“Christ Is King!”

And anti-Semites are traitors.

Detail from The National Shrine of the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, D.C.

By John Zmirak Published on March 26, 2024

In a perfect world, the title of this column would be totally uncontroversial. But then again, in a perfect world it might not even be true. You see, without the Fall, we wouldn’t have needed a Savior. Therefore, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, the Logos, the Person of Jesus, while still our King, might be honored by different titles — and not as “Messiah” (Christos). With no sin to save us from, would we even call Him “Christ”?

One of the most profound reflections in Christian theology is that of the “happy fall,” which points up the irony that the evil of Adam’s transgression is infinitely outweighed by the goodness of Jesus’s sacrifice. As the Catholic Easter Vigil liturgy prayer sums it up:

O happy fault,
O necessary sin of Adam
which gained for us
so great a Redeemer!

But I think a quick glance at The Brew these days is all it takes to convince the reader that we don’t have a perfect world. Instead we’ve a deeply fallen one, where the benefits of the Redemption are distributed quite unevenly, thanks to the willfulness of human souls refusing the grace which Christ offers to all.

In this world, even language and reason (the Logos which St. John traced ultimately to Christ Himself) get twisted and perverted.

Words Can Be Twisted by Context

Plain speech gives way to sophistry, and even the most innocent words can be misused with evil intent — as Judas perverted a kiss in the Garden of Olives into a symbol of betrayal.

So no, we won’t be able to settle the argument about the use of “Christ is King!” as a rallying cry or slogan simply by noting that it’s clearly true. For instance, it’s statistically true that per capita, black American men commit more violent crimes than white men. But what would we think of public figures who adopted the truthful statement, “More black men kill!” as a maxim? We might wonder about their motives. In fact, I’m pretty sure we would.

So let’s admit, up front, that “Christ is King!” in itself is blameless and admirable. When a Church father or a Mexican priest facing a firing squad said that, it was a magnificent statement of faith. When Pope Pius XI wrote in 1925 about the “social kingship of Christ” it was an eloquent rebuke to atheist totalitarians in Moscow and Berlin. Today, if Chinese Christians whisper it in the face of their torturers, or Coptic Christians spit it out in blood to their ISIS killers, their courage should send shivers down our spines.

So why is the way some people are using the phrase “Christ is King!” seen as controversial now?

What would we think of public figures who adopted the truthful statement, “More black men kill!” as a maxim? We might wonder about their motives.

The Abuse of Holy Things: Blasphemy

It’s because that beautiful confession of faith was hijacked by nonbelievers, by Gentile tribalists who saw it as a clever way to exclude and insult Jews, whom they resented for political reasons. As far as I can tell, this phrase, once spoken with reverence by martyrs, was popularized as a racial cudgel by the vulgar online demagogue Nick Fuentes, a 25-year-old white supremacist who has openly praised Hitler and fantasized about marrying a 16-year-old girl. He purloined the phrase “Christ is King” and misuses it, as surely as Satanists who steal Holy Communion from Catholic churches abuse the Body and Blood of Christ.

I’ve written here more than once, and in some depth, on the toxic influence of Fuentes among young, disgruntled conservatives grasping for some explanation of why their country has been hijacked, tyrannized, and invaded, just as during the Black Plague and the Great Depression, some people found it easier to blame (drumroll) … the Jews. When I bother to argue with people like this, I always point out that the monstrous evils they blame on the Jews (abortion, pornography, secularism) are just as bad, if not worse, in European countries where the Nazis largely wiped out their Jews. How are the murdered Jews of Vilnius lying in unmarked graves responsible for Lithuania’s current abortion laws? Cue the crickets.

Imitating Fuentes, other “alt-right” Gentile tribalists have taken up the “Christ is King!” chant — people who do little or nothing to demonstrate the actual sovereignty of Jesus over our lives and indeed the Cosmos. Instead, they abuse this holy thing (it’s called “blasphemy,” people) to “own” public figures whom they dislike, such as Ben Shapiro.

Ben Isn’t Good for the Shapiros

While I personally dislike Ben Shapiro, it’s not because of his Jewishness, but very much despite it. I resent his habit of petulantly dismissing the interests of those who are weaker than he — for instance, blue collar workers who hope that government tariffs might protect their jobs from imports, or those who hope to retire at 65. Even if you think tariffs or entitlement programs are counterproductive, it’s a bit rich for Shapiro (who asks between $150,000 to $300,000 to give a single speech on campus) to scoff at workers who hope to earn maybe $60,000 sweating in factories for a year.

Shapiro also made the tasteless joke shown above about Jesus Himself, which is both a crime and a blunder — since pro-Jewish American Christians account for most of his supporters, and stand as the last great defenders of Israel’s safety today. Indeed, till 1948, the United States was the single most welcoming place for Jews of any nation on earth. Thank God for that. Maybe secular Americans of Jewish descent ought to reexamine their habitual support for radical secularization. What if it turns out that in an American Protestant context, a robust Christian culture is good for Jewish safety and freedom? As pro-Hamas students hunt Jews in the dorms at once-Protestant Harvard, I’m tempted to ask, “Do you miss us yet?”

“Christian” Societies Aren’t Always Christlike

On the other hand, we ought to realize why Jews and other likely religious minorities have inherited an ancestral paranoia about aggressively Christian states that don’t honor freedom of conscience. See Jules Gomes’s sobering piece right here at The Stream about the abuse of Jews in some loudly Catholic regimes, which was mirrored in some Protestant and Orthodox countries too. (In parts of Tsarist Russia, Jews would cower inside during Holy Week, since mobs of “Christians” would sometimes attack local Jews to “avenge” what “the Jews” did to Jesus.)

I don’t want to see something as stupid as antisemitism take over the Church or the Right. But antisemitism is worse than merely stupid. It’s actively evil. It doesn’t hinge on the acceptance or rejection of Jesus as Messiah — since antisemites historically have treated Jewish Christians nearly as badly. The Spanish Inquisition targeted “conversos,” whom envious neighbors accused of having faked their acceptance of Jesus. The Nazis killed nuns and priests of Jewish descent without even blinking.

If I might speak from personal, visceral experience: The only times I have felt the tangible presence of evil spirits have been when I prayed outside abortion clinics, and when I found myself talking to rabid antisemites. The same principalities and powers that hate innocent kids hate Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, and Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

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Antisemitism is not about Christ, or even Christianity. It’s a tribal flinch of hostility on the part of Gentiles (Christian or not) at a tribe which they resent. It’s the impulse that drove Haman to want to wipe out the Jews of Persia.

What’s worse, Christians who have aggressively tried to “de-Judaize” the Church have reinvented the heresy of Marcion — which, by cutting off the Gospel from the truths of the Hebrew Bible, leaves Christianity an almost empty vessel that Caesar, Mammon, and Sodom can fill with whatever content they like. In Germany in the 1930s, it was pantheist racial narcissism. In America today, it’s woke pansexual hysteria and masochistic white guilt.

We need the Old Testament, with its concrete teachings about sexual sins, the value of national borders, and the authority of fathers, to protect us from such perversions. How ironic that those who despise the Jews for being too liberal are themselves opening the Church to hijack and corruption.

 

John Zmirak is a senior editor at The Stream and author or coauthor of ten books, including The Politically Incorrect Guide to Immigration and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Catholicism. His upcoming book is No Second Amendment, No First.

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