In the video and transcript below, David Horowitz discusses his new book, Dark Agenda: The War to Destroy Christian America. The talk was given at the Freedom Center's Wednesday Morning Club on March 8, 2019. Don't miss it! [Order Dark Agenda: HERE.]
Readers of my new book “Dark Agenda” might wonder how an agnostic Jew and ex-radical came to write about the war to destroy Christian America. Once I recognized the destructive character of the radical movement I had been part of forty years ago, I began a re-examination of everything I and my comrades had thought about the system we had set out to destroy.
In the course of this inquiry, I had a kind of epiphany. Thinking about the unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, which even radicals cherished, I realized that these rights were only unalienable because they were given by a Divinity - by God. If they were granted by government, then government could take them away.
It was a simple idea to understand but not so simple to embrace. Even though I was an agnostic, I had to face the fact that without a belief in God, or respect for such a belief, these rights could not exist. Without respect for believers and their belief, without respect for the Christians who created this country, our most cherished rights would have no foundation and could not be defended.
And that was just the beginning of my second thoughts. Ninety-eight percent of the people who settled and created America were protestant Christians fleeing religious persecution. Every element of our democracy – pluralism, inclusion, diversity, equality and protection for minorities - is Christian in origin, and more specifically a direct product of the Protestant Reformation.
The Reformation was a revolt against the authority of the Catholic Church whose role until then was mediator between God and His creatures. Before the Reformation no salvation was possible outside the Church and its priesthood. The reformers advanced two fundamental doctrines: “the priesthood of all believers” and “salvation by faith.”
“Salvation by faith” was the belief that we are such flawed creatures none of us deserves salvation, which can only be granted by God’s grace. This is the idea behind the checks and balances put in place by America’s founders who understood the dangers posed not only by the popular majority but by government itself, whose agents were as prone to the sins that lead to injustice as those whom they governed.
But the truly revolutionary protestant idea was “the priesthood of all believers.” It meant that every one of God’s creatures faced their Creator directly, without a mediator, and therefore that all human beings were equal in the eyes of God, and had to be treated equally by government, which existed to serve them.
This is the idea that made America the world leader in abolishing slavery, in empowering women, and in creating a society that was inclusive and diverse. In the protestant view, no Church was raised above others, no pope or priest or minister had the authority even to define what Christianity was, and neither could the state. That was left to the individual and his or her conscience.
Because the protestants who settled and created America were fleeing persecution by religions that had been established by the state, the American Founders made religious liberty, the first liberty and the foundation of all our other liberties.
The title of my book is Dark Agenda: The Left’s War to Destroy Christian America. In the last sixty years, the anti-religious, anti-American left has conducted a relentless assault on believers and their beliefs, suppressing religious liberty, stripping the public square of religious expression and memory, and in the process removing the underpinnings of our democratic order. What inspired me to write this book was the realization that the left’s hatred of Christianity is also its hatred for America itself.
The year 2008 marked the opening of a new $621 million Visitor’s Center adjacent to the U.S. Capitol. It was designed to serve as an informational museum about our republic. When it was opened, however, all references to God and the religious faith of the founders had been systematically edited out of its photos and historical displays. The lengths to which the designers went in their zeal to expunge religion were both extreme and petty:
- An enlarged image of the Constitution, for example, was photo-shopped to remove the words, “In the Year of Our Lord” above the signatures of the signers.
- The nation’s official motto was alleged to be E Pluribus Unum, when in fact it is, “In God We Trust.”
- Even a replica of the Speaker’s rostrum in the House of Representatives omitted the gold-lettered inscription of the nation’s actual motto, because of its reference to a divinity.
It is not just visitors to the nation’s capital who have had God and religion airbrushed out of our nation’s founding. Thanks to a series of corrupt Supreme Court decisions beginning in 1962, children in the nation’s public schools are denied knowledge of the religious origins and foundations of our nation and its freedoms. Outrageously, because of the Court’s decisions this knowledge is now denied to our school children by the Constitution itself.
