It’s never completely safe to be a Christian in this world. In my recent Sunday Snippets post [here] I briefly discussed the plight of Christians in Iraq, who are facing brutal persecution at the hands of ISIS, an armed movement embracing a particularly virulent strain of radical Islam. I illustrated the post with the Arabic “N”, with which ISIS terrorists target Christian homes, and which has since become an emblem of solidarity and a badge of honor for Christians around the world.
|The Fall of Rome|
That explicit identification as Christians, and with other Christians, is vitally important. I made the point the week before [here] that radical Islam would pose little threat to “a Christendom united in Faith and fortified with Prayer”. Unfortunately, what had been Christendom is rapidly de-Christianizing, which creates a twofold threat, both from within and from without. The external threat, a radicalized and aggressive Islam, still looks fairly distant to those of us in the United States; it looks a lot more formidable in Europe. There, a growing, poorly assimilated, and increasingly alienated and hostile Muslim population is combining with the forces of societal destruction under the guise of “multiculturism” to attack the very basis of historic (which means, essentially, Christian) European culture, as described by Joseph Pearce in a piece that is appearing on Life Site News [here]. The article is well worth reading in its entirety; the best summation of Pearce’s point comes in a quote from actor John Rhys-Davies, who played the dwarf Gimli in the screen adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. Rhys-Davies says: “I think that Tolkien says that some generations will be challenged, and if they do not rise to meet that challenge, they will lose their civilization”. Since the actor first spoke these words several years ago, the concrete evidence of their truth has been rapidly multiplying, and so although the multi-culti wrecking ball pounds on, an increasing number of Europeans are starting to see multiculturalism for the civilizational suicide that it is.
To those of us in the United States, events in Iraq can seem very far away, especially now that there are no longer many of our countrymen serving there under arms. The incidence of jihadism here can be seen as sporadic, with only a few serious incidents (9/11, the Fort Hood Massacre), and the local Muslim population is still quite small and has shown only scattered signs of radicalization – so far. The heedless dismantling of our culture from within, however, proceeds apace. I’ll provide just two recent examples. First, the College Board, which through the content of its Advanced Placement (AP) exams determines the curriculum of thousands of high school classes around the country, has come with a new AP American History [article here] course that omits great Americans such as Benjamin Franklin and Martin Luther King, jr. Instead it emphasizes impersonal “historical forces” - and not so much those familiar to earlier generations of students like the development of democratic institutions and religious tolerance. From the Fox News article:
“ . . . you’re not going to find Thomas Jefferson and the House of Burgesses and the cradle of democracy either,” said Larry Krieger, who retired in 2005 after more than three decades in the classroom. And finally, you’re not going to find Benjamin Franklin and the birth of American entrepreneurialism . . . what you’re going to find is our nation’s founders portrayed as bigots who developed a belief in white superiority . . .”
The article adds that students will find, overall, “a narrative laden with tyranny and subjugation.” As if it’s not enough that individual classes are convincing young people that their country is and always has been irredeemably corrupt, we now have entire schools dedicated to the purpose – at your expense. We now have “social justice” charter schools [here], government schools funded with taxpayer money. And while the term social justice has an honorable origin in Catholic social teaching, it has long since been hijacked by the left. No, the students at these schools won’t be studying Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum, they’ll be training in “social activism”, a.k.a. leftist political agitation. All of which means that in certain localities in the United States we’ll have the curious phenomenon of the government expending public funds to set up public schools dedicated to training young people to tear it all down.
Tearing it all down is the program of the cultural and political left, whether we’re talking about multi-culturalism, the redefinition of marriage, revisionist history, or Robin Hood economic activism. They don’t even pretend anymore to have a coherent positive vision of what might replace all the institutions they seek to eradicate. Not that it would help much if they did: every attempt to build a society hatched in the brains of men (e.g., the French Revolution, Soviet Communism) on the ruins of those that had developed over time in response to the real needs and experiences of human beings has been a disaster. Bloody, inhuman disaster, such as is still playing out in North Korea. In similar fashion, the man-made religion of Islam has had a track record over the past millennium and a half of spawning anti-human horrors such the one currently on display in Iraq. The most profound and radical revolution in human history, on the other hand, was the transformation of the Greco-Roman civilization by the unlikely spread of Christianity. It was no mere human idea, but the revelation of God himself in the person of Jesus Christ that subdued “the glory that was Greece, and the grandeur that was Rome” (props to Edgar Allan Poe). And notice that the Church didn’t destroy and replace the institutions of the Roman Empire, but rather “baptized” them and made them the bulwarks of a more humane culture [for more on that, see here]. When Rome did fall to invaders from the North, the Church worked the same transformation on the newcomers.
And now here we are in a society that wants to do away with both the Church of Jesus Christ and the institutions passed on by our ancestors. Do we really think that the empty shell that will be left can stand against the legions of the New Caliphate, or any other motivated and determined conqueror from without or within?