Category Archives: Religion

My Thoughts on the Mark Driscoll Drama

The church affiliation and planting ministry that Mark Driscoll founded, Acts 29, has removed Driscoll’s Mars Hill Church from their network and asked Driscoll to step down. Since I first read about this story, LifeWay Christian Bookstores has announced they are going to stop selling his books. This is all very unfortunate, although some nuance is called for.

As I said below, I do think that some of what Driscoll said and did was indecorous and intemperate, but he has largely admitted as much and apologized. He said in the past that he thought rabble rousing on a forum under a pseudonym was not the right way to go about it, and he apologized. This new brouhaha is largely because those posts which he apologized for and admitted were unwise have surfaced.

But here is the problem. All the above conceded, Driscoll’s fundamental points are correct. The Bible, history and nature do testify to the reality and importance of gender differences and gender roles. And Christian men, and American men in general, have stopped acting like men. And not only is Driscoll correct, but these are issues of utmost importance that desperately need saying if we have any hope of salvaging the Christian Church as we know it.

The feminization of American men, both behaviorally and biologically, has been much commented on in dissident right circles and is largely the impetus, along with the concomitant masculinization of women, behind the growth of the so-called manosphere. (I have a strong hunch that Driscoll is familiar with the manosphere, because he sounds like he is.) But the manosphere is largely amoral and often dismissively refers to those of us who encourage sexual continence as tradcons. Do we really want to cede primary advocacy of gender roles and masculinization to people hostile or indifferent to Christianity? This is why we need Christian voices speaking out on this matter who care about the state of the Church and the country who aren’t just looking for a way to get women in bed.

By booting Driscoll out of the Acts 29 Network, without the appropriate finesse, Acts 29 is empowering the Rachel Held Evans of the world. By not selling his book, without making the action and behavior vs. thought distinction, LifeWay is empowering PC ninnies like  Warren Throckmorton. Do they really want to do that? What are Acts 29 and LifeWay objecting to, actions or beliefs? The fact that they took these actions in response to a PC outcry makes it look like they are accepting the PC narrative unless they make it entirely clear that they aren’t, which they haven’t.

So you know that I’m not just cheerleading for Driscoll, I do think Driscoll is somewhat the victim of his own devices. He is closely associated with the emerging church movement, but in my understanding has distanced himself from it and is, as far as I can tell, doctrinally sound on the essentials.  Unlike Rob Bell, for example, who has clearly flown the coup. But in the doctrinally conservative wing of the emergent church movement’s efforts to make the Church relevant, they largely adopted “contemporary” modes of worship. I don’t think I’m breaking new ground to suggest that contemporary worship is an arguably feminized form of worship that appeals to female sensibilities. You want to man and woman up your Church? Then wear coats and ties and dresses and stop singing praise songs that sound like “Jesus is My Boyfriend.” Grab a hymnal and sing “There is Power in the Blood.”

For those who didn’t quite get my earlier attempt at humor, by feigning outrage at a minor point, I was primarily dismissing or belittling the larger outrage. But there was a little more method to my madness. In every picture I have ever seen of Driscoll, he is wearing a vest (not sweater) and looks like he needs a shave. I’m not dissing vests or facial hair. In fact, from the standpoint of masculinity, I think there is something to be said for facial hair. But the distinction that Driscoll seems to be making is a tame or lame vs. cutting edge or unconventional distinction, with tame associated with femininity and cutting edge associated with manliness. While there may be some truth to this in the milieu and context Driscoll finds himself in, this is a problem with his milieu. In the grand scheme of things, a traditional combination of loafers, khakis and an oxford cloth button down says man’s man much more so than does a vest and whatever Driscoll’s footwear of choice may be. In fact, the best way to be counter-cultural in our crazy modern world is to be radically traditional, affectionately referred to as rad trad. (For the record, once I lose weight … err … I mean my wife quits shrinking my clothes … and invest in a new wardrobe, I’m going rad trad all the way!) If Driscoll paired his vest with a suit and a pocket watch and a pair of wingtips, he would be making a much more masculine and traditional statement than he does now. Actions, not words on a forum, speak loudest.

Now that I’ve  ticked off every possible element, please discuss.

