2

Politics as Religion

Perhaps the most popular heresy today among many Catholics is the substitution of Leftism for the Faith.  Dave Griffey at Daffey Thoughts, courtesy Mark Shea, gives us an example of this.  He begins by pondering what the Founding Fathers had that we often lack:

 

Among many other characteristics we lack, they had the ability to come together despite their differences.  And they had differences.  From how the country should function to such hot-button issues as slavery, the Founding Fathers were all over the place.  And yet they understood the complexities, and they got the bigger picture, one that they ultimately strove for, despite their different beliefs in how to get there.

Our modern Bolshevik Bumper Stick approach, where we want it fast and simple: We are the side of the angels, and they’re Hitler, is a travesty to all things good and common sense, is the antithesis of this.

As I’ve said, I think we spend so much time trashing the past because it helps us dodge the mess we’ve made of our present.  When pressed, we then turn everything wrong over on ‘them’. The other side is to blame.  Not us of course.  We’re awesome.  Remember?  We got trophies when we lost and were able to retake tests in school until we passed.  That proves we’re always awesome!

No, the rancor and vitriol isn’t so much the problem as the rank partisanship, and the growing tendency of many to abandon their principles, values and standards in order to keep up.  I’m not just thinking of Evangelicals who have suddenly made morals and character a bottom 200 issue in order to support Trump.  I’m also talking about those who seem to be swinging left, even if they won’t admit it, by downplaying, ignoring or even embracing that which they once called evil.

Hint.  Steve Schmidt, liberal GOPer who worked for anti-Republican McCain (who Mark once warned could jeopardize a person’s soul for voting for) and culturally liberal, quasi-Socialist Arnold Schwarzenegger, is hardly a gotcha voice to warn against the dreaded GOP.  That he advocates what once was considered sin among many Catholics seems to be no big deal.  Mark considers it his patriotic duty to attack only the GOP and ignore the sins of the Democratic Party which he now vocally cheers for and supports.

It’s that level of partisanship, willing to throw anything and everything out the window, willing to turn a blind eye not just to coming persecution, but the slow evangelization of Christians away from the faith (far more American Catholics embrace the sins of the Left than Right) that is the problem.  The GOP has its problems.  Trump is certainly problematic.  But they are in now way more of a threat than the emerging socialism and anti-traditionalism of the Democrats.

The Founding Fathers were a gift to America, and the world.  We have squandered them.  We let forces hostile to the Faith, the Country, and our values creep in and begin to erode what we inherited.  If you think the GOP alone is some threat to our democracy Mr. Schmidt, or Mark Shea, then you, in fact, are the ones who are the threats to our democracy.

Would that we would be gifted by the likes of the Founding Father again.

UPDATE:  It’s been brought to my attention that I missed a key problem in Mark’s post.  It isn’t that he’s obviously just using it to gin up support for the Democratic Party, for which he is now a vocal cheerleader and advocate.  It’s the fact that he contradicts himself.  He says that we should be worried about selling our soul, rather than any persecution.  But if we don’t care about persecution, why care about preserving our Democracy?  What Democracy does Mark envision saving that includes persecution?  Why is it fine to fight for Democracy, but not big deal when it comes to worrying about persecution? 

Of course, again, this is Mark, one of the loudest advocates for the Democratic Party in modern Catholicism.  Since attacking religious rights openly and through the courts is the tactic of the Democrats, it stands to reason he will downplay that.  But it also shows a contradiction in those Christians trying to align with or compromise with the Left.  Let’s dismiss Mark’s clear and obvious ignoring of those who have already been persecuted, and his denial that there exists anywhere a radical Left.  That’s stupid and shows a wanton cruelty when it comes to tolerating the suffering of our fellow believers merely because they are suffering under the Party he now supports.

Let’s look at this little trend at face value. I’ve seen many now say this sort of thing, including Russell Moore of the SBC.  Basically, it says we shouldn’t worry about being persecuted or even preserving our nation.  After all, we’ll always have heaven.  Countries come and go, persecution can be a badge of honor.  But it’s our spiritual destiny that is important.

So couldn’t we argue the same about Global Warming?  Couldn’t we argue the same about anything, like healthcare or Open Border immigration?  I mean, can’t we just say none of it matters, we’ll always have heaven?  They’ll have heaven?  Heaven trumps all? 

