A Q&A with Professor Carol M. Swain on secularism, the Culture War, religious liberty, Russell Moore, racial reconciliation & saving evangelicalism from liberalism
Carol M. Swain is a Southern Baptist and a professor of Political Science and Professor of Law at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. Professor Swain was kind enough to take time to answer a few of our questions about religious liberty in America, the rise of secularism, the folly of depending on secular courts, and the problems in the Southern Baptist Convention involving Dr. Russell Moore and the rising liberalism displayed by the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. You can follow Professor Swain on Facebook, Twitter and at her website.
Capstone Report: You’ve witnessed firsthand the attack on conservative, evangelical Christians in the public square. You’ve faced it on campus of one of the finest universities in the South. Some evangelicals like Russell Moore say the culture war is over? That we’ve lost. What do you think?
Professor Carol Swain:
Secularism is gaining ground in America, especially at colleges and universities, but it is far too early to raise the white flag of surrender. We cannot console the enemies of Christ with messages to suggest a battle has been lost when there are still millions of Christian men, women, and children on the battlefield with no intentions of surrendering. The culture war is not over and to say otherwise is irresponsible and counterproductive, especially if the message of defeat comes from a general. When tempted to quit, we should remember the ten spies and Caleb’s message to the people as they stood before Moses. With boldness and certainty, Caleb silenced the people and said “we are well able to take the land (Numbers 13:30, ESV).“ This should be the attitude of every God-fearing, Bible-believing Christian who is dismayed with the moral degeneration of America and some of its churches, where the social gospel has replaced the simple message of the cross. We can challenge the assumptions of secularism and display a spirit of meekness while we speak truth in a loving manner.
Christians in America wondering what the hostility and intolerance towards them means, would do well to ponder the plight of Christians around the world who are bravely resisting hostile, secular, and religious force seeking to annihilate them ((Matthew 24:13). In the face of horrific persecution, the worldwide church has grown. A 2015 Washington Post article cites data showing, “Over the past 100 years, Christians grew from less than 10 percent of Africa’s population to its nearly 500 million today.” Asia, Latin America and other regions of the world have reported spectacular growth as well. Unfortunately, we sometimes allow ourselves to be deceived by the subtlety of secularism and its false intellectualism. We must, therefore, be on guard. After all, Lucifer was an attractive, seductive angel of light.