Tag Archives: Culture and Politics

As We Populists Like to Say

Over the last few weeks, a couple of epic comment threads have broken out here, and they have been revolving around the proposed view that I don’t know what I am talking about. In these cases it had to do with my idea that entropy and evolution are inconsistent, and also my lack of suitable respect for the whole climate change fiasco. The charge has been made that I am not appropriately respectful of the world’s experts. The charge has a certain weight, and so let this be my answer, let this be my apology — a cri de coeur, as we populists like to say.

Let me treat these in ascending order of importance.

First, look at the shape the world is in, and consider the fact that is run by experts. That should rattle us all right off. One wag has noted that an ex is a has been, and a spurt is a drip under pressure, and so there’s that. An expert consultant is someone from fifty miles away who brings a briefcase. Experts can always be hired to testify in court cases, for either side. There should be some leeway for the dubious.

But this does not mean that I am dismissive of genuine expertise. There is such a thing as genuine expertise, and it is held by a distinct subset of those who run the world. One of the distinctive markers of someone who is genuinely educated in his field is that he is humble. He knows how little he knows in his field — and his first impulse is not to demand that laymen confess how little they know in his field. He knows that there are people inside his field who have just memorized the passwords and the codes, plug and chug experts, and that there are people outside who are merely intelligent. He would rather talk with the latter.

Those experts who demand that everyone outside bow down are not really experts. They are priests of the hidden mysteries, and they want us to approach them suitably abashed. They are not really experts, but rather priests and posers, hiding behind jargon. Of course, every man who is truly learned should be treated with dignity and respect. But every high altar dedicated to the great task of crowd control and keeping people in their place needs to have a dead cat thrown at it from time to time, and I have a pile of dead cats right here.

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Empty Pulpits or Full Churches?

I would like to draw your attention to Brad Littlejohn’s rejoinder to my post here. That rejoinder is down in the comments. This was my post on how an Obama vote disqualifies a man from ministry. Thanks to Brad for the comments, and for the opportunity for me to follow up on my initial post.

First, I happily grant that being a practitioner of abortion and presiding over a nation in which it is legal to be such a practitioner are two very different things. But while they are very different, depending on the stance and outlook of the president, the morality of the two positions can overlap completely. There is a distinction between the man who does mischief himself (Ps. 10:7) and the man who frames mischief with a law (Ps. 94:20), but not a moral distinction.

The Hindu practice of suttee and the laws that allowed it to continue were very different, but equally wicked. When the British governor Lord Bentinck suppressed the practice of suttee (burning a widow on the pyre of her deceased husband) he was doing a good and necessary thing. Had he decided not to suppress the practice, this would not make him personally guilty of practicing suttee himself. But it would have made him guilty in deeper and more profound ways.

But if he intended going to suppress suttee the first chance he got, and was laboring toward that end, marshaling his forces, I think he would receive praise from the Lord. Before you go to war, you are to count your troops (Luke 14:31). This is where the distinction Brad makes becomes morally relevant. Among those presiding, we must distinguish between the kings who detested the high places but did not remove them and those who built them in the first place, and who are running for reelection with the promise to build more and more of them.

So transfer Obama’s position on abortion into this situation. Suppose Obama were to become governor of India during the days of the British rule there. Suppose that during his prior time in a regional government he voted to support and continue the cruelest forms of suttee. Suppose that one of his largest constituencies was the pro-sut . . . excuse me, pro-choice faction of that society. Suppose further that when he spoke at the national convention of Planned Estate Planning (for what is suttee but an abrupt form of estate planning?), he concluded his remarks with “God bless you.” Suppose that it was a dead cinch cert that any justice he nominated for the Supreme Court was sure to uphold the legality of suttee.

Now, back to my thesis. Any minister of the gospel who supported such a man is not qualified to hold office in the church. I would take a dim view of any bishop who attended the gladiatorial games with the emperor. So the liberty of conscience that the Reformers fought for was not — whatever else it was — liberty to fail to identify temples of Molech.

Second, if someone wanted to justify an Obama vote because he believed there were other weightier matters that Obama would address more effectively than his opponent would do, and he is simply voting for the lesser of two evils — as many Christians have been persuaded to do when they vote Republican — I do understand the logic of the argument. But let’s move to particulars. It would take quite a bit to make a “million dead babies a year” the lesser of two evils. Obama’s opponent would have to pledge something like the nuking of a city the size of Dallas, and to do so every year for the foreseeable future. If that ever happens, come and talk to me.

