Culture

[Exclusive] Matt Walsh: 'The Church Is Dying in the West'

YouTube screenshot of Matt Walsh and Tyler O'Neil.

In an exclusive interview with PJ Media at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), radio host and Daily Wire writer Matt Walsh warned about the suicide of Christianity in the West and encouraged Christians to champion biblical truth in a hostile culture. He spoke about his new book, Church of Cowards: A Wake-Up Call to Complacent Christians.

Church of Cowards, it’s about the plague of complacency and cowardice in the church today in the West. I think that most Christians that I talk to recognize that the church is dying in the West,” Walsh told PJ Media. “I think it’s largely because we’ve become so complacent, drifting along with the culture and dressing it up in words like ‘tolerance’ and ‘acceptance’ as if these are great virtues when in fact they aren’t.”

“And I think in these days, we’re called to a sort of radical intolerance, and that’s what I’m calling for in the book,” the author insisted.

He defined this “radical intolerance” as “a refusal to go along with evil, moral degeneracy. Tolerance in and of itself — despite what we’re told — is not a virtue, because tolerance just means you’re allowing something to happen. Depending on what that is, that could be perfectly fine. But the interesting thing about tolerance, and I think the reason people like it so much, is that it’s something you can do from your couch, you know, while covered in Cheetos dust.”

“You can sit on your couch and tolerate everything, really easy to do,” Walsh suggested. “What’s harder, though, is to take a stand for what’s right, to make sacrifices, to have a real moral message which is what the church should have.”

The author attributed the church’s weakness to cowardice and complacency, rather than a serious disagreement with the traditional teachings of Christianity. “I think your average Christian really has no idea what they actually believe or what the doctrines of their faith are, so it’s not like these are these are substantive intellectual disagreements. I think it’s just people don’t really know, they haven’t been paying attention, they don’t care. They haven’t read their Bibles in the first place or they cherry-pick a verse here or there that they like that they saw in a Facebook meme,” he lamented.

Walsh also warned about a culture increasingly hostile to conservative Christians. He acknowledged the reality of “Christianophobia,” a sociological phenomenon documented by sociology professors George Yancey and David Williamson.

“I think that actually does apply,” the author said. “This ‘phobia’ word is way overused, we hear ‘transphobia,’ ‘homophobia.’ Most of the time what we call that is just somebody having an opinion. People aren’t afraid of transgenders or gay people — there may be disagreements, maybe moral criticisms. So I don’t think ‘phobia’ applies. But with Christianity, many on the left really are afraid and are fomenting fear that Christians want to establish a Handmaid’s Tale dystopia, so you do find that kind of paranoia about Christianity.”

Yet these fears are entirely groundless, Walsh insisted. “You take abortion, for example. What we’re told is that Christians want forced birth and to force women to have babies and all this kind of stuff. I’ve never heard anyone call for that at all. That’s not what we’re talking about. What we’re saying is once the baby exists, it begins to exist in the womb not when it’s born, we shouldn’t kill it. It’s wrong to kill.”

He suggested this animus against conservative Christians “is at base satanic.” However, “on a more surface level, I think people just feel challenged and they feel uncomfortable around faith, around the moral demands that Christianity makes, so it’s sort of a selfishness that people have.”

“What you find is with all of our positions, there are these straw men that are constructed because the other side is afraid to actually engage with what our real position is,” he explained.

For instance, the very idea of human rights relies on the existence of God. “Institutionally and legally, [America] has been a God-fearing God-believing country because our country is founded on this notion of human rights. I’ve never heard anyone explain what a human right is if it is not endowed by our creator,” Walsh argued.

He called for “a resurgence of our own beliefs and an understanding of our own history” as Christians.

Walsh also encouraged Christians to work with people who disagree with them on some issues. “My focus has always been primarily on culture and not so much on the straight politics,” he said, emphasizing “life, family, marriage, now we have to throw gender into it as well.”

He acknowledged that “some of these issues create strange bedfellows.” For instance, lesbian feminists have proven some of the fiercest advocates against the threat of transgenderism. Conservative Christians do not approve of homosexual activity, but they should be willing to work with these lesbians when it comes to emphasizing the truth of biological sex.

“If somebody is right about something and they’re standing for the truth on a particular issue, I’m not going to try to toss them to the side because they’re not right about these other issues, too,” Walsh said. “With the transgenderism thing, I think feminism and transgenderism are not compatible and I think some feminists are figuring that out and I welcome that realization on their part and I welcome them to the fight of preserving this basic reality that men and women are biologically distinct.”

He insisted that Christians should not begin with Bible quotes, but rather appeal to “someone’s basic moral sense.”

“I don’t think that there’s any reason to start quoting Bible verses to prove don’t kill babies or that men and women are different,” Walsh said. “But then from there, once you’ve convinced someone of what they already know … then I think you have a good entry point into scripture, into faith.”

Christians cannot afford to surrender to the hostile culture and fighting back on important cultural issues can open the door to deep discussions about faith. Walsh is calling the church out of its slumber. The church would do well to listen.

Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.