Sunday, November 29, 2015
Surely we can agree that what Christians need most is a good talking-to from people who don't share their beliefs.
It's quite something, isn't it? The same people who spend this time of year kicking over crèches, expunging Christmas carols, and ensuring no Christian prays in public nevertheless have an ironclad grasp of what Jesus thinks about everything from immigration, to abortion, to gay marriage and guns.
People who wouldn't dream of calling Caitlyn Jenner "Bruce" or pointing out that he's not a woman (much less "woman of the year") are perfectly at ease lecturing adherents of a faith they don't even follow.
On issue after issue, Christians routinely earn a jolly good spanking for not living up to leftists' standards or for questioning the supremacy of liberal orthodoxy.
The leitmotif is that Christians are hypocritical, failing to meet moral obligations that the critics themselves do not recognize.
Of particular bemusement is the glee displayed whenever a prominent Christian is caught misbehaving, as though this reveals some previously hidden truth about the faith. But if the jackals knew anything about Jesus’ stated mission, they’d know Christianity is a religion for bad people.
If you were already perfect, you wouldn’t need it. This is why Jesus is not a Christian.
And so we endure the know-it-all smirks of media types, the insufferable sanctimony of leftist celebrities and, of course, the ubiquitous, judgey rants of angry, showerless hippies.
Speaking of which, Barack Obama called it “shameful” and “not American” to consider prioritizing refugee status for Middle Eastern Christians who are fleeing ISIS and the Syrian civil war.
Why is that? Christianity has been the most persecuted religion in the world for some time, and the treatment of Christians in Syria and Iraq has been especially vicious. If they were of any other faith, would giving them special protection be likewise ruled out of bounds?
The question of Syrian refugees has occasioned a field day for those who sneer at Christians. To wit, anyone who questions the importation of tens of thousands of people about whom we know very little and have understandable security concerns is, ipso facto, making baby Jesus cry,
Knock it off, gaylord.
I honestly don't know what Jesus would do about the Syrian refugees, and neither do you. Certainly, he would prescribe love and compassion, but how best to apply that? Is welcoming a city-sized population of unknowable people from a region rife with terrorism compassionate to those who might be put at risk?
Would the best thing for Syrians be to establish safe zones close to their home, or even to help them win their country back?
These are difficult questions, with which many good people are grappling.
But it requires an egregious caliber of self-regard to suppose you know for certain what the answer is, based on a book you probably haven't read and don't believe, and to encapsulate your high-mindedness in a cartoon on your Facebook page.
Even George Stromboulopoulos, who should be saying nothing but sorry for his weekly desecration of the formerly revered institution of Hockey Night in Canada, delivered a bizarre little lecture to the “Bible Belt” by way of that damn Kermit meme.
Revealing the quality of judgment that sees him appear coast-to-coast-to-coast each week in pajamas fashioned into suits, Snuffalupagus enlists Kermit to equate Syrian refugees with a certain other “Middle Eastern family seeking shelter, fleeing persecution” at Christmastime. Get it?
He states it’s, “hard to disagree with the facts” but then mentions that “technically” Joseph and Mary were just traveling for the census of Caesar Augustus before adding, incomprehensively, “but it adds to the poignancy of the refusal.”
Never mind that this is hipster doofus nose-ring nonsense – there’s a dig at Christians to be had so, as the kids say, I’m just going to leave this right here.
In my previous column, I mentioned the politically correct spontaneous combustion of Liberal Cabinet Minister Chrystia Freeland on Real Time with Bill Maher. I bring it up again for two reasons: First, stupidity of this sort cannot be confined to a single session of prose; second, as she is my Member of Parliament, I claim the special privilege of acute embarrassment.
In her mangled wreck of a discourse, in which she attempted to create an equivalence among extremists of all religions, Freeland noted, “The Bible says, ‘an eye for an eye.’”