Brad’s third point is the place where I would want to appeal back to my mention of Godwin’s Law. It is quite true that I am the product of what I have studied, read, seen, and done, and I know that there are many other Christians who are not in the same place as I am. I do look out at the world through my own eyes. But let’s change a few words and see if anything changes.

“There are plenty of evangelicals, in other sub-cultures, who have not had the benefit of being exposed to the same influences, and for whom the Jewish pogroms, while certainly a matter of serious moral concern, accordingly does not occupy as central or high-profile a place in the hierarchy of dangers facing their country, or for whom it is not readily apparent that it should be addressed at the level of national politics. Likewise, there are plenty of evangelicals who, by virtue of the rather different sources of information that they have seen, heard, or read, have formed a different estimation of how central a “Holocaust agenda” is to Hitler’s agenda.”

If this logic doesn’t fly in Germany in the thirties, it shouldn’t fly here. If it flies here, then let’s be done with our indignation about the German Christians who did “far less” than they ought to have done.

“Anyone who doesn’t have the blessing of being able to think like me is clearly blind and unqualified to pastor.”

Could this accusation be leveled at Bonhoeffer? If it were leveled at him, do you think he would care? He once told a seminarian that his desire to resist the regime with impotent gestures was like running east up the aisle of a west-bound train. Bonhoeffer said this because he thought he was right. So do I.

And last, there is the concern that my argument proves too much, and will simply have the effect of emptying our pulpits.

“If we can all start denouncing pastors as unfit to serve by virtue of their lapses in judgment on matters social, ethical, political, and economic that ought to be obvious, then who will be left in our pulpits?”

But of course, that is not what would happen at all. If all the pastors I am talking about suddenly had a realization that this position were right, the result would not be empty pulpits, but rather full churches. That is what happens when repentance and reformation occur. That is what I am after.

Now an extension of this principle into other areas is not something I brought up, but I am happy to go there, provided the issues are of a similar magnitude. The thing about God’s moral law is that it does extend across matters “social, ethical, political, and economic.”

“Thankfully, Scripture never requires such never-failing judgment for ministers. It requires that they be personally upright, and capable of ministering the Word faithfully to their flocks.”

Yes, of course. But I am not gnat-strangling. I am not talking about how many time you can flip the light switch on the sabbath. I am talking about the kind of cultural sin that got Sodom smoked. If we must lay off our pastors — if their approved credentials are in order — despite their blindness on issues like this, then we no longer have men in pulpits, but rather capons in cages.

Ministering the Word faithfully necessarily includes application. Cogent application means that ministers must understand the world in which they preach the Word. This goes there. And if a man cannot tell how and where the Word he preaches goes on Monday morning — for he is preaching to military officers, accountants, wedding cake bakers, photographers, bureaucrats, medical doctors, hospital officials, pharmacists, and so on — then he is not qualified for the office he holds. A man is not qualified to be a pilot just because he can fly the thing in the air. He has to know how to land that thing.

Seven Effective Strategies for Dealing With Lust

This post was originally published April 15, 2011.

1. Run away. Paul tells Timothy to “flee youthful lusts” (2 Tim. 2:22). Joseph employed this admirable technique when dealing with Potiphar’s wife (Gen. 39:12), and he did not know that in running from her arms, he was actually running toward a throne. This was not made immediately obvious to him, but it was a key element in that story. Would you excel in your work? Would you stand before kings? Would you be entrusted with great things? Then run away from every breach of sexual trust. You are running toward a high calling.

2. Don’t run away. There is a kind of fastidious “denial” of lust that just pours gasoline on the fire (Rom. 7:7). Putting a pressure cooker lid on and cinching it down tight — while keeping the heat on — is a good way to get beans on the ceiling. See my post Dealing With Nuisance Lust, which you can check out here.

3. Don’t get everything backwards. Remember that there will be a natural tendency to apply #1 when you should apply #2, and #2 when you should apply #1. Study your lusts. Undertake this study with the full knowledge that your lusts are liars, and so is the devil. Look at your lusts instead of looking with them. When you look with your lusts, you will see many curvaceous delights. When you look at your lusts, all you can see is a little chimp with bright red lipstick on. Find out what’s actually going on. This is no contradiction.

