What holds us together, or could hold us together? One might have said once upon a time that Christianity did — that’s what Tocqueville saw — and later, one might have said civic religion (generic Christianity + “Americanism”). These were ideals we held in common, and they served as shared ideals toward which we strove, despite our imperfections and failings.
Now, though? What is the common thread? What is the tie that binds us to our home? What is the law that rules our hearts? It is mere anarchy; the Baltimore rioters are only farther along the line of logic than the rest of the country is. They’re destroying their city because of lawlessness in their hearts, but the rest of us are destroying the basis for self-governance and order in our polis too. It’s all going, going … because in America, freedom is always the winning mantra.
UPDATE: Reading the comments this morning, it appears that more than a few readers think I’m defending the Baltimore police, and police brutality. I’m not. Contempt for the law breeds contempt for the law. What I’m saying is that this contempt for the law is a lot more widespread in our society than among Baltimore cops and Baltimore rioters.
For a Christian, Dreher is a little too quick to judge, condemn, and commit sentence on his fellow man. The Black rioters are found guilty of a fundamental flaw of lawlessness, of disobedience to the authority which in their case is everyone because Black. That is wicked but they are not the only wicked ones rioting in the streets. Sexual freedom is victimizing Christian-Americans as well. The battle has been lost and now Dreher calls his flock to gather their sheep behind the citadel gates and wait for the enemy at the gate.
I believe that we cannot give up the fight, if only to delay the inevitable to give us time enough to prepare ourselves and our institutions for the long resistance. In oral arguments before the Supreme Court yesterday, the administration’s lawyer admitted that religious institutions may lose their tax-exempt status over same-sex marriage. We will all be Bob Jones University very soon.
There can be no greater martyrdom than the loss of tax-free status for racist policies.
It's funny how often money comes up in these little conversations. The worst thing that could happen to the church is not persecution but the loss of money. People might lose jobs; they would not have any money. And yet Rod Dreher is driving to his book signing in Dallas as we speak. He's not meeting underground worship groups to give them encouragement and hope for free. He's selling books. He's gorging on oysters with the Housewife from Hell, Mollie Hemingway. He attended the convention of the wacky, the Q conference. He's footloose and fancy free while the wife is home with the kiddies, and having a wonderful time. There he is, right in public, on mainstream media, the internet, in the publishing houses, and no doubt all over conservative media. He's not hiding. He's everywhere.
For a man who is suffering the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, he sure does look like he's having a great time.