Monday, June 11, 2018

To Christians who see compromise as our hope for the future

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. 


  1. It would help the cause of Christian evangelization if Christian apologists actually spent their lives devoted to the cause of evangelizing and spreading the Christian message rather than engaging in snarky social media politicking.

    Side note: I am "banned" from viewing Mark's facebook page. It's about as effective as blocking someone on Twitter - I can access the page by simply logging out or going incognito on my browser. But I do love the effort Mark makes in strengthening his cocoon.

    1. Mark's game of banning anyone who doesn't share in his loathing of a particular demographic is a dangerous game to be sure. Nobody is good enough to surround themselves only with same thinkers. As for being banned, I've been banned and then some, as have so many. That's why I still post on Mark - it's usually from people who have been banned, so they can't really engage with Mark, despite the things he says and does (not the least of which is teaching false doctrine and calling good what he once called evil).

  2. I think it's interesting that most of Mark's regular commenters seem to be left-wing atheists griping about Catholicism. It would seem that Mark is more comfortable interacting with such people than he is with fellow Catholics, and also that his strategy of reaching out to atheists by attacking conservative Catholics isn't actually working as a strategy for gaining converts.

    1. If you are to the Left, support abortion, even late term abortion, assisted suicide, gay marriage, transgender normality, communism, Marxism, socialism, atheism, anti-Catholicism, anti-Christianity, Hitler's Pope theories, and a host of similar perspectives, you could do worse than visiting Mark's blog. I've seen all of those things advocated over the last year or so. Sometimes those supporting them have been defended by Mark - on rare occasion he will speak out against the more zealous advocates for things like late term abortions or rank anti-Catholicism. The similarities between them all is that they have contempt and loathing for Conservatives, Conservative Christians, and traditional Americans. If you express hatred toward those things, the rest can be engaged in on CAEI with little pushback.

  3. I saw that post by Mark today and just shook my head. How does he even remotely call himself Catholic anymore ?

    1. As I said, I'll entertain the idea of some passive resistance approach. One of his readers actually gave some examples. But that reader also called Mark out on some problems, such as Mark's basic contempt for those who have already been punished by the state for their positions. But Mark said he would post on that comment I linked to. Since the individual in question made it clear that the desire is for Christians to convert, and if they refuse they deserve what they get, but they can deny their faith and lie about why if they must refuse, then it will be interesting to see how Mark handles it. Remember, Mark made even the slightest white lie to spare a person from harm into a ticket to Hell. So I'm waiting. Mark might smack that down, I don't know. But he now calls so many things good he once called evil, and so many things evil he once called good, it's impossible to guess.

  4. Having thought about the issue a bit, I think Mark's problem -- or at least, one of Mark's problems -- is that he's got the idea that the wider culture is basically receptive to Catholicism, and that if people profess to dislike it, it's because Catholics themselves are being too mean, or too obsessed with rules, or not evangelising enough, or whatever. It's a common mistake, and I think it's behind lots of the disciplinary liberalism we see in the Church today: "Oh, yes, plenty of people want to be part of the Church, but those nasty rigid Pharisees just won't let them. We need to loosen up and stop rule-bashing if we want to attract new converts." The problem is that this idea is completely untrue: not only does Christ state quite plainly that the world will hate his disciples, but the regular commenters on Mark's own blog make it perfectly clear that, in their opinion, Catholic teaching is inherently oppressive, and the only thing that will satisfy them is a complete change of doctrine. That's not the sort of objection that can be overcome by a shift in emphasis or a more reticent attitude about condemning sin.

    Incidentally, I'm surprised neither Mark nor any of his commenters brought up the topic of sacrificing to the Roman emperors, which seems like one of the more obvious parallels to the modern push to make everybody affirm the goodness of same-sex marriage. (I'd bring it up myself, but I too am a member in good standing of the Banned By Mark Shea Club.) Of course, the reaction of the early Christians was the sort of point-blank refusal that Mark ridicules as "defending Fortress Katolicus from the attacking orcs that Christians perceive the larger culture to be", so on reflection maybe it's not so surprising after all.


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