That is, those Christians who have concluded traditional and conservative Christianity was the only mischief, and we need to embrace the priorities and values of the postmodern world. To those Christians I have one simple request: Stop saying nobody is being persecuted in our country when you have people being told they will be punished, even legally, even financially, if they refuse to publicly compromise their Christian values.
I know, I know. The left, and those who didn't have the stomach to keep fighting the good fight, have long focused on the fact that store clerks saying 'Happy Holidays' or businesses not putting Christmas symbols on coffee cups is not persecution. Fair enough, even if we could argue, as a priest from W. Africa did a couple years ago, that such is how thing usually begin. But telling people they must publicly compromise their Christian beliefs, or pay the price through financial ruin or other legal repercussions, is a form of persecution.
This is especially true because it is many of those same acquiescing Christians have made things like 'a living wage' and 'income equality' into pro-life issues. I mean, even thinking of not giving people a financial viable living was akin to hating Jesus. So if that's the case, then filing lawsuits and running people out of their businesses, taking their salaries, hurting them financially should be seen, not only as naked persecution, but based on the sacred right of a viable income, it ought to be a pro-life issue as well.
I say this because Mark Shea posted a reflection on the whole gay wedding cake issue. Let's be honest, the LGBTQ is being used to drive a wedge between those who will compromise their faith to conform to the modern Left, and those who won't. And it's doing a bang-up job. Unlike the first few decades of modern liberalism, the Left is now putting teeth into its attacks. It seeks to convert all to its gospel, and is willing to use the power of the State to achieve that end. For several generations, the most the Left did was mock, laugh at, make fun of, deride, belittle and sometimes spit upon Americans of a traditional moral and religious framework.
But with homosexuality, it now has a way to demand conformity to its moral dictates at the expense of religious exercise and religious liberty. That's what this is about. And already we're seeing plenty of rats jumping that sinking ship. Mark himself once called this a naked assault on religious liberty. He pointed out the obvious, that gay couples scouring the neighborhood, ignoring dozens of businesses that would gladly serve them, in order to find one Christian business owner to drag before the courts, is nothing but a deliberate effort to strip away the right to not be liberal.
But that was then. Now Mark casts scorn on those business owners who would not concede the modern morality, judging them as either 'Christianists', or likely hypocrites who have no business complaining. His solution? Passive resistance. Make the cakes, make the cards, take the pictures, affirm the pure love within a gay relationship, and find some other way to say 'but I still don't agree.' Fair enough.
But to take Mark seriously, Mark must admit a couple truths. First, let's stop pretending like the only evangelizing force in the world is Christianity. There are many evangelizing forces, including the modern Left. It is actively seeking to get Christians to renounce their faith and values and conform to its dictates. Its effectiveness can be seen by doing an analysis of Mark Shea c. 1998 and comparing it to Mark Shea c. 2018. I can't think of two individuals with less in common, and it is a testimony to the effectiveness of the Left's evangelizing tactics.
The second, however, is no less important. Stop, as I said above, stop saying nobody is being persecuted. They are. Having the goverment walk into your shop and demand you compromise your freedom of religious exercise under threat of financial ruin is - at best - persecution. What are you waiting for? Christians with shaved heads marching into the gas chambers? Just stop. The Left has been moving lines in the sand forward for decades, and Christians have fallen back and fallen back time and again. Now it is actively seeking to punish, with the power of the State, those who don't conform.
To ignore this is no longer a case of denial. It's an outright lie that smacks of cowardliness or treason, rather than principle. So just stop. Admit we are being converted, and admit that the Left is taking it to the next level and seeking to persecute those who resist. And don't let those who once insisted they would never punish anyone for opposing homosexual marriage insist there is nothing wrong with punishing people for opposing homosexual marriage. At some point credibility needs to take a hit or two.
Do these two things, and I will consider the suggestion of passive resistance. Otherwise, it comes off less as a bold suggestion in the tradition of St. Barnabas, and more a retreat, hoping against hope that it will be other Christians who pay the price; that when they come for them, that's all they will do.
BTW, the comments in Mark's post are a potpourri of all the reasons why we are losing the fight for the heart and soul of the Dying West, as well as showcasing the clear and obvious desire to convert Christians to the New Faith. I might do a post on those in the future. Right now, perhaps the best example is this comment. Note the solution the comment proposes: you can refuse to bake the cake, just lie about why; don't publicly admit that it has to do with your religious principles. It will be interesting to see where Mark comes down on this particular solution: keep your religion under the bushel and lie about why. If nothing else demonstrate a society of religious persecution, it is seeing that as some form of compromise.