Why the Belief that Christians Must Not Involve Themselves in “Politics” is Wrong: The Woke are Building Anti-Christian Culture, and only Christians can Defend or Build Pro-Christian Culture

Many Christians, especially Evangelical Protestants, believe Christians should avoid “politics.” The quotes are there because the underlying concept is ill-defined. There is just a prejudice that Christians ought not to waste time on it.

The traditional Evangelical argument is this: When people become Christians they will naturally support a proper social order, so we should only do what we do best: evangelize. The presence of enough individuals having right beliefs will naturally lead to a proper social order. Politics is ruled by politicians, a slippery and deceitful lot. Better to stay entirely away from them and their craft.

This belief is mistaken. Here is why:

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The Woke are destroying traditional American culture. By “culture” I mean everything that gives order to how we live. All the customs, traditions, habits, rules, laws and so on that govern the ways that we relate to each other. “Culture” also means all the ideas and beliefs that allow us to understand the world and that indirectly give rise to our social arrangements.

In short, culture is the way we live.

The Woke are destroying our culture. They are changing it from the traditional Christian-friendly American culture to a new anti-Christian culture.

Since mankind cannot live without culture, the Woke have no choice but to establish a new culture. The only way to destroy a culture is to replace it with a new one. Our culture is being remade and will continue to be remade.

So if Christians don’t remake a Christian-friendly culture then non-Christians will remake a Christian-hostile culture. There is no third option.

God cares about the cultures of the nations inhabited by His people. Good culture honors God and bad culture dishonors Him. Therefore preserving or establishing good culture is a Godly activity. Not all Christians have the gift for this activity but those who do must act.

Politics as the word is commonly understood is only one way culture is preserved or created. Politicians are wily and the processes of politics are often deceitful, but politics can sometimes serve godly ends. Especially because politics concerns the application of power, and culture is ultimately preserved or destroyed by the application of power.

Culture does not occur naturally. It is created and maintained by deliberate action, by the application of power. We Christians must exercise power to influence culture. We must be wise about when to act in the political arena and when to withdraw, but we must build good culture.

Culture is the way we live. If our culture is being destroyed then our lives are in danger. Christians must defend themselves culturally through politics and other means.

Often, the traditional political activities undertaken by non-politicians – – voting and influencing government officials – – will not, by themselves, make things better. The current political system is designed to preserve the status quo, although occasional outbursts of political virtue do occur. The defense or creation of proper culture will often occur independently of politics. But politics in the traditional sense will sometimes be valuable, especially at the state or local level.

The word “politics” is derived from a Greek word meaning “things having to do with the city,” that is, how the city is ordered and run. In its general sense, “politics” is concern for the culture. Christians must be involved with the culture, that is, with politics.

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In summary:  Culture is the order of society. Politics in the broadest sense is any activity that influences culture, including, but not limited to, elections and legislation. The Woke are destroying traditional American culture and therefore American culture will be rebuilt. If it is rebuilt by non-Christians, it will be a non-Christian culture, which is not acceptable. Therefore Christians must be involved in politics, that is, is all the ways culture is maintained or built.

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No doubt somebody will say the following thing: Our enemies control the punishment mechanisms of society and therefore openly defending or creating godly culture is difficult or impossible. And conditions will likely get worse.

This rejoinder is broadly correct. But there are always victories that can be won. And the rejoinder does not touch my argument. In any possible world it is unacceptable to us Christians for non-Christians to create the culture. What must be done is what must be done, regardless of the difficulty.

26 thoughts on “Why the Belief that Christians Must Not Involve Themselves in “Politics” is Wrong: The Woke are Building Anti-Christian Culture, and only Christians can Defend or Build Pro-Christian Culture

  1. I have written a lot by way of an apologia for Christian inactivism at my blog and JMSmith has done a valiant job rebutting my arguments–such that I have been stewing for some time on an article on the subject in response, but I am grateful for your article because it has helped me to synthesize some of my thoughts on the subject.

    ***

    As a rebuttal, I have three arguments:
    1- There has never been a Christian friendly culture, and we have no reason to expect there will be.

