Betsy Hart is a senior writer at The Heritage Foundation. She is a syndicated columnist who has appeared on Fox News. Hart was a former press aide in the Reagan White House. Hart gave a lecture on Tuesday titled “It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World: How to Stay Sane in a Time of Atheism, Feminism, and Cultural Rot.”
How do you think that atheism and feminism impact our culture today?
The interesting thing about atheism is that historically, [it] has always been with us. There have always been people who have rejected God. I think what’s a little different today is that there’s an indifference toward God, and I think that’s madness. If you reject God or say ‘I’m going to be my own god,’ at least consciously you’re clear on what you’re doing. But to just be indifferent to a personal creator God is destructive, because our rights come from our creator. If you are indifferent to who the creator is, then the only other place rights can come from is government, and that’s when you start getting intrusive government.
What do you think sparked this phenomenon of indifference towards God?
One of the things that’s happened in the West, and in the United States, is prosperity, the ability to have extraordinary wealth that our ancestors couldn’t have dreamed of. But with that prosperity, and with the ability to take a pill to feel better and to overcome some truly extraordinary diseases and to not have several of your children die before they reach adulthood, and so forth, I think comes the idea that we don’t really need God.
What inspired you to study this and speak on this topic?
I’ve been in the political world a long time. I was 13 years old when Ronald Reagan lost the nomination when he challenged sitting president, Gerald Ford. That was devastating to me…Then I worked on Reagan’s White House staff for several years, and then I was at The Heritage Foundation in the ’80s and wrote a syndicated column. Then I had my family, and I think when you start having a family, you get a little more of a sense of the permanent things and what really matters. And politics is very important; we need to be involved in that process, but the permanent things are virtue and the good. Those are the things that inspire me, and I find that becoming more true the older I get.
How can we as citizens bring back these ideals and focus more on what’s important?
Maybe we can’t change the world, but maybe we can change the part of the world that we’ve been given to change, which is often very small but very important.
You have a new podcast coming out on iTunes called “Gospel Mindfulness.” Can you tell me a little more about what that focuses on?
Yeah, I’m really loving this. I’m a Christian, and I come from the [Presbyterian Church in America] background; it’s conservative Presbyterian. My pastor…called and said, “Hey, I’d love to include you in a podcast we’re doing,” and in our little half-hour podcast I ask him some questions to help us get the context of [his sermons]…It should launch very soon.