Music, The Sacred, & Science

At Catholic World Report Jerry Salyer reviews Roger Scruton’s latest book The Soul of the WorldAs the review notes, Scruton devotes considerable attention to aesthetics:

In this age of democracy über alles the claim that certain kinds of music are base and others noble invites the charge of elitism [...]  At the risk of sounding elitist myself, I must observe that Scruton has on his side not only Western philosophy’s godfather Plato—who was convinced that a proper moral education begins with a proper appreciation of music—but also the great Eastern sage, Confucius, who advised his followers to “be perfected by music” and condemned certain tunes as “wanton”. To dismiss out of hand the idea that different musical styles can have different influences on a child’s developing psyche seems almost as foolish as dismissing the idea that a child’s diet can impact his health.

Read more here:


Is that constitutional?

Once upon a time, the meaning of the term “constitutional” was understood as “what powers the federal government is given.” But thanks largely to the legacy of the president whose birthday it is today, that term now means “what subjects of the United States are permitted to do.”

Think I’m wrong? Check out this story on yet another DC power grab:

A federal appeals court on Tuesday ruled that North Carolina’s attempt to offer a “Choose Life” license plate and not provide an abortion-rights alternative was unconstitutional.

The ruling is the third time one of the Republican-led General Assembly’s abortion laws has been struck down over the past three years.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled in a 3-0 opinion written by Judge James Wynn of North Carolina.

“Chief amongst the evils the First Amendment prohibits are government ‘restrictions distinguishing among different speakers, allowing speech by some but not others,’” Wynn wrote.

Now there are certain extremists (me, for example) who think the First Amendment, like all the Bill of Rights, defined clear limitations to federal power. Those dangerous extremists would argue the sovereign State of North Carolina not only has the final say on what it puts on the license tags it issues, but would go on to say that North Carolina can adopt any slogan it wants, no matter who in DC disapproves. These days, however, all reasonable and moderate people know the Constitution makes DC sovereign. So it’s only natural that DC tells the people of the States what they can and cannot do.

Meanwhile, in Massachusetts, a private Catholic school is being sued by a cafeteria worker claiming he should be allowed to work at that school despite his homosexuality. He’s in a “same-sex marriage,” and the school, which upholds traditional Catholic values, does not want to be seen as endorsing that man’s lifestyle.

But as NPR reporter Tovia Smith observes in her story, “Ultimately the question of how much leeway religious organizations have in hiring will be answered by the Supreme Court.”

Get that? We must look to the federal government to learn “how much leeway” will be permitted.

Notice that the political doctrine being enforced here is that DC views “rights” as belonging to the individual, not to the States or religious institutions.

So when libertarians claim their ideology is the best weapon in resisting an authoritarian federal government, ask how that is possible when they hold the same central belief that justifies that government’s endless expansion into our lives.

The What? The Progressive Episcopal Church?

I was googling something else and happened to run across the website for a church that is affiliated with the Progressive Episcopal Church? The what? The Progressive Episcopal Church? I had no idea such an absurd entity existed. So there are people out there who don’t think the regular Episcopal Church is liberal enough? Then why don’t they just become Unitarians, and get it over with? Is there some doctrine that still exists in the Episcopal Church that Shelby Spong hasn’t already shed that these progressives think they need to separate from?

Their website says:

The Progressive Episcopal Church is … seeking to integrate the wisdom of diverse spiritual traditions while remaining firmly rooted in the apostolic tradition and the Anglican heritage of the ancient Christian faith. (emphasis mine)

No they’re not. What they’re doing has nothing to do with “the apostolic tradition” or the “heritage,” Anglican or otherwise, of the “ancient Christian faith.” What I don’t get about liberal “Christians” is why they even bother to get up on Sunday morning if they have rejected the essence of the faith. Why don’t they just sleep in?

A Conservative Magazine for Agnosticism?

Robert Long at The American Conservative blog thinks we ought to revive “The Great Agnostic” Robert Ingersoll. I think reviving infidels is a bad idea and out of place for a supposedly conservative magazine. What’s next? Reviving the “Great” Marxist Leon Trotsky? (Oh wait, the neocons already do that.) One has about as much to do with American conservatism as the other. Here is the comment I posted:

In this time as the country is already losing its historic faith and becoming increasingly morally degenerate, why in Heaven’s name (yeah I did that on purpose) would we want to revive a “great” infidel? What needs reviving is a whole lota souls.

Regarding the discussion we had below on the comment moderation policies at TAC, this one made the cut.

