While this assessment cannot be claimed to have been comprehensive I believe it has been sufficient. That is, the following aspects of the current consensus on immigration and refugee policy have been carefully scrutinized
- a high profile statement by an officer of the PC(USA) on their policy positions
- review of one of the most commonly used Bible passages in support of the current consensus.
In both areas I have found the results to be seriously deficient.
There is, however, a general consideration that may be of use to explore as we exit this particular topic. Although it has been indirectly referred to, it has not yet been specifically addressed. That being Progressive Christianity’s all too common presumption of a moral, intellectual and theological superiority that excuses them from engaging as peers with those holding opposing perspectives. I certainly am not claiming that this problem is uniformly the case as I personally know numerous members of this group who engage on the merits.
However, I believe the argument can be credibly made that, due to their undeniable success in occupying most key positions of social and organizational power, the Progressive movement has become far too dependent on intimidation at the expense of persuasion.
This strategy is pursued by never acknowledging opposition as being legitimate and by insisting that opposing points of view are motivated by moral defects. Thus they are not seeking to persuade peers to see their point of view, but rather using social and/or organizational force to obtain submission. Those who have been following this blog will have no trouble recalling cases where senior leaders in the PC(USA) have aggressively utilized these tactics.
John Calvin himself rebukes this leadership strategy in his commentary on Psalm 45:2.
You are the most excellent of men and your lips have been anointed with grace, since God has blessed you forever.
… How manifestly does this rebuke the mean-spiritedness of kings in our day, by whom it is regarded as derogatory to their dignity to converse with their subjects, and to employ remonstrance in order to secure their submission; nay, who display a spirit of barbarous tyranny in seeking rather to compel than to persuade them …
The really bad news for Progressives is that, although victory by intimidation has always been a morally destructive strategy, it no longer is likely to be effective for a large segment of the population. And, doubling, then tripling down, to the point of rioting and physical violence, on the same strategy is likely to diminish your credibility and influence even more.
I suppose that this blog could be viewed as one long attempt to persuade Progressives to rejoin the rest of us flawed, confused humans who are attempting to find our way through the challenges of the 21st century. Sometimes persuasion has the prerequisite of confrontation, such as when an entrenched group abuses their position and privilege to the detriment of substantive debate.
I believe that most of us would welcome you with open arms. I certainly would. For, we need more ideas being more freely debated in good faith to meet the difficult choices and challenges that face us all.