How to be an American Dissident

When everything is moving at once, nothing appears to be moving, as onboard ship. When everyone is moving towards depravity, no one seems to be moving, but if someone stops, he shows up the others who are rushing on by acting as a fixed point.

—Blaise Pascal

American culture and politics are in a dizzying freefall. This is evident in many quarters. Consider first the freedom of speech, which is one of the five glorious freedoms of the First Amendment. (You should memorize them.) The new head of Twitter, Parag Agrawal, says he doesn’t think free speech is that important, because, after all, some views do not deserve a hearing. A recent editorial in The New York Times dismissed “cheap speech,” as not worth defending either. Rather, it needs to be monitored and controlled by the state. This emanates from the philosophy of critical race theory and the far left in general. While an old-line liberal, such as Alan Dershowitz, will defend everyone’s right to free speech, he is part of a vanishing breed. For many, free speech only furthers the oppression of people of color by white people, especially male heterosexuals. It is merely a ruse for systemic racism to continue. Thus, it must be regulated through speech codes and other forms of repression. 

America’s sexual morality is in radical freefall as well. The sexual revolution of the 1960s threw open the doors to promiscuity, abortion, and the advocacy of sexual aberrations posing as liberation. (Carl Trueman’s insightful book, The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self explains all this.) I sat at the Colorado state capitol on day recently to testify against a bill that said that unborn human beings have no rights whatsoever. It passed, thanks to Democratic sponsorship and support. It is nothing less than barbaric.

Culture became in increasingly coarsened and tawdry, as expressed in popular music and films. The floodgates of sexual insanity were thrown open with the 2015 Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage. But legal fiat cannot undo divine fact. God designed and defined marriage as between a man and a woman (Genesis 2), a view Jesus ratified as well (Matthew 19:1-6). Now, not only is the idea of marriage marred by manmade mandates, but gender identity has been untethered from biology and the created order entirely. One article claims there are sixty-four genders…and counting. The LGBTQI acronym keeps growing in indecency. Young children are allowed and even encouraged to “go trans,” which produces irreversible damage to their young bodies and souls. March 31, 2022, marked the 13th annual International Transgender Day of Visibility and saw President Biden unveil various pro-transgender policies and said, “Vice President Harris and I affirm that transgender Americans make our Nation more prosperous, vibrant, and strong.” Yes, all people are made in God’s image, but not all sexual choices make for a “more prosperous, vibrant, and strong” America. We must have compassion on those with sexual disorders, but here is no reason to deem those disorders as healthy. 

I could go on, sadly, but the short story is that the fabric of American civilization is unraveling. Our freedoms are being undermined, and freedom is not free. We must fight for it. Traditional sexual morality has been rejected at the highest level of civil government. Children are encouraged to mutilate themselves through “sex reassignment” surgery. And those of us who disagree must be silenced, cancelled, and “rendered impossible” (to steal a phrase from the Communist Manifesto). The capacity for big tech and the civil government to spy on us is extraordinary, and this is exactly what authoritarian governments need to control and punish dissidents. 

But what can we do? How can we resist a culture and politics in moral freefall? How can we protect our families and ourselves from a debauched culture and a growing police state? We must be dissidents—those who think and live differently and are savvy enough to get away with it. Being upset is not enough. We must be intentional and organized in our opposition to the madness. Consider three areas.

First, we need to be knowledgeable take off any rose-colored glasses. Our American system, our founding documents and basic forms of civil government, are strong. Our implementation of them is weak and many leftists want to change the system at its root through activist judges and executive orders. If you could read one book on this (and you should read more), I heartily recommend Rod Dreher’s, Live Not By Lies, which both explains our cultural bone rot and outlines strategies of resistance that are inspired by Eastern European dissidents under Communism. 

Second, prayer is essential. We are fighting a spiritual battle as well as one of flesh and blood. Thus, we pray for our leaders and for ourselves as citizens. The Apostle Paul instructs us:

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior.