    I cannot think of a true golden age for Christian culture or politics. My inadequacy in historical knowledge is not itself an argument; I can at least say that a feature and not a flaw of Christianity is that it is contrary to the majority. Christianity almost by definition sticks out of the crowd. In the middle-ages there was at least a reverence and respect for Christianity and for Christians, but even then were those values adopted by the majority? I doubt it, except in our most romantic imaginings of that bygone era.

    So the idea of creating a truly Christian culture, and so “winning” the culture war, is a quest for faith to be easy. The political question pertains as much to the apparatus of government as it does to the culture over-which the government governs. This belief relies on a desire to prematurely install some facsimile of heaven on earth and so grant peace and prosperity the world over in a truly Christian environment; this belief is ill-founded because we forget that until Christ returns the earth is enemy occupied territory. We cannot, by our own effort, restore the kingdom of God any more than we can by our own effort physically lift ourselves up into heaven. The second ill-founded belief is that it is possible to engage in politics while also preserving Christian values. Man cannot serve two masters, and democracy has a way of making slaves of the most well intended public servants.

    2- Christianity’s state of birth and so natural state is underground and under persecution.

    The natural order of Christians is that of persecution. Christ himself was persecuted to death; under Roman Rule the Christians formed underground and weathered the storm of the persecutions of Diocletian. Constantine elevated Christianity to the mainstream but did not endow the people with the fullness of Christian faith. Christianity thrives best when it is looking for a reason to defend itself. We say that leftists have it easy because everyone agrees with them. Imagine if the roles were reversed, and a Christian culture surrounded everyone with Christ-like virtue. That sounds too good to be true, because then none of us would be tested in the crucible of life. We must pick up our cross and follow Christ–which implies there is, indeed, a cross we must bear and we must be prepared to be crucified on it, too. The desire to amend culture and to amend politics is a desire to make Christianity a culturally dominant force. Christians tend to get fat and decadent in good times, as with all people, so I fear that that would be an obstacle to faith, more than it would be a help.

    3- Christian Hostile culture is not something to be feared.

    When Christ was asleep on the ship during the storm on the sea of Galilee, it was because he was not anxious about their journey, and knew they would be safe. The gates of hell will not prevail against the Church–the Church will survive until Christ comes to take his throne. What do we have to fear? The only government that really matters–the eternal reign of Christ our King–is assured at the end of all things. Nothing we construct with our meager human hands will serve to exceed his reign in length or quality. We are fighting a losing battle–it is a worthy battle, but we will lose up until the last moment, when we achieve our ultimate victory.

    It is possible for lay Christians to lay down the burden of holding up civilization while remaining impervious to the assaults of leftist insanity. In fact, that is probably the best way, as it keeps the insane leftists from defining the arenas in which we fight. The analogy that comes to mind is when the Israelites were making the golden bull in camp while Moses was on the mountain. Striving to make a christian dominant culture or politics strikes me as trying to make a golden lamb that beats the golden bull at it’s own game–a good idea maybe but it misses the point, because the promised land is still coming and God will bring it. Far better to wait patiently with christian forbearance than to strive vainly to make ourselves feel better with pursuits that ultimately won’t last or won’t help.

    TL;DR:
    If we believe Christ is coming to retake His throne on earth, why is it important to worry about our earthly politics? Wouldn’t it be better and far less aggravating to just wait patiently and bear our abuse as Christ did?

    • Hi Scoot,

      Thank you for taking my thesis seriously. I’d like to test you a little.

      Some Christian parents have been pressuring school boards to remove anti-white and anti-Christian teachings. Are they wrong to do this?

      Many Christians voted for Trump out of the belief that he would be more Christian-friendly than that Other Candidate. Should they not have voted (or even voted for that Other Candidate)?

      Some Christians, both professional politicians and political “laymen” are working through the political process to curtail abortion. Should they stop?

      If our goal is not to immanentize the eschaton, but simply to make a more just society, where is the fault?

      • Alan,

        I will answer your challenge questions in a moment, but the issue with them is that they aren’t exclusively the domain of Christian political dominance. Each of these questions can be tackled in microcosm or as part of a broader cultural campaign. To wit:

        Christian parents pressuring school boards: they are not wrong per se. The pursuit is a good one! But public schools are the domain of the enemy. At risk of running afoul of Godwins law, it makes me think of a parent signing their child up for the hitler youth and then complaining to the administrators about some of the more abhorrent doctrines of nazism. Public schools are government run agencies so it is not a surprise that public schools will keep to the party line. A much more effective protest against government indoctrination is to remove your children from government indoctrination. Free their brains from the machine.

