Christians are now exiled from society

Christians are now exiled from society June 29, 2015

Rod Dreher has a post at Time Magazine, where he discusses the post-Christian aftermath of the Supreme Court ruling. He writes at the American Conservative, so you know it’ll be gagful.

No, the sky is not falling — not yet, anyway — but with the Supreme Court ruling constitutionalizing same-sex marriage, the ground under our feet has shifted tectonically.

It wasn’t “constitutionalized”. The whole point was that the laws banning gay marriage were unconstitutional… as in, peoples’ rights were violated regularly. Unfortunately, our legal system doesn’t automatically solve that. There’s a long, lengthy process, that requires people with standing to challenge it.

It is hard to overstate the significance of the Obergefell decision — and the seriousness of the challenges it presents to orthodox Christians and other social conservatives. Voting Republican and other failed culture war strategies are not going to save us now.

Save you from what? Being decent human beings? Not trampling all over your fellow citizens?

Discerning the meaning of the present moment requires sobriety, precisely because its radicalism requires of conservatives a realistic sense of how weak our position is in post-Christian America.

Yes, it was very radical, like that time when women were allowed to vote, and interracial couples could marry. It was very mid-90’s “radical”, dude. It shouldn’t be surprising that I’m fine with being in a post-Christian America. This isn’t “King of the hill”, where kids on the playground are shoving each other off, for dominance of the mound. You are not my superior. You, in terms of status, are my equal in society.

The alarm that the four dissenting justices sounded in their minority opinions is chilling.

And rather delusional.

Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Antonin Scalia were particularly scathing in pointing out the philosophical and historical groundlessness of the majority’s opinion. Justice Scalia even called the decision “a threat to democracy,” and denounced it, shockingly, in the language of revolution.

Historical groundlessness? Replace all the arguments against gay marriage with interracial, and it’s a historical re-enactment. Democratic vote is very frequently overturned when the people decide to violate others’ constitutional liberties. That’s one of the primary functions of the supreme court. Does Dreher really think this is the first time that nationwide rights have been affirmed/enforced, against the currents of erroneous popular opinion? Do Conservative have generational amnesia?

It is now clear that for this Court, extremism in the pursuit of the Sexual Revolution’s goals is no vice.

You think it is “extremism”. You’re wrong. That, however, wasn’t the question. The question was whether these laws where violating peoples’ constitutional rights. The fact you think it’s icky is not relevant.

True, the majority opinion nodded and smiled in the direction of the First Amendment, in an attempt to calm the fears of those worried about religious liberty. But when a Supreme Court majority is willing to invent rights out of nothing…

That is not what they did. The right already existed – equal protection under the law. It’s been applied. The way American law typically operates is that, by default, we are free to live our lives how we see it… unless there’s a damn good reason to the contrary. The opposition here barely had coherent reasons, let alone “damn good”.

 … it is impossible to have faith that the First Amendment will offer any but the barest protection to religious dissenters from gay rights orthodoxy.

What does “barest protection” mean? The First Amendment has never meant that religious people could be waived from following whatever laws they wanted. They have to follow the same laws as everyone else. Otherwise, that’s what we call “lawlessness”. When religious institutions are called upon to violate their religious dogma, take it to court. You may not “have faith” in that system now, because they didn’t toss aside all reason and logic to agree squarely with religious thought, but you’ll have to work through that. In the meantime, let’s not misconstrue that with an individual voluntarily becoming employed in a job, that he/she has explicitly agreed to do, and then selectively decide not to do certain parts of that job… and somehow expect to not be fired… especially if it’s on taxpayer dime. We can make allowances for reasonable accommodation, if there’s someone else available, but there had better be someone else available.

Indeed, Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito explicitly warned religious traditionalists that this decision leaves them vulnerable. Alito warns that Obergefell “will be used to vilify Americans who are unwilling to assent to the new orthodoxy,” and will be used to oppress the faithful “by those who are determined to stamp out every vestige of dissent.”

