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The Stumbling Block That Progressives Must Hate

Christianity is anathema to the progressive mind.

That is the thread running through the last decade or so as progressives in media and academia have come out more and more into the role of social activist instead of informer, journalist or educator.

In the wake of the sad excuses to bash Christians after the rush to judgment in the Covington Catholic school fiasco, and the Karen Pence fiasco, and the Washington Post using the opportunity to discuss what it calls the “Catholic Church’s shameful history of Native American abuses,” I was going to write about the younger generation’s eggshell-walking in a world where everyone is a Stalinist waiting to denounce you.

What I mean by that is that Nick Sandmann, a high school junior from Covington, Kentucky (hardly the “holler”; it’s just across the Ohio River from bustling Cincinnati, in fact it’s the home of the international airport serving the city) casually mentioned the fact that everyone had a camera and he knew someone else was filming his encounter with Nathan Phillips, a man whose name Sandmann didn’t even know. But Phillips had his own cameraman in tow–an actual cameraman. Obviously Sandmann realized that he was being captured as part of somebody’s video narrative.

Little did Sandmann realize that his own attempt good behavior wasn’t enough. He was marked by the color and words on his ballcap. You don’t show up at the Lincoln Memorial wearing MAGA hats, not when you’re a group of lily-white boys (with a few minorities thrown in) on the day the progressive media describes as an “anti-abortion March for Life” (Google that phrase and see).

Little did he know that his and other boys’ families would suffer death threats, another boy’s older brother’s wedding would be marred by this circus, and that their lives would be changed–probably forever–thrusting them into a limelight they did not summon nor did they embrace. Had he known, he might have run–briskly, in fear–from that drumming Native American.

I was going to write on that, like a thousand other bloggers have covered from ear to ear. But then I read David French’s take that “one of the common enemies — especially for white progressives — is conservative Christians.”

The combination of ignorance, fear, and hatred wielded against conservative Christians in progressive quarters is disturbing. Just in this new year, we’ve seen two progressive senators aggressively question a Christian judicial nominee because of his membership in a mainstream Catholic service organization, we’ve seen a days-long attack on Karen Pence for teaching part-time at a Christian ministry, and we watched a stunning online feeding frenzy against students at a Catholic boys’ school based on a misleadingly clipped video segment of a much longer confrontation.

David French, National Review, Jan 21, 2019

It goes back much further than that, of course. We can go back to Bertrand Russell: “I say quite deliberately that the Christian religion, as organized in its Churches, has been and still is the principal enemy of moral progress in the world.” His personal distaste for Christianity, however, was rooted in the rules of Christianity surrounding his preferred sexual pleasures.

Every generation has its crop of Atheists. Yesterday’s Nietzsche and Marx give rise to today’s Hitchens and fellow travelers. It’s disturbing to look at Europe, where just 70-odd years ago, a forlorn Konrad Adenauer looked out at the ruins of Germany and wrote that the struggle of our age…

is essentially a conflict between Christianity and materialism. That is what the struggle is about, and this conflict also exists within the democracies. The modern technical world in which we live, with its movies, radio, and television, favors development toward a mass society, and this “man of the masses” will always incline toward materialism. To counterbalance this we need, in all countries, Christian parties which not only permeate political, social, and economic life with a Christian spirit, but over and above that aim at creating the essential conditions for a Christian existence of the individual.

Crisis Magazine, “The Christian Statecraft of Konrad Adenauer”, June 1, 1985

What we’re seeing today is another battle line in the conflict between the desires of those who place their own materialism–pleasures, entitlements, and luxuries–front and center as the aim of society’s purpose and those who believe society is simply another expression of God’s love.

Progressive liberals believe that society serves the individual, and the individual owes the group loyalty. Christians, on the other hand, serve others, not out of pity, nor the desire for fairness, or even justice (though justice is an element of Godliness). Christian service is born out of love. It’s quite accurate to write “hate the sin, love the sinner.”

That some people could be “good” in the sense of serving others, living a Godly life, doing their best to live in Biblical righteousness, while simultaneously decrying sins that the Bible calls unnatural and harmful, is evil to the progressive mind. That a heaven created by God would not allow sinners to enter violates the progressive materialistic values of fairness.

Lady Gaga’s invocation of “Christianity” is irrelevant to her point in her tirade against Karen and Vice President Mike Pence. Her conception of that religion resembles nothing like the real thing. She is constructing a straw man Jesus just to burn him down.

The media frequently does this, out of ignorance, and sometimes plain old bigotry. The fact that Christian schools do not allow those whose lifestyles don’t line up with Biblical values to teach there should be a shock to nobody. The fact that white Catholic boys from Kentucky would attend a March for Life event and wear pro-Trump hats should also be no surprise. But both things evoke an emotional reaction from the progressive left, because they represent “the other side.” As French wrote:

When large majorities of Americans oppose your party or stand outside your culture, the natural human tendency is to ask, “What’s wrong with them?” I’ve seen this for years in the Republican response to the reality that overwhelming majorities of black Americans vote Democratic. At worst there’s hostility. Sometimes there is condescending sympathy: “They’re misguided. They’re voting against their interests. They’re brainwashed.” Less often is there respect and reflection. If a vital member of the American community is that united against us, should we consider whether any aspect of that opposition is our fault?

Our nation is becoming more secular by the day. Even evangelicals are becoming more consumed with political causes than spiritual ones. Just look at Robert Jeffress and Jerry Falwell, Jr. shilling for Donald Trump before he was president. Now they defend him as president from even his most salacious and shameful moral transgressions and lies. These things should not be, and the progressive press is correct to call attention to them.

But the media is wrong to use these as straw men to burn down the entire establishment of orthodox Christian belief. Just because one (or a hundred) Christians are doing it wrong, doesn’t mean that Christianity itself should be looked upon with scorn. But perhaps they looked upon Christianity with scorn well before they heaped it on some wayward, worldly Christian leaders.

It’s more likely that these secular progressives don’t like Christianity, never looked into its claims, but only studied its personalities, declared it anathema to their own proclivities and desires, then proceeded to find ways to justify their own decision.

The default position on the left is quickly becoming that simply being a white Christian is unacceptable to them. Associating with organizations based on faith is itself becoming a reason for ostracism and hatred. The fact that a judge can be “very Catholic” and involved with People of Praise, like Amy Coney Barrett, is enough to disqualify her from the Supreme Court in their eyes. If another seat opens on the Supreme Court, watch for this line of reasoning to bloom–it won’t be her views, it will be her religion that is not only distasteful, but also disqualifying.

It is exactly this kind of bias and state intrusion into religion that the founders tried to protect us against.

When white Catholic school boys are now in a world where they must be told not to be too white and too Christian, and too pro-Trump in the nation’s capital, when everyone has a camera, and some have a particular story to tell with theirs, and with the media in a mad rush to burn down their own Christian straw men, our society has come up against a stumbling block.

The stumbling block that progressives must hate is no less than the God-Man who hung on the cross, out of love for the whole world, for them. Either we as Americans will begin again to embrace love, or we will suffer the same fate as Europe, where less than 5% believe in orthodox Christianity.

Jesus said to them, “Did you never read in the Scriptures

‘The stone which the builders rejected,
This became the chief corner stone;
This came about from the Lord,
And it is marvelous in our eyes’?

Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people, producing the fruit of it. And he who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust.”

Matthew 21:42-44

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