The Coming Persecution in America Revisited

The most popular of my blog entries over the years has concerned Christian persecution within America. The next general area of interest is in regard to sex and gender relations. This seems reasonably indicative of where the heads of modern Evangelicals are located.

Revisiting that entry, I must confess a deep disdain and wincing shame. It is not so much that I repudiate any of the ideas expressed. It is that the entry was so horribly written, with inchoate and tangential thoughts and an incoherent flow of argument. Retaining that entry in the public sphere serves as a talisman for a justified humility.

So let me try again.

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That a persecution of Christians in America will occur, I little doubt. And indeed, since Paul Washer made that pronouncement, we have witnessed florists, wedding cake makers, and even “hick town” pizza parlors threatened both civically and privately for upholding their conscience in relation to giving implied sanction to the concept of same-sex marriage.

The most alarming example is Brendan Eich, CEO of Mozilla, who was compelled to resign in 2014 for having once contributed $1,000 to the California Proposition 8 campaign in 2008. Eich is the creator of the JavaScript programming language, a highly useful and popular scripting language for web apps. This hereby signifies that genius, talent, material wealth, social status, and utility provides no immunity to the persecutorial frenzy of a triumphalist and vitriolic adversary; a circumstance not unlike that confronting professional European Jews in the 1930s and 1940s.

But this goes well beyond LGBT issues. Campus radicals squawk microaggression against any professor, guest speaker, even comedian whose views fail to conform to their narrow-minded perspective. Evangelical and conservative candidates get short shrift on college appointments. Partisans within the IRS selectively target and harass conservative political groups concerning their tax-exempt status.

Let there be no dissembling sophistry concerning the nature of these realities. Although in the preliminary stages, these constitute persecution, particularly as it involves sociopolitical marginalization, formal and informal systemic institutional prejudices, socioeconomic degradation and threats to livelihood.

And just as Paul Washer predicted, Christians, other theists, and cultural conservatives are not persecuted for their affirmations, but for predicating their lives and conduct upon these affirmations, (the latter which constitutes the definitional nature of faith).

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But my concern and expectation has been (and continues to be) the response to these tyrannical feints, especially considering the desolate spiritual state of North American Evangelicalism and Christendom in general. Out of concern about the secularist liberal “Assyrians,” Evangelicals have been swooning into the arms of “Egyptians” for protection (Isaiah 30:1–7, 31:1–3). And like those ancient Hebrews (Ezekiel 16:26), Evangelicals tardily discover that these conservative allies have nothing but disdain towards them, and ultimately prove to be unreliable confederates.

Nowadays, after having been betrayed by the country club Republican establishment and business elites, many Evangelicals swarm into the arms of a new champion, the self-proclaimed but ephemeral “Protector of Christendom.” Despite the fact that Trump violates all Christian ethical concerns, whether those emphasized by the conservative or those of the progressive wings of Christendom; a sizeable plurality, if not majority of Evangelicals will dutifully vote Republican. My party, right or wrong. But even from the perspective of normative human evaluations of political candidates, neither the congenital liar and vulgarian blowhard in one party, nor the congenital liar and venal crook in the other, are worthy of a vote.

I empathize with and mourn this conundrum of equal but opposite horrors. If Hillary Clinton is elected, I believe that when the liberal courts begin to licentiously and flagrantly override constitutional protections, the tipping point for civil war violence will be reached. On the other hand, Donald Trump is an authoritarian precursor of formal autocracy and the end of the American experiment in free civic and constitutional self-government and civil liberties. Either way, from an American perspective, perhaps for the world, “government of the people, by the people, for the people shall [] perish from the earth.”

From but from the perspective of the cause of Christ, the greater fear is if “our side” wins. For discernment overwhelmingly anticipates a grotesquely incompetent and disastrous administration either way. Being attached, especially publicly, to whichever candidate succeeds electorally but leads the nation into the abyss will directly reflect upon the endorser, and by extension the honor of God (Romans 2:24). Perhaps, the only honorable goal is for the true Christian, in light of these equal but opposite evils, to merely to keep his/her integrity by voting neither.

The Benedict Option

The natural and logical psychological reaction to this horrible state of affairs might be to repeat the Fundamentalist withdrawal into hidden valleys and hope to avoid the notice and pursuit by the rampant and rampaging wolves who now have GPS. This would be moral abdication of duty, especially since the civic state is stepping upon jurisdictions to which it has no naturally lawful authority. But the greatest problem with any form of Benedict Option is that, unlike in the 6th century AD, the barbarians within our midst now have WMDs.

Where I believe that Evangelicals have fallen down is not because of involvement in civic affairs, but in being involved with nary an ounce of wisdom and knowledge.

Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. (Matthew 10:16)

The seminal theme which should have been derived from Scriptures, and especially the history of the ancient Hebrews, is the utter futility of external regulation, whether in the form of codified law, sociopolitical constructs, or political machinations, to ultimately restrain the evil within humanity (Hebrews 7:18). Therefore, our primary hope should not be in princes and self-proclaimed but ephemeral Protectors of Christendom, but in God in Christ.

Nevertheless, as a contributing witness to the supremacy of the Gospel and the Full Counsel of God, an independent Biblical Christian prophetic voice ought to give prudent counsel to the larger society, even while not unduly and illegitimately seeking to impose that counsel. In this age, it shall be rejected. But in the rejection and the natural disastrous consequences of such rejection; the wisdom of God, if it be the wisdom of God, shall be manifested.

This, however, is an ideal. And considering the desolate state of Evangelicalism and larger Christendom, and its adherents’ continued pietistic and/or gnostic commitment to ignorance, whether Biblical or secular, and to unreason; it would be much too naïve in which to hope.

With a View to the End

What I was driving at, in my first attempt at this issue, was that I could perceive a path by which Evangelicals could and will participate in that great monstrosity of Revelation, “the great whore that sits upon many waters” (Revelation 17:1). There has been a remarkable reversal of history, personally experienced within my own lifetime, in which Protestants / Evangelicals have become loose collaborators, thereafter confederates, and thereafter allies of Catholicism. It is less driven by a spiritual and/or theological impetus, but rather by sociopolitical concerns as a defense against an coming onslaught of the secularist liberal hordes.

My hypothesis is that the Vatican is far less concerned about theological concerns,[1] but in hobbling together an institutional unity as a sociopolitical bulwark against this secularist threat. One observes concerted papal efforts to forge a formal reconciliation with other major Christian streams, with documents which allow both ecclesiastical parties to subjectively interpret the actual terms. I would not be surprise that Islam becomes a component part of this reincarnation of a pluralistic Roman religious pantheon, whose roots back beyond ancient Rome, to the Hellenists and Persians.

So, just like the Plains Indian trick of panicking the buffalo to stampede over a cliff, the threat of oppression and persecution by the secularist onslaught is going to rustle Evangelicals into the arms of the Machiavelli of Machiavellis through this pluralistic Roman religious pantheon, the Great Whore.

 

 

[1] In truth, I do not believe that Rome ever really was that concerned about theological issues in the 16th century, but was forced into being ideological as an ecclesiastical response to the Reformation. History, since the 5th century (Leo 1) indicates that has always been about institutional unity, with Rome preferably at the head.
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