“axelbeingcivil” is a cordial atheist who is a biologist. I’ve enjoyed many good dialogues with him. This dialogue occurred after he responded in the combox of my article, 12 Ways God-Rejecters Murder, Attack, & Abuse Children (The Devil, Those Who Have Rejected God & Christianity, & the Radical Secularists Always Attack, Abuse, or Murder Children) [7-12-23]. His words will be in blue; words of Catholic Jim Dailey in green.
One word ain’t much of a counter-argument, is it? This is a jeremiad and general-type societal observation, of course. It’s not intended as a piece with full argumentation, though I could back up each contention, to the extent that they are even arguable. I would expect atheists to object, but it’s not even directed at atheists. There are plenty of professed theists and Christians who do one or many of these things (likely a majority of the perpetrators, along with — usually nominal — adherents of other religions).
I never mentioned “atheist” in the piece itself and “Democrat” only once, having to do with an undeniable fact.
What is there to respond to? I’m not going to try and argue on the abortion point because I don’t think it’d be worthwhile to try and persuade you that a fetus is not a person, but how exactly have “radical secularists” contributed to the growth of illicit material involving minors? And what even would your source be for that? I mean… All of this is just an angry screed, blaming all the evil (and quite a lot of non-evil) in the world that’s been around forever on “people I don’t like”. Ending with a call to arms that appears to excuse unlimited violence.
If this is a bit, it’s not clever. And if it isn’t… I think I badly misunderstood the kind of person you are.
I see you and Dave get into extended conversations over the points Dave raises in his piece.
I tend to agree with both of you.
That is, Dave’s piece is a screed, and is certainly not supported by any references. However, I hope you do not believe Dave forms opinions lightly, and that, given additional time and effort, there are indeed valid arguments for each of the points he raises.
I note in your follow up discussions that you raise valid points in defense of secularism. Which is what makes this conversation so fascinating.
However, I think it ultimately comes down to when people star to act on their convictions, what are the factors that caused them to act?
Dave’s piece articulates the anger and disappointment many people feel with the rise of the so-called “Age of Reason”. I think even you have to agree that despite the much-ballyhooed rejection of religion as an organizing principle of a society, there are bad and worsening effects of man relying on his ever-changing cognition to establish what is moral.
It is a good discussion and I hope it continues. I always love to put on my sociological hat and go back to college days.
I think the only thing I can offer there is that, from my perspective, the only thing humanity’s ever relied upon is its own ever-changing cognition. Even if you believe religion serves a role as some perfect and ancient moral compass, guiding us towards true north, you can’t escape the fact that its existence and execution exists solely in human minds. What people choose to emphasize, modify, ignore… It changes constantly.
Even when you look at an edifice as venerable as the Catholic Church, seemingly ancient and unchanging, you have to realize it’s as young as the sunrise. It’s changed enormously over the many centuries of its existence, changing perspective and opinion on things as and when the need arises to explore and consider the effects of policy.
The same is true for society at large. Nations can seem old but they’re really only as old as their oldest person. We mere mortals have mayfly lives; we’re born making the same mistakes over and over and over, accumulating wisdom from our mistakes, and then dying. It’s only by studying lessons from the past that we can inform our own actions and avoid making the same mistakes ad infinitum.
Today’s no different. We’re all making it up as we go along. Even the decision to cleave to tradition is still a decision. There’s no-one we can shunt our decision-making on and pretend it’s not our choice at the end of the day; that we are responsible for sorting out our own moral framework.
Or, to sum it up in a less wordy fashion, there’s not really any other way to establish what’s moral than our own ever-changing cognition.
I think if there were studies of who perpetrates pornography and particularly child pornography, that it would show a very unreligious crowd, just as this is increasingly the case (undeniably so) in polls about Democrats and political liberals. That would be the source. That’s not to deny that millions of professed Christians look at pornography (they do). My point would be that the thing that mostly drives this phenomenon (those who are pushing it and making money from it) is secularism and a rejection of Christianity (which clearly opposes it).