Immigration Enthusiast Evangelicals Squirming After Soros, Treason Lobby Funding Revealed

Immigration Enthusiast Evangelicals Squirming After Soros, Treason Lobby Funding Revealed

Cecilia Davenport, VDare, July 1, 2013

Much as the Establishment GOP has betrayed its base time and again over the National Question, some American evangelical leaders have betrayed their congregations by shilling for the Amnesty/ Immigration Surge bill. Recently,’s Allan Wall has noted that the so-called Evangelical Immigration Table (EIT), a conglomeration of denomination preachers (a few) bureaucrats (a lot), activists, university officials and authors, is literally a front for the George Soros-funded National Immigration Forum

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Evangelical Immigration Table in Pocket of George Soros


Pope Will Pray for Invasive Africans, but Has No Apparent Compassion for Italians Who Bear the Brunt

Evangelical Immigration Table in Pocket of George Soros

As we’ve noted already here at CHT, many “conservative” Christian leaders are essentially Cultural Marxists.  (See “On Christian Cultural Marxism. Russell Moore and other Useful Idiots“.)  For instance, many of these people now support the dispossession of European Americans and support the Third World invasion of the USA and other Western nations.

So, when it was leaked that the open-borders, anti-Western Evangelical Immigration Table (which includes “conservatives” like Richard Land, Russell Moore, Leith Anderson, et al) is funded by George Soros, I wasn’t surprised.  Some people I’ve talked to are surprised that EIT leadership lied about receiving the money, but I wasn’t.  These people are opportunistic scaliwags.  People should withhold tithing from any church in any way affiliated with these traitorous Christian Cultural Marxists.

Benedict XVI says good-bye

Yesterday was Pope Benedict XVI last official day as pontiff.  The resignation of the Pope, the first in some 600 years may very well change the nature of the office and how people view it. The feeling before was that popes pretty much die in office as patriarchs die at the head of their families. Now, new popes not up the job, as sadly Benedict XVI all but admitted by resigning, may very well do the same. Especially if they are in old age or declining health.

But maybe that’s not a bad thing. To often in recent times we’ve seen what happens when old men who were unwilling to give up the reigns have on institutions, whether its Penn State football or the Catholic Church. Pope John Paul II’s sickness and decline may well have been personally moving but it was disastrous for the church as problems built up which simply were not addressed and proved too much for Benedict (who really didn’t want to be Pope and was looking forward to retirement at age 75 when he was chosen in 2005) to handle.

To his credit, Bear Bryant, even at youngish (for seniors anyway) 69, retired because he realized he just wasn’t at the top of his game anymore and it was hurting program on the field and in recruiting. Of course the person following Bryant, in this case Ray Perkins,  had to bear the brunt of the problems left behind in the wake of Bryant’s decline and so did Benedict XVI after John Paul II and so will whoever the next pope will be. But Benedict’s sacrifice at least allows that successor time enough to tackle the church’s problem rather than waiting around until his death when the situation will only get worse.

I have no idea who the next pontiff  will be. I have ideas who it should be but that’s besides the point. Whoever it is inherits an awesome task, perhaps even too much for one man to handle. John Paul II changed the papcy considerably in his time, something Benedict, at his advanced age, really wasn’t in a position to deal with. His resignation, as I said, will bring forth another change which hopefully the conclave will realize through God’s grace in picking the right person.


Why France (or someone) has to intervene in Mali

“It’s dirty job but someone has to do it” as the old saying goes describes exactly why France finds itself in position its does having to intervene military in Mali. France’s actions hopefully put an end to the “cheese-eating surrender monkeys” stupidity that exists on the American Right. I don’t see a lot U.S. troops on the ground in Mali nor will we. Drones have pretty much replaced actual soldiers at this point in the GWOT. At least France has real soldiers on the ground ready to fight.

Of course, the first important reason for France’s intervention in Mali is cleaning up the mess it help to create when it insisted they other NATO nations intervene in the Libyan Revolution. Having been defeated, Col. Kadahfy’s Tuareg mercenaries simply grabbed what heavy weapons they could from the Libyan army arsenal and went back to Mali and Niger and Algeria and the other countries these nomads roam through and starting causing trouble. The revolt by Tuaregs to carve off northern Mali into an automous state of Azawad and the political upheaval it caused in Mali was the first blowback caused by the Libyan intervention. The second was Islamic terrorists groups using the chaos as it’s angle to take control of northern Mali and push aside the Tuaregs, who only wanted self-government not seeing their women flogged in public for wearing the wrong clothes.

