Winston is tied up on the table—the police have arrested him for thinking his own thoughts. His interrogator stands above him, holding up four fingers. Winston cries out in agony:

How can I help seeing what is in front of my eyes? Two and two are four.”

Sometimes, Winston. Sometimes they are five. Sometimes they are three. Sometimes they are all of them at once. You must try harder. It is not easy to become sane.”

This scene within George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984 is uncomfortably close to a situation that is playing out in today’s society. Two decades ago, it was commonly acknowledged that men could not become women and vice versa. Now, radical gender identity ideology has taken root in our schools and the broader culture, telling us that “Sometimes, biological men can be women.”

A recent campaign ad put out by Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) objected to Lia Thomas, a biologically male swimmer who identifies as a woman, being allowed to compete in women’s meets, where Thomas has been dominating the female competition. Hartzler stated in the ad, “Women’s sports are for women, not men pretending to be women.” Hartzler, who is running in the GOP primary to replace outgoing Missouri senator Roy Blunt, was subsequently accused of “transphobia” by progressives.

Since when did it become wrong to demand equality in women’s sports?

Over the past several decades, the far Left has entrenched itself in many areas of cultural and civic life, including academia, public schools and libraries, mainstream media, the arts, corporate America, and more. As a result, progressive ideologies have gained enormous influence over the American people.

For example, attitudes toward same-sex marriage have changed drastically in recent years. In 2004, only 31 percent of Americans supported same-sex marriage, according to Pew Research. Now, 18 years later, the numbers have flip-flopped. A 2019 study by Pew shows that only 31 percent of Americans oppose same-sex marriage.

As the general populations’ views towards LGBTQ+ identities have changed, so too have the attitudes of conservatives and Christians. Today, it’s not uncommon to have LGBTQ+ proponents campaigning to conservatives. We’ve seen a transgender gubernatorial candidate running on a Republican platform and openly gay leaders speak at conservative student conferences.

How has progressive ideology crept into conservative circles? Many have begun to say, “Well, as long as they aren’t doing anything that affects me, and they aren’t hurting anyone, I don’t care what they do.” This is now the response given to everything from same-sex marriage to gender transitions procedures performed on children—the list only gets longer as the LGBTQ+ ideology seeps into every corner of our society.

Conservatives have become so accustomed to the far Left screaming that “Two plus two equals five,” they are often afraid to even whisper the truth: “Two plus two equals four.” They remain silent, fearing the loss of their jobs, careers, or reputation. And it is the next generation that will ultimately pay the price.

The far Left is canceling those who dare to challenge their gender identity ideology. They are seducing many conservatives and Christians into thinking, “If only I acquiesce to their demands, they’ll leave me alone, and I can go about preaching, teaching, and working.” But those who think such thoughts are sorely mistaken.

Gender identity ideology was not openly celebrated in the public square until relatively recently. What began as a cultural undercurrent has descended into a raging river, with a drag queen guest on a popular children’s show, biological men being crowned victors of women’s sporting competitions, children undergoing experimental and life-altering gender transition procedures, and even the assertion that men can get pregnant.

When conservatives and Christians say nothing for fear of being “too political” or being “canceled,” it becomes a silent endorsement of the gender identity status quo. If we are going to change what is happening in our country, we must take meaningful action.

We should follow Rep. Hartzler’s good example. Instead of accepting a biological man defeating hardworking female athletes, we should stand our ground and boldly say, “Two plus two equals four.”

There are practical ways we can take action to protect the education of future generations. We need concerned citizens to run for school board and urge that our children’s schooling be based on truth, not partisan ideology. We need more churches to start schools and teach future generations that God created humans male and female and declared it very good (Gen. 1:27, 31). We need more Bible-believing leaders to run for public office and help craft good public policy.

We can also take initiative on an interpersonal level. We must begin having conversations with others one-on-one. Just as progressives started by inserting their ideology into the conversation in the public square, conservatives and Christians can peaceably start conversations that could change hearts and minds and help lead society toward truth. Both in meetings with our friends and in our churches, we shouldn’t be afraid to discuss difficult topics.

One thing every Christian can do today is pray for our nation, our leaders, and the next generation. As the prophet Ezra wrote in 2 Chronicles 7:14: “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” The Lord can bring healing to our nation. We should ask Him.

It’s time for us to draw a line in the sand. In Orwell’s 1984, Big Brother had taken captive everyone’s thoughts through continual small lies. To uphold biblical truth, we need to start speaking the truth and deny that two plus two equals five.

Jaime Christley is an intern for FRC Action.