When a Pride flag flies on every street corner, countless companies roll out their rainbow logos, and our political and cultural elites glorify the LGBTQ movement, it’s hard to enjoy the month of June. But Princeton University professor Robert George had the idea to develop an alternative. He has given conservatives something to be for, not just against, during June: Fidelity Month.
Launching Fidelity Month
This June is the first of what George hopes will be many future Fidelity Months. He describes the month as a time “dedicated to the importance of fidelity to God, spouses and families, our country, and our communities.” These are, after all, the most important aspects of life. (READ MORE: Continued Decline in Religion Spells Trouble for the Culture War)
George launched the month on June 1 with a webinar featuring seven notable scholars and activists. Pro-life activist Lila Rose, American Enterprise Institute senior fellow Yuval Levin, and others delivered brief comments on video about why faith, family, and community are worth defending. George himself is a leading Catholic intellectual who is a professor of politics and the director of Princeton’s James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions.
George sees the month as a response to recent polling by the Wall Street Journal that showed a “precipitous drop in Americans’ understanding of the importance of faith, of family, of patriotism,” he told National Catholic Register. This polling data aligns with George’s own experience in the Princeton community, where he has seen increasing “alienation” and “despair” among students.
Though a Catholic himself, George envisions Fidelity Month as a nonsectarian celebration that can be adopted by any and all faiths. The movement is entirely grassroots, and George encourages local organizations, churches, public officials, and legislators to spread the word. The month’s logo, a gold wreath set onto a royal blue background, is available for free use on the Fidelity Month website.
Commentary Making the Case for Fidelity
In recognition of Fidelity Month, the online journal Public Discourse has published a three-part series of essays on the three pillars of the month: faith in God, faithfulness in marriage, and fidelity to country.
“[W]e owe God our highest affections because it is He who has made us,” writes Andrew T. Walker, associate professor of Christian ethics at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He continues:
With religion on the decline, it should come as no surprise that mental health appears more statistically volatile than ever before. Excise or trivialize the most important foundation of a person’s existence—their relationship to God—and it is to be expected that humanity’s sense of balance and purpose would be torn asunder.
In a society that is less and less religious with each passing year, restoring faith in God is of critical importance for both individual fulfillment and societal flourishing. Walker reminds readers that a relationship with God helps us to understand our relationships with family, community and nation. “Outside of Christianity, each concept exists as a vapor hanging in thin air,” he writes.
In the second essay, Ana Samuel, academic director of pro-marriage organization CanaVox, addresses modern skepticism toward marital fidelity. While our culture embraces — and even promotes — extramarital sex, no-fault divorce, and cohabitation, faithful marriages have personal and public benefits. As it happens, doing the right thing in your personal life is good for society.
James Matthew Wilson makes the case for fidelity to place in the third and final essay. Wilson, who is a professor and writer at Villanova University, encourages a renewed emphasis on localism. We cannot choose where we are born, but he argues that fidelity to those places and communities is an “irreplaceable good.”
These places are “a foundational and formative source of our character,” Wilson writes. Communities like those proposed in Rod Dreher’s book The Benedict Option seem rosy from the outside, but Wilson suggests that their “opt-in” nature betrays the relationship that we should have with the places in which we live. They are imperfect, to be sure, but so is every community. What matters, Wilson suggests, is how we pursue virtue within the constraints of our reality, how we live when we can’t leave.
In the past week, Fidelity Month has caught the attention of many notable individuals and institutions. Catholic radio host Drew Mariani invited George onto his show to speak about the project, and various conservative news outlets like Fox News, National Catholic Register, the Daily Signal, and Deseret News have published articles covering it.
Some people have replaced their social media profile pictures with the Fidelity Month logo, which George made available for that purpose. Kevin Roberts, president of the Heritage Foundation, is one such person. He tweeted his gratitude to George for pioneering the month.
Thank you to @Heritage board member and my friend Robby George (@McCormickProf) for organizing a month-long celebration of faith, family, marriage, and the dignity of the human person. #FidelityMonth pic.twitter.com/1nrsGAJTJf
— Kevin Roberts (@KevinRobertsTX) June 1, 2023
Though Fidelity Month coincides with the secular Pride Month, George has emphasized that it is more focused on renewing the goods of human life than anything else. By recentering on the fundamentals, George hopes that Americans can become increasingly inspired to work for a culture that promotes God, family, and nation.
“While I think it’s very, very important for us to build strong subcommunities … this is not a movement of retreat. Quite the opposite. It is a movement for the renewal of the culture,” George said. “We strengthen ourselves and our local communities and our small communities so that we can go out there and make a difference in the larger culture, restoring it to its fundamental values of faith in God, faithful marriages and families, service to our community, love of country.”
Mary Frances Myler is a postgraduate fellow at the Center for Citizenship and Constitutional Government.
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