Yes, it is intentionally provocative. I have used that phrase to describe the increasingly violent strain of American progressivism for several years now and I know it makes some people uncomfortable. Particularly, at a time like this after a mass assassination attempt, when people are urging calm (myself included) it is not the most helpful thing to say. I get all that. But I also get that it is an increasingly apt comparison.
ISIS takes the “convert or die” position. This growing strain of the American left takes the “convert or be destroyed” position. The former will cut off your head. The latter will destroy your livelihood, take away your business, drive you from the public square, and use the government to drive you to bankruptcy. It’ll also gun you down on a baseball field.
This is not a left-right divide, but an earthly vs. heavenly divide. Grace comes from Heaven and the things of this world hate the things of Heaven. Both American secular progressivism and Islam are things of this world. They may be mutually incompatible, but will gladly ignore each other while they mutually work to stamp out the things of Heaven before turning on each other.
With both this increasingly violent strain of American progressivism and ISIS, we are dealing with “the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Eph 6:12. Both the actual ISIS and this American one are hostile to Jews and Christians because of that. They seek to drive us from jobs, from college campuses, from the workforce, and from the planet itself.
Thankfully, this violent progressive strain is not what ISIS is in the Middle East, but it is increasingly violent, has a religious fervor all to itself, and shows no grace to those who stand against it.
There are those on the left who recognize what is happening is wrong and they are speaking with clear voices against it. They should be praised. And there are those on the right who want to model their behavior after this aggressive strain from the left. They should be denounced. But I see very clearly that we are headed in a direction away from being able to reconcile ourselves to one another and show grace toward a deadly, awful cliff. And though it may sound offensive to some, an exaggeration to others, and too much hyperbole to the rest, from my vantage point we are increasingly seeing a strain of violence growing within the secular American progressive movement that, like radical Islamists, demands conversion or destruction. The sword is what separates their endgame, but that separation is smaller and smaller.