More than 200 people attended an event hosted by Young Americans for Freedom that featured Andrew Klavan as the guest speaker. It was the group’s first event at Iowa State since 2016.
Klavan is an award-winning novelist of crime and suspense. He has a podcast on The Daily Wire. Klavan regularly appeared on Glenn Beck’s GBTV network and was the screenwriter for the movie “Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer.” He released a book in 2016, “The Great Good Thing,” which tells of his journey from secular Judaism to atheism to Christianity.
Klavan’s talk was titled “Is God a Conservative?”
Klavan told those in attendance that the West was shaped by Christianity in the same way that people were shaped by their childhoods.
“You can rebel against your childhood values, you can change your childhood values, you can have new values, you can come back to them, you can stick to them, but whatever happens, until the day you die, you will have been shaped by your values, by your childhood, and that will stick with you forever,” Klavan said. “And it sticks with the West, that its childhood was shaped in Christianity.”
Klavan said when a western atheist and a western Christian are arguing, both are arguing through Christian principles.
“Consider this, many Christians believe that homosexuality is a sin,” he said. “Homosexuality has been declared a sin for most of the history of Christianity. But go on Google and find yourself a map of where gay people have full rights and you’ll be looking at a map of Christendom.”
Klavan said it’s similar to the rights of women. Critics of Christianity will often say women are oppressed by Christians.
“But again, take a look at a map where women have rights, its Christendom,” he said.
Klavan said, before Christ, no one in the world had ever though fidelity in marriage applied to men.
“That idea did not occur to anybody until Christ reminded people that man and woman become one flesh,” Klavan said. “And the church decreed that marriage was a sacred state that required both man and woman to be faithful. You could see the mind working that creates equal rights for women over top.
“So think of Christianity as a spiritual nuclear blast. It begins as white light, everything is destroyed — old customs and old ways of thinking, everything is just wiped out. And then the radiation starts to spread out, it sinks into the skins, there are mutations that are born, and even when you go forward and people have forgotten about the nuclear blast, those mutations become new kinds of creatures, they don’t even know that they were formed by the blast, but they were made, formed by the blast.”
That creates a problem when dealing with cultures formed by other religions. At the moment, Klavan said, that problem is Islam.
“Now, I’m constantly getting tagged by the Left as Islamophobic, a word that has literally no meaning in real life,” Klavan said. “Nobody has a phobia of Islam, they’re worried about the violence that has occurred in the Islamic world. Nothing that I’m saying is about Islamic people. What I am talking about is ideas and the powerful effect they have on cultures over time.”
Klavan quoted a speech by Emmanuel Macron, President of France. Macron talked about the law of the republic and how it cannot be trumped by religious beliefs.
“Now, in the French Constitution, it states that France is a secular state,” Klavan said. “So Macron has the legal right to tell French Muslims that they can’t break the law for religious reasons. But here’s the problem. The entire idea of a secular state is a Christian idea. It never existed in the minds of men until Jesus spoke the words ‘render unto Ceaser what is Ceaser’s, and unto God what is God’s.’ Before that moment, religion and the state were one. They were intertwined.”
Klavan claimed that Christianity created the idea of a secular world and a religious world. He talked about the lack of separation of church and state in Islam.
“None of this means that a Muslim can’t be a good Frenchman or a good American, what it does mean is that when he is a good Frenchman or a good American, he is conforming to norms that grew out of Christianity,” Klavan said. “Even when we say that Islam is a religion of peace, we’re saying that it must conform to an idea about the religion that arises from Christianity. We don’t even know that we’re doing this because the effect of Christianity is in our very skin, it’s in our pores. We think what we’re doing is being incredibly tolerant and loving, and we are being incredibly tolerant and loving but we’re being tolerant and loving in a specifically Christian way because we don’t know any other way because we’re all Christians.”
America, Klavan said, is a Christian nation. But that discussion often turns political. And political conversations make you stupid because usually, you’re in them just to win them, not to listen, discuss and learn.
Europe doesn’t want to identify itself as Christian, but it was formed by Christians, Klavan said. The European Union refused to put any reference to Christianity in its constitution. It also won’t use the terms BC or AD when giving dates. Instead, it uses Before Common Era (BCE) or In Common Era (CE).
“The division between BCE and CE is the birth of Christ,” Klavan said. “So they’re just lying.”
