Very few, Christian or non-Christian, disagree that the superficial features of civility and solidarity are desirable, and even characteristic of a flourishing society, just as few would disagree that one ought to love one’s mother. But, as St. John Paul II warned, many people believe that the best way to show your love to a frail and aging mother is to put her down like a dog who’s been whining too much lately. So much for “meaning well.” You see, without examining our actions and their consequences through the eyes of right reason and orthodox faith, good intentions are absolutely — and I mean 100% — compatible with any and all forms of cruelty, up to and including murder.
In the new, secular-Christian world envisioned by Michelle Obama, the prospect of annihilating poverty and wickedness is placed before us like an apple in the garden, and the serpentine powers of the state encourage us to take advantage of the opportunity. We “will be like God.” The creation of a brave new Christianity is underway, and Michelle, like so many women today, believes that she and her “eye candy” husband will make a fine new Adam and Eve. We will recreate our “self-image,” removing both the fallibility we inherited from the old, defective Adam, and the burdensome imprint of Godly dignity that our parents strove to live up to. From now on it will be Barack and Michelle, man and woman, not God, who decide what fruit we are allowed to eat in the new garden.
But while God prohibited only one fruit, our new leaders will prohibit every fruit but the very one God warned us against: The fruit of the knowledge, the arbitration, the institutionalization, and the enforcement of good and evil. On pain of prohibitive taxation or imprisonment, we must join in the collective project to take upon ourselves the power to define and enforce a new morality, based on our collective desires. We’re not sure what this new morality will look like once perfected, but just to make sure it’s pure, original, and unstained by what came before, it’s best to start with the assumption that anything that too much resembles the old man-God dynamic should be left behind.
Keep in mind that what’s going on under the current administration (and arguably had much of its groundwork laid in previous administrations, both Republican and Democrat), is a collectivizing of a once free, diverse, and tolerant country. Like all collectivizing movements in democratic settings, we all must share the blame for the movement "collectively." As the Dietrich Bonhoeffer said in Germany during the years leading up to the "final solution" of the Third Reich, "Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act."
So how about it? Will you be a part of the brave new Christian culture? Or will you be ousted from the Garden in shame, taxed or arrested out of the public square, a fallen angel’s flaming sword to your back?
Stephen Herreid is a Fellow at the John Jay Institute and the arts editor for Humane Pursuits.