        Voting for Trump: Again, this is something that a Christian can do in good conscience. I, personally, do not vote (anymore) and do not encourage people to vote. Voting again is participating in a political mechanism which is owned by evil. It’s like putting a suggestion in the suggestion box in Hell–it’s good that you tried but do you really think it’s going to go anywhere? Evil owns the machine, and Trump demonstrated a gap in control. I believe (pessimistically) that a Republican will never win another election barring extraordinary circumstances. Vote if you like but don’t think your vote is doing more than it’s doing.

        Curtailing abortion is an objectively good cause and should be vigorously pursued by all people. Again, the machine is evil and is controlled by evil. The pursuit might make some headway but it won’t succeed until the machine and it’s controllers are destroyed, and that is a revolutionary idea. As Christians, we believe prayer works too–prayer might do more to help than the political finagling, only God knows. Prayer is necessary at least; the political effort is not. If every Christian prayed a rosary outside their nearest abortion clinic every day then I have no doubt that abortion would cease in short order.

        And this last one is where I see a disconnect: A more just society is a different end-goal than political and cultural dominance. A more just society can be achieved through politics or not through politics. The best thing to do, in my view, is to take the 1000 year view. Our goal should not be to take the reigns of government, but to survive. Have a bunch of kids, encourage your kids to have a bunch of kids. Teach them your values. Big changes in society begin with microscale moves like creating a little community of reactionary traditionalists.

        Law (and so, politics) lags behind society. In 1000 years, after many generations of traditionalist reactionaries having lots of traditionalist reactionary children, society will change, and so politics, and so culture, and so government will change. It’s a bloodless revolution and all it requires is endurance.

        So there is no fault with a just society, my issue is with seeking political and cultural dominance. If we were to magically be granted cultural control tomorrow, without any change in the hearts and minds of the people, then we would lose power the day after. The body would reject the graft as enemy cells, and who could blame them? This is a battle for hearts and minds so lets focus on the hearts and minds.

      • Scoot,

        Your position summarized is that cultural defense / formation is futile, and of no enduring value to the Christian even if successful, therefore we should just ride out the storm.

        My reply: Christian cultural defense / formation is a good work, and Christians are, at minimum, not wrong in doing good works. You would not say that brain surgery or imprisoning criminals is futile for the Christian to pursue; neither is cultural defense / formation.

        The fact that Christians can become obsessed with it or can do it unwisely is a given, and therefore not pertinent to the point at hand.

      • Alan,

        My opposition to it is based on the premise that it is necessary. I did not disagree with you that those works are good, but the title to this article is that Christian Inactivism is wrong–either the belief is incorrect or the practice is morally wrong.

        I concede that certain specific political acts can be considered good works. Of course we both agree, perhaps, that Alcohol in moderation is just fine. If you argue that Alcohol is necessary to my health, I would disagree on similar grounds. Believing that Alcohol is necessary is like believing that politics is necessary: The fact that Christians can succumb to a disordered appeal to both politics and alcohol is pertinent insofar as a Christian is more likely to succumb if they believe that they are important.

        If the point of your article is that politics is a good hobby that people should be allowed to pursue if they want, there’s nothing objectionable about that. My understanding (and the basis of my disagreement with your thesis) was that you are arguing that Christian cultural and political domination is an urgent priority. It’s possible my understanding was incorrect.

      • I was responding to the belief that no Christians should be involved in “politics.” The opposite of “no involvement” is “some involvement.” My primary point is that some Christians should be involved in “politics” some of the time, if they do it wisely.

        I also assert that they can do much good, if they operate wisely. The mainstream Evangelical (i.e., non-liberal Protestant) position is that involvement in “politics” is always, or almost always, a bad idea. I disagree. Christians can do significant good in the realm of “politics” (as I defined the word “politics.”)

        And this is not just a matter of charity. It is also a matter of self-defense. Much of contemporary politics is a weapon aimed at Christians. Those who are being attacked should defend themselves.