The second important reason has to do with collective security in response to aggression. It’s no secret France moved as quickly and surprisingly as it did because a red line was crossed in their minds which left them no choice. When the Salafist forces moved with 250 miles of the Malian capital of Bamako, then French knew they had to get involved. Had they not done so, it is conceivable the terrorists could have drive their pick-up trucks all the way Bamako and taken over. There would have been nothing to stop them considering the putrid state of Mali’s military, which is nothing more than a police army which is better at abusing its own citizens than fighting the enemy. And if the such armed Salfists groups took over, it would be the first time that such a trans-national terrorist group had seized control of another country right from the native people’s grasp (the Taliban were Pashtun tribalists allied with Al Qaeda).

Mali may well be a nowheresville to rest of the world but in this case it happens to be a central nowhere which touches everywhere. A Salafist takeover of Mali would have put them right in direct contact with the vicious killers of the Boko Haram terrorist group in Nigeria and providing an even more direct threat to that nation,which is the most important in all of West Africa, and to Christian populations the further south you go in Nigeria and states like Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Chad, Benin, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Cameroon, Gabon, Togo and the Central African Republic.  It would destabilize the entire region which is filled with artificial  states left over from colonial times whose in some cases governments hang by a thread. If Mali fell to such well-armed terrorists, then the same could happen to these states as well. Continue reading

Daily Kos: Pope Gives “Hate Speech Against Gays”

You can’t make this stuff up. At some point I registered at Daily Kos so I could make a comment, probably on some Ron Paul post, so I periodically get e-mails from them. I haven’t unsubscribed because I like seeing what the other side is up to. Today I got an e-mail blaring this in the subject line: “Pope gives special holiday hate speech against gays because it’s Christmas.”

I have a news flash for the author, Kaili Joy Gray: the Pope is a Christian, and Christians have always condemned homosexual behavior because the Bible condemns homosexual behavior and Christians believe the Bible is a Holy Book, God’s Word. Is that really so hard to understand? The liberal “tolerance” Gestapo won’t be happy until ever Christian denounces their belief. Notice the disrespectful and “hateful” tone of her rant. (It would be paying it more respect than it deserves to call it an article.) And note that Daily Kos chose this nugget to highlight with their e-mail. How small-minded is the new PC left?


If Obama Was a Muslim Wouldn’t He be a Social Conservative?

Everyone here should know that I think Obama may be hiding something about his background, but there is one thing I don’t get. I keep seeing people suggesting (such as some of my friends on Facebook) that Obama is secretly a Muslim. I know Obama was a Muslim when he was a child because of his step dad, but if he were still a Muslim then wouldn’t he be against abortion and gay marriage? Heck, I think we would be better off if he was a Muslim. Then he would oppose abortion and gay marriage and withdraw us from the Middle East. Obama is a liberal “Christian.” He attended the Trinity United Church of Christ. This is not a mystery. (I put Christian in quotes because I don’t think Obama actually subscribes to the traditional creeds of the Faith based on some things I’ve read.)

Al Armendiariz Needs Re-education

By “Feltan”

Recently an old video surfaced of a fellow by the name of Al Armendiariz who is an official of the Government’s Environmental Protection Agency.  He stated that the EPA’s enforcement philosophy was similar to the Roman practice of entering a village and “tak(ing) the first five guys they saw and crucify(ing) them.”  Then the town would be “really easy to manage for the next few years” he continued.  In other words, big Oil companies beware — don’t expect moral, ethical or Constitutional treatment from this bad hombre!  After the video hit YouTube, he reflexively apologized.  Al now has a rare distinction on his resume; he offended both the right and left on the national scale with one statement.  His apology for a “poor choice of words” was meant to placate the right leaning Christians among us who didn’t take kindly to the clumsy metaphor.

As a Christian, and as is my duty, I can forgive Al.  We all make mistakes.  By apologizing he asked for forgiveness, and forgiveness is his.  However, we Christians are softies when it comes to the business of forgiveness.  Al still has to make amends with the left.  You just have to feel sorry for the guy thinking about what he is going to have to endure.

