The War On Christianity
August 2, 2007
A net buddy of mine pointed out a fresh article on WorldNetDaily and solicited thoughts on it. I tend to shy away from WND; it’s a bit like the Huffington Post, but without the rigorous fact-checking. Still, the article gathers together a lot of talking points in one place – everything from “War On Christmas” huffiness to “I’m An Orthodox Jew, So Evangelicals Recognize Me As An Authority” exceptionalism to “We All Knew Islam Was Evil Back In The 80s” revisionism. It’s worth taking a detailed look.
Writer Daniel Lapin starts off by invoking the name of Winston Churchill and discussing the grave consequences of England’s failure to stop Hitler before German atrocities blossomed into WWII and the Holocaust. He then jumps to the 1980s, discussing Jean-Francois Revel’s 1983 book, How Democracies Perish. It warned that Communism wanted to take over the world, and Lapin implies that it, too, was ignored by muddle-headed folks who played the ‘Blame America’ card.
I’ll spend a little time as possible on that portion of the article – it’s not the meat of his argument, but it sets up his pattern of broad strokes and revisionism quite nicely. First, “Hitler could’ve been stopped” is always a tip-off that someone’s about to snowball you. While it’s true that earlier action would have changed the course of the conflict brewing in Europe, that doesn’t magically justify a writer’s views about what constitutes a grave threat. Society ignored early scientists when they talked about the danger of germs, but that doesn’t mean being ignored by society makes you correct. This is basic logic, and Lapin seems to be hoping that readers overlook it.
Second, his comments about communism in the 80s are a telling. Decades after the Cuban Missile Crisis and years into the Reagan administration, there may have been disagreement in the political sphere over how bad the Soviet Union was. There may have been heated discussion about the idea that US realpolitik was just as morally bankrupt. But we were deep into a decades-long arms race with them, fighting wars around the world to keep them from expanding, and calling them The Evil Empire in speeches. I don’t think anyone can really claim that Revel was a lone voice crying out in the wilderness when he warned that Communists wanted to take over other countries.
Here, though, is where it gets good:
Heaven knows there was enough warning during the 1980s of the intention of part of the Islamic world to take yet another crack at world domination. Yet instead of seeing each deadly assault on our interests around the world as a test of our resolve, we ignored it. We failed the test and lost 3,000 Americans in two unforgettable hours.
The whiplash-inducing jump here, from “We ignored communism in the 1980s” to “We ignored the dangers of radical Islam in the 1980s,” is pretty awesome. Lapin needs to step back for a bit of history.
Islamic radicalism as we now think of them barely existed in the 1980s. They came onto the radar because our government funded them as part of the battle against communism. During the Reagan era, we were sending about half a billion dollars a year to the Muslim radicals in that country who were fighting the Soviets. We also put heavy pressure on the Saudis to match those funds, and one of the guys they got on that project was a member of the wealthy Bin Ladin family. You might have heard of him recently.
Two decades later, we can look back and realize that introducing Saudi funding to Islamic radicals, training them, and giving them crates full of surface-to-air-missiles was probably… not the best long-term move. At the time, though, the author’s philosophical compatriots were talking about Islamic freedom fighters as great monotheistic buddies in the fight against Godless communists; it’s pure revisionism to pretend otherwise. There are lessons to be learned from that adventure, obviously, but anyone who claims that we were both ignoring communism and dangers of radical Islam in the 80s is either ignorant of basic history or deliberately misleading his readers.
Lapin is only just warming up, though. Skipping quickly from WWII to the Cold War to 9/11, he hits the real topic of importance: the atheist war on American Christians.
Phase one of this war I describe is a propaganda blitzkrieg that is eerily reminiscent of how effectively the Goebbels propaganda machine softened up the German people for what was to come. There is no better term than propaganda blitzkrieg to describe what has been unleashed against Christian conservatives recently.
So, let’s get this straight. In America, 92% of the population believes in God and over 80% claim to be Christians. We spent the last 50 years or so pointing nuclear weapons at the people we called “Godless.” Christians regularly publish books explaining that atheists are destroying the fabric of our civilization. We’ve had a president who’s said – on national television – that he would not allow an atheist in public office. Heck, atheists are the most distrusted minority in our country. Despite all these things, it’s the atheists who are gearing up for a campaign to persecute Christians. The evidence?
Consider the long list of anti-Christian books that have been published in recent months. Here are just a few samples of more than 30 similar titles, all from mainstream publishers...
Yep, that’s right. Thirty books critical of conservative Christians. Nevermind that a number of the books listed were written by other Christians, and condemned not Christianity but specific theological and political stances taken by particular Christian sects. Nevermind that the books written by atheists in that reading list condemn Muslims just as strongly as Christians. It’s all one big mix, this war on Christianity, and the author’s just getting started.