Should we answer a fool according to his folly, or not? It depends on the circumstance (Prov. 26:4-5). If you learn how to study your lusts, you will soon discover that porn is a bundle of catechetical lies. Study your lusts (and not the object of your lust), and you will come to see the lying trick that makes porn attractive.

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Nothing But Cyacowardice

I believe that it is in Screwtape that Lewis says something like the modern man has been conditioned to have a dozen incompatible ideas dancing around in his head. And Lewis himself was not this way, as his friend Owen Barfield testified, when he said that what Lewis thought about everything was contained in what he said about anything.

I don’t pretend to be anywhere near where Lewis was, but I can openly avow that this is what I aspire to.

But I have noticed in my zealous pursuit of this particular desideratum — or is it universal desiderata? — that our modern fragmented world has ways of pushing back. Some of this is just in the nature of the case, and some of it is malevolent. This is what I am referring to.

Because it is not possible to say everything every time you speak or write, that which you would desire to be implicitly connected can easily be denied, misrepresented, or slanderously inverted by your foes (and misguided friends). Multiple flanks are always exposed. You can be associated with people you do not want to be associated with. You can be charged with holding things you do not hold. You can upbraided for your unconscionable sin of omission, in that you did not mention the doctrine of imputed righteousness in your essay on gun control.

Bringing things down to the particular is the beating heart of incarnational Christianity. And when you bring it down to this particular, to this application, not that one, you are not excluding the necessity of coming down on another particular, in another application, on another issue, at another time.

Another difficulty is that the attempt to believe what you believe and live out what you do in terms of a comprehensive worldview, all under the name of Jesus, means that you will be wrong a bunch. This leaves you open to the charge that you are the guy who is “often wrong, but never in doubt.” But this is simply the cost of doing business — a lot of what parades as epistemic humility is nothing other than cyacowardice, a neologism of my own that I respectfully submit to our generation’s leading lexicographers, in the hope that they will see the pressing need for it. Whenever you have a lot of something, you do need a noun for it.

Think of it this way. The attempt to link the lordship of Jesus to whatever the issue is — whether gun control, birth control, border control, or control systems — does have the possibility of error. The refusal to do so has the certainty of error, and shows a distinct lack of self control. Leaving all the definitions under the authority of MSNBC, Google, and the devil is mere capitulation, not wisdom. The path to wisdom means getting out there and putting it on the line. The path to wisdom is a gauntlet, and you are going to get whacked on the head.

But to reapply a comment of D.L. Moody, I like that way of doing it better than other people’s way of not doing it.

Ground Level Tactics of Christian Resistance

As we continue to think about the things that must be done in the pursuit of cultural reformation, we must make yet another distinction between strategic level thinking, and tactical thinking. There will be times when the strategic application and the tactical application line up perfectly — as when, during an assault by the entire army, one platoon is also participating in the assault. The whole army is attacking, and so part of it also is.

But there are also instances when the larger strategy requires one thing, and on a tactical level, the opposite is required. Take for example one principle of war, what we have called taking the offensive. When the Israelite army attacked the city of Ai the second time, the larger strategic plan was an offensive attack. But a smaller part of this was the tactical retreat on the part of the forces that had come up to the front of the city. They feigned a retreat so that the soldiers of Ai would think they were doing the same thing they had done the first time, which was to run away. They were the retreating bait so that the offensive trap could be sprung.

So sometimes tactical applications are exactly the same as the larger strategic applications, adjusted for scale, and sometimes they are not. Saul Alinsky gave his followers 13 tactical principles, which is discussed elsewhere. These are suggested tactics of Christian resistance — some of them are tactical versions of larger principles, some are Christian restatements of Alinsky’s tactics, and some are just free information from somewhere else. There are 21 of them, way better than Alinsky’s paltry 13.

Think of these as exhortations to sergeants in the culture war — local Christian leaders, pastors, bands, writers, activists. You will never be invited to a summit meeting that has the word geopolitical anywhere on the agenda, but you still want to be faithful in the station where God has assigned you. What can you do tactically?

1. Think cosmically, act locally. This is a rip-off of the progressive bumper sticker which urges us to think globally, act locally. What they mean by that is think in gauzy abstractions, act irrationally in the moment. What we mean by it is that Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father, and that all authority in Heaven and on earth has been given to Him, and that therefore we must spend our time discipling all the nations of men, teaching them how to honor and follow Him.