So, for example, if we go back in the history of the last 60-70 years, who is it that primarily drove the sexual revolution and so-called “sexual freedom”? Is it Christianity? No (though many politically and socially liberal Christians were involved). It’s the continuing trend of secularism: in which sexuality plays a large part.
It is angry (we would say it is righteous anger), but it is an outburst as much out of sadness and compassion as it is from anger. Any compassionate human being should get angry when children or any human beings are being exploited and/or murdered. I assume you could share much of my anger and concern (minus abortion, apparently), once this point of contention is straightened out and clarified.
The point isn’t to blame the evil on people I don’t like (as if it’s merely a big ad hominem). Things can be determined sociologically about the type of belief-systems that are driving all of these things. I majored in sociology. I’m not some kind of misinformed ignoramus about such things. And the sociology and psychology I took in college were thoroughly secularized, so I know firsthand how the secular mind works and what sorts of things motivate it. Moreover, I personally lived secularism in my early life, from ages 9-18. I didn’t go to Church for ten years. God didn’t influence my life at all. I became increasingly politically and socially liberal in every way (including free sex, the occult, and abortion and feminism). So I know the thinking from the inside too. What’s cool and chic now, I was doing in the 60s and 70s.
I’ve written many times on America being the most wicked nation. If you read closely, it’s actually Christians I am primarily blaming for that: the trend of rejection of Christianity and God, that is coming from former Christians much more than from lifelong atheists (and I have seen hundreds of such people in talking to atheists online). I’m blaming those who once were believers and have outright rejected God (which is why I used the term “God-rejecters” rather than atheists). I have argued many times that atheists can be saved, and that there are different kinds of atheists (the “God rejecter” would be one). Along these lines, I wrote:
[W]e have been one of the most Christian nations in the history of the world. “To whom much is given, much is required.” That’s why we are the most wicked. We’re post-Christian. We have rejected Christianity and God.
That is directed squarely towards Christians, not atheists. Most Christians are now as secularized as any atheist; some of them even more so. Secularization is a category that crosses many groups. It would have been better if I had made that more clear in the jeremiad, but now I have, so I thank you for bringing about my clarification. My thinking here is like that of John Stuart Mill (an agnostic and skeptic himself), who stated the following in an 1867 inaugural address at the University of St. Andrews:
Let not any one pacify his conscience by the delusion that he can do no harm if he takes no part, and forms no opinion. Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing. He is not a good man who, without a protest, allows wrong to be committed in his name, and with the means which he helps to supply, because he will not trouble himself to use his mind on the subject.
And I would include atheists among these “good men.”
As for “Ending with a call to arms that appears to excuse unlimited violence”: that’s simply ridiculous. I did no such thing, and there are no words that by any reasonable interpretation can be thought to remotely suggest it. I’m not a violent person. I don’t own guns; I’m against capital punishment, etc. I oppose the Russian invasion of Ukraine on humanitarian grounds (the rampant killing of civilians, women and children).
You’re simply projecting onto me attitudes that might characterize some lunatic fringe on the right, but have never been my own (as noted, my childhood background was on the left, not the far right). I was primarily influenced in writing this by watching the movie Sound of Freedom two nights ago. The main actor, Jim Caviezel spoke at the end, in hopes of getting people to do something about this horror of child trafficking. What did he suggest? Violence? Nope. He urged people to get others to see the movie and to donate so that anyone who wanted to see it would be able to see it, regardless of price.
He noted how, just as Harriet Beecher Stowe’s book Uncle Tom’s Cabin changed people’s mind about slavery and helped end it in America, likewise the power of cinema and this movie can raise people’s awareness about child sex trafficking, so that people start demanding that it be ended, out of simple compassion for children.
Of course, the liberal media is trashing the movie, which is ludicrous. I fail to see why we can’t all agree that this is a bad thing (an “evil” if you will) that ought to be eradicated by the usual moral and legal means. The charge is that the movie is conspiratorial. It’s BS. It’s a great movie about a true story and a huge moral concern of our time.
“I badly misunderstood the kind of person you are.”