Obviously it’s a lame excuse, yet is popular among those trying to pound that square peg of historical Christianity into the round hole of the modern secular, Marxist inspired Left.  The lameness of it should set off bells and whistles.  Especially if it occurs in the same argument in which the advocate of not caring about anything but our souls suddenly aligns with caring about our precious Democracy that, apparently, can easily include persecution of Christians.

Go here to comment.  Unless one is willing to use limitless force and kill a great many people, politics in a democracy is always about compromise and understanding the distinction between the ideal and the politically possible.  Leftists increasingly in our country fail to support these basic political truisms and wish to impose their ideas on others by force.  They transfer from the religious realm an intolerance for heretics and view as damned those who do not completely share their views.  That some Catholics exchange the Faith for such rubbish would drive one to despair until it is recalled that Judas traded Our Savior for thirty pieces of silver.  Our job is not to give way to despair but to recall the distinction between politics and religion.  Failing to do so produces bloody politics and destroys religion.

9

Trading Christ for Caesar

How many faithful Catholics have been alienated from the Church due to the embrace by some of the clergy of left-wing politics?  Science Fiction author Sarah Hoyt writes on the topic:

 

The Catholic Church in America appears to be a schizophrenic entity, possessed of a deep-seated death wish — exactly like all the other mainstream churches and most institutions in our western culture. This week, the Church is celebrating Freedom of Religion week.  You’ll see the little flags if you walk past one of the churches.

I have absolutely clue zero — and in fact am a little afraid to consider — of what other parishes and sermons might make of this, but our priest segued incoherently from telling us that like St. John the Baptist confronted Herod we are supposed to confront and oppose a president who “has had more than one wife” and who “mistreats the least powerful and smallest of our people” to enjoining us to come to church a great deal and have daily mass for the week, to celebrate Freedom of Religion Week.

I didn’t actually facepalm too hard, because I might have knocked myself out and people might stare.

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Mostly what the church should stop doing is stop running around like a chicken with its head cut off, trying to grow its congregation in all the wrong ways, while at the same time it runs off its more devout members.

As I said, this is a lunacy it shares with other main stream churches, and it’s part of the same lunacy that infects publishing.  It’s a “we’re not here to serve the people but to change them.”  And while the churches have a little more claim to being entitled to preaching than the publishers, say, it’s still a piece of crazy to think they can preach to us on things that are political and in which they have no jurisdiction, besides being naïve and ill-informed as churchmen tend to be. (With exceptions, of course. I’m casting no aspersions on John Paul II.) Or of course, outright political and insane as the American Council of Bishops tends to be.

I beg you with tears in my eyes, stop driving away the devout by pushing a philosophy of state absolutism and open borders which cannot but end in massacres and mass graves. Give to Rome that which is Rome’s and leave it outside the church.

I walked away from the church once already, over a priest spending an hour talking about how Sarah Palin’s use of target graphics had totally caused the Gifford shooting.  I know a devout – and really devout — Catholic who has walked out and can’t force himself to go back over his parish’s continuous pounding of “gun control.”

And not only is none of this germane to the mission of the church, but I can prove with very little effort that the church’s stand is counterproductive and causes objective evil.  For instance, encouraging illegal immigrants to come to the US and stay not only makes it so that entire families live outside the law and in precarious conditions but — because of that and the ripping apart of the traditional structure of their cultures — makes the children more susceptible to fall into criminal behavior and drug use.  We have statistics on this.

It also economically injures the land to which they migrate (yes, we have data on how it hurts wages for the least skilled) and throws any number of people on welfare, which unlike private charity is inherently corrupting of morals and work ethic.

And encouraging Catholics to “confront” and “oppose” a many-times married president only results in Catholics voting for… whom?  Would you prefer abettor of adulterous husband Clinton?  Or Atheist Bernie Sanders? Or Nancy Pelosi whose Catholicism stops at Planned Parenthood doors? Or any number of other people who would remove that religious freedom you just praised?

I do understand the church is a little lost under Pope Che whose friends are heretics and who is a perfect South American Political Idiot.  Theology is after all supposed to come from the Bible and Tradition, and all of a sudden, in the pronouncements coming out of Rome, the Little Red Book has precedence over both.

I walked away from the church once and returned because I needed the sacraments.

But how long can one take sacraments when everything – everything – that comes from the pulpit is, if not the exact opposite of what is supposed to be preached, at least not far from it?

Are there not passages in the Bible about salt that loses its flavor and light that doesn’t illuminate?  You’re corrupting, destroying and losing souls.  All for the sake of what you imagine will be temporal power. This will not end well.

