In a sailing ship, a change in the direction of the wind and waves is occasion for all hands on deck to adjust the rigging and trim the sails. To appreciate the sea change in the Church’s presence in the United States after the HHS ruling, we have to go back for a look at the 1950s. Since then, a series of self-inflicted blows have left the U. S. Church weakened and confused about its identity in American society.
In the fifties, the Church was a comfortable pillar of the community compromising all along the way with the prevailing culture and craving the legitimacy that it imagined the U. S. culture could bestow. Obviously, this depiction is a little simplistic. But the fact is that the Church does not need legitimization from American culture. But for some time, many in the Church have read from the culture how they are supposed to behave and what the Church herself can say and do – and how.