2. Cultivate personal loyalty. Your only absolute loyalty is to God and His Word, but because of this, He has required that you love your wife, love your neighbor, and love your enemy. Everybody you meet will be at least one of those. Not only so, but God has defined for us in His Word what love and loyalty look like in each one of those instances. Your love for God, your loyalty to Him, must be constant. Because it is the one constant, your love and loyalty to your family and companions, and adversaries, can look very different at different times. But it must be the same constant thing, looking different, not different things, falling apart.

3. Relate everything to the lordship of Jesus Christ. This will help you break down the walls of arbitrary dualisms in your head. Think in such a way that you learn to relate your opposition to gun control, your support of free markets, your love of mercy ministry, your embrace of new media, and so on, to the lordship of Jesus Christ. Doing this makes you a biblical Christian, and not a Republican or a right-winger. People will call you that — except for the secular Republicans, who will consider you a dangerous hazard to all their hopes and dreams.

4. Courage is the testing point of every virtue, and because the point of every conflict is always local, courage is exhibited on the individual and family level. Be sure to love and encourage your wife so that she is with you in it. Be sure to love and teach your children so that they grow up in such a way as to stand with you in the city gates. Do not neglect your family for the sake of “the cause.” Your family is part of the cause . . . an essential part. One of John Knox’s daughters was named Elizabeth, and she married a great preacher, a man named John Welch. He was exiled to France for many years, until his doctors told him that he would have to return to England for his health. So Elizabeth (Knox) Welch came to the court of King James to seek for permission for him to return. She was told by the king that he could return to England if he would submit to the bishops. She lifted up her apron and said, “Please your majesty, I’d rather kep (receive) his head there.” She was on board.

5. Don’t be a jerk. Don’t let the martial spirit overtake you in such a way as to justify all your personal failings. Of course, if no one ever complains about you, you aren’t doing your job. But it does not follow from this that if people are complaining about you, that you are doing it.

6. Worship God every Lord’s Day. Confess your sins. Sing psalms. Listen to sermons that are preached out of the Bible. Confess your faith. Take the Lord’s Supper. Between worship services, read your Bible daily. Pray without ceasing. Read books. Prepare for next Sunday.

7. Provide your children with the best Christian education you can find. There is no excuse for Christians giving their children over to the enemy for their education. There is no sense in giving them over for education in “the neutral parts,” for there are no neutral parts. Christian children must have a Christian education.

8. Defend free markets at every opportunity. It is not possible to understand the gospel of free grace intelligently if it does not lead to a love for free markets. Free grace creates free men, and free men trade in free markets. If you have a biblical worldview, you cannot be a libertarian. But if you have a biblical worldview, you will be accused of being one.

9. Do not assume that government regulators have the authority to tell you what the true meaning of Romans 13 is. We are to submit to the governing authorities, but not in everything, and not in the ways stipulated by them. Understand the important role of civil disobedience, and realize that it can occur in areas other than worship or gospel preaching. Gideon was threshing in the wine vat because he was hiding from the tax man. The apostle Paul ran a road block at Damascus. David spent a good deal of time in the wilderness evading a man whom he acknowledged to be the Lord’s anointed.

10. Do not accept any sexual bribes. Chesterton once noted that free love is the first and most obvious bribe to be offered to a slave.

11. Love and encourage your wife and children, constantly. What the world needs first is gospel, and your family is the best place to showcase the gospel to a lost and wandering culture. The gospel must be preached by anointed evangelists, but what we desperately need is a chorus of amens coming from families that live out this gospel.

12. Do whatever you can with whatever you have.

13. Utilize social media, but not in a way that identifies you as a vapid waster-of-time on the one hand, or a certifiable crank on the other. If you are the kind of person who sends Instagrams of your breakfast, lunch, and dinner, along with updates on your periodic potty breaks, you are wasting a precious resource. But on the other hand, if you are in deadly earnest all the time, and will tweet nothing not found in Leviticus, then we all hope that the concerned furrows on your brow don’t stick that way.

14. Cultivate a robust sense of humor. Use irony, satire, and ridicule, as appropriate. Whether or not it is appropriate should not be determined by the target. The target never likes it.

15. My fifteenth rule is Alinsky’s fourth. Make your adversary live up to his own rules. Turn in papers that act on the assumption of absolute relativism taught in the class. Apply for affirmative action scholarships because of your Scottish descent. Your clan was persecuted in the 14th century, and you are still dealing with it. Have your son try out for the girl’s shot put event. Make them say, “No, girls are different.”

