In a nation consumed with political correctness, there is one group whose sensitivities count for next to nothing — Christians. I don’t mean nominal Christians or even Catholics. I am talking about those Christians who get up every morning and genuinely reflect on how they could become better people by becoming more like Jesus.
The kind of Christian that would never consciously be hired by a university faculty committee; the kind that receives the brunt of jokes from late-night comics; the kind that believes virulently in prayer. I am talking about the kind of Christian that Thomas Friedman and urban sophisticates mockingly refer to as “American Hezbollah.”
Strange, how I have never seen a Christian blow himself up on a bus full of innocent people, declare holy war on the unbeliever, or stone a congregant for adultery. In fact, one congregation I knew of that was rocked by a sexual scandal prayed for the sinners and sought to forgive them. There were no pits in front of the church with the sinners buried up to their heads, the pastor deciding which stones were not too big or too small for the occasion, and the families seeking to redeem their sacred honor by casting the first stone.
I am not a Christian, but the most impassioned and meaningful words I ever heard against racial discrimination came from a Christian pastor in Ohio. To him, discrimination was evil, an affront against God’s creation, an act and thought that was a violation of faith. Those who held such thoughts, he intoned, were not real Christians. There could be no justification or tolerance for such evil.
In a secular, pseudo-sophisticated society, such moral precision offends. As social-climbing intellectuals, we know which talking points to mouth and which groups to mock. Moral clarity threatens us because it runs counter to all the analytical incisions we feel compelled to make, and all the caveats we like to append to any problem. But worse, moral clarity threatens our inconsistent view of the world.
Liberals hate Christians because they are against abortion. But liberals don’t hate Muslims or Orthodox Jews who are also against abortion. Liberals hate Christians because they want to pray — often silently — in the public square. But liberals will uphold the rights of school systems to take students into a mosque, have the women and girls separated from the men and boys, and have the latter invited and induced to pray, all on the taxpayers’ dime. Liberals treat Christian attitudes toward gays as indistinguishable from Muslim executions of gays.
On the Jewish High Holidays in the aftermath of 9/11, some of the local rabbis in my part of the world, as if reading from the same playbook, sermonized against the evils of radical religion — fundamentalist Christianity, that is. Did I miss something?
Was it a bunch of Jesus followers that crashed airplanes into the World Trade Center? Is it Jesus followers who attack Jews on the streets of Paris so frequently and violently that French is now the most commonly spoken language in sections of Tel Aviv? Are the armed guards standing outside the synagogues in America on the High Holidays — as the liberal rabbis sermonize on the danger of Christian fundamentalism — there to protect the congregation from Jesus followers?