Are Pro-Trump Christians Putting Country Before Christ?

By John Zmirak Published on November 5, 2018

I don’t usually respond to online attacks. But the other day I came across a tweet that deserves an answer. Not because it’s profound. In fact, it’s obtuse. But its sheer dunderheadedness, on crucial issues, points a moral. Here, in molar purity, we find distilled a toxin which more often gets diluted and infused into all sorts of other arguments. Here is a poison whose antidote we really need to stock up on. Its author phrased his thoughts in sectarian Catholic terms, but it’s easy enough to rephrase in ecumenical language. Here:

Where to begin? First of all, the Tweeter’s statement can be read in two different ways. Either of them is intriguing. He could be accusing people like me of choosing “the interests of” our ethnicity, our civilization, and economic freedom/prosperity over the principles of Catholicism. That’s one thing, which I’ll address later.

Band-Aids for Bad Shepherds

But he could equally mean that we choose “the interests of” those earthly things over the interests of Catholicism. That is, the Church’s effort to keep up its numbers. To fill its churches, where 40% of native-born Catholics leave. And one in five Catholics is now an immigrant. (Though many of them leave too, eventually.) To keep money flowing into the bishops’ coffers from the federal government via contracts for immigrant services, as laymen close their checkbooks. (Last year, 40% of the US Catholic bishops’ conference budget came from such federal money.) To boost the influence of our highly politicized prelates. They last year issued more than 200 public policy statements, as if they were some shadow government in exile.

If Christians had told the Romans that they couldn’t try to keep out the Visigoths, Vandals and Huns, Rome wouldn’t have converted.

Those might well be the short-term interests of the Church, narrowly stated. But is it really in the long-term interests of any church to slap a Band-Aid of fresh souls, borrowed from neighboring countries, on its gaping wounds of scandal? Of cover-ups? Of a homosexual network that has partly colonized the priesthood and episcopate? Isn’t that simply enabling a leadership that’s addicted to self-destructive behavior? Isn’t it really like giving your junkie friend a big wad of cash so he can score?

In fact, if we want a genuine renewal in our Church, we need to remove such crutches. We must make bishops depend for full churches and full purses on doing the right things. On cleaning up their seminaries. On preaching and teaching the Gospel to the flock which God entrusted to them — not counting on fresh sheep to wander in from other (mostly better) bishop’s neighboring pastures.

Help us champion truth, freedom, limited government and human dignity. Support The Stream »

Otherwise, nothing changes. Bishops like retired Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles can build monstrous new cathedrals to the glory of their own names, and wield political power by posing as champions of immigrants. Meanwhile they cover for sex abuse, preside over lavender seminaries, and persecute faithful Catholics. Those fractious characters are after all replaceable by recent, docile, grateful campesinos.

But is it really in the long-term interests of any church to slap a Band-Aid of fresh souls, borrowed from neighboring countries, on its gaping wounds of scandal?

So I am driven to guard our borders even more by my concern for the Church’s mission than I am by American national interests. Until the fresh flow of canon fodder is cut off by the government, our generals will never adjust their strategy. They’ll just keep sending raw recruits into No Man’s Land — unschooled in the faith, soon to abandon it like the U.S. Catholics before them.

Christianity: Not a Suicide Cult

But let’s imagine that the author wasn’t just being a tribalist, expecting me as an American to write off my non-Catholic neighbors and fellow citizens for the sake of helping our bishops stay fat and happy.

So he’s accusing people like me of abandoning Catholic principles, timeless Christian teachings. What are they, exactly?

The Church has never, in 2,000 years, demanded open borders. If Christians had told the Romans that they couldn’t try to keep out the Visigoths, Vandals and Huns, Rome wouldn’t have converted. Likewise if Christians had taught absolute pacifism, or universal celibacy. People would have looked at insane teachings like that, which guaranteed global chaos, or the end of the human race, and walked away. And they would have been right. The Savior of mankind was not its enemy.

Christianity is true. It is not a program for proving our faith in heaven by destroying life on earth. Or showing our strong our faith is by dismantling our reason.

