How to be an American Dissident

In his essay How to be an American Dissident, Dr. Douglas Groothuis explains that American Culture is in a dizzying freefall. He describes the dangers of the attack on free speech. Dr. Groothuis connects the dots from the 1960s sexual revolution to Colorado’s radical abortion bill HB22-1279 that makes it legal to abort a baby right up until the moment of birth. Dr. Groothuis shares three things each of us can do to change this destructive course for America.

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. Free speech 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 a 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 one day recently to testify against a bill that said that unborn human beings have no rights whatsoever. It passed, thanks to Democrat sponsorship and support. It is nothing less than barbaric.

Culture became 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 there 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 and 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. . .

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