      • Mr. Roebuck,

        I agree with your general thesis that Christians must participate in politics in some way or another to preserve whatever is left of our culture.

        However, I also think it’s important to be realistic about this: our goal shouldn’t be to achieve victory over the left, since, barring a spontaneous mass repentance, that ship sailed long ago – to think that this is possible at this stage of the game is not to grasp the spiritual gravity of the situation and bespeaks a Pollyannaish, mainstream conservative view of things – but rather to achieve minor and local victories for the sake of our families, slow the rapid advance of liberalism, and perhaps most importantly, because it is our duty to fight, even if the cause is a lost one.

        What I think would be useful is to articulate exactly how we ought to participate in politics. I think traditionalists should eschew some methods of participation: for example, voting in national elections, since I think in the long run this just strengthens liberalism no matter who you vote for. To answer your question, I do not think Christians should have voted for Trump merely on account of him being the lesser of two evils (one of Satan’s greatest deceptions), and I think it’s manifest that many compromised and degraded themselves in doing so.

      • Ian, I can certainly accept what you say. I was arguing for a modest position: Staying entirely away is wrong.

        Like you, I do not think in terms of “defeating” our opponent. That conception makes sense when you have a sporting event, where both sides obey the same rules, or a war, where your goal is to impose your will on the enemy. Neither model is appropriate here (although it is closer to war than to sports.) That’s why I spoke of culture: defending it or creating it. We can create or defend culture in small areas, the areas where we live.

        By the way, I did not vote for the Orange Man in 2016 because I thought him the lesser of two evils. I had a hunch that he would be, on the whole, beneficial.

    • There are many reasons I don’t like “you shouldn’t try to make heaven on Earth” as a conservative argument. Although not relevant here, when used against Leftists, it concedes the desirability of their goals, which should never be done. Used against anyone, the argument doesn’t seem to have any clear domain of applicability, in that it could be used against any suggested improvement whatsoever, while even the most reckless reformer could say that he has no such thing in mind.

      It is not required for everyone, or even most people, to be holy in order to have a Christian society. Europe 400-1800AD was a collection of Christian societies populated by sinners. The goal, and a worthwhile one, is control of the public consensus, the public “space”. A simple test is to ask whose beliefs one is comfortable affirming in public. In our time, the more modest goal is simply to avoid ejection from the public realm, i.e. to stop hostile forces from having complete control of it. As Prof. Roebuck correctly says, if we don’t control it, they will.

      Above all, my worry is that persecution works. If the Left has its way, our grandchildren will not be Christians.

      • Bonald,

        The “you shouldn’t try to make heaven on Earth” argument was contra conservatives, not contra leftists. Maybe that disqualifies me from considering myself conservative, I don’t know how to categorize myself anymore. Regardless, the leftist ideals are not worthwhile, the conservative ideals are worth while, but that’s why we must be extra strategic with our approach.

        We already don’t have control of the public realm. We lost that fight centuries ago, I think we are only just realizing it. To be perfectly honest, the more we hasten AWAY from the public realm, the faster this crazy train goes off the rails. From the ashes we can do much more to build society anew. But like I say to Alan in my reply above, the only way for us to gain control of the machine is to kill the machine, and that is the stuff of revolutions. If we leave politics, at least we let the machine kill itself, and we save ourselves some aggravation in the meantime.

        “My worry is that persecution works. If the Left has its way, our grandchildren will not be Christians.”

        Do you believe that Christianity can be extinguished from the earth? I take the scripture that “the gates of hell shall not prevail against [the Church]” to mean that the Church is eternal and evil forces will not be able to snuff out our flame. I read somewhere a dramatic depiction of the moment before Christ returns being the last priest in the last Church celebrating the last Mass as the forces of evil surround and are about to destroy him. If the Church is extinguished from this earth then the Eschaton happens. So either we get out of politics and live peaceably our final days before we are martyred for the glory of God, or God comes sooner than we expect. In either case, glory awaits the righteous and God’s perfect justice awaits evil. That kind of hope can sustain a persecuted people through dark times. I tend to be an optimist, that brighter days are ahead, but should the days be darker, I can at least reassure myself that God has it well under control.

