning religion, family and patriotism are lamentable but unsurprising. We are in the midst of an intensified war on all fronts: spiritual, cultural and political," remarked Church Militant producer and theologian Dr. William Mahoney.
This all-encompassing war is creating innumerable casualties on the homefront. According to answers from 1,019 adults aged 18 and over, when pollsters asked if "patriotism" is personally "very important," only 38% concurred. When The Wall Street Journal first asked that question in 1998, 70% responded it was "very important."
Fifty-nine percent of Americans in 1998 affirmed that having children was "very important." Today, that number has alarmingly dropped to 30%. Those numbers appear to mirror where people stand on religion. A quarter century ago, 62% stated that religion is "very important." Only 39% of today's respondents believe religion is "very important."
A battle for the hearts and minds of people has been fought since the beginning of humanity, but it has been intensifying in America in recent decades.
Dr. Mahoney, who has a doctorate in theology and licentiates both in dogmatic and biblical theology, explains what's at the heart of this battle:
At the center of this war is Jesus Christ, who asks, "Who do you say that I am?" As music, movies and media, coupled with the education system, are hellbent on hammering the minds of the masses with anything but pure, unbridled truth, more and more do not know the answer to Jesus' question — or even know there is such a question.
Mahoney breaks down the various ways people choose to answer the Lord's question:
There are those who profess His divinity and strive to love Him and their neighbor as themselves, those who do not know Him and either strive to act uprightly based on what they do know from natural law, those who reject what they know from natural law in pursuit of their own unexamined versions of happiness and those who know exactly who Jesus is and hate Him with infernal passion.
People who deny Jesus' Lordship and refuse to follow Him fall prey to fleeting, destructive ideologies. Those who ascribe to critical race theory, for instance, believe that so-called systemic racism is the foundation on which America was built — not hard work and the pursuit of freedom. Americans who embrace feminism and transgenderism are blinded to God's creation of male and female as a gift that furthers creation and is to be protected.
Then there's a progressive ideology that promotes relativism, yet deems people's sincerely held faith as irrelevant. The Heritage Foundation pointed out that, for political progressives, different ethnicities and gender identities are welcomed, but a variety of opinions and ideas are not.
With such ideologies growing in prevalence, is it any wonder that patriotism, religion and the importance of family have eroded? According to the WSJ–NORC poll, the only priority that has grown in perceived importance over the past 25 years, regardless of political bent, is money.
CatholicVote's communications director, Josh Mercer, agreed that the poll results make things look desperate, but he reminded Catholics that "the darkest times are when the faithful are called to be more bold in proclaiming the truths of our Faith, not less."
He added, "[A]s Catholics, we know that faith, family and — in a pluralistic society —tolerance are the building blocks of a nation. We should take the poll as a reminder that we really are fighting for the soul of our nation, and the stakes are high."
Fighting for the soul of the nation must start with fighting for the souls of individuals, with the sword of the Spirit. As a final thought and warning, Dr. Mahoney iterated that "religion, family and patriotism are interconnected parts of a whole that constitute a well-ordered society. The more society rejects what makes it whole, the more society will shatter into broken parts. The more the world rejects its Savior, the more the world will plummet into chaos."