You mean, if you act like asshole jerks, you’ll be called out on it? Like you have been, since long before this case? How does this statement not also apply to racism? I love the projection going on with “the new orthodoxy”. No, that’s what you do. What the courts have said, is that you can no longer oppress your fellow Americans, like you’ve been doing since forever (since America was founded, anyway). Outside of that, this has nothing to do with you.

… we have to accept that we really are living in a culturally post-Christian nation.

Yes, please do get over yourselves. You do not run our lives, nor should you.

The fundamental norms Christians have long been able to depend on no longer exist.

Oh, I must have missed the part of the ruling where marriage was ruled illegal. So, if I may ask, does your world view really depend so much on whether I, personally, conform to it? Does it ruin your lunch when other people aren’t also eating grilled cheese sandwiches, and that puts you in a foul mood because people are behaving differently than you?

To be frank, the court majority may impose on the rest of the nation a view widely shared by elites, but it is also a view shared by a majority of Americans. There will be no widespread popular resistance to Obergefell. This is the new normal.

What “view” are we talking about? The equal protection clause? That people are allowed to do things that are contrary to Christian doctrine? No one has said that you have to accept gay marriage. You just can’t legislate it into oblivion anymore.

For another, LGBT activists and their fellow travelers really will be coming after social conservatives.

How is this different than normal? Conservatives “go after” progressives, progressives “go after” conservatives. We disagree on things. We argue those things.

The Supreme Court has now, in constitutional doctrine, said that homosexuality is equivalent to race.

Not in a literal sense… in the eyes of the law, and its application, yes. It’s like saying that race is equivalent to religion, because they’re both protected under the same laws.

The next goal of activists will be a long-term campaign to remove tax-exempt status from dissenting religious institutions.

That’s already law… sort of. They can discuss things like social issues, like they’ve always done… but when they “start” promoting political candidates, or telling parishioners how to vote.. yes. They’re in violation of the already-established tax-exempt status laws. These aren’t the “next goals”, incidentally. We’re been after the IRS for several years to actually enforce its own rules.

The more immediate goal will be the shunning and persecution of dissenters within civil society. After today, all religious conservatives are Brendan Eich, the former CEO of Mozilla who was chased out of that company for supporting California’s Proposition 8.

More projection. Or, at least, they’re worried that now, people will do to them, as they’ve done to others for hundreds of years. I don’t doubt that some people will be wrathful. Maybe they should be. Stop being assholes.

Third, the Court majority wrote that gays and lesbians do not want to change the institution of marriage, but rather want to benefit from it. This is hard to believe, given more recent writing from gay activists like Dan Savage expressing a desire to loosen the strictures of monogamy in all marriages. Besides, if marriage can be redefined according to what we desire — that is, if there is no essential nature to marriage, or to gender — then there are no boundaries on marriage. Marriage inevitably loses its power.

What “power”? I’m not going to speak for Savage, or what people want to do with marriage… I’m fine with continuing to change what’s allowed. Again, you are not required to change your marriage at all. You just don’t. It has nothing to do with you. It has nothing to do with you! I see marriage as being sort of an OS.. one that could use to be patched. Usually, we’re patching it for the better. Loving vs. Virginia patched a major security vulnerability. We replaced a defective driver when women were no longer their husband’s property. Occasionally, some group of hackers will place malicious code onto the system, such as California’s Prop 8. We ran an anti-malware scan… so that’s fixed. Marriage is becoming better for everyone… even if you personally chose not to partake. Humans have been redefining marriage since they invented it. It’s become more robust, more inclusive, more powerful.

In that sense, social and religious conservatives must recognize that the Obergefell decision did not come from nowhere. It is the logical result of the Sexual Revolution, which valorized erotic liberty. It has been widely and correctly observed that heterosexuals began to devalue marriage long before same-sex marriage became an issue. The individualism at the heart of contemporary American culture is at the core of Obergefell — and at the core of modern American life.

