Are We Already in a [Cold] Civil War?

Ray Dalio is a billionaire who was once called “Wall Street’s Oddest Duck.” In 1975, he founded Bridgewater Associates, a premier asset (hedge fund) management firm, out of a two-bedroom apartment in New York City.

Mr. Dalio is not a believer (he says he practices transcendental meditation), but some of his insights will resonate with Christians. A few of his nuggets of wisdom include:

“Choose your habits well. Habit is probably the most powerful tool in your brain’s toolbox.”

“Pain plus reflection equals progress.”

“To be effective you must not let your need to be right be more important than your need to find out what’s true. If you are too proud of what you know or of how good you are at something you will learn less, make inferior decisions, and fall short of your potential.”

But in a recent interview with Charlie Roe, Dalio made the observation that he thought there was a 40% chance America was headed towards a civil war. He then noted there are actually five types of wars: trade, technology, geopolitical, capital and military.

He seems to have forgotten the sixth: culture.

To be fair, America has been locked in a cultural clash for generations. It’ll be exactly sixty years ago this Saturday that the Supreme Court ruled, by a 6-1 decision, that even voluntary, nonsectarian prayers were unconstitutional in public schools.

“It is no part of the business of government to compose official prayers,” wrote Justice Hugo Black for the majority.

Justice Potter Stewart, the lone dissenter, disagreed, noting:

“With all respect, I think the Court has misapplied a great constitutional principle. I cannot see how an ‘official religion’ is established by letting those who want to say a prayer say it. On the contrary, I think that to deny the wish of these school children to join in reciting this prayer is to deny them the opportunity of sharing in the spiritual heritage of our Nation.”

The attack on the culture went well beyond school prayer. Of course, our quest to protect innocent life has been a near half-century campaign following the High Court’s ruling in Roe in 1973. The defense of the biblical, multi-millennia definition of marriage suffered a stinging defeat in 2015.

But could these differences eventually lead to a second American civil war?

As Dalio notes, not all wars begin with bullets or bombs, and in fact, with the exception of military conflicts, most contain neither. Scanning the landscape of America in 2022, it seems entirely possible that we could already be in a form of a cold civil war right now.

Consider:

Some government officials have already declined to enforce or prosecute existing laws that don’t comport with their personal views. With Dobbs looming, some have pledged to ignore the decision outright, setting up “sanctuary cities” for abortion in otherwise pro-life states.

Some Americans have decided to move to states better aligned with their political or social ideology. We’ve gone from a nation divided between the “North” and the “South” to the “Red” and the “Blue.”

Focus on the Family finds itself headquartered in the middle of a state that recently passed one of the most radical abortion laws in the country. But here we stand and remain, committed to speaking truth in love to power.

With radical leftists calling for a summer of rage in the wake of the Dobbs’ decision, it’s unlikely the country’s temperature will cool off anytime soon. But as Christians, we must stand with conviction and pray earnestly for the peace and prosperity of every American city.

If you find yourself frustrated, dejected or depressed with the direction of the country, we can still live with confidence that the Lord knows our plight and hears our pleas and prayers. Come war or come peace, He sustains and is sovereign, reigning and ruling, forever and ever. Amen.

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