–1 Timothy 2:1-3

We should also pray that the God of the nations overthrows and undermines godless civil governments in his timing. The Psalmist cries out

The Lord is a God who avenges.
    O God who avenges, shine forth.
  Rise up, Judge of the earth;
    pay back to the proud what they deserve.
  How long, Lord, will the wicked,
    how long will the wicked be jubilant. . . 

 Can a corrupt throne be allied with you—
  a throne that brings on misery by its decrees?

–Psalm 94:1-3, 20

Third, strong parallel cultures need to be set up to resist the madness of our society. We start with the church, which must teach and preach and live the fear of God, holy worship, intelligent and passionate prayer, gospel outreach, and godly citizenship. The message of the Bible is increasingly counter-cultural and threatens the norms of the elites in politics, education, and the media. 

Beyond the church, we must conserve the historic American ideals through counter-cultural education. We cannot expect state schools to teach traditional values or the American vision; rather, they usually undermine them by teaching LGBTQ perspectives, even encouraging children to go trans. State education is largely lost to leftism, but valiant parents can influence school boards and participate in education; valiant teachers can refuse to drink the leftist cool aid. Some character schools are worthwhile. Better yet, let a thousand flowers bloom through home schooling—which is exploding—and Christian schools at every level. We ought to think beyond the next election cycle (as important as that is), but in terms of the next and distant generations of God-fearing, America-loving people. This will cost us time and money. It is worth it.

The hour is late. Much is at stake. Keep your hand to the plow, your heart aglow with a truthful faith, and your will centered on making a difference, come what may. Dissidents we must be.

3 thoughts on “How to be an American Dissident

  1. While I concur with much of your analysis, I still wonder whether God calls American Christians to save America. Sadly, the political correctness that you describe on the left is now replicated on the political right as populism has replaced conservatism and postmodernity reigns supreme across the political spectrum. Face it. Donald Trump was the most postmodern president that the United States has ever had and everything for Mr. Trump and his close followers comes down to nothing more than the will to power. Hence cancel culture reigns supreme on the political right as well as the left.

    In my view, the best way to save America is to not concentrate on saving America but on learning to love God and love others as a way of life. Over the past ten years, I’ve become even more convinced of the sovereignty of a just and merciful God, and no matter what happens to the United States (and the political extremism of both the left and the right leaves with little hope), our Triune God’s purposes will not be thwarted. I fully expect things will get worse in the years to come, perhaps to the point of a second civil war that leads to societal disruption. I hope not. That would be bad for all of us.

    All of that to say, that I’ve become a conscienceious objector toward participation in culture wars, because culture warriors on both extremes demonize their opponents and cause great harm to others. With the exception of various religious leaders of his time, I don’t see Jesus engaging people in that manner. Instead, he did two things. First, he cared for them and their needs. Second, he warned them about the even greater disaster that would come their way if they continued to rebel against their Creator. The Gospel is central to our individual lives and to the life of the church. Perhaps the best thing we can do is not worry so much about the politics but about the congregational health of the people of God, especially when all of the signs point to an American Christianity that is extremely unhealthy.

  2. Greetings Dr. Groothuis

    I want to thank you for your work. I’ve read two of your books and have found them very helpful in my work as a clinical psychologist. I also enjoy your blogs and updates. Blessings and peace in Christ. David

    David Zuccolotto, PhD Clinical Psychologist Dignity Health Mercy Medical Group 2110 Professional Drive, Ste. 120 Roseville, CA 95661

    CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This e-mail may contain confidential information that is legally privileged. Do not read this e-mail if you are not the intended recipient. This e-mail transmission, and any documents, files or previous e-mail messages attached to it may contain confidential information that is legally privileged. If you are not the intended recipient, or a person responsible for delivering it to the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any disclosure, copying, distribution or use of any of the information contained in or attached to this transmission is strictly prohibited. If you have received this transmission in error, please immediately notify sender by reply e-mail and destroy the original transmission and its attachments without reading or saving in any manner.

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  3. Thank you for reminding us of the importance of developing strong parallel cultures. This seems so critical if we will resist the lies that surround us. Thanks!

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