Be afraid. Be very, very afraid.
With each passing day, we come closer to Cardinal George’s prophecy being fulfilled. — RD
You mean that bishops will be imprisoned or executed? Do you really think that?
[NFR: Imprisoned, yes, I really believe that. -- RD]
Dreher has long expressed concern about life in a “post-Christian culture”—defined as one in which the organizing principles of his version of Christianity (traditional, orthodox) are no long the central organizing principles of society—but this is the first time I can recall him stating so explicitly his belief that Christians will be hunted by the government.
Makes sense, in its own nonsensical way: If one believes that Christians must remain in charge in order not to be persecuted, then when they are no longer in charge, they will of course be put to the cross. So to speak.
I have my doubts about whether we in the US do, in fact, live in a post-Christian culture, or whether Europeans, with many fewer believers, are post-Christian, either. To put it another way, we are post-Christian in the way we are post-modern: not at all.
That’s another argument for another time, however. I want instead to focus on the profound bad faith of Dreher’s statement. I don’t doubt that he does, truly, believe this, but the statement itself betrays a cynicism about government, society, and human beings which sets off even my bitter little heart.
To repeat: Christians must be in charge or be persecuted. Let us consider what is contained in such a Manichaean axiom:
- Christians must be in charge, always.
- Non-Christians cannot be trusted not to persecute Christians.
- The only persecution which matters is that of Christians.
Most excellent, that belief, that people who do not share you views have it in for you.
We, the heretics and infidels and apostates and agnostics and atheists and Morally Therapeutic Deists (a favorite Trojan horse of Dreher’s) must by the very fact that we are not Certifiable Christians want to imprison the faithful, and are only prevented from doing so by the (benevolent) power of Christianity.
Once that power fades, we, the heretofore-necessarily-second-classed, shall be unleashed to lay waste to the land.
The persecution complex runs strong in American mythos—Puritans, anyone?—as is what Richard Hofstadter called “the paranoid style in American politics“; the belief that bishops will be soon be hauled off to jail is simply another brick in the great wall of reaction.
Still pisses me off, though, that I am to trust, but cannot be trusted.