Dear Catholic Church, we already have a DNC. Your mission is not to propagate the message of socialism but the message of Christ.

Otherwise, what good are you?

Go here to read the rest.  It has always been my position that the Church should stay out of politics.  The exceptions are where the Church is coming under attack from a government or where an evil universally condemned by the Church throughout its history is being embraced by a government:  abortion and the mass genocides embraced by the totalitarian governments of the last century come to mind.  Going much beyond this tends to alienate some Catholics in the pews, and for a universal Church that embraces all of humanity, that is a disaster.  The mainline Protestant churches in this country amply demonstrate what happens when a church morphs into a political pressure group:  membership plummets and churches die.  The type of Leftist agenda embraced by Pope Francis puts the Church firmly on that path to extinction.  This is directly contrary to the Gospel and comes close to being the sin against the Holy Spirit as it trades human politics for the Faith.

11

Leftism as Substitute Religion

 

The howls of incoherent fury with which much of the left has greeted the advent of the Trump administration seems quite strange until we recall that leftism is essentially not a political movement for many of its adherents but rather a substitute for religion.  John Daniel Davidson at The Federalist understands this:

 

The consternation and outrage we’ve seen in response to President Trump’s executive order on immigration has little to do with the policy as such. Restricting immigration from certain countries is nothing new; President Obama did it, as did presidents Bush, Clinton, H.W. Bush, and Reagan.

Rather, it has everything to do with the elevation of progressive politics to the status of a religion—a dogmatic and intolerant religion, whose practitioners are now experiencing a crisis of faith.

Forget the executive order itself. Progressives have reacted with moral indignation and hysteria to everything Trump has done since taking office. His inauguration was enough to bring out hundreds of thousands of protesters across the country. In the 12 days since then, we have witnessed yet more demonstrations, boycotts, calls for “resistance,” comparisons to the Holocaust, media witch-hunts, the politicization of everything from Hollywood awards shows to professional sports, and real tears from New York Sen.Chuck Schumer.

One is hard-pressed to think of something Trump could do that would not elicit howls of outrage from the Left. On Tuesday, Senate Democrats boycotted confirmation hearings for Steven Mnuchin’s nomination to serve as treasury secretary and Rep. Tom Price’s nomination to be secretary of Health and Human Services, while continuing to try to block the confirmation of Betsy DeVos for education secretary and Sen. Jeff Session for attorney general. Even before Trump announced his Supreme Court pick on Tuesday night, Democrats had already announced they would filibuster the nomination, no matter who it was.

The obstinacy of Senate Democrats reflects the mood of their progressive base, whose panicked anger is the natural reaction of those for whom politics has become an article of faith. Progressives, as the terms implies, believe society must always be progressing toward something better. Always forward, never backwards. After eight years of Obama, they believed progressive politics in America would forever be on an upward trajectory.

The Left Has Been Moralizing Politics For A Long Time

Trump shook that faith. But his election also unmasked the degree to which progressivism as a political project is based not on science or rationality, or even sound policy, but on faith in the power of government to ameliorate and eventually perfect society. All the protests and denunciations of Trump serve not just as an outlet for progressives’ despair, but the chance to signal their moral virtue through collective outrage and moral preening—something that wasn’t really possible under Obama, at least not to this degree.

Not that they didn’t try. Recall that during the Obamacare debate in 2009 Ezra Klein suggested that Sen. Joe Lieberman was “willing to cause the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in order to settle an old electoral score,” simply because he threatened to filibuster what would become the Affordable Care Act. This is the language of political fundamentalism—policy invested with the certainty of religious conviction.

Religious fundamentalism of course rests on immutable truths that cannot be negotiated. For Klein, that meant health care reform. The same rhetoric—“willing to cause the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people”—would crop up again and again during Obama’s tenure, every time a Republican governor refused to expand Medicaid or a state attorney general challenged an EPA regulation meant to curb climate change. Policy debates took on a theological significance. Continue Reading

6

Ignorance as Brave New World

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Much of leftist politics today consists of leftists stating that what is manifestly not true must be believed with a religious fervor that would put to shame most Trappist monks.  Dave Griffey at his blog Daffey Thoughts reminds us of the essential element in all this:

Thinly disguised as offended PC sensitivity warriors.  John C. Wright does the take down here.  Yep.  I’ve said already that much of the modern Left is about convincing us that 2+2=4 is hate speech, must be punished, and those who insist on resisting the new math are the baddies.