    • Scoot,

      I disagree with this: “Christianity’s state of birth and so natural state is underground and under persecution.”

      I think the natural state is Christendom. Wouldn’t it have to be? For a society to fulfill its nature, it ought to involve worshiping the true God in the right way. It’s also worth noting Joseph de Maistre’s insight that a society’s or institution’s state at birth is not identical to its natural or complete state, but rather is a primitive, incomplete, immature state.

      Brent Bozell in his “Letter to Yourselves” makes the argument that Christianity’s natural state is Christendom, by way of glossing Jean Danielou:

      [Danielou:]… the essential character of the Gospel is to be the religion of the poor—using that term not to indicate those who are detached from: earthly things, but those who form the great mass of mankind. This view shares St. Augustine’s picture of the Church as a net in which all sorts of fish are caught, where the task of separating the good from the bad is for the angels, not for men. On this view of the matter, the Church was most truly itself in the days of Christendom when everybody was baptized and it is this state of affairs which is much to be desired.

      [Bozell:] The public life is supposed to help a man be a Christian. It is supposed to help him enter the City of God, and meanwhile it is sup­posed to help him live tolerably, even happily, in the City of Man. …

      Father Danielou begins, as any Christian must, with the premise that Christ aims to reach all men, and thereupon urges us “to discover what those conditions are which make a Christian people possible.” The indispensable clue he finds in the past, in the centuries when Christianity once before was transformed from a sect into a people:

      [Danielou:]… the extension of Christianity to an immense multitude, which is of its very essence, was held back during the first centuries by the fact that the social cadres and cultural forms of the society in which it operated were hostile to it. To cleave to Christianity called then for a strength of character of which the majority of men are not capable. When the conversion of Constantine removed these obstacles the Gospel was made accessible to the poor, that is to say, to those very people who are not numbered among the elite. The man in the street could now be a Christian. Far for from distorting Christianity, this change allowed it to become more truly itself, a people.

      [Bozell:] In short, it was found that for the great generality of men a Christian civilization was the indispensable medium for communicating the Christian message. For most men, as McLuhan would say, the medium was the message. … [T]he lesson of two millenia is clear: “It is practically impossible for any but the militant Christian to persevere in a milieu which offers him no support.” This is why “there is laid upon the Church a duty to work at the task of making civilization such that the Christian way of life shall be open to the poor.” This is why the Church of the Poor, as she has proudly described herself through the centuries, is once again called upon to devise and teach a Politics of the Poor.

      • Ian,

        Thank you for this. You make a good point that the state at birth is different from the perfected state. My point is more that persecution is not foreign to Christianity and does not automatically mean something is wrong. You are right that Christendom is the ideal, but I think that is more useful in describing the state of things within the Church.

        Within the pomerium, a roman Consul was a statesman, and he aimed (we hope) to govern the state with a fair and just hand. When he left the Pomerium, a roman Consul was a general, and he aimed (we hope) to fight and defend rome with his life and with tthe lives of those entrusted to his command. I think this is similar to our circumstance. We cannot deny that the world is actively hostile to Christianity. But within the bounds of Christianity, we should be peaceful and serene and look after our neighbor. A general would be as out of place in the statehouse as the statesman would be on the battlefield. Each circumstance has different demands but they are aligned to the same thing: The preservation of the state (for romans) or the glory of God (for Christians).

  2. The Woke are destroying traditional American culture.

    The premise of this is wrong. America was founded on rejecting of traditional authority, and so American culture was woke at birth; the American revolutionaries like Franklin, Jefferson, and Paine were the woke of their day.

    That doesn’t mean they’d necessarily approve of wokeness today; I wouldn’t presume to say that, but a solid rejection of tradition and authority is part of the American cultural genome and hence the woke are just as American, if not more so, than so-called traditionalists.

    Further reading: The Radicalism of the American Revolution, Gordon Wood.

    • Even if the Founding was in some sense “radical,” the work of today’s Woke is fundamentally destructive in a way never seen before in America. The “radical” Founding was compatible, until roughly the 1960’s, with Christianity as most American Christians understood their religion, but there has been a sea change since then.

  3. @Alan – Good topic.

    But I find several difficulties with the injunction to build a pro-Christian culture; if culture is understood traditionally.