In 1986, a study of 60 textbooks used by 87% of public school children noted that, “the Pilgrims are described entirely without any reference to religion. Thus, the textbooks describe how at the end of their first year they ‘wanted to give thanks for all they had,’ which was the first Thanksgiving. But no mention is made of the fact it was God they were thanking…. The Pueblo Indians can pray to Mother Earth – but the Pilgrims can’t be described as praying to God. And never are Christians described as praying to Jesus.”
The study sums up its findings in these words, “There is not one story or article in all these books, in approximately 9-10 thousand pages, in which the central motivation or major content derives from Christianity or Judaism.”
If you don’t know where you come from, how do you know where you are going?
This is why the assault on religion has created a national crisis in our country, dividing us into warring camps whose fundamental views are not only in conflict, but irreconcilable.
The first Supreme Court decision banishing religion from the schools and eventually the public square occurred in 1962 and is known as Engel v. Vitale. Engel was a founding member of the New York chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, a radical organization hostile to America and its religious foundations. The ACLU suit objected to a 23-word non-denominational prayer devised by the New York Board of Regents which said, “Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers and our country. Amen.”
For 170 years, prayers had been regular features of public schools, without a single constitutional challenge. Now Engel and his team claimed that this innocuous prayer violated the establishment clause of the First Amendment, which banned the state from establishing an official religion.
At the Supreme Court, seven unelected, appointed-for-life lawyers decided by a 6-1 vote in favor of the radicals. In his lone dissent, Justice Potter Stewart pointed out the hypocrisy of his colleagues whose sessions still began with the invocation, “God Save the United States and this Honorable Court.” The idea that a 23-word non-denominational prayer established a religion was transparently absurd, but 6 unelected justices decided it wasn’t.
The Greek scientist Archimedes famously said, “Give me a lever and a place to stand, and I will move the earth.” In the Supreme Court, a radical minority had found a lever that would circumvent the democratic process and allow them to change the world.
There were many democratic solutions available to the prayer issue. If atheists felt excluded by the non-denominational prayer, they could have petitioned the Regents, or the school board, or their elected officials to find a way to accommodate non-religious children. But as radicals they weren’t interested in the democratic process. They had found a branch of government which could change the practices of a nation overnight, make the new practices the fundamental law of the land, and do it for all fifty states at once.
How radical and anti-American were the plaintiffs who shaped America’s future through the leverage of the Supreme Court? The following year, America’s most notorious atheist, Madalyn Murray O’Hair, brought a parallel but far more influential ACLU suit to the Supreme Court claiming that school Bible readings violated the establishment clause.
Murray was the founder of Atheists of America. Life Magazine called her, “The Most Hated Woman in America.” She embraced this epithet to position herself as a victim. In fact, she was a deceitful manipulator of public opinion, who went so far as to blame Christians for the fatal heart attack her aged father suffered only hours after she had assaulted him over his morning coffee with these words: “I hope you drop dead. I’ll dump your shriveled body in the trash.”
Just prior to launching her anti-prayer campaign, Murray took her family to Europe where she tried to defect to the Soviet Union. Seeing what a troubled individual she was, the Kremlin rejected her. When she returned to the States and prepared to position her son as a victim of intolerant Christians, she asked him what he felt about the prayers at his school. He told her he didn’t mind them, to which she responded: “Don’t you understand what is going on yet?... The United States is nothing more than a fascist slave labor camp run by a handful of Jew-bankers in New York City…. The only way true freedom can be achieved is through the new socialist man…. Russia is close but not close enough or they would have let us in.”
The Russians were smart enough to see that Murray was a malicious crackpot, but not the U.S. Supreme Court, which, with one lone dissent, voted to impose her will on all Americans, and thereby suppress religious liberty, which is the foundation of all our freedoms.
The next two Supreme Court decisions engineered by the radicals were even more fraudulent. They led directly to the profound chasm in our society today. The fraudulent legal argument was common to both cases, but it was the 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade that led to the nation-breaking political divisions that confront us today.
The suit was the work of the lawyers at Planned Parenthood and the ACLU, whose support had been enlisted by a chapter of the radical Sixties organization, Students for a Democratic Society at the University of Texas. Once again, the radicals chose to by-pass the democratic-legislative process to invoke the tyranny of 9 unelected, life-appointed lawyers, who voted to make the right to kill children in the womb the fundamental law of the land.