You correctly understood me up to now. This offends you, but hopefully my clarification will make it far less offensive and not at all violent or conspiratorial, will show how it is perfectly consistent with the person you thought I was (that is the real me), and we can disagree in a civil manner as we always have, and continue to have great discussion about this, if you like. But to do so we have to get past the false impression you have about this piece, leading you to claim that I advocate “unlimited violence” against “people I don’t like”. Good grief.
If you want to understand even better the type of person I am, I recommend reading my piece: This “Conservative” is Very Passionate About Social Justice [8-31-17].
“A gut feeling that reinforces my current beliefs” is not a source, it’s a red flag. When you start thinking that way, and making assumptions like that, it’s usually a sign to step back and start asking questions about why you think something is that way. Are you founding it on any evidence? And if not, why do you race to that conclusion?
The abuse of children is not new. It is distressingly ancient. The concept of “childhood” is something that only really began to even gain traction over the last half-millennium or so, and even within the last century or two you don’t have to look hard to see children denied any pretenses of “innocence” and forced to work in factories and mines. Children have been – and still are – forced into marriages, usually young girls sought by older men as predators. All of these acts were usually perpetrated by church-going men throughout the long history of Christianity.
The shift away from child labour and to the protection of children in the United States only really starts in the late 1800s, and begins to pick up steam in the 1920s, with the rise of the Progressive Era (which is the historical term; the movements which comprise that group would probably not align well with modern ideas of “progressive”). It doesn’t really approach something like completion until around the 1960s and, even then, many states still have low ages of consent (Georgia’s was 14 until 1995, for example).
Today, the concept of consent is baked into mainstream secular thinking. Far from causing a decline in childhood protections, the rise of secularism has been associated with an increase in them. The societal guard rails against it are there. That doesn’t mean people obey them, any more than people perfectly obey Christian doctrines, but to blame this on secularization ignores that this is an ancient human problem, and one actually taken seriously now more than ever.
When it comes to religiosity amongst predators, I recommend Religious Affiliations Amongst Adult Sexual Offenders by Eshuys and Smallbone, and perhaps the Abel and Harlow Child Molestation Prevention Study. Both of those will tell you this: That the most prolific predators will adopt a mask of religiosity.
It’s not cause and effect, I’d imagine. What people are attracted to is… Messy in those terms. But people who are religious often take outward expressions of religiosity as a sign of trustworthiness, thus making them easier to manipulate and for a predator to avoid suspicion. It’s similar as to how grooming works: By engaging in activities that look benign and “normal”, you create an aura of trust and normalcy that makes people not want to believe negative things about you. Cognitive dissonance is uncomfortable; people don’t want to hold simultaneously in their head that this person who they think of as nice and kind is also capable of doing great harm.
Secular people don’t really have those same trust markers. As such, getting into positions of trust is more difficult, usually requiring things like a teaching degree or what have you. It’s much harder than becoming a youth pastor or church volunteer. I’ve had it suggested to me – not without evidence – that this is also why there’s lower reported rates of abuse in Mormon scout troops: The vocational system means that access is much more difficult to acquire.
You argue well, as always. I don’t think what you have stated, however, can overcome my entire argument: which, again, was not laid out in the post because a jeremiad is not an argument. It’s a passionate cry for reform and repentance. When Martin Luther King made his “I have a dream” speech that wasn’t an argument, either. It was a plea for racial justice and equality.
Much of what you say is not even in conflict with what I say. I know about the sad history of child labor. But I highly doubt that there were two million children at any given time in the past that are forced into being prostitutes, turning ten tricks a day.
You think I can’t make a case for what I have said. I can (and have in many articles in the past), utilizing secular sociology, and it’s not that difficult. In any event, I reiterate that I didn’t have atheists primarily in my mind. It goes far deeper than that. Secularization is everywhere in current American society and the entire developed world, and it’s as strong among a great many Christians as among professed atheists. All kinds of indicators point to it: up to and including significantly less church attendance, which is rapidly happening right now, and some of it due to COVID when we Christians stopped going to church. I knew when that happened, that it would be permanent for a good portion, because they were just going by habit and not by a choice built upon full understanding and commitment. There are always many Christians like that, so the decline was inevitable. It just needed a stimulus.
