Culture warriors don’t know how to respond to a pandemic

Culture warriors don’t know how to respond to a pandemic December 20, 2020

Kirk Cameron Will Spread Christmas Cheer and COVID With an In-Person Sing-along

That’s our Buck! (Sorry, Chad Michael Murray, but we only have room in our hearts for one Buck Williams.)

Cameron is a white evangelical Christian, which is to say he’s a culture warrior, which is to say he’s driven and shaped and discipled by a downward-facing politics of resentment. Like most culture warriors, he had no other framework to respond to a global pandemic. COVID swept across the world and the only response he was capable of was his reflexive culture-warring — seeking some way to force this natural disaster into the Us vs. Them ideology that has supplanted all other politics and religion for these folks.

Just 12 years later, the guy on the left would star in “Titanic,” while the guy on the right was featured in the made-for-TV movie “You Lucky Dog.”

Kirk Cameron is not exceptional in this regard. We’ve seen the same reflexive culture-war response to this pandemic from a host of other prominent white evangelicals. They saw a deadly, life-altering disease sweeping the globe and they didn’t respond with some kind of “Great Commission” instinct. They didn’t think about this as an opportunity to love and serve neighbors. “WWJD?” played no part in their response. And most did not ponder what the appropriate “pro-life” response would be because that’s not really an ethic, just a slogan and a bit of branding for the whole culture war/politics of resentment and the stomp-on-the-downtrodden ethos it nurtures.

One problem for this culture war approach is that a virus is not actually part of the culture. It’s just nature. And when all your imagination and religion allows you to do is to think in terms of Us vs. Them, you’re going to be ill-equipped for an Us vs. It scenario.

Remember back in high school English classes when your teacher read from some crusty textbook about the “Seven Types of Conflict” in literature? We even learned about this back at Timothy Christian, where we read Jack London’s “To Build a Fire” as an example of “Man vs. Nature” conflict. (I remember this with great clarity because it freaked me out — that was the first story I’d ever read that ended that way and I hadn’t realized stories could do that.) But these days culture-war Christianity has become so all-consuming that the only interest white evangelicals have in such things is in insisting on the old-fashioned exclusive language of “Man vs. Nature” rather than the “Person vs. Nature” now used by politically correct, “woke,” feminazis with their cancel-culture and their cultural Marxism and whatnot. Apart from that, the category of “Man/Person vs. Nature” doesn’t really exist for them anymore because it doesn’t fit the culture war construct and doesn’t lend itself to direct-mail fundraising appeals.

And so now we have the Church of the Culture War stubbornly ignoring the It of the pandemic while struggling to come up with some Them to blame for the changes It has forced upon us. The result of that is bonkers theatrics like Cameron’s Christmas-caroling “protest” on behalf, Cameron says, of “God … Christmas … and liberty.” This makes as much sense as a protest march against a hurricane in the name of defending “property.”

Will the virus make concessions to these protesters’ demands? Will it be intimidated by their numbers, their will-power, and their media savvy? Alas, so far the virus has not responded to repeated calls for comment.



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