“I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison, and his successor will die a martyr in the public square,” said then-archbishop of Chicago Francis George in 2010. Whether his successor, Archbishop Blase Cupich, 74, will die in prison may depend on whether he’s blessed (cursed?) with longevity. What’s for certain, however, is that 13 years after George’s statement, hatred of Christianity and attacks on its adherents have increased. So has tolerance for these dark phenomena and, sometimes, even tacit endorsement of them.
This is not surprising. Among the findings of the recent headline-grabbing Wall Street Journal poll revealing that the importance of “traditional American values” has plummeted among citizens is that just 39 percent of our people now say religious faith is very important to them. Just a bit more than a generation ago, in 1998, this figure was 62 percent. This is significant because secular societies have, as a rule, persecuted the church.
Addressing the burgeoning anti-Christian hatred at Newsweek Tuesday was Shawn Carney, president and CEO of 40 Days for Life, the world’s largest pro-life organization. He wrote:
The recent shooting at a private Christian academy in Nashville by Audrey Hale, a transgender individual with a detailed manifesto and maps, is a chilling example of the escalating violence against faith. This attack, which was clearly premeditated, targeted a Christian school with a biblical theology curriculum, representing the Christian values that the shooter sought to destroy.
Following the tragic events in Nashville, left-wing journalists, columnists, entertainers, and activists directed their ire toward Christians and conservatives rather than mourning the victims and condemning the violence. Instead of offering sympathy and support, they made callous remarks that not only mocked the Christian faith but also blamed the victims themselves. This cold-hearted response exemplifies the escalating hostility toward Christians, in which an ideological battle eclipses empathy and compassion.
The Left’s assault on faith is widespread, however, as the values that underpin our American ethos are being consistently undermined. Media voices have attacked and vilified symbols of Christianity before. Last August, the Atlantic published an article declaring that the Catholic rosary had become a “symbol” of religious radicalism. What used to be a symbol of prayer and meditation was assigned a far darker meaning in modern times.
“Just as the AR-15 rifle has become a sacred object for Christian nationalists in general, the rosary has acquired a militaristic meaning for radical-traditional (or ‘rad trad’) Catholics,” the essay declared.
This jump-the-shark version of an anti-Christian attack sounds ridiculous, but may be believable to people fancying that boys can become girls. Moreover, hatred makes the risible seem rational.
Speaking of which, there have been in recent times attacks (physical destruction, e.g., firebombing) on crisis pregnancy centers, institutions virtually always Christian in nature. Note that when reporting on this last year, The Guardian ran the following subtitle: “Experts say that no matter how righteous, extremist protests are risky: they may turn people against the cause.”
Striking. So not only is the effort “righteous,” but the attacks aren’t terrorism or even vandalism — they’re “extremist protests”; and the real issue isn’t that miscreants are using violence against political opponents involved in good works, but that the evil “may turn people against the cause.”
Meanwhile, J6 is called an “insurrection.” Talk about inverting reality.
Then there were the 2021 church burnings in Canada based on the unfounded claim that Catholic- and Protestant-run residential schools engaged in the widespread kidnapping, abuse, and murder of American-Indian children. In reality and in a nutshell, many Indians speak fondly of their days at the schools, and the institutions were created by the government (I elaborated here).
But notable was the wink-and-nod response from officials. For example, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and one of his advisors both issued tepid statements in which they called the arson “understandable.” Perhaps, being in politics, they were just somewhat less honest than British Columbia Civil Liberties Association head Harsha Walia, who bluntly stated, “Burn it all down.”
As I pointed out in the 2022 essay “Enduring Faith,” this is not entirely new, either. In the 1980s and ’90s, “artists” created “works” such as a crucifix immersed in urine and a warped Virgin Mary image covered in dung and pornographic images. Yet far from the sympathy Muslims receive when activists draw pictures of Muhammad (forbidden in Islam), officials essentially told Christians to suck it up. Of course, with faith waning and hostility waxing, the anti-Christian action has recently taken that more violent turn.
So what’s going on? The Romans called the early Christians “haters of humanity” because the latter wouldn’t participate in their pagan festivals; the Christians wouldn’t follow the fashions, the prevailing agenda.
So it is today. Since a society never wholly reflects Truth, Christianity, which represents Truth, never wholly aligns with society. And as a civilization increasingly embraces lies, this chasm between it and Christianity grows — and can do so until the age’s spirit becomes the Holy Spirit’s mortal enemy.
On a very emotional level, no one likes being told that things most important to him are wrong; people don’t like their rationalizations shattered. Christianity does this, upholding an eternal standard defining what is, absolutely and non-negotiably, sin. It bursts the sexual devolutionaries’ bubble, for example; hence the rage exemplified by the Nashville shooting.
Then there’s the sinner called big government. Statists want their law, man’s law, held preeminent. They know, too, that this can’t happen if people prioritize God’s law, which man will do if he truly worships the divine. Thy will be done? “No, my will be done,” bellows Big Brother.
Yet there is good news. Christianity has already “died many times and risen again,” noted G.K. Chesterton, and on at least five occasions “the Faith has to all appearance gone to the dogs. In each of these five cases it was the dog that died.”
The mangy mutt that is modern secularism will die, too (or, preferably, be put to sleep) — and Christianity will endure long after that ism and its zealots are dust.
Selwyn Duke (@SelwynDuke) has written for The New American for more than a decade. He has also written for The Hill, Observer, The American Conservative, WorldNetDaily, American Thinker, and many other print and online publications. In addition, he has contributed to college textbooks published by Gale-Cengage Learning, has appeared on television, and is a frequent guest on radio.