Neither Freeland, nor her fellow panelists, nor even columnists purporting to upbraid her for her performance possessed the biblical literacy to know that Jesus specifically refuted that concept. This is how we got the expression, “turn the other cheek” (which the Lutherans famously adapted to, “kiss my ass”).
Nevertheless, despite knowing almost nothing about the religion, while oversimplifying and misinterpreting what little they have gleaned, the left are quite sure that whatever has gone wrong, Christians are somehow to blame.
Which of course brings us to Colorado, and the recent shooting in and around a Planned Parenthood clinic.
In the media and online, it was striking to see the clawing desperation for the perpetrator to be a practicing Christian.
Even after it was revealed that Robert Lewis Dear has no religious bent (he isn’t even a Republican!), the UK’s Daily Mail reported that a cross “was displayed outside his house.” Have a look at the “display” yourself.
Egads, it’s a pair of sticks which, if you look at sideways, yeah, kinda looks like a cross (either that, or…I got nothing, it’s a pair of sticks).
No matter – to these people, he may as well have erected a scale replica of Christ the Redeemer on his roof.
Among the most relentless accusers are former or nominal Christians, eager for the “strange new respect” of the mainstream left.
An erstwhile friend of mine, who has made a career of hopping back and forth between sides in the culture wars and sneering at whomever he disagrees with at the moment, was quick to proclaim, “Many ‘Christians’ should be deeply ashamed today.”
Mind you, this was without knowing the shooter’s religion or political affiliation – and he has none, to speak of. Based solely on the fact that he was inside a clinic of Planned Parenthood – where no staff or patients were injured – he is presumed to be Christian and his guilt is extrapolated to other adherents of what is (for now) the world’s largest religion.
Now, my old pal may be a toothache and a bore, but he is far from anomalous. The internet and the airwaves were inundated with silly-bears of this sort, complete with the tiresome, preening self-righteousness the supposedly tolerant reserve for Christians.
But you know what? Let’s give it to them. Let’s assume the shooter was a tambourine-banging, Benny Hinn-believing, white suit-wearing Christian weirdo (or, if you like, a busy-fingered pederast protected by Vatican City’s lavender mafia – whatever stereotype makes you feel most self-satisfied).
Isn’t this when the reflex to proclaim that a person’s religion has nothing to do with their actions kicks in?
Just ask John “You Name It” Kerry about all the other things that cause people to do bad things before religion is to blame.
What’s that you say? Only one religion benefits from that kind of rote, politically correct defence? You’re almost there.
It’s true, Islam inspires people to find new and exciting ways to explain away the plain truth of some of its adherents’ behaviour. But no other religion would be so swiftly, viciously, and comprehensively villainized for the actions of one believer as Christianity.
Sure, a lot of people don’t like Israel, but no responsible, otherwise employable person would come out against “Jews” immediately after an attack like the one in Colorado, even if there were evidence of a Jewish culprit.
So, while Islam is uniquely protected and cherished by those who wish to think well of themselves, it is merely first among equals. Perhaps Islam’s defenders are so eager and unequivocal in their insistence that the religion has nothing to do with violence because they’ve had so many opportunities to rehearse this line.
Among many other things, political correctness is a conscious choice to invert reality. In this case, whenever we are attacked by radical Muslims, the acceptable leftist reaction is to insist that the group most in need of protection and accommodation is Muslims.
Only Christians can be instantly blamed, and subjected to collective guilt.
To those who indulge in these daily little judgments and mass assumptions, I say the following:
I am a Christian, but not a very good one. In fact, I’m Presbyterian, which barely even counts. I’m not supposed to tell you I think you’re a dope and your worldview is mush-minded idiocy (in this way, I do the job other Christians won’t). I do and it is, but that’s between me and God.
Which brings up another point – if you knew my religion’s holy book nearly as well as your smug status updates and moronic hashtags suggest, you’d know you weren’t put on this earth to be my judge. Jesus specifically said that before you worry about the speck in my eye, you ought to take the stick out of somewhere yourself.
Theo Caldwell is standing in the dark. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org