Klavan talked about how Christianity is held to a different standard than all other religions. He said when someone like Vice President Mike Pence speaks out against homosexuality, people are ready to take him out and set him on fire.
“But in Iran, they still execute homosexuals and they defend that practice and you don’t really hear that much from the Left.”
He pointed to the Handmaid’s Tale, which is based on the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979.
“Iranian mullahs came in and brought the country from modern rule back to Islamist rule,” he said. “Women lost all rights.”
The villains in the book, he said, are Christians.
V Is For Vendetta shows evil Christians hunting down a gay man who speaks adoringly of the Koran but bashes the Bible.
“In real life, it would be the other way around,” Klavan said.
He pointed to the increase in rape and acts of terrorism across Germany, England, France and Scandinavia after the massive influx of Mulsim migrants.
At this point, Klavan said, several “important thinkers” recognized if the problem wasn’t solved, the West would die.
Many of those thinkers pointed back to America’s Declaration of Independence, one way or another, and the idea that we are all endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights. And, to secure those rights, governments are instituted among men.
“No government on earth had ever been instituted among men for that reason until ours,” he said.
Klavan talked about people who want to keep the concepts that grow out of Christianity but cannot believe in Christianity. He mentioned Douglas Murray, a controversial conservative gay Christian writer who uses the term Christian atheist.
“He wants the values of the West, but he can’t believe in the source of them,” Klavan said. “They’re not being bad people, their problem is rife throughout the West, especially among intellectuals.”
The idea of a resurrection, healing and miracles is too much for some to believe in.
“I truly do respect that, but I disagree with it,” Klavan said. “To me, to be a Christian atheist is like seeing footprints in the snow, but refusing to acknowledge that anyone walked there. It doesn’t make sense.”
Klavan said he became a Christian when he acknowledged his values were Christian values. In order for the values to be true, he said God must be true. And, it must be the Christian God.
He’s often asked if a person can be moral or conservative without faith.
“Absolutely, yes, you can be,” he said. “But you cannot be those things without faith and make any sense. How can you believe in God-given rights if you don’t believe in the God who gave them?”
Women are physically smaller and weaker than men. Klavan said men get a great deal of pleasure out of abusing and oppressing them.
“How can we claim that men shouldn’t take that pleasure unless we believe the women have the same God-given rights as men? Unless we believe women are made in the image of the same God who made man.”
And, the life in a woman’s womb has rights as it is not her own. There are two separate sets of DNA. And, Klavan said any medical examiner who goes to a murder scene and finds two separate sets of DNA will determine two different individuals were there.
Klavan talked about the idea of the absence of moral absolutes.
“Without God, there can be no absolute morality,” he said. “Without God, we decide what’s moral. And, what’s right to one person may be wrong to another. It’s all relative. This is where you get the idea of multiculturalism. The multiculturalists say that our culture isn’t morally better than any other because morality is relative. So you should treat other cultures with kindness and respect.
“But, if morality is relative, why should you treat anyone with kindness and respect? If morality is relative, what makes kindness and respect better than unkindness and disrespect? If there’s no God, all bets are off. The strong can simply use the weak for their pleasure, because that makes just as much sense as the opposite.”
It all leads to the same problem in today’s political conversations — no one acknowledges the source of our values.
“And so no one knows what our values really are, or should be,” he said. “No one knows the basis of their own arguments. We can’t reach a consensus because everyone’s afraid to lay out the rules of the game. They’re afraid to talk about Christianity and politics because it’s not Christian.
“Either there’s a Creator who gave us our rights or our rights or our rights are null and void. Either our Creator is the sort of Creator who gives men and women equal rights, or He’s a different sort of Creator, and we have to reconsider what our rights might be.”
He said we’re either made in some sense in the image of that Creator, or we’re meat and chemicals.
“We can be drugged into happiness or butchered into whatever sex we happen to feel like or exterminated in the womb, when no one particularly wants us. We are afraid to bring Christianity into the conversation because it seems oppressive, unkind and judgemental. And, we do not want to be oppressive, unkind and judgemental because we are Christians. Somewhere along the line, our reason has lost its reason.
“If we are going to find a way forward in a new, rapidly changing world, we have to go back to the source and start to ask ourselves the hard questions as we begin again.”