Nice Liberal Christians Like Peter Buttigieg Appear as Angels of Light
The biggest threat to religious liberty for Christians in America isn’t terrorists from ISIS. Nor Islamists in Congress like Rep. Ilhan Omar. Or international secularists like George Soros. Nor even the hit men and women of Planned Parenthood. No, the real enemy we must look out for is something much subtler. What will kill us, if anything does, will taste like clover honey, not cider vinegar. It will carry a sinister sweetness, like a pool of tasty antifreeze that poisons hapless cats. It will smile at us, and praise almost all our “values.” It will quote soothing snippets of scripture. In fact, it will appear as a mild angel of light.
It will look and sound a lot like Mayor Peter Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana.
Look Fairer and Feel Fouler
I once joked online that we Catholics don’t quote the Bible, but instead The Lord of the Rings. Let me prove that here. Remember the scene where Frodo and the other hobbits first meet “Strider,” Prince Aragorn in disguise? Aragorn asks Frodo why the hobbit is willing to trust him, despite his fell appearance. And Frodo answers: “I think a servant of the Enemy would look fairer and feel fouler.”
What could look “fairer” to a 21st century audience than a devout, bourgeois “Christian” in a stable, loving marriage? (Such nice young men, I’m sure they’re lovely to their mothers!) A mayor of a smallish city in the sleepy Midwest. Someone who calls for building bridges across the partisan divide, and dangles before us the achingly attractive goal of reconciling the Gospel with the government.
God bless him, he’s a peacemaker. He offers us a treaty with the ravening secular culture, the social media companies, the angry activists who want to harass us and prosecute us. With the IRS that could audit us, the HHS which could sue us, and the whole vast bulk of Leviathan that under Obama was ruthlessly turned against us. No boycotts like those aimed at Chick-Fil-A, no bans from Facebook or Youtube.
The Reasonable Episcopal Church
We wouldn’t have to sign on as atheists. No, of course not! Why, this fellow is a “devout Christian,” according to Wikipedia. He belongs to the U.S. branch of the moderate, sane, and above all things “reasonable” Episcopal Church (USA). He and his darling husband were married there, in a very tasteful ceremony that was probably quite “high church.” He’d be delighted to work with progressive Evangelicals, Catholics, and Mainline denominations. So long as they kept clear of “extremism.” Which of course, it’s his job to define.
Nor must we sign up for socialism. This aw-shucks Midwestern mayor would never proffer something so foreign. He just wants “fairness” and “social responsibility.” You know, to use the coercive power of the U.S. government to impose the kind of sharing that he thinks Jesus asked of all of us, anyway. Of course, he lauds the “separation of church and state.” He just wants to use wispy, quasi-religious arguments to sway how the state points its bayonets and whom it imprisons. What’s extreme about that?
Caesar Has His Needs
There’s just one little catch. Call it a tiny pinch of incense if you will. But Caesar needs it. (And we’re all about compassionately meeting needs, aren’t we, as Christians?) We just have to agree that the definition of marriage which our tradition has clung too was a teensy bit too narrow. That churches and synagogues that reject same-sex marriage and sexual activity are … well a lot like racist churches in the 1950s and 60s.
Remember how much resistance our grandparents had to marriage between different races? How people plucked verses from the Bible to pretend that God forbade them? Well, we just have to admit that the Jewish and Christian traditions have been doing the very same thing to same sex couples, for the entire history of monotheism.
We have to agree that rejection of same-sex relationships, and transgender identity, is the moral and legal equivalent of white racism. In other words, that it’s as bad as the worst practices in the history of our country. Bad enough that the IRS won’t grant tax-exemptions to institutions that practice it (as Bob Jones University once learned, for its ban on interracial dating). So bad, in fact, that it’s not really part of the Christian tradition at all, but just some bigoted accretion. And of course those who act on such bias are not protected by our country’s First Amendment. Because it only defends the real tenets of religion, which don’t violate the legitimate interests of the State. And this isn’t a real tenet of Christianity, now is it?
Will You Die on This Hill?
Is it? Are you sure you want to die on that hill? Is it worth all that you will lose? Worth the boycotts, the lawsuits, the government prosecutions? Do you really want to reduce the Gospel of Jesus Christ to this one litmus test? How narrow and Pharisaical you must be. You must be one of those vulgar fools who admires President Trump, who by bourgeois, respectable lights looks pretty foul. But you say he “feels fairer”? Well, that’s just your bigotry talking.
It’s just a very small pinch of incense, you know. You’d be amazed at what it can do. Why, I heard it turns stones into bread. …