Even Pope Francis has not roused up the nerve to change the Catechism on borders. The Church’s teaching on immigration is much, much closer to the 2016 Republican platform than it is to Democrats’ reckless demand that we abolish ICE, and invite half of Latin America to march in and enroll in Medicaid.

Now, Pope Francis and his proxies would probably like to change this teaching. He and 24 U.S. bishops endorsed an insane manifesto last year which suggested that. But if the pope did that, his doctrine would be false. Precisely because it is new. He’d be inventing something himself, not passing on the Deposit of Faith from the Apostles. And it wouldn’t bind Catholics. It wouldn’t just be our right, but our duty to defy the change.

Likewise if Pope Francis were to reverse the consistent, repeated teachings of his predecessors condemning socialism as utterly incompatible with Christianity.

Any new, “radical” reading of Christianity that generates insane implications is false. Because Christianity is true. It is not a program for proving our faith in heaven by destroying life on earth. Or showing how strong our faith is by dismantling our reason. Or nailing up our neighbors on the cross of chaos and poverty, just to prove how loyal we are to the leaders of our tribe.

Print Friendly
Comments ()
The Stream encourages comments, whether in agreement with the article or not. However, comments that violate our commenting rules or terms of use will be removed. Any commenter who repeatedly violates these rules and terms of use will be blocked from commenting. Comments on The Stream are hosted by Disqus, with logins available through Disqus, Facebook, Twitter or G+ accounts. You must log in to comment. Please flag any comments you see breaking the rules. More detail is available here.
  • Baronsamedi1925

    In many cases I do think so. I don’t think a person is going isn’t saved because they didn’t back the president.

    • So you have your profile one of the aliases of the devil?

      • Baronsamedi1925

        I just like that name. I don’t worship any voodoo gods anymore then you worship the queen of England.

        • that name is an alias of the devil, high wizards are ordered to dress with that image. What is your game?

          • Baronsamedi1925

            You must be a wizard then . I’m Just a believer in Jesus Christ.

          • Whose chosen handle is an alias of the devil. Do “believers in Jesus Christ” normally take on personas of the devil?

            The devil believes in Jesus, the devil knows Jesus exists. The standard you set for yourself is low.

          • Baronsamedi1925

            I just do it because I like showing what I know. What you said is true . The difference is I know that Jesus is my Savior. The devil is just willing to use use religion to blind people to the truth. .

          • you “know” (apt word) one of the aliases of the devil and then you brand yourself with that alias, and “knowing” it self-justified you giving yourself an alias used by the devil? The devil’s lie was that “knowing” would make man “be like gods.”

            Then, before you leave a bizzare comment about “the devil using religion to hide the truth,” you claim Thr Christ is your Savior. Christ is your Savior, yet you use an alias of the devil as your chosen moniker?

            you could have picked anything to name yourself and represent you, but you chose an alias of the devil. you then claim that the devil uses religion to “hide the truth.”

            What precisely is the devil hiding by using religion?

            What part of using an alias of the devil tells other people that “Christ is my Savior?”

          • Baronsamedi1925

            He hides the fact that we are saved by Grace.The devil wants us to believe that we can work our way to heaven. . I believe that Christians should know about the forces of darkness because you can avoid it if you recognize it. I admit that I’m far from perfect.

          • The Graces of God allowed to man are called Sacraments. I can’t imagine you partake in any.

            So you choose a blasphemous and lazy path to damnation and call the Work of God as from the devil, because the Work of God does not appeal to your ego. Therefore you “believe” you will be “saved” no matter what you do, even if partaking in the occult and satanism.

          • Baronsamedi1925

            I do but to me it is symbolic of the death and resurrect of Jesus Christ. I’m alot more protestant than I am catholic.

          • The satanic alias of the devil that you tattoo on yourself reminds you of Christ? Do you listen to yourself?

          • Baronsamedi1925

            No I don’t tattoo anything on me. I said that I don’t think that communion wafers are the real body of Christ. I take it to remind me of the sacrifice on the Cross that jesus made for our sins.

