The Politics of Outrage

Gather around, children, and I will try to provide you with a brief post mortem on the recent ruckus created by our professional indignati.

The Bible certainly says to weep with those who weep. When one part of the body hurts, the rest of the body hurts. But this happens in community, face to face, and not in the midst of a sob sister rugby scrum, with them trying to get us to back away from any particular truth the Scriptures plainly teach. We are told to weep with those who weep. We are told nothing in regard to the feminist bedwetters. More on that later, so make sure you read that far.

In Mark 5, when the hired mourners showed up to to wail at the death of a little girl, their overall demeanor revealed how much true mourning was actually in them.

“And he cometh to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and seeth the tumult, and them that wept and wailed greatly. And when he was come in, he saith unto them, Why make ye this ado, and weep? the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn” (Mk. 5:38-40).

Got that? They wept and wailed greatly, and then somebody hit the switch, and they were suddenly laughing at the Messiah, laughing Him to scorn. There is a kind of compassion that reaches out to the hurting and there is a kind of compassion that is about as as deep as a puddle on a flat sidewalk. There is the compassion that weeps with those who weep, and there is the compassion that laughs to scorn the one who came to perform a great act of real compassion.

Say that somebody orchestrates a great “taking offense offensive,” and that somebody else answers them with wit and fire. If a bassoon player in the orchestra of offense shows up in the comments section of their blog and expresses a sentiment along the lines of “way to miss the redemptive moment, bitch,” one may begin to suspect that redemptive moments weren’t actually their central interest. The lesson we can take away from Mark 5 is that people who ooze compassion one moment and erupt with unbridled scorn the next are on somebody’s payroll.

This second kind of compassion makes a great deal of noise, sure enough, because these guys do know how to weep and wail greatly on behalf of their approved and designated victims. They do it well because it is the play they run over and over. This is the politics of outrage (alternating between hurt and anger), and we will never make any progress in halting the advance of their brave new world until we can recognize the tactic at a glance.   

 

Once you understand that this is their foundational tactic, you will also understand how homosexual marriage has been mainstreamed, how creationists get themselves exiled to Dogpatch Bible College, how women wound up deployed in the Sixth Fleet, why the nation is deep in trillodebt, and how it is that the new bishop is a lesbian dyke from Ecuador. The only arena where the leftists have not executed this strategy effectively has been with the pro-life issue. They have had legal successes in that area, obviously, but they have not been able to pull off the cultural “you are hurting my feelings” schtick. But virtually everywhere else they do it, it works like a charm. Tender-hearted Christians fall for it repeatedly, like a trout rising on cue whenever the devil goes fly fishing.

Incidentally, while we are here, if you hadn’t seen it yet, I would draw your attention to how my daughters and daughter-in-law dissected this particular tactic at work — here, here, and here. Feminists say on their bumper stickers that they like uppity women, but it turns out in real life . . . not so much. Also, as it happened, in the midst of last week’s hoedown, on my sermon prep day, I turned to the next psalm I was scheduled to preach on. And, son of gun, it was Psalm 64. The outline for that message is here. It was uncanny and I almost became a charismatic.

So this is how the play runs. Somebody is designated as their target (in this case, Jared), and everybody goes off like a thousand tea kettles. You can capitulate right away and they gained their new territory, or you can explain what you meant, which means that you are being dismissive, and (surprise!), such dismissiveness is deeply hurtful. Cue the additional tea kettles.

They feebly try to come back at me. “The Bible says that we are not to be hurtful. The Bible says to have compassion. The Bible says that squishy socialism is the true counter-culturalism. What do you say to that?” Pretty simple, actually. I would tell them all that inerrancy makes my scalp itch. Don’t quote Gal. 3:28 at me, sister. I have had a grudge against the apostle Paul ever since he wrote those misbegotten words. Two can play at pick n’ choose.

If they don’t believe that man must live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God, then they should go straight to their home temple and appeal to their true god, which happens to be the way they are currently feeling. But if they want me to accept the way they are currently feeling as my God, they should get a good book and comfy chair because they are going to have to wait a while. Their feelings presented to me as my potential god are an insulting (and transparent) attempt at manipulation. And when feminists do it, like Rachel Held Evans does, they are the photo negative of their projected image of the liberated woman. They are just a collective Delilah getting what they want from Samson. You see, Samson was being so hurtful.

Because they have dismissed the authority of Scripture, when they tell us not to be hurtful, they are trying to make their claims of hurt (which they insist be taken a face value) to be the final court of appeal. They are skilled in this tactic, of course. What is astonishing to me is that we are not equally skilled in recognizing the play whenever it is called on us. Shoot, we’ve had enough practice. It’s the third quarter, and they have scored about ten touchdowns with it. Somebody needs to wake up the linebackers.

They deny the authority of Scripture, they accept as dialogue partners advocates of every abomination that Leviticus contains, they attack those who are seeking to be faithful servants of Christ, they call the holy wars of YHWH genocide, and so on, down the street and around the corner. Other than that, they are good Christians.

So what is worse? To deny the authority of the words of the thrice-holy God, or to say that someone is being a bedwetter? Well, in this strange new world, the question answers itself. “Mommmm! He said bedwetters!” I’ll let you in on a little secret, which you may have already guessed if you have been following. For the most part their sheets are dry. If I were dealing with a family struggling with the very real problems of a child humiliated by bedwetting, the only attitude that should have any place in my heart would be compassion down to the ground. But when I deal with these bedwetters, you may feel free to imagine me sitting here at my laptop, hands on my tummy like Santa Claus, bouncing with each chuckle. Ho, ho, ho.

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