None of what I have stated entails the notion that everything was absolutely perfect in the past, in an ideal Christian world, or that Christians and other theists are not part of the overall problem that I address.
Many things are demonstrably worse now than they ever were. There are more slaves in the world today than there have ever been. There are certainly more preborn babies being killed than ever before: more than one billion in the last 25 years. Now, you may argue that a preborn child is not a human being, and that’s how you make out that it’s not immoral to end this thing’s life: whatever it is. But it is a life. No one can dispute that. And he or she will develop into an adult human being with hopes and dreams just like you and I if only he or she is allowed to live and have a life at all (the only one he or she will ever have, in an atheist worldview with no afterlife).
So we pro-lifers happen to think it is a person, and therefore, from our perspective we’re talking about one billion murders over 25 years. And that’s certainly an increase in the abuse and mistreatment of children.
Infanticide is plainly on the rise (as is euthanasia, but that wasn’t my subject). We see it in Europe, in places (post-Christian) rapidly secularizing, like the Netherlands and Belgium and in rapidly secularizing Canada. The states that have abortion up to birth, as it was under Roe (like my Michigan) are, generally speaking, the less religious ones (New England, New York, California). The most religious region of the country, the Bible Belt, has the most strict laws against abortion.
I could go on and on supporting my statements, but this is enough for now.
You think it was merely a bigoted rant with no support. I think it’s fully supported by the data and is in the long Christian and Jewish tradition of screaming the truth from the rooftops, to get people to see how bad things are, by the standard of God’s law and human laws that used to reflect that far more than they do today around the world. You don’t agree, but it was my jeremiad and therefore would obviously reflect the worldview that I hold. But rest assured it can be backed up by secular, objective facts, too. I’m not saying that everything I stated is undeniable or capable of the same level of demonstration, or could not be subject to any possible counter-arguments made against them, but the contentions can be supported by solid data and arguments.
Do you really want to argue that inner city public schools are better and not worse? Really? I grew up in Detroit, and attended all public schools and even college in the city. The schools were excellent then, in the 60s and 70s. Now they are turning out kids that can’t even read by 12th grade. Detroit (some say: it’s disputed) has a 47% functional illiteracy rate. According to a Washington Post article:
In 2017, only 7 percent of Detroit public school eighth-graders performed at or above the proficient level in reading, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress. The percentage of Detroit students who performed at or above the NAEP proficient level in 2019 was 6 percent.
How about illegitimacy rates (relating to my comment about broken homes)? In 2018, 39.6% of births in the US were out-of-wedlock.
The illegitimacy rate for African-Americans has gone from 19% in 1940 to about 70% now. The brilliant Dr. Thomas Sowell (a black man, if you don’t know him) and others have made the point that even slavery couldn’t destroy the black family like LBJ’s failed Great Society did. The white illegitimacy rate was 2% in 1940. Now it’s 29%. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (Ph.D. in history and later a Democratic Senator) tried to make this point in 1965 and issued warnings about the societal disaster that would result, but was unheeded.
The thing about numbers is that, as horrifying as the reality is, they can be deceptive. I don’t know where you got the figure of two million children being forced into prostitution from, although I don’t find it unbelievable, but that number exists in a context of eight billion human beings. There are more people alive today than have ever been alive at any point in history. The question that should be asked is, as a percentage of the total number of children alive, how many are being forced into prostitution. Is it more than happened in prior ages or less? Because I would wager that, if you were to go back to, say, the Hundred Years War and the days of the roving free companies and similar bands of brigands, and the destruction of the social order caused by plague and war, you’d probably find a good deal more children forced into those situations.
It’s like saying that more people are dying of disease today than at any point in history: This is probably true due to the sheer number of human beings alive, but not an accurate representation of the skill and ability of modern medicine.
It’s normal and common in every age to decry it as an age of decline from some idealized past. Something is always getting worse, some problem always in need of dealing with. And sometimes those problems do present a danger of collapse! But it’s important to always take time to consider the trend.