One wonders if the next reflexive act for Al is to enter a rehab facility after his resignation.  The video clip will be on the MSNBC web site showing a shell-shocked Al Armendiariz entering the Betty Ford Clinic flanked by a secularly pious and solemn escort of Bill Maher and Michael Moore.  Barry Linn, of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, will provide the droning audio voice over.  Al’s penance to the left will thus begin.  You see, what Mr. Armendiariz did is simply not allowed by an official of a progressive administration:  He made a public religious reference.  He obliquely brought religion into the public square.  In doing so he violated the most cherished modern-day liberal shibboleth.  True liberals don’t make public references about religion or utter any comment that could positively reflect on the divine, spiritual or people of faith; people who do so are from the unwashed icky conservative tribe.

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PC Thought Police Attack Kirk Cameron for Forbidden Thoughts

Kirk Cameron has long been open about his Christian faith. I have seen him on Christian television and in the secular media discussing his faith, but I have never been too impressed by the depth of his theology. However, you have to give it to the guy for his faithfulness and courage. The guy does not trim. He recently went on Piers Morgan and was asked his feelings about homosexuality. He gave an entirely Biblically appropriate answer. Now Hollywood is in an uproar, including his former co-star Tracey Gold.

Seriously, what do all these clowns expect him to think about the subject? Cameron is a Christian. The Bible EXPLICITLY condemns homosexual behavior in both the Old and New Testament.  If he chose to disbelieve parts of the Bible for reason of not offending the modern PC thought police he wouldn’t be a very good Christian, now would he? I hate to break it to the self-important Hollywood PC grandstanders, but what God thinks about homosexual behavior is more important than what Tracey Gold thinks about it, and Cameron is right to realize this.

Religious liberty may well be a struggle which defines 21st Century politics

Homosexual rights activist Jonathan Rauch wrote an essay recently in the Advocate (refer to by Rod Dreher at TAC) waring his fellow activists not to push their luck or take absolutist stands when it comes to forcing religious institutions to recognize homosexual marriages:

OPPRESSIVE? Gays as oppressor? Am I kidding? The irony is rich. Nothing gays have ever said or done to our opponents comes close to the harassment and stigmatization that homosexuals have endured (and, among the young, often still do endure). Still, gay rights opponents have been quick, in fact quicker than our side, to understand that the dynamic is changing. They can see the moral foundations of their aversion to homosexuality crumbling beneath them. Their only hope is to turn the tables by claiming they, not gays, are the real victims of oppression. Seeing that we have moved the “moral deviant” shoe onto their foot, they are going to move the “civil rights violator” shoe onto ours. So they have developed a narrative that goes like this: Gay rights advocates don’t just want legal equality. They want to brand anyone who disagrees with them, on marriage or anything else, as the equivalent of a modern-day segregationist. If you think homosexuality is immoral or changeable, they want to send you to be reeducated, take away your license to practice counseling, or kick your evangelical student group off campus. If you object to facilitating same-sex weddings or placing adoptees with same-sex couples, they’ll slap you with a fine for discrimination, take away your nonprofit status, or force you to choose between your job and your conscience. If you so much as disagree with them, they call you a bigot and a hater. They won’t stop until they stigmatize your core religious teachings as bigoted, ban your religious practices as discriminatory, and drive millions of religious Americans right out of the public square. But their target is broader than just religion. Their policy is one of zero tolerance for those who disagree with them, and they will use the law to enforce it. At bottom, they are not interested in sharing the country. They want to wipe us out.

Rauch may be wise to urge restraint but he may also be talking to a brick wall. If situation he describes is true (and it probably is) then it is a general truism of human nature that the victors don’t take the time to pick the vanquished up off the ground, dust them off and say “good fight my friend”. No, they generally want to kick them while their down and continue beating them until they are annihilated. And if this becomes the case (and with ideologues it usually is) then the situation Rauch fears (They are going to move the “civil rights violator” shoe onto ours) will take place.

Indeed it already has begun: witness the Obama Administration’s attack on Catholic organizations trying to fight human trafficking on nothing more than pure ideological grounds. Such questions already being debate in Europe where free speech clashes with bigotry and medievalism on a daily basis in the banlieues of modern European cities. These same concerns arose during the health care debate. What it shows is the culture wars, instead of subsiding with the passing of the 1960s generation, will continue to burn hot well into the 21st Century. And it’s not just Catholics or fundamentalist Protestants Rauch should be fearing. He should be fearing a Muslim dominated suburb like Dearborn, Mich. looking the other way if homosexuals are stoned according to Islamic law. Or perhaps feminists should fear the latest in burqa fashions walking down the street in the same community. Or perhaps they’ll fear prearranged marriage contracts with are perfectly routine in some Asia and African cultures and would a ban on female circumcision hold up in court if was done on religious grounds?