Why?  Because if you want to follow the basic trend of most Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment era revolutions by setting up a Despotic government where liberty and Utopia were promised, and furthermore want to do so in a nation that was the capstone of 2500 years of a long, agonizing march toward freedom and liberty, you have to make the population stupid enough to declare that 2+2=4 is the most evil, hateful thing imaginable and it’s good that we finally have laws that will punish those who insist on saying 2+2=4.

Much of what Mr. Wright says is, of course, spot on.  The idea that PC Warriors demand courtesy when they provide none, they demand respect when the provide the polar opposite to the traditions and beliefs they hate, and demand tolerance for their eradication of tolerance and diverse opinions, should be the neon warning signs for a generation.

It’s a testimony to our education systems, our entertainment industry and our media that so many Americans are ready to rewrite the First Amendment, the Second Amendment, and even the entire notion of a Bill of Rights because we’ve been told it could be hateful to say men can’t have babies.  It takes one stupid nation for that to happen.  Or it takes a nation that is the product of the last 50 years of concerted effort on the part of those same educational, entertainment and media industries to be that stupid. Continue Reading

18

Google Celebrates Their Religion

Ed Driscol notes that Google has a predictable manner of observing Easter.  Ironic, since whatever else you could say about Cesar Chavez he was a devout Catholic:

 

“While two billion Christians around the world celebrate Easter Sunday on this 31st day of March, Google is using its famous ‘Doodle’ search logo art to mark the birth of left-wing labor leader,” Twitchy.com notes, adding that “Google’s Easter insult sparks Twitter backlash, mockery,” as well it should.

 

The timing of latest in-your-face politically correct homepage is oddly appropriate. As Dennis Prager has written, “You cannot understand the Left if you do not understand that leftism is a religion,” and one with its own sources of mythology. Back in 2006 at Tech Central Station, Lee Harris described French Marxist Georges Sorel (1847-1922), and the concept of the Sorelian Myth:

Sorel, for whom religion was important, drew a comparison between the Christian and the socialist revolutionary. The Christian’s life is transformed because he accepts the myth that Christ will one day return and usher in the end of time; the revolutionary socialist’s life is transformed because he accepts the myth that one day socialism will triumph, and justice for all will prevail. What mattered for Sorel, in both cases, is not the scientific truth or falsity of the myth believed in, but what believing in the myth does to the lives of those who have accepted it, and who refuse to be daunted by the repeated failure of their apocalyptic expectations. How many times have Christians in the last two thousand years been convinced that the Second Coming was at hand, only to be bitterly disappointed — yet none of these disappointments was ever enough to keep them from holding on to their great myth. So, too, Sorel argued, the myth of socialism will continue to have power, despite the various failures of socialist experiments, so long as there are revolutionaries who are unwilling to relinquish their great myth. That is why he rejected scientific socialism — if it was merely science, it lacked the power of a religion to change individual’s lives. Thus for Sorel there was “an…analogy between religion and the revolutionary Socialism which aims at the apprenticeship, preparation, and even the reconstruction of the individual — a gigantic task.” Continue Reading

14

Leftism as a Religion

Men shall be lovers of themselves, covetous, haughty, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, wicked,

2 Timothy 3:2

 

Dennis Praeger has a brilliant post up at National Review Online in which he describes leftism as a subsitute religion:

Within mainstream Protestantism and Catholicism, the same dominance of leftist values exists. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops — not to mention the Notre Dame faculty — largely holds the same social and economic views as the Democratic party and the New York Times editorial page, though it differs with the Left with regard to same-sex marriage, abortion, and religious-freedom issues such as those pertaining to Catholic hospitals and government-funded contraception. As for mainstream Protestant denominations, they, too, are largely indistinguishable from leftism. Proof? Ask a liberal Protestant minister to name one important area in which he and leftism differ. Ask a liberal Reform or Conservative rabbi the same question. Their silence will be telling.

 

The truth is that the Left has been far more successful in converting Jews and Christians to leftism than Christianity and Judaism have been in influencing leftists to convert to Christianity or Judaism.

Finally, leftism has even attained considerable success at undoing the central American values of Liberty, In God We Trust, and E Pluribus Unum, supplanting liberty with egalitarianism, a God-based society with secularism, and E Pluribus Unum with multiculturalism. (I make this case at length in Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph.)

This triumph of the 20th century’s most dynamic religion — leftism — is why, even in the midst of an ongoing recession, the leftist candidate may win. As I wrote in my last column, it’s not just the economy, stupid. Continue Reading