Now, I said I’m not going to try and argue abortion because I think it’d be fruitless. Me explaining that I place value on the capacity for conscious thought and experience – the presence of a mind – rather than potential or genetics or “life” (I kill living things all the time, like bacteria in my work or vegetables in my food, and though I try to show care and respect for the taking of any life, it does not stop me) would probably go nowhere. I acknowledge your perspective on it and it’s really not what drew my ire here because I’m familiar with that.
I *will* share my own experiences with euthanasia (obviously not having done it personally or I’d not be typing here): About a decade ago, a friend of my family developed ALS. He was a genuinely lovely man – Catholic, too, if that matters – who worked with socially maladjusted children to help them get their life back on track. But very rapidly, he lost function of his fine and then gross motor functions. He became confined to a wheelchair, then incapable of feeding himself or using the bathroom alone. And he bore every last bit of this with dignity, even as every single day was full of pain, discomfort, and isolation.
What tipped the balance was when he became dependent on a machine to breathe. He had to wear a breathing tube attached to his nose, a thing he could endure, but which routinely slipped out. When it did, he lost the ability to breathe and began to suffocate. This was bad enough when he had his nurse around to help him, as his already painful days – full of sores and muscle cramps – now had periodic moments of suffocation. But it was worst at night, since it’d slip out in his sleep and… Well, you can imagine the horror.
He chose his way out; an opportunity to say goodbye to everyone he loved and cared about, and whose lives he’d touched. When he went, it was peacefully and calmly, surrounded by family.
The injustice of his suffering still makes me angry. Remembering it brings tears to my eyes even now. But I am glad he had the opportunity to make the choice he did. None of us are immortal, none of us can prevent death. Letting people choose their own time is a part of respect for their full humanity. The rare but horrible handful of instances of people choosing to end their lives for things that are fixable – like the poor Canadian woman who chose to die because she couldn’t find housing she could breathe in – are condemnations on our society for not fixing those issues, not on giving people the option.
As far as public schools and illegitimacy go, it’s interesting to use Detroit as an example. Detroit’s public schools are indeed not exactly what you’d call healthy right now… But if you look at the surrounding (wealthier) suburbs, the public schools there are doing just fine.
Detroit’s decline is not some secret. Motor City was ground zero for white flight; the mass migration of wealthier white families to the suburbs. Detroit’s population in 1950 was almost three times what it is now, with the decline beginning in the 1950s. As schools began to integrate, white families moved away to suburban enclaves, often with HOAs that kept out black families. As wealthy people moved out the cities, so did the tax and consumer base, and Detroit began its long, slow financial collapse that hit overdrive with the drug wars of the 70s and 80s. With the anti-union movement of the Reagan era, Japan’s currency manipulation (ended by the Plaza Accords but kept afloat by the reckless spending policy of negative interest), and finally NAFTA, the decently paying union jobs that kept Detroit afloat were cut to the quick.
You can’t have a functional city when all of its wealth is flowing out of it into the suburbs. As the city enters decline, its poorer services, growing crime, lower civil servant salaries, etc., make it harder to attract people to the area. All these problems compound.
None of it has to do with secularization.
As for illegitimacy, well… You probably won’t be surprised to find I have negative opinions of Sowell. He’s often trotted out as an example of a black academic who blames social welfare programs for the social ills affecting black Americans, against the great weight of black scholars (and white scholars) who argue otherwise.
If you want to put any kind of blame for welfare programs on unmarried parents, put it on the fact that welfare programs in the US reduce aid given for cohabiting couples. That makes it advantageous for desperately impoverished people to live apart. Or consider how Section 8 assistance can be denied – and recipients evicted – if a recipient’s residence is deemed a “drug house”, a designation that can be received simply because someone who was there had any amount of illicit substances on them.
Or consider the way the War on Drugs manifested. Despite there being no overall differences in use amongst ethnic groups, the police focused their efforts for decades on targeting black Americans. The rise of gangs and lack of work in many ghettoized neighbourhoods led to many young men involving themselves in gangs for a variety of reasons, including lack of opportunity, lack of prospects, and simple necessity. This, in turn, led to many young men being sent to jail for a long time.