First, would you be so sanguine if the target of this loathsome library were Jewish? Just try changing the titles in some of the books I mention above to reflect anti-Semitism instead of rampant anti-Christianism and you'll see what I mean.
This is an awesome game. It’s easy to play, too: on my shelf, I have a Christian book titled Kingdom of the Cults. It’s an interesting analysis of the beliefs and theological pitfalls of dozens of cults. Let’s change that name to Kingdom of the Negro-Lovers, though, and see how innocent it sounds!
Conservative Christians have spent the last three decades actively, vigorously inserting their religious beliefs into the political sphere. I know – I was one of them. It’s reached the point where people who aren’t conservative are often branded as ‘weak on faith’ and not serious about their religious beliefs. Hiding behind the banner of anti-semitism when their ideologies and political activities are criticized is a crass, ugly maneuver. Comparing it to German antisemitism in the 1930s is absurd and offensive.
Lapin hits a few segue-free talking points here, muttering about how books and other forms of entertainment have touched off negative changes in cultures before. Silent Spring, Atlas Shrugged, and the movie Borat are mentioned prominently – I wish I were kidding.
He spends a few paragraphs, then, quoting controversial statements made by Richard Dawkins, “One of the generals in the anti-Christian army of the secular left.” It’s certainly true that Dawkins is an outspoken, controversial critic of religious belief. Ignoring for a moment the fact that even many atheists and agnostics find the scientist’s rhetorical bomb-throwing troubling, Lapin can’t even be bothered to stick to what Dawkins actually says:
He suggests that the state should intervene to protect children from their parents' religious beliefs. Needless to say, he means Christian beliefs, of course. Muslim beliefs add to England's charmingly diverse cultural landscape.
Anyone who’s read or heard Dawkins knows that statement is a lie. The handful of ‘radical’ atheists out there, folks who actively ‘preach’ that religion is dangerous, cite radical Islam as proof of their thesis. One can only speculate about the intellectual laziness or outright dishonesty that might cause Lapin to make such a statement.
Having hand-waved his way through the propoganda phase of the “war,” though, he delivers the shocker. What’s the goal of this wave of anti-Christian literature that’s flooding the nation?
Phase one in this war is to make Christianity, well, sort of socially unacceptable. Something only foolish, poor and ugly people could turn to.
I have news for you, sir. Richard Dawkins is not making it ‘sort of socially unacceptable to be a Christian.’ The lady who tours the country comparing God to an octopus is. The mega-church pastor who attacks homosexuals, then gets caught doing meth with a gay hooker? He is. The people who sell Testamints? They are. The church officials who protect child molesting priests? They are. The congressmen who demand that the Ten Commandments stay in courtrooms, but can’t recite more than three of them? They are.
When it comes right down to it, being a hypocrite is going to get you mocked. Sadly, believing the same things that publicly revelaed hypocrites do is going to get you mocked. When it gets down to brass tacks, just believing in anything passionately is going to get you mocked. That’s true whether you’re a Christian, an atheist, a Tori Amos fan, a vegan, or a libertarian.
Considerably more intellectual energy is being pumped into the propaganda campaign against Christianity than was ever delivered to the anti-smoking or anti-drunk-driving campaigns.
This is where he veers into rabid weirdness and alternate-universe weirdness. Wake me up when government-sponsored Public Service Announcements hit the airwaves, telling people to refuse communion because only losers love Jesus, mmkay?
If they succeed, Christianity will be driven underground, and its benign influence on the character of America will be lost. In its place we shall see a sinister secularism that menaces Bible believers of all faiths. Once the voice of the Bible has been silenced, the war on Western Civilization can begin and we shall see a long night of barbarism descend on the West.
You heard it here first, folks. If those damn atheists keep writing books, who knows? A few of them might be elected to public office, where they can introduce legislation that the other several hundred self-professed Christians in Congress and Senate can vote against. The important thing to remember is that if people are allowed to say unflattering things about a particular politically active group of Christians, America has lost and western civilization will collapse.
No article like this would be complete without the rhetorical cherry on top:
Which is why I, an Orthodox Jewish rabbi, devoted to Jewish survival, the Torah and Israel am so terrified of American Christianity caving in.
It’s difficult to understand how this works for those outside the subculture, but Jews occupy a special place in the evangelical theological landscape. Yes, they will all go to hell unless they become Christians. But until that very moment of damnation, Christians must support and agree with them, because they are God’s chosen people. Chosen people who will go to hell, yes. But chosen people nevertheless.
Ignore the fact that The Jews are individual people, with different views and a wide variety of positions on important political, cultural, and theological matters. Ignore the fact that liberal Jews are immediately grouped with those Hitler lovin’ commie atheist ne’er do wells. The important part is that A Rabbi Says We’re Right.