    There is now no institutional ‘we’ to build a good culture – as we should realize after 2020. The institutional Christian churches (of all denominations) are (overall) firmly on the side of those who are destroying culture (i.e. their culture is deliberately anti-culture) – certainly they do not oppose them.

    One only needs to adopt a single one of the Litmus Test issues which the Global Establishment are using to destroy The Good and build a totalitarian evil society (e.g. the birdemic-peck agenda, sexual revolution, antiracism, climate change, socialism…) – and most Christian churches have signed-up to several of them (but *especially* the fake plague and its fake response; which, as we can see, on its own is clearly sufficient to end culture very rapidly).

    Yet (again made clear from 2020) those who are destroying culture are strategically demonically evil (actively opposed to God) – not merely deluded, selfish and short-termist; so the Churches are on the side of Satan.

    So ‘we’ is a collection of individual Christians, who are scattered across denominations; and are (by definition) using personal discernment rather than obeying religious authority.

    I agree that even a few such persons can make some kind of a culture – and are doing so – but it is a very different thing from the vast cultural apparatus we have become used-to over recent centuries.

    But more deeply; we are here in this mortal life to learn lessons of value for our immortal life. This certainly does not exclude working to make Good on earth – but it may also mean Not defending what is already (for many decades) an already net-evil civilization and culture.

    This is a spiritual war, and what happens materially must be linked to that. Resistance to an even-worse culture needs to be primarily spiritual resistance; and Christians need faith that this is absolutely necessary for resistance to be Good, and also the most effective resistance without which physical resistance is counter-productive.

    A pro-Christian culture operates at the level of each individual – and a culture is ultimately pro-Christian *only* when we are learning spiritual lessons of value in Heaven – this may entail recognition of Good things and rejection and repentance of an evil culture, as much (or more than) passive absorption of a Christian-sympathetic culture.

    It seems probable that this culture and civilization cannot be saved, and that (with the willing compliance of the mass majority) it is engaged in a long term and unrelenting self-destruction aiming at suicide. I it cannot be saved it will not be saved.

    The main thing, then, is that what we do do is of value in-and-of-itself – whatever the outcome (which can only be conjectural). Such are likely to be on a very small scale – a personal letter is more likely to be Good than founding a new magazine, a musical performance or play done in front of family and friends better than anything which involves hiring a concert hall or theatre, some-thing self-published than any-thing published by mass media etc.

    If we individually create and participate-in such things, as discernment and duty dictate; then I think we can safely leave aside large scale (especially organized) strategies and products – as such media have been assimilated by The Enemy.

    • Bruce, I would say you are a bit too pessimistic. Much pessimism is justified; you go a bit too far.

      The narrow purpose of the post was not to speculate about the chance of winning, but to counter the popular misconception that Christians should never do “politics.” Since “politics” can be a good work, Christians should go ahead when they have the chance. Pushing back on the opponent’s agenda is always a good work.

      The (non-small) institutions are indeed held by the opponent, but at least here in America his position is not secure. As I said in the post, some victories are still possible. And many non-denominational churches are not giving in. Mine is not.

      According to what I see, the opponent has not won final victory. He has the formal and structural advantages, but I intuit that he is not as strong and confident as he appears.

      Even highly compromised individuals and organizations can still do a lot of good. Look at President Trump, for example. He really put the Fear of God in the opponent.

    • I would agree with Alan Roebuck’s reply that you are a bit too pessimistic, though there is ample reason for pessimism.

      Part of the problem is, as you say, that many churches (of all denominations) are openly on the other side. Another part of the problem is when churches fail to fight back (thereby discouraging God’s people, and encouraging our enemies). For an example of the latter, see the following:

      http://matthewcochran.net/blog/?p=1979

      http://thechifiles.com/2021/10/03/on-the-lcmss-failure-to-interpret-the-present-time/

    • “The institutional Christian churches (of all denominations) are (overall) firmly on the side of those who are destroying culture.”

      Maybe in England. As a member of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod here in the States, I laugh that statement to scorn.

      I don’t mean to get drawn back into participating here. But I saw that remark and didn’t want it to pass unchallenged.