I can go on. And none of this is why I was upset with what you wrote either! But I’ve already spent a lot of time on this, and I don’t have time to go further. I’ll try and get back to this another time.
The example you give of the man with ALS (we just watched the old Lou Gehrig movie a few nights ago!) is probably in line with Catholic moral teaching, which holds that extraordinary treatment in such terminal cases is not always compulsory. It’s one thing letting nature take its course, compared to administering a drug that will definitely kill a person.
I appreciate your input as always and it was excellently argued. I don’t feel any particular need to tackle it point-by-point, but I continue to say that my jeremiad was a valid one, even if you or others could possibly whittle away at parts of it. Society as a whole has been more and more abusive of children. That’s the claim. You disagree.
But I was not simply a loose cannon and I was not to the slightest degree calling for violence or hatred, or targeting atheists as the main culprits, as I have explained. I think you should retract that as an unfair swipe, based on nothing in my original piece.
Have a great weekend!
The part I was referring to viz. calls for violence was:
Is there anything else worse than these things that we can do to them? Nothing shows the wickedness and evil of the devil and his conscious or unwitting, ignorant, mindless followers more than this despicable filth from the pit of hell.
[note: I later changed the word “them” to “children” as a result of this misunderstanding, as explained below]
Specifically, that first sentence. I read that as a justification for violence (“They are doing all these awful things, so is anything we do able to be worse?”). If that’s not how it was intended, I apologize. I’m just used at this point to seeing people calling for the murder of some people who are dear to me because they’re trans, on the basis that their mere existence is in some way predatory.
Back in the 1930s Germany, there was a term; Jugendverfuehrer. It translates as something like “Seducer of the youth”. It was very common in Nazi propaganda, claiming that gay and trans people were actively seeking to corrupt German youth, with some even claiming homosexuality was a Jewish plot to prevent Germans from having children. This argument was used as justification for mass extermination.
In 1961, Sidney Davis Productions released a short film called Boys Beware, which equated homosexuality with pedophilia. The film was shown in schools across the United States.
In 1978, Proposition 6 in California sought to fire all gay teachers on the basis that they were predatory. In the same state, when Proposition 8 was announced, one of the arguments to deny gay couples marriage rights was that it’d let them adopt children, whom they would then molest.
Today, drag queen story hours at public libraries, where parents have someone dressed in a garishly colourful outfit read a story to their children, receive death threats. Why? Because the act of a queer person existing around children is treated as inherently predatory.
Even now, I have friends who deal with things like being spat at by strangers just for existing in public. One is terrified she’ll lose her job because she lives in a conservative state and can’t bear to live in the closet any longer.
I took issue with a lot of what you said but that’s not a surprise. You and I disagree on many things, and I truly engage talking with you about things! But I think, with all that context, you can understand why I was upset, and perhaps why I took the interpretation I did.
Thanks very much for your explanation and apology. I appreciate it. I do understand that you are sensitive, with some of the stuff going on. For my part, I have never treated homosexuals badly in my life (and I’m almost 65). In fact, my two best friends in high school were black homosexual males. That was in 1973-1976. I was doing “diversity” long before it was cool and fashionable. My high school was 80% black. We all got along great.
I disagree with homosexuality, but that’s a different thing from calling for hatred or violence or treating people badly on a personal level. I’m simply following Christian teaching as it has been for 2,000 years. I accept and agree with all that you say about how homosexuals are often treated poorly. It’s a sad and tragic thing. But I have not been part of that. In the situation today, people like me are immediately accused of hatred and “homophobia” simply because we have a Christian view. That’s most unjust as well. It’s as if there is no middle ground between total acceptance and hatred and violence in opposition.
Today, if you disagree with someone, it’s immediately assumed by many that you hate them. Everything is personal and subjective now. You know this is untrue, just from our own experience in dialoguing. One of my best friends just told me that he had an atheist friend for 23 years. They would chat regularly at restaurants. It was beautiful. But all of a sudden his friend said that they should stop talking about politics, for the sake of the friendship. My Catholic friend is a conservative and Trump voter (as am I), and that was just too much to take for his atheist friend. So they agreed to not talk about it. Then the atheist friend broke the agreement and brought it up again. My Catholic friend said, “didn’t we agree to not talk about that?” And the atheist said, “I need to talk about it.” Well, that ended the friendship: all because my friend was (totally unjustly) regarded as some neo-Nazi goon, after 23 years of all that talking and trying to find common ground. Surveys regularly show that conservatives are much more willing to have liberal friends than vice versa.
