The First Things mid-year campaign was a great success. Thanks to the generous support of hundreds of donors, we exceeded our ambitious goal of $500,000. Please accept my thanks and the gratitude of the entire staff.
This remarkable show of support indicates a commitment to contend in the public square—contend for religious truth, for moral standards, for the dignity of the human person. I pledge that we will honor this determination.
We will not capitulate to the secular conceit that a liberal, pluralistic society requires us to set aside our theological convictions when we discuss and debate issues of public importance. We will not kowtow to LGBT ideology, which erases the difference between men and women. And while we will always support efforts for racial justice, we will not mouth divisive pieties about “systemic racism” and “white privilege.”
We will continue to honor God’s authority, refusing to allow the fickle winds of intellectual fashion to determine our theological outlooks. We will treasure the philosophy, art, and literature of the Western tradition. We will sift through our inheritance with a docile spirit, eager to learn from the past.
And we will do our best to propose a way forward for our troubled society. Turmoil at the New York Times indicates that mainstream liberals are incapable of leading. The same holds at our universities, where the most extreme voices are able to intimidate deans, provosts, and college presidents. It is up to us to employ our intelligence to address the problems our society faces.
We need to renew the American tradition of free enterprise so that it serves the needs of all Americans, especially the high school-educated workers left behind by globalization. We need to think about the moral mission of American power, avoiding utopian illusions while accepting the responsibility that comes with our extraordinary success as a nation. We need to restore marriage and family life, both of which have been damaged by a me-oriented culture and LGBT ideology.
Most important, we need to raise the vision of our fellow citizens. A religious person seeks to honor God and do his will. This transcendent orientation confers a supernatural dignity on even the humblest endeavors. Let us manifest that dignity in all that we do, contending in the public square, yes, but always with the sure knowledge that a life of prayer and worship is a greater contribution to the common good than election victories or won debates.
The First Things community is strong because we support one another. Thanks again for your contributions—financial and spiritual—over the last two months. I pledge that the editors, writers, and staff of First Things will do everything we can to support you with intelligent, faithful commentary and analysis.
R. R. Reno is editor of First Things.
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