Rod Dreher explains. Rod came in for some pretty rough ribbing over his book The Benedict Option. Mr. Dreher basically sees a coming storm. This storm involves a coming persecution against the Church and its faithful, and a reaction that will include the faithful abandoning the Faith by droves.
Of course there is always a storm cloud on the horizon. When I was in high school, back in the year 1984, guess who the pop culture assessment of Big Brother was? That would be Reagan and the Conservatives, who were out to put us back to a country of lynchings and back alley abortions, when they weren't busy nuking the world for the American Way. Our destruction was imminent. And in the meantime, vans with tinted windows would slide up the the curb, and out would jump a half dozen men in suits and sunglasses, ready to whisk away all dissenters to some hidden concentration camp in the Nevada deserts. That was a common theme and concern.
So it shouldn't be surprising that, given the leaps and strides of progress that liberalism has made in the last dozen years, those who are unwilling to conform or compromise will see dark clouds on the same horizon. What we know is that eventually someone will be right. Unless the world ends soon, eventually dark clouds will arrive and burst, and someone's fears about the end of the United States republic as we know it will be validated.
In the meantime, while I'm at pains to remember times in the 80s when people actually were taken away because they resisted Reagan, or that Reagan and his cronies nuked the world, I must say it's easier to see the warning signs today. We've come to a point where liberalism no longer sees itself as liberal, but merely as True. And therefore, it thinks nothing of mandating its truth through legislation, and punishing those who reject the truth.
We went in a couple decades from gays just wanting to live and let live to legally punishing those who won't take part in gay weddings. We went from saying the bedroom is nobody's business to saying everyone must pay for what people do in that same bedroom, under threat of government retribution. We went from being told that there is such a thing as boys and girls, to being told sex is non-existent outside the mind and it might be time to punish those who think otherwise. And, of course, we're increasingly told there was little to nothing in this nation's past worth celebrating, and those who would find the good in its heritage equate to Nazis and should be treated accordingly, as all evidence of the country's past is increasingly sent to the broom closet. If that includes ending this notion of free speech, so be it.
So it wouldn't be surprising that, if this trend continues, those whose faith traditions don't own up to these new values will be forced to compromise or will pay the piper. Given that most who boldly insist that we must prepare to suffer for Jesus come are Christian leaders and pundits living high in a nation of prosperity and freedom, it makes you wonder how prepared they will be if the situation actually changes. Martyrdom is easy to discuss around glasses of Champagne. It's certainly easy if we embrace martyrdom by proxy, where we define our courage by our willingness to let others in the future suffer for our righteousness. It's quite another thing to deal with when it actually happens.
Mr. Dreher is simply looking at one possible reality. That so many scoffed at him outright suggests they are either trusting in their power of compromise, possibly the power of the Gospel to convert, or are in denial of the reality of every age: that all we enjoy today can be gone tomorrow. And if it doesn't happen to us, then consider our posterity. Just remember when the Olympic Committee of 1936 expressed its resounding joy in anticipation of the 1940 Olympics. Turns out, there were no 1940 Olympics. No 1944 Olympics either. Just tens of millions dead and new tyrannies and terror states to threaten prosperity and freedom for a hundred years. I'll bet a few years earlier, few would have imagined it.