Long twilight struggles


What a difference a half-century makes. In 1961 John F. Kennedy famously referred to the Cold War (which sometimes became hot) as a generation-long battle that had to be fought. His words: "Now the trumpet summons us again, not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need; not as a call to battle, though embattled we are-but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle. …"

The Cold War went on from 1946 until the Soviet Union fell apart in 1991. During that time some Americans wanted to surrender-"Better Red than Dead"-but they never got more than a toehold in the American consciousness. Cold War determination still has some cachet. In 2006, 45 years after Kennedy's inaugural address, Twilight Struggle (a war board game, with one player playing the United States and the other the Soviet Union) received the Golden Geek Award as the best new war game and the best new two-player game. In 2010 Twilight Struggle became the highest-ranked game at BoardGameGeek.

In real life, though, America's current leaders seemingly have no willingness to endure a twilight struggle in the Middle East. Imagine if Kennedy in 1961 had announced that 15 years of Cold War were enough? What if he had gone to Berlin and instead of saying, "I am a Berliner," and vowing that the United States would not abandon that city's residents to communism, announced that our troops would leave in 1963 regardless of conditions on the ground?

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But we don't have to think of Berlin or Kabul as the locus of twilight struggles. That term is also a good one to use in describing the current battle of Christianity vs. secularism and atheism in America. Combatants in a twilight struggle need not a sudden explosion of energy but steady endurance. A twilight struggle means having our children read the Bible day after day, reading them bedtime stories, and helping them to begin to see life biblically.

It means building churches, Christian schools, pro-life pregnancy centers, and Christian anti-poverty ministries. It means showing our willingness to give up our personal security to take up new challenges. It means standing for Christ in a modern Babylon and refusing to back down.

Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.


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