As opponents of homosexual marriage have warned once you let this genie out of the bottle there is no practice which cannot be outlawed if supported by either egalitarian or religion masking itself as egalitarianism. Rauch knows full well, even if he doesn’t quite say it, the cultural contradiction of liberalism (brought about in large part by the immigration to this country such persons refuse to limit) where discrimination can very well be backed up by cultural tolerance. Adopting decentralized rather than absolutist models may well be the way to go but it requires persons used to thinking in terms “BE LIKE US OR ELSE” to give it up. Easier said than done.

Is Islam a Religion?

I published this article at Sharper Iron recently. Despite the title, it is really more about the nature of Christianity than it is the nature of Islam, although the latter serves to initiate the discussion. My thoughts are bound to be controversial. I don’t expect everyone to agree, but I do hope it makes you think.

I’m a long time veteran of the intra-conservative interventionism vs. non-interventionism debate. I was a non-interventionist before Ron Paul made non-interventionism cool. So I have seen all the recycled arguments over and over and over and over … I say this not so as to debate interventionism vs. non-interventionism here. That is not the purpose of this essay. I say it to provide background as to what brings up the real subject of this essay.

As a veteran of these debates I have seen all the arguments, but one that I have seen increasingly recently is the contention that Islam is not a religion. The idea being that Islam is not “just” a religion but is instead an all-encompassing political ideology that impacts government, law, education, social organization and convention, etc. of which religion is only a part. The more maximalist proponents of this theory will add that establishment of a world Caliphate, domination of those who refuse to go along, intolerance of other religions, etc. is an inherent part of Islam. This “Islam is not a religion” argument is often seen in conjunction with concerns about the imposition of Sharia law at home.

While seldom directly stated, the implication of this line of reasoning is that Islam cannot be treated as simply another religion deserving of tolerance but must be treated as an alien ideology that threatens the very American way of life. (As I will illustrate below, this is a curious line of reasoning. Essentially the argument is that Islam is dangerous because it is illiberal and thus requires an illiberal response.) This argument seems mostly to imply that Islam is a potential problem domestically within our shores, but given that the argument is usually made within the context of debates over foreign policy, it usually has unstated but implied foreign policy implications as well; namely that since Islam is inherently aggressive and bent on world domination, it must be met with an aggressive and forward military response.

Actually, I do believe that there is much truth to the contention that Islam is a broadly encompassing worldview, but the facts of that are not what are in contention here. The issue is whether Islam’s ideological breadth disqualifies it from being a religion. I have two problems with this line of reasoning, the first semantic and the second much more profound.

First, semantics. Islam is a religion by any reasonable definition. It deals with a divine being, the afterlife, norms of behavior in this life; it has a holy text, etc. Stating that Islam is not a religion is simply semantic game-playing—and to what end? What difference does it make whether we call Islam a religion or not when we’re asking whether we should invade Syria or institute a burqa ban at home? Clearly the point is to rhetorically strip Islam of its protected status as a religion so as to justify illiberal measures toward it whether at home or abroad. But this presumes the righteousness of liberalism to begin with which leads me to my second point.

I should clarify at this point that when I speak of liberalism I am not talking about Obama- or Hillary-style government regulation, social programs and wealth redistribution. I am speaking of liberalism in its original sense, that post-Enlightenment philosophy that enshrines the virtues of individualism, free-choice, religious tolerance, pluralism, non-establishment, etc. When I speak of illiberalism I mean, roughly, religious particularism whether Islamic or Christian.

So my second objection is philosophical, historical and theological. What the “Islam is not a religion” crowd is doing, whether they realize it or not (and most don’t), is imposing on the definition of religion a philosophical concept that is relatively novel (historically speaking) and that potentially binds theology beforehand. Per their reasoning, in order to be a religion a religion must embrace modernist liberalism. This would have been news to anyone—Christians included—who lived, say, more than 300 years ago, give or take. One commenter I was debating with said that Islam is not a religion because it doesn’t embrace separation of church and state. Really? Are we that historically myopic? Neither did the whole of Christendom until a couple of centuries ago.

