Eric Metaxas is one of my favorite authors, a modern voice who is speaking more boldly and more articulately than most. He is adamant that Americans have enjoyed liberty for so long that we no longer appreciate what liberty is. It's like a fish in water, he says. Fish don't know what water is—they just exist in it until, for some reason, it's gone. (He should know. His new book is Fish Out of Water: A Search for the Meaning of Life, which I just ordered.)
For Metaxas, this battle is personal. Americans aren't just losing liberties, but they are ceding the public square to a nemesis that menaced Metaxas' own family: communism. Eric's father is Greek, and his mother is German; both grew up in Europe during World War II and under the constant threat—or reality—of godless, heartless communism that followed.
"My parents raised me to know that communism is evil, that American freedom is glorious and wonderful and a treasure," Metaxas says.
Metaxas' mother saw her beloved Germany come under Russian occupation and transform into the ugly experiment that was East Germany.
"She experienced the horror of communism in East Germany," he says. "She saw the unbelievable propaganda of the communists and how they push people around. It sickened her to the point that she escaped Germany."
His father, further south in Europe, saw the communists attempt to take over Greece immediately following World War II.
"He taught me to hate communism," Metaxas says. "I grew up with an understanding of how wicked communism is and how bad things can get."
But while he was growing up here in the U.S., he noticed his friends whose parents grew up in America didn't share this same passion for freedom. Rather, they seemed to shrug and take liberty for granted. By contrast, as a young man, Metaxas traveled to East Germany with his mother and saw the border guards, the dogs and the barbed wire that defined the edge of the then-Soviet empire. He remembers thinking, Wow, everything I've heard is true. This is the world's biggest prison. They're trying to keep the people in.
That background fuels Metaxas' anti-communist ardor today. One of his main concerns is how the Democratic Party has embraced communist ideology and driven all naysayers into the political wilderness. He talked to me about how the Democratic Party of yesteryear—of John Kennedy, Bill Clinton and even Walter Mondale—no longer exists, but has been taken over by Marxists.
"The Democratic Party has gone leftward over the decades, and it is unrecognizable from the party of John F. Kennedy," Metaxas says. "In the 1990s, Bill Clinton signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. He understood that the government has no right to infringe on the religious liberties of Americans, that the government can have no part in that. But suddenly, the party of Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton has become the party that says, 'We don't care about religious liberty. Religious liberty is just a dog whistle for white supremacy.'"
Voters, and Christians especially, "have to discern the times," he continues. "We are living in a time where if you vote for a Democrat, you are not getting Jimmy Carter; you're not getting Bill Clinton. You are getting people who are completely sold out to the darkest forces in our political life; forces that are economically disastrous. But that's the least of it. They are culturally hostile to the foundations of most Americans."
I interviewed Metaxas for my upcoming book, God and Cancel Culture, which will release on Sept. 7, 2021, but is available for preorder now. For more from Eric Metaxas on the dangers communism presents in the U.S. today, listen to the entire episode of the Strang Report podcast at this link, and be sure to reserve your copy of God and Cancel Culture as well. Subscribe to the Strang Report on Apple podcasts or your favorite podcast platform.
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