The other day I was sitting in a coffee shop when a rap song began playing in the café. The F-word—you know, the one that rhymes with muck and yuck—featured prominently in the lyrics. I was happy there were no children present. 

After leaving the café, I went to our library to return some books. Next door to the library is a public park with two basketball courts and a playground for children. On my way back to the car, I could hear some kid yelling the F-bomb as he called on his teammate to pass him the ball.           

Arriving home, I was sitting on the front porch when a member of the construction crew working on the house across the street about 100 yards away began striding up and down the street, shouting the Big F into his phone. For almost 10 minutes, he used the word as an adjective, a noun, and a verb. I was tempted to approach him and ask him to tone it down, but was deterred by his rage.           

This crudity of language is only one symptom of our descent into barbarism. Our disheveled fashion sense is another. But one of the much darker signs of our drift toward barbarism is the Women’s Health Protection Act, a bill passed by Democrats in the House of Representatives on Friday, Sept. 24.           

The bill seeks to supersede state laws on abortion such as mandatory waiting periods and requirements involving ultrasounds and informed consent. Far worse, this act would allow abortions through nine months, a procedure that basically entails dismembering the unborn in the womb and extracting the remains piece by piece.           

Though some commentators argue that the Women’s Health Protection Act will have a tough time making its way through the Senate, that circumstance still doesn’t answer this question: What kind of hell are we creating in this country? What kind of people are willing to chop up an eight-month-old baby in the womb?           

To cheer the passage of such a bill, as some did, labels us a nation of barbaric pagans. Even if we don’t enact this monstrosity into law, the mere fact that it passed the House condemns us as a country, putting us in the company of the ancient city-state of Carthage, which practiced child sacrifice, modern-day China, and even Nazi Germany.           

We are fond today of condemning the past, tearing down monuments, revising our history books, and attacking the men and women who founded the United States and who sacrificed so much to make this a land of liberty. What will our children’s children, those of them fortunate enough to be born and see the light of day, think of a people who condoned such atrocities?           

Just 10 years ago, the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to reaffirm the motto of the United States, “In God we trust.” It’s a good motto, but how do we honor it when members of Congress vote for a bill that would put into law such horrific practices? Do we really expect the blessings of an almighty deity given policies like this one?           

We may hope and pray this legislation fails. We can vote in elections for candidates opposed to this turn toward barbarism. We can write to our representatives to protest such horrors. Some might even organize demonstrations.           

But the best thing we can do is to change ourselves, to return to a moral way of living, to act as if we actually believed in the truly liberal values and mores of our Western civilization.           

Supposedly the London Times long ago sent this brief inquiry to a number of well-known authors and intellectuals: “What is wrong with the world today?” Writer G. K. Chesterton responded with a two-word answer, “I am.”           

If those in our government, in our corporations, in our schools and universities, and the rest of us exercised this same sense of humility, perhaps we might turn away from the dark path we are walking.