"HOW SHALL WE THEN LIVE?" Francis Schaeffer
Friday, April 29, 2005
NATIONAL REVIEW ONLINE
April 28, 2005, 7:58 a.m.
Scary Stuff by Stanley Kurtz
Theres a real venom on the Left against conservative Christians.
Harpers Magazines May cover stories about The Christian Rights War On America, frightened me, although not the way Harpers meant them to. I fear these stories could mark the beginning of a systematic campaign of hatred directed at traditional Christians. Whether this is what Harpers intends, I cannot say. But regardless of the intention, the effect seems clear.
The phrase campaign of hatred is a strong one, and I worry about amplifying an already dangerous dynamic of recrimination on both sides of the culture wars. I dont doubt that conservatives, Christian and otherwise, are sometimes guilty of rhetorical excess. Yet despite what weve been told, the most extreme political rhetoric of our day is being directed against traditional Christians by the left.
Hedges is worried about extreme Christian theocrats called Dominionists. Hes got little to say about who these Dominionists are, and he qualifies his vague characterizations by noting in passing that not all Dominionists would accept the label or admit their views publicly. That little move allows Hedges to paint a highly questionable picture of a virtually faceless and nameless Dominionist Christian mass. Hedges seems to be worried that the United States is just a few short steps away from having apostasy, blasphemy, sodomy, and witchcraft declared capital crimes. Compare this liberal fantasy of imminent theocracy to the reality of Lawrence v. Texas and Roper v. Simmons (the Supreme Court decision that appealed to European precedents to overturn capital punishment for juveniles).
Both of these decisions relied on the existence of a supposed national consensus on behalf of social liberalism. In conjuring up that false consensus, the Court treated conservative Christians as effectively nonexistent. That is the reality of where the law is, and where it is headed. It is completely unsurprising that after a long train of such decisions, conservative Christians have decided theyre tired of being trampled on by the courts. The reality we face is judicially imposed same-sex marriage in opposition to the clearly expressed wishes of the American people. Yet to cover its imperial judicial agenda, the Left is now concocting nonsensical fantasies of theocratically imposed capital punishment for witchcraft. Yes, witchcraft is back. Only now traditional Christians have been cast in the role of devious enemies who need to be ferreted out by societys defenders.
Hedges invokes the warnings of his old Harvard professor against Christian fascists. Supposedly, Christians carrying crosses and chanting the Pledge of Allegiance are the new Hitlers. The Left is loathe to treat Islamic terrorists as moral reprobates, but when it comes to conservative Christians, Hedges calls on his fellow liberals to renounce their relativist scruples and acknowledge the power and allure of evil.
Hedges neednt worry. For a very long time now, secular liberals have treated conservative Christians as the modern embodiment of evil, the one group youre allowed to openly hate. Although barely noticed by the rest of us, this poison has been floating through our political system for decades.
Conservative Christians have good reason to fear cultural ostracism. The mere expression of their core religious views is being legislated against. The courts have banned traditional morality as a basis for law and have turned instead to secular Europe for guidance. Traditional Christians cant even set up a college in New York City. And now Harpers is calling them evil fascists. Yes, conservative Christians have the ear of the president and of the Republican leadership you bet they do. Given the way theyre being treated in the culture at large, theyd be fools not to protect themselves by turning to politics.
Now we see the results of this terrible decision. Traditional Christians are openly excoriated in the mainstream press as evil, fascist, segregationist bigots. Their political speech is placed under legislative threat. Their institutions of higher education are attacked and destroyed. Naturally, Americas traditional Christians are fighting back. Theyve turned to the political process in hopes of securing for themselves a space in which to exist. Weary of being the butt of hatred by those who proclaim tolerance, conservative Christians are complaining, with justice, about the all-too-successful attempts to exclude them from society.
If Dominionists try to force all Americans to pay church tithes [preachers can't even get their own membership to pay church tithes ed.], or call for the execution of blasphemers and witches, I will oppose them. But that is not the danger we face. The real danger is that a growing campaign of hatred against traditional Christians by secular liberals will deepen an already dangerous conflict. The solution is to continue our debates, but to change their framing. Conservative Christians cannot stop complaining of exclusion and prejudice until cultural liberals pare back their own excesses. Lets stop treating honest differences on same-sex marriage as simple bigotry. Lets stop using the courts as a way around democratic decision-making. Lets stop trying to criminalize religious expression. Lets allow Christians to establish their own institutions of higher learning. And lets stop calling traditional Christians fascists. It would be nice if the folks complaining about Justice Sunday addressed these issues as well.
JB here: Please read the whole article, it's extremely insightful and telling. Plus National Review simply has some of the best and wittiest commentary on the political scene.
As for Christianity being under attack - what's new?
Posted by S.G. at 3:16 AM