By their definition of religion, the Judaism of the Old Testament was not a religion. Was not the Judaism of the Old Testament an all-encompassing system that mixed church and state, had religion-based laws, had a social order dictated by the religion, frowned on pluralism, etc.? The Catholic Church, especially before Vatican II, is not a religion by this definition. Arguably, and it would be hard to argue otherwise, the Protestantism of Luther and Calvin wasn’t a religion either. Was Calvin’s Geneva a bastion of modernist liberalism? The Puritans certainly were not. One would have to look back no further than the Radical Reformation to find widespread Christian denominations that would meet the exacting liberal standards of the “Islam is not a religion” proponents. (And even some of the products of the Radical Reformation, such as the Mennonites, were quite illiberal in many ways internally.)

I hope you see the problem here. I would argue that liberalism is a modern philosophical concept that most modern Christians have read into the pages of the Bible (addressing this idea fully would require a separate essay). I do not think this liberalism is a theological concept that flows from a natural reading of Scripture. The Bible insinuates, if it doesn’t outright dictate, Christian particularism. Christianity should be the broadly encompassing worldview that Islam is accused of being (in type, not in detail of course) and it represents a failure of the modern Church that it is not.

A small but vocal group of Christians are coming around on this. There has been renewed debate in recent years, especially among Reformed believers, between “Two Kingdoms” advocates and those who reject the Two Kingdoms approach. The latter often refer to their opponents as “Radical Two Kingdoms” (R2K for short), although I have never been able to figure out myself what distinguishes Radical Two Kingdoms from plain ol’ Two Kingdoms since all Two Kingdoms advocates are generally referred to by their opponents with the Radical adjective.

This coming around is also occurring in a softer way among many evangelicals, whether they realize it or not, in their embrace of the concept of “Christian worldview” thinking. And the anti-Christian and secularist left has seized upon the rising menace to modernist liberalism that they see in Christian “Dominionism,” a theological term they don’t understand and almost always use incorrectly. (This too is a subject for another essay.)

This idea that Islam is incompatible with America and the West (what used to be called Christendom) because it is illiberal, implies that what truly distinguishes the West from the rest is its liberalism not its Christianity. This may be true and would go a long way toward explaining the sorry state of modern Christianity, but it is to be bemoaned if it is, not celebrated.

I believe modern Christianity is in desperate need of more illiberalism and more adherents who are willing to take it seriously enough that it becomes the broadly encompassing worldview for them that Islam is accused of being for Muslims. Likewise, the problem with Islam is not that it is illiberal. It will not be fixed by embracing liberalism. The problem with Islam is that it is false. It is not Christianity. The hope is not that Muslims will reject their illiberalism and assimilate to become good little liberal Westerners; it is that they will accept Christ. (Again to be clear, when I speak here of illiberalism I do not primarily mean fundamentalism vis-a-vis theological liberalism. I mean Christian particularism vis-a-vis pluralism.)

The implications of my argument are broad, and I plan to flesh them out, God willing, in future essays.

Multicultural Madness

This moving video and gorgeous, seductive song prove there’s still some good music coming out these days. The video uses footage from NBC’s report on the 1978 Jonestown Massacre, a horrific event that carries a powerful message for our time.

A lot of folks don’t realize that the “Reverend” Jim Jones was a card-carrying member of the Communist Party, as well as an anti-White, multicult radical. Before Jonestown, many prominent people defended Jones because of the “inclusive, anti-racist” organization he’d built, including Willie Brown, the mayor of San Francisco, and homosexual advocate Harvey Milk. But in fact, Jones’s “anti-racism” was nothing more than doctrinaire communism. In previous posts, we’ve discussed how leftists conceal their poisonous agenda behind the holy mantra of “anti-racism.”

As you can see from the video, Jones was clearly unbalanced. At the same time, unfortunately, he was also charismatic. (He reminds me of abolitionist fanatic John Brown.) You can see both rapturous delight and militant self-righteousness in the faces of Jones’s followers. His “church” did not preach the Gospel, but a form of Black Liberation theology, which claims to “affirm the humanity of white people” by their willingness to sacrifice themselves in the name of black liberation.

Please watch the entire video. I’ve never seen anything that better illustrates the pathology and allure of the cult of anti-racism, which its own record shows to be a self-destructive and anti-human ideology. And by contrast, this video also serves as a powerful reminder of the natural vitality of an historical, organic culture.