For many Americans, the name Charles Manson conjures vivid images and unsettling memories. Boomers remember the 1976 TV miniseries that depicted the cult, the murders and trials in surrealistic darkness. Vincent Bugliosi’s book on Manson became almost required reading for teenagers in the late 1970s. Through 500-plus pages, “Helter Skelter” was horrifying, revolting, salacious and instructive in one riveting volume.
As a teenager, I remember noticing how the Manson legacy seemed a sort of hub for a surprising number of cultural spokes. The phenomenon spawned countless conversations about problems with youth, law enforcement, the legal system, the death penalty, sexual immorality, Roman Polanski, Communist plots, the Beatles, the degrading influence of rock and roll music, pornography, hippies, drugs, cults and more. Beach Boy Dennis Wilson even testified at the trial.
Manson’s parole hearings would come and go, and though he—predictably—was never released, they did make news. Prior to several of the parole meetings, Manson published lists of who he would have killed, if let out. These proposed victims included whoever happened to be president at the time, people Manson believed had slighted him and even a promise to kill the Rev. Billy Graham. Manson’s documented history, the threatening, rambling interviews he would occasionally grant journalists, plus his immeasurably sinister demeanor all led to one conclusion: This guy is evil personified.
Manson’s life and legacy: Progressives should be proud
In recent years the country has grown less moral, less religious and less civilized. Traditional marriage is down, the institution itself has been redefined by the courts, belief in objective ethical boundaries is scorned in many classrooms, and there are more terror attacks and shootings than we can mentally—or emotionally—process. The country is less safe, less stable, and less … American.
But this re-imagined, dystopian America is the hard-won prize given us by the ACLU, American Atheists, Hillary Clinton, Al Franken and the left. America as it stands today is the fruit of decades of effort by these voices, not to mention secularists in the media, Hollywood, and countless professors at public universities who encourage their students toward the noble life of warring for “social justice”—as they alone define it.
Think of how Charles Manson could rightly be seen as the penultimate expression of the progressive’s worldview: He was his own God. In fact, he sometimes claimed to be God. Manson rejected organized religion, claiming he was both Jesus Christ and/or the Messiah. When he did quote the Bible, Manson misquoted it, twisted the words, and handled it selectively and self-servingly. Manson bragged he could start wars, purge and remake the culture, and preside over a world-wide reckoning.
Commentators are exhausting their vocabularies in describing the vile nature of Manson’s deeds and legacy. But Manson’s agenda was simply secular progressivism faithfully lived out: Manson, nor today’s liberals/relativists, bow to any deity other than themselves. They invent “truth” to suit their needs, hold unflinching confidence in their own importance and are willing to exploit others to advance their ideas.
Think God will judge Manson? Then heaven help Planned Parenthood
It was moving that Sharon Tate’s sister said she had, “prayed for Manson’s soul.” News of the cult leader’s death caused most to think God and divine retribution: If evil is to be judged and if some go to hell—well, you connect the dots. But here is reality, folks: If there isn’t some divine judgement for those complicit with abortion-on-demand, like the presidential candidate we almost elected one year ago this month, then God will owe Charles Manson an apology. Planned Parenthood has murdered millions of times more humans than Charlie’s “family.”
The shedding of innocent blood didn’t faze Charlie. Manson, complicit with seven murders, is vilified. Secular progressives fight for the government subsidy of thousands of abortions each week. He is the personification of their worldview. No, secular progressivism by its very nature doesn’t do what we think of as “church.” But if they did, Charles Manson should quickly be canonized in their pantheon. Over a decades-long, pervasive scale, Charlie simply decreed, “My will be done.”
In the footsteps of a monster
While finishing grad school in Virginia, I spoke several times to teen boys at the Natural Bridge Detention Center. Though closed several years ago, the 80-bed juvenile jail was famous for once housing a teenager named Charles Manson. Manson had served time there before being released to live with relatives in California.
The warden once showed me a room where Manson had lived. It was chilling to retrace even a few footsteps of the killer most would call a “monster.” But in a tangible sense, anti-God progressives all walk in the footsteps of Manson. They have the same worldview. Manson just lived his out more consistently.
How might the passing of this notorious soul best be commemorated? I pray in the following way: That we work to restore belief in morality, God, family and truth—those things Manson—and secularists—give their lives to fight against.
(Dr. Alex McFarland is a religion and culture expert, Director for Christian Worldview and Apologetics at North Greenville University, national talk show host, speaker and author of 18 books, including his newest, “Abandoned Faith: Why Millennials Are Walking Away and How You Can Lead Them Home.” For more information, visit www.alexmcfarland.com.)