Propaganda, its form, usage, and effect has been discussed and analyzed throughout the centuries. It would be fair to say that a majority of Americans have a contrary reaction to the word. Given the modern refrains of the Twentieth Century, it is easy to understand why this would be so. Visions of Stalinist or Fascist pageantry, revisionistic history, wild claims and rumors from morally anarchistic political action groups, or the nightly fare of political “spin doctors” on the major news networks is enough to raise an alarm when confronted with the word.
Yet, taken in its most pristine form, propaganda is nothing other than the action, practice and art of communicating ideas, facts or doctrines that undergird and promote one’s cause or institution. Conversely, the same tactics and skills may be employed to diminish and defeat an opponent’s belief system and aspirations.
In the modern era, the printed page, radio, television, motion pictures, drama, dance, books, the Internet, educational institutions, seminars, mass demonstration and protests may all be marshaled and used to advance ideas while creating an atmosphere conducive to their promulgation. In this sense, it is of chief importance that we who support the mission of the National Reform Association think in terms of the full mobilization of resources, skills, and application of the same to convey our message on as many different levels as possible.
Van Til’s emphasis on antithesis as a philosophical tool must be transferred from the mannerly halls of the seminary to a robust articulation in our rambunctious culture. Public set piece battles must be aggressively sought so as to auger our beliefs over and against our ideological adversaries. Rhetoric must inflame our cause to stir the passions of men. Symbols, proclamations, and tangible rallying points must be used to recruit new members to our organization, and then to mobilize the same into practical action groups.
These are but the beginning embryonic thoughts that must form a proper understanding of “propaganda” sanctified for noble usage. This is more than the mere “marketing “ of our message. The modern marketing strategist would approach the National Reform Association’s mission statement with trepidation. Hence pathetic attempts to soften the supposed unpalatable claims and aspirations of our unique and vital message would be the common refrain. Marketing seeks to “sell” under current conditions and accepts such circumstances as immutable. However, the Christian propagandist seeks to change the current conditions! This task seeks to advance the message in a pure form, and to create an atmosphere surrounding the message that impacts the whole of a man’s senses. Propaganda, when successful, never accommodates the current populist trend but creates an entirely new self-sustaining momentum that displaces the old cultural paradigm altogether.
At minimum, the NRA message must not be neutered for mass appeal. However, simply holding the fort will produce nothing toward victorious results. Asserting that we’re a “no compromise” organization is of little value unless our protest can be heard. Instead, we must view the NRA vision in optimistic terms and seek every opportunity to declare, present, and demonstrate our cause to a greater audience without diminution of content. To think as a propagandist, to win converts, and publicly engage and defeat our ideological competition is but one way to advance our mission, and to ultimately birth the complete renovation of our culture along biblical lines.
Rev. Jeffrey A. Ziegler, the president of the National Reform Association, is also founder and president of Christian Endeavors and Reformation Bible Institute, and moderator of The Association of Free Reformed Churches. He has lectured in over 600 churches and ministerial conferences in North America, Great Britain, and Germany. Jeff is also president of The Continental Group, a think tank for political activism. His writing has appeared in The Christian Statesman, Chalcedon Report, and in the book Explicitly Christian Politics. He can be reached at CEE/CSR, P.O. Box 47 Unionville, OH 44088. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.