  4. I agree with you in principal but have no idea how to proceed. Our opponents have rigged the language so that all of our arguments come out as confessions of some heinous thought crime, so that participation in politics is for us instant elimination from politics. In not a few cases it is instant elimination from employment, financial services, social media, etc. We have often complained here about liberals, but our opponents are bigots and not liberals. They really hate everything you love and they want to reduce it to rubble and ash.

    The first hurdle in every faculty job search at this university is now a sufficiently earnest and convincing statement of commitment to DIE. Insufficiently earnest and convincing applications are eliminated before anyone looks at their vita, which means Albert Einstein would have been rejected if he were (a) insufficiently woke or (b) insufficiently dishonest. This is an ideological Test and will ensure that no honest conservatives are teaching in universities in a generation. And I am writing from what is said to be the most conservative public university in the most conservative state in the Union.

    As Scoot said above, I have been trying to talk him out of his Quietism for some time, but I don’t have any good suggestions what he should do. You may remember the old advertisements with the slogan “Rust Never Sleeps.” Well Rust is a sluggard compared with the Left. They plan to eliminate all of our safe spaces and there is no way to stop them if we refuse to sully ourselves with politics.

  5. Maybe we should distinguish three ways Christians can involve themselves in politics. One would be the usual democratic theatre of voting, attending protests, running for office, or petitioning one’s representatives. These are usually futile for us. Since workplaces and schools have been aggressively politicized over the past year, a second way Christians can “do politics” is to try to depoliticize their own workplaces–i.e. petitioning for toleration rather than waiting till a sufficiently intolerable political demand on employees gets them fired. A third way of being involved in politics is simply to state clearly, to those under one’s spiritual direction, where the established consensus contradicts Christianity, even when this offends the Left. You will have noticed that when the Left decides to overthrow some piece of Christian morality, any Church that continues to teach what it always has is accused of trespassing in the realm of politics, as if the Church rather than the Left were the aggressor. Demands that the Church “stay out of politics” usually amount to a demand that she abdicate even this third type of involvement by giving the Left a veto on her own doctrines. I think we all agree that such a demand is intolerable.

    • Bonald,

      This is a most edifying compromise, I say to my own surprise: my own heart has been hardened against politics of any variety but your subdivision of what political action is makes logical sense to me. I have absolutely no taste for the political action of the first and second kind, yet the third kind I can agree is a responsibility of all Christians.

      Even so–anger is not a fruit of the holy spirit and if we allow ourselves, as Alan describes above, to be “obsessed” or otherwise have a disordered attachment to politics, then that is counterproductive. My distaste for politics arises in no small part because I used to get very angry and I have come to accept a measure of powerlessness.

      I might even go so far as to propose a way of framing your modes of political action in a “3 laws of robotics” kind of way:

      First Rule- Ensure that you are governing your life according to the law of God
      Second Rule- Instruct those entrusted to your care in the law of God even if it offends the left, except where doing so violates the first rule.
      Third Rule- Encourage your local arenas (work places, shops, service organizations, etc) to follow more closely the law of God, even if it offends the left, except where doing so violates the first or second rule.
      Fourth Rule- Engage in active political participation by running for office, circulating petitions, attending protests, etc, even if it offends the left, except where doing so violates the first, second, or third rules.

      Brainstorming here, so I hope that is a logical construction. By this framing, my views on politics stop at the second rule. But if someone has the stomach for going so far as the fourth, I cannot condemn them for doing so. I certainly think many people can get considerable serenity from stopping at the second rule.

      • Anger is not a fruit of the Holy Spirit; however, zeal is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (even if Galatians does not mention it by name). I do not say this to recommend any particular course of action; I say it merely to observe that what looks like obsession (or anger) may actually be zeal (and yes, it is equally true that what appears to be zeal may actually be obsession or anger).

        https://www.jonathanedwardstoday.com/post/zeal-an-essential-virtue-of-a-christian

      • Hi Scoot. I believe we’re getting closer to agreement. I like your hierarchy of laws. We may have a disagreement about whether Christian control of public space is desirable in itself, but we would presumably both agree that the question is academic at this point. I would not recommend Christians engage in politics in the first sense, because its only effect will be to help legitimize an evil democratic order, and Christians will be pressured to compromise their beliefs for the sake of political alliances while almost certainly getting nothing in return. The third sort of political activity is required.