It came out of the 14th amendment. Though, I’d agree, that the cultural context of people attempting to get married, being denied, and being able to take it to court, was much more difficult. It’s like saying that no one had a problem with the “In God We Trust” national motto… yes, well, at the time (McCarthy era), coming out as an atheist was social suicide. Of course we didn’t object. The culture has progressed to the point where we’re reasonably safe enough to not be silenced anymore.

This is profoundly incompatible with orthodox Christianity. But this is the world we live in today.

You mean, you have to live like the rest of us – not being the ruling class. Boo hoo.

One can certainly understand the joy that LGBT Americans and their supporters feel today. But orthodox Christians must understand that things are going to get much more difficult for us. We are going to have to learn how to live as exiles in our own country.

This is idiotic hyperbole. You’re not “exiled” any more than I am… or any more than an open racist is. If people think you’re a fuckwad for hating on a population of people, that’s their right to call you out on it. Apparently being “in exile” means being able to do/say what you want with impunity, and without challenge.

We are going to have to learn how to live with at least a mild form of persecution. And we are going to have to change the way we practice our faith and teach it to our children, to build resilient communities.

No, that’s not “persecution”. I realize that people like this have a chronically inability to identify persecution… that’s called “co-existing with your neighbors”. There’s a give-and-take to it. It’s like we’re talking with a former prince who now has to live as one of the common people… which is apparently equivalent to “being sent to the dungeon.”

It is time for what I call the Benedict Option. In his 1982 book After Virtue,the eminent philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre likened the current age to the fall of ancient Rome. He pointed to Benedict of Nursia, a pious young Christian who left the chaos of Rome to go to the woods to pray, as an example for us. We who want to live by the traditional virtues, MacIntyre said, have to pioneer new ways of doing so in community. We await, he said “a new — and doubtless very different — St. Benedict.”

So you’re exiling yourselves because we’re not letting you run the game anymore?

Throughout the early Middle Ages, Benedict’s communities formed monasteries, and kept the light of faith burning through the surrounding cultural darkness. Eventually, the Benedictine monks helped refound civilization.

Go ahead and see if you can change civilization. Just make sure it’s based on secular reasons, otherwise, we’ll certainly have debates (not that we wouldn’t have debates otherwise). You can still participate in society. You can offer ideas, and concepts, and we many of us will consider them. … but not automatically deferring to your arcane religious institution anymore, isn’t “persecution.”

I believe that orthodox Christians today are called to be those new and very different St. Benedicts. How do we take the Benedict Option, and build resilient communities within our condition of internal exile, and under increasingly hostile conditions? I don’t know. But we had better figure this out together, and soon, while there is time.

It sounds like you want to become more insular. Good luck with that. There’s fewer places on Earth to go exile yourselves into. I agree though, you don’t have much time. The longer you wait, the more older conservatives will die off, leaving the younger, more enlightened conservatives in their wake.

Last fall, I spoke with the prior of the Benedictine monastery in Nursia, and told him about the Benedict Option. So many Christians, he told me, have no clue how far things have decayed in our aggressively secularizing world. The future for Christians will be within the Benedict Option, the monk said, or it won’t be at all.

Obergefell was aggressive. When people are being oppressed, I’d hope we’d aggressively put a halt to it. That’s the correct thing to do. Secularism is the best model for coexisting with many cultures and religions. I’m sorry that you have to share the planet with people who aren’t like you.

Obergefell is a sign of the times, for those with eyes to see. This isn’t the view of wild-eyed prophets wearing animal skins and shouting in the desert. It is the view of four Supreme Court justices, in effect declaring from the bench the decline and fall of the traditional American social, political, and legal order.

Society has always changed. You just aren’t remembering it. The way you talk about it, its almost as though you think it’s some kind of collapse of society, as opposed to one step closer to an enlightened, wholesome society, and one step away from our primitive, barbaric past. I love it when people declare that only they can see what’s happening. I can see too. I see a bright future.

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