The “legal” basis for Roe was an imaginary constitutional “right to privacy,” invented by Planned Parenthood lawyers to justify their radical agendas. Even if the Constitution contained a right to privacy – and it does not – the decision made no sense. As Justice Rehnquist said in dissent, there is nothing private about an abortion.
Nor are restrictions on abortions attacks on a woman’s right to choose. Unless she is a victim of rape, a woman makes a series of choices before arriving at the decision to kill a child – first to have sex, then with whom to have sex, then to have unprotected sex or to not use the day after pill. All these take place before a woman reaches the point where she makes a final choice: whether to go through with the birth and find her child an adoptive mother or kill it.
Roe v. Wade represented a fundamental break from the existing fabric of American life. It was imposed overnight, in every community in the country, and without the consent of the inhabitants of those communities who - according to the Constitution – were supposed to be sovereign.
This tyrannical, fraudulent Supreme Court decision split the nation in two. Its assault on traditional communities led directly to the creation of the religious right. Until Roe, the evangelical community had been wary of political involvements, but this unconstitutional assault on its communities thrust it into politics out of sheer concern for its self-defense.
The Moral Majority, Focus on the Family and the American Family Association - all pillars of this movement - were formed directly in the wake of Roe v. Wade. When the Democratic Party embraced Roe, it led to the wholesale defection of its Catholic base and shifted the party dramatically to the left. On the right, Roe prompted Catholics and evangelical protestants to unite in a political force that first elected Ronald Reagan and then Donald Trump.
The venom of liberals towards religious people is the product of a derangement parallel to their hatred both of Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump. It is manifest in the attacks on religion by the New Atheist movement whose spokesmen have accused religion of “poisoning everything” and whose leading voice, Richard Dawkins, has written, “Religious ideas are irrational. Religious ideas are dumb and dumber; super dumb.” Dawkins’ contempt for believers is the same wackiness we see in the claims that President Trump is a “white supremacist,” a “Russian agent,” and “unfit for office.” Every creator of the scientific revolution – Pascal, Galileo, Newton, Copernicus, even Darwin – believed in a Divinity and was inspired by this belief. Dumb? Really?
Why is the left at war with religious Christians? For the same reason leftists are at war with America, the democracy Christians created on the basis of Christian ideas.
Christians believe in the uniqueness and sanctity of the individual soul; they believe in free will, and they believe in “original sin” - in the flawed nature of human beings. It is our flawed nature that makes the utopias of the left – communism, socialism, social justice – impossible to achieve, and monstrous to pursue,
Free will means that individuals are accountable for their actions, not races and genders, as the social redeemers claim. Leftists, so-called liberals, progressives, communists, social justice zealots - all are reactionary adherents of the 4th Century heresy named after its author, Pelagius, a Christian monk. The Pelagian heresy is the most destructive ideology in all of human history.
Pelagius believed that people are born good, and that the sins they commit are against their true nature. Therefore, he believed that if people would only be true to their nature, resist temptation, and be good Christians, they could create heaven on earth, and do it without a divine intervention or grace.
Progressives are the modern followers of Pelagius. They believe that people are born good and that society makes them bad (as though society was not a reflection of the people who create it). Therefore, if people will just be true to their nature, if they will choose to be politically correct – or if the state can coerce them into being politically correct – we can achieve a world of perfect equality, justice and peace. These are the same seductive lies that led to the murder of more than 100 million people in the last century. They were killed because they stood in the way of totalitarian perfection, and were therefore condemned as politically incorrect.
Pelagius’ antagonist was St. Augustine, who was in a way the godfather of modern conservatism. Augustine argued that sin is integral to human nature, that we all share in Adam’s original sin: wanting to know evil as well as good, aspiring to be god-like and create new worlds. This is why human beings corrupt movements for social change and government as surely as they corrupt society. Because it is human nature to corrupt. It is human corruption, which dooms all utopian schemes that aim to repair and redeem the world - a feat that only a Divinity could accomplish.
The battle we face today is one episode in a war as old as creation itself. It is a war that arises out of the human spirit, which is born to evil, but which is also capable of great beauty and great good. Our battle is for our lives and the lives of our children, and for this great country which is unique among the nations, and worth saving.