Abortion has been a part of the American national religion for several decades, and in February a federal court in Oregon decided that it was blasphemy to criticize the ritual sacrifice of unborn children. At issue was a pro-life website (“The Nuremberg Files”) featuring Western-style wanted posters for “physicians” who made their living by practicing infanticide.

In the course of the trial, both sides wrapped themselves up in the hallowed robes of civil-rights marchers, but in awarding $107 million to Planned Parenthood and other merchants of death, the jurors made one thing clear: Civil rights, including the freedom of speech guaranteed by the First Amendment, are restricted to members of the established church and not to the surviving practitioners of the Christian faith. Perhaps this judgment will persuade one or two members of the pro-life movement to drop their infantile invocations of Dred Scott, slavery, and segregation as the ultimate evils. Perhaps they will even come to realize that the murder of millions of innocent children is a more serious crime than incivility or prejudice or even slavery.

In any event, it is too late in the day to delude ourselves with fantasies about moral restoration. What we regard as moral truth (about abortion and divorce, for example) is, by and large, an expression of an explicitly Christian morality that is accepted by a small number of non-Christians. Pagan societies may regard abortion as unpleasant or tasteless, but few of them would take the trouble to criminalize the murder of children who cannot defend themselves. Of course, pagan Rome did not give special privileges to abortionists who violated the highest principle of their profession. That step forward was left to the post-Christian—or rather, anti-Christian—governments of Europe and North America.

If we are no longer free to use “Wanted” posters as a political satire against those we regard as murderers, the obvious consequence is that we are no longer free to describe abortion as murder. Christians had better let this fact sink in: The United States is not their country anymore, and the leaders of the so-called Christian right could do nothing to change things, even if they wanted to. which they don’t, any more than policemen want crime to go away or environmental regulators want to clean up pollution. Give them your money, if it makes you feel better (that is all they want, in any case), but rid yourself of the delusion that the people who voted for Bill Clinton are ever going to give us our country back. They won’t.

Paul Weyrich has belatedly come to agree with us on this point, though it is highly unlikely that any Washington conservative will ever understand what we are up against. They will always find signs of hope, whenever Abe Rosenthal says something sensible or Hollywood produces a “wholesome” lying movie about Moses. The response of the Christian right to The Prince of Egypt should really have been the last straw for anyone who takes these latter-day Elmer Gantrys and Father Coughlins seriously.

So long as Christians continue to think of themselves as in the mainstream or as a “silent majority,” they will be incapable of resisting this anti-Christian regime, even in their private lives. As long as Christian activists continue to fall into the trap of endorsing films produced by anti-Christian studios like Disney and Dreamworks, they will be turning over the consciences and characters of American children to Herod and his friends.