As another example, we had a tenant in our old house who was a lesbian and heroin addict. How did we treat her? With love and patience. We didn’t try to kick her out. We put up with her not even paying the rent after a while. She owed us $2,000 in back-rent. But I didn’t take her to small-claims court. I offered to let her pay it off gradually. She took about three years to do that. We helped her move. We never showed her hatred or personal hostility at any time. It turns out that she went to a rehab place for a year, got off of heroin and married another guy (she had been married to a man). But that’s beside my point. When we dealt with her, she was a practicing lesbian and heroin addict. And that’s how we treated her. This is how I try to approach all people as a Christian called to love everyone: with love and understanding: agree or disagree with their politics or morals or religion or whatever . . .
So you can see how I am sensitive about these sorts of things, too. Conservatives and traditional Christians and pro-lifers are routinely accused of hatred and white supremacy and all the rest. It’s standard Democrat talking points now. And we are completely fed up with all the ad hominem, and we see this “enough is enough!” thinking in the Budweiser and Target boycotts, etc. That’s interpreted by those on the left of the spectrum as more evidence of “homophobia.” It’s not. Rather, we are sick and tired of the “more righteous-than-thou” posturing of liberals and their attempts to force down our throats things that they know we disagree with on principle.
It was the same thing with the NBA. I had been a huge fan since 1988 when the Detroit Pistons started getting good. But I stopped watching when it got political and “BLM” (a Marxist front group that is now being exposed for what it is) painted on the courts (not to mention the immoral relationship with China that the NBA has). We just want to watch sports and have fun. Why does everything have to be politicized? But that is a big characteristic of Marxism, and yes, it’s another evidence of the secularization taking place. Every Major League team has to have a “pride night” and so forth. We just want to have fun and get away from all the politics and wrangling. All Americans can come together and enjoy sports. It should bring us together as a “neutral” activity. But now it’s soiled with leftist activism.
Now, it appears that what made you think I was calling for violence was a result of taking words of mine completely out of context. You wrote, “I read that as a justification for violence (‘They are doing all these awful things, so is anything we do able to be worse?’).” That is absolutely erroneous. The “them” in that sentence is the children. I was making the point that it’s hard to imagine anything worse than what is already being done to them. It’s as simple as that. I grant that it was possible to misunderstand. But that was my meaning and intent (swear on a stack of Bibles). To avoid anyone possibly thinking that in the future I will change the word “them” to “children.” No one can possibly not understand what I mean if it reads that way.
Lastly, I have stated that this piece was a jeremiad. The word comes from the prophet Jeremiah, as you probably know. But it’s a particular biblical genre. When the prophets were railing and condemning sin, more often than not it was directed against Israel, not against her enemies. It was a call for repentance and reform, not violence. That’s how it was with Jeremiah himself. It’s thought that he preached for about sixty years with no tangible results. He was warning Israel to repent, lest God judge them. They didn’t (this is the story of the OT, over and over) and they were judged by the Babylonians coming and destroying the temple and Jerusalem in 586 BC and carrying them away as captives.
So in my own Jeremiad, I had Christians mostly in mind, as I have explained: neither homosexuals nor atheists (neither word is ever mentioned). We have to repent. We have allowed things to sink to this low level. We can change things by repenting and causing revival to take place.
Thus even the genre I wrote in has a long backstory that is understood in the Christian community. I don’t know your background. That sort of thing may be unfamiliar to you. But it must be understood to some extent to comprehend the outlook from which I was speaking.
Thanks for “listening” again.
[more exchanges will be added if and when they occur]
Summary: I wrote a “jeremiad” regarding the increasing abuse of children. An atheist friend of mine replied & we discussed my claims and the general topic of secularization.