        The really interesting question is the second type of political activity: fighting wokeness at work. To me, wokeness at work feels more threatening, closer to home, than wokeness in control of the state. There is also an alignment of one’s religious commitment and one’s professional vocation motivating one to fight the political corruption of one’s profession. I think if one can be effective (on no matter how small a scale) while not risking the ability to provide for one’s family, one should do it (your third rule above). In fact, I’m grateful to be living in a very apolitical department and will certainly not be the one to break the peace, but each person’s situation will differ.

      • Wokeness strikes me as especially dangerous, too. My employer has been trending more woke and I’ve thought about the morality of climbing the organization. How high can I go before I am responsible for the immoral policy positions of my employer? Someone gave a talk at a diocesan event and described how they were asked to create an advertising campaign for “Pride month” and they refused, and lost their job for it.

        I think that is the model for the second sort of political action. You can engage in active agitation for orthodoxy if you feel you can do so, but passive politics is simply to say no when they ask you to give a pinch of incense, and to hold fast to it. St. Thomas More is the great example of this–and shows that martyrdom can come even for simply refusing to speak.

        As far as the Third form of politics/ Second rule to speak truth to those under your instruction, I have an anecdote. I recently agreed to teach Catechesis to 8th graders at my parish. The religious education program is specifically for students who do not attend the parish school. There are two observations I made from the first weeks of class:

        First, the students are keenly aware of the importance of their faith and seem desperate (whether they realize it or not) for answers. They are not around anyone (parents, seemingly, included) who can offer wisdom in this regard, but the students are themselves wise enough to ask really thoughtful questions about their faith.

        Second, public schools are the wild west. It is a nightmare out there and it is an absolute spiritual imperative to keep kids away from it. Christ gave us the parable of the mustard seed among thorns, but did not warn us that a mustard seed may be thrown into an inferno. I am hopeful that I can impart some spiritual wisdom to these kids but given that after 8th grade they have four to eight more years of state sponsored “education”, I doubt anything will stick unless they themselves find the will to free their minds.

  6. There is a beauty in weakness.

    The modern consensus, or Progressivism, is attractive because its strength is clothed in the weakness of the poor, the minority, the marginalized and the refugee.

    I saw a story of a man who attended Donald Trump’s speech in Washington, D.C. on January 6th, and did not enter the Capitol Building. A disabled veteran aged 56, he was arrested in his home by a SWAT team in the early hours of the morning. He was arrested and reportedly tortured for months before being charged with disturbing the peace. The parents who speak up at school board meetings against the evil doctrines of this age are reportedly going to be investigated for domestic terrorism by the Department of Justice.

    I passed by an old woman praying the Rosary outside a Planned Parenthood, every day, on my way home from a graveyard shift. What is the purpose of her public prayers, in the dry, desert heat, exposed to the scornful or pitying thoughts of the many, if God may as well hear her in private?

    There is a pathos to these cases, in all honesty, a patheticness. Imagine sacrificing your life for – Donald Trump! And do they not know, the powers which rule them will not hear their pleas for Truth?

    Their weakness is clothed in strength, the strength of honor, virtue and honesty.

    The martyrs are a gospel, witnesses to the living God, by their readiness to sacrifice all for… seemingly nothing, as many pagans saw it.

    Doestoevsky wrote, “Beauty will save the world.” In a speech, Solzhenitsyn said that when Truth and Goodness are supressed, Beauty, in its wildness and unpredictability, may still work to effect the heart.

    Americans, and Westerners generally, are now a weak and evil-willed bunch. But, as Doestoevsky wrote in Brothers Karamazov, people are more naïve and simple-minded than we suppose. God touched the hearts of a pagan people, which supposed themselves the rulers of the world, and worked His will through them, and of that I have no doubt.

    I think, after St. Michael the Archangel, the Orthosphere might take St. Helena, mother of Constantine I the first Christian emperor, and discoverer of the relics of the True Cross, as its patron saint.

  7. Pingback: Standard Politics is Still Valuable for Christians and other Non-Woke People, but Discernment is Needed lest we Waste Time and Support our Opponent – The Orthosphere

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