What’s to be Done? (Part 3)

Chess-board-strategyFighting Back

The Situation

The CNN poll cited in Part 2 is indeed a bit depressing.  However, there’s no reason for despair.  For starters, I suspect that many points from that 59% approval are due to the successful campaigns of intimidation that the radical progressives have conducted against people or institutions who dare to publicly object.

Even granting this “majority” approval, what percentage of American citizens are in favor of the suspension of religious liberty in order to support gay marriage?  My guess that 15-20% would be a generous estimate.

There’s also that fact that the threat to religious freedom would affect Christians, Jews, Muslims and many other faiths.  Within Christianity, Catholics and Protestants would find common cause.  Even within denominations that have already succumbed to gay marriage, many parishioners remain who are in opposition.  With regard to the PCUSA, I believe that this excerpt from An Anxious Age: The Post-Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of America by Joseph Bottum still describes many members.

Presbyterians, for example, now typically feel that they have more in common with serious, believing Catholics and Evangelicals — with serious, believing Jews, for that matter — than they do vertically, with the unserious, unorthodox members of their own denomination.

Finally, we have the intellectual laziness and blazing hypocrisy of a movement that has won so much for so long, based on false moral superiority and cruel intimidation, in our favor.  The fact is that progressive radicals live in a hermetically sealed bubble of presumption that remains intact primarily due to the reluctance of those who know better to push back.

There are so many excellent examples of this appalling isolation, but my current favorite is a New York Times editor’s (Dean Baquet) explanation (Washington Examiner) for why they regularly publish works of art that are offensive to Christians but not those that offend Muslims.  With regard to not publishing the offensive Charlie Hebdo artwork, even though it had led to a reprisal massacre, he sanctimoniously said:

“[L]et’s not forget the Muslim family in Brooklyn who read us and is offended by any depiction of what he sees as his prophet,” Baquet explained in a statement to Politico. “I don’t give a damn about the head of [the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria] but I do care about that family and it is arrogant to ignore them.”

This statement was part of a defense for publishing Niki Johnson’s “Eggs Benedict,” a portrait of Pope Benedict XVI (Milwaukee Art Museum) fashioned entirely out of condoms.  After explaining that, due to the subjective judgements associated with these decisions some level of offense can’t avoid being given, he let the real truth slip out.

“And finally, the very different reactions bears this out,” he added. “Hundreds of thousands of people protested worldwide, for instance, after the Danish cartoons were published some years ago. While some people might genuinely dislike this Milwaukee work, there doesn’t seem to be any comparable level of outrage.

There you have it.  Because Christianity simply doesn’t produce people who will violently respond to offensive and blasphemous depictions of their faith, the Times’ standard should vary accordingly!

The fact that Christians don’t respond with violence to objectionable depictions should be celebrated.  The reasons for and implications of this tolerance should be explored.  They would unavoidably find the Person and purpose of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ should they do so.

But, I contend that there must be a limit to this tolerance.  While violence and cruelty is never a proper Christian response to such a debate in a civil society, that doesn’t mean that there is never call for a stout defense of our right to religious freedom.

How do you imagine that these self defined moral paragons would respond if millions of Christians (along with members of other faiths) peacefully mobilized to defend their rights under the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment?  I don’t think that they would approve.  However, they would finally be forced to pubically defend positions that many fair-minded citizens would find objectionable.

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