          • you tattoo that satanic name on you as you commit heresy.

  • Patmos

    Too many words for the leftist Twitter mob, John. You’re going to have to reduce the word count drastically if you want to engage them. Or you could just speak their language: “Ooooga oooga, oooga ooga ooga!”

  • Ineverleavecomments

    I hope this and other pieces on the themes from last spring’s (first annual?) “integralism awareness week” are from a future book.

    Millennial socialists ( I don’t know this twitter person, but I get a tradinista vibe from them for no apparent reason) seem far more religious and much less reasonable than, idontknow, other generations of socialists and we (me, the person who buys books for others to read, and you, who write them) need to be ahead of this trend.

    I feel like every time I comment on this site I say basically the same thing.

    • Zmirak

      Maybe I should write another book on politics and the Church. Seems too depressing at the moment, to be honest.

      • lindenman

        Ain’t that the truth. The Catholic website I used to write for is sounding more like “Pravda” every day. I’d like to think the contributors represent nobody but themselves — a bubbled clique of overeducated malcontents. But I don’t see too many people offering pushback that’s both well-argued and vigorous. The smartest conservatives handle them with kid gloves, and the dumbest sound — well, I’m sure you can imagine.

      • lindenman

        And what do you know, I think I just figured out why the conservative response looks so half-hearted. Remember how Jeanne Kirkpatrick wrote that the Sandinistas, Red Brigade, RAF, etc., had co-opted liberal humanist language so successfully that their opponents were at a loss for how to present their case? I think the same dynamic is at work here. When Catholic lefties say, “We want social justice and an end to clerical corruption,” conservatives have no choice but to answer, “Well, yeah.” It’s hard to follow that with a convincing “but.”

        • Dr_Grabowski

          VERY interesting comment! Claremont’s Charles Kesler, Declarationist protege of the late Harry Jaffa, writes (“What’s Wrong With Conservatism?”) on the AEI website that,

          “For the truth is that traditionalism, and the type of conservatism based on it, have never been comfortable, really, with the American Revolution. They have tried to make peace with it by treating it as something neither very American nor very revolutionary, but the result has been to miss its entire significance in American politics. Examples abound of contemporary conservatives’ wariness of the “Revolution principles,” as Adams called them, on which the Founders took their stand. In fact, conservative politicians do not have to be self-conscious traditionalists to have absorbed this aversion to the concepts, indeed to the very language, of rights, equality, and justice. How many times, for example, has the Republican Congress ducked the chance to eliminate race and gender-based preferences in federal hiring, contracting, and grant-making? Republicans, including many staunch conservatives, flee the issue partly because they think it untimely, but mostly because they do not care to wage an uphill battle on an issue on which liberals presumptively command the moral high ground. In other words, they concede, without quite admitting it perhaps even to themselves, that equality and justice are liberal causes, to be defined by liberals, defended by liberals, and implemented by liberals.”

          Emphasis added.

  • James

    How many Irish Americans felt the same way when people named Zmirak and Skojec showed up?

    • Zmirak

      There was no welfare state and there was plenty of demand for unskilled labor back then, so the situations aren’t comparable.

      • James

        Immigrants aren’t eligible for many welfare programs, at least not on a federal level.

        There is a demand for the labor immigrants provide, especially in construction and agriculture.

        • BillClintonsShorts17

          Sure. At the very low prices for which those ‘immigrants’ offer their labor.

          Look, cupcake. I’m as white as the Marshmallow Man. My daddy picked cotton. By hand. My mom picked hops, and various other agricultural items.

          Do you really think anyone like Hillary, or Mahoney, or Obama EVER handled a shovel or a hoe?

  • David N. Gray

    Regarding “… Democrats’ reckless demand that we abolish ICE, and invite half of Latin America to march in and enroll in Medicaid.”

    Come on, no one is saying that. Some people (not the Democratic party as a whole) have called for abolishing the current organization called ICE (which is separate from the Border Patrol), but I have not heard anyone saying that we should have open borders.

History is His Story
Dwight Longenecker
More from The Stream
Connect with Us