16. Don’t fall for abstract calls to repentance, and don’t use abstractions to make you look like you are a courageous denouncer of sin. Call for “Repentance! Broadly considered!” and lots of people will call you The Thunderer. But call for repentance for homosexuality, or porn use, or confiscatory taxation, and people will suddenly say you have become “too political.” You have left off preaching, and got to “meddling.”

17. Wherever you are on the line, keep the pressure on. Do not spend your time worrying about how you are going to put out the fires that the adversary sets. Wake up in the morning thinking about the fires you can set. Let them be the fire department.

18. Enjoy yourself. God is in control. Jesus is on the throne.

19. Keep your weapons sharp. Read. Study. Reflect. Grow.

20. Conflict is always personal, and so don’t be shy about keeping it personal. As Alinsky stated in his 13th, we are to pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. But there is a caveat. This is a valuable principle, but we have to understand it in a Christian context. Because of the cross of Christ, it is possible to distinguish a sinner and his sin. This means that your adversary might wind up repenting, as Saul of Tarsus did, and if you have trouble with that possibility, you are being vindictive instead of being principled.

21. Accept and acknowledge what our ultimate goal is, which is the reestablishment of a mere Christendom. We do not insist on the whole thing now — we are incrementalists, and this is a long war — but we know what the point of our labor is. We must know the objective, and that objective, assigned in the Great Commission, is for every tribe and nation confess the name of Jesus, and bow down to Him. We do not believe we have to conquer Canaan in the next ten minutes, but we also don’t believe that we have the right to settle down and make peace treaties with Amorites.

 

The Fourth of July: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Genuine patriotism is not surprised or derailed by flaws, sins or wickedness in the object of our love. Sentimental patriotism, by contrast, treats love of country the same way a maudlin Hallmark card writer would treat, after three beers, love of mother. Mothers Day becomes a high, holy, and sacred thing — a sanctifying thing, rather than what it is, something needing to be sanctified, like everything else we do.

So real love understands grace, and the need for it. Real love understands gratitude, and the need for it. The need for grace does not eradicate the need for gratitude. The need for gratitude does not mean that grace has become unnecessary and superfluous. Leftists sneer at the need for gratitude, and the sentimental right sneers at the need for grace, revealing both sides to be idolatrous.

And so this brings us to the 4th of July, 2013 — the good, the bad, and the ugly. But lest we become hardened in cynicism, we will return to the top again. We will focus on the good, the bad, the ugly, and the good again.

Freedom to worship God. A long, legal tradition of liberty. Staggering affluence. Abundant food. Protection from the elements. Technology. Amazing cars and trucks. Electronic connectivity. A bed to sleep in. A lawn to mow. Meat on the grill. Fireworks for the grandkids.

Abortion mills. Stupid wars. Homosexual marriage. Statist idolatry. Oceanic debt. Pillaging tax collectors. Which slides nicely into . . .

Seedy politicians. Corrupt lobbyists. Idiotic reporters. Inane entertainments. A tattooed and lost generation. Dysfunctional schools. Local, sustainable farming that is both intentional and purposive. E-fads. A preening president, a lunatic legislature, and a jub jub judiciary.

A recoverable tradition. A constitutional foundation. A faithful remnant. An admirable contempt of the ruling elites. A glorious opportunity.

A chance to be faithful in our generation.

Ares, Aphrodite, and Hermes

A friend asked about a biblical worldview perspective on civil unions for homosexuals, and so here goes.

1. When involved in discussions about things like this, it is crucial that we think three chess moves ahead. Does anybody seriously think that adopting civil union legislation would make the pressure for homosexual marriage decrease? If we accept the legitimacy of civil unions, have we granted any premises that would make it impossible to deny a pending conclusion that we would otherwise want to deny? To ask the question is to answer it.

2. If limited like marriage (say, to a maximum of two people), then civil unions are a mockery of marriage, not marriage itself. In that case, why would any recipient of that status be satisfied with it? Homosexuality runs on envy, and you don’t make envy disappear by creating a second class shanty right next door to the nice house. And if civil unions are made utterly unlike marriage, so as to include up to six other people, say, then what would prevent heterosexual “polygamous” civil unions from springing up overnight?

3. I’ll tell you what would prevent it — the cost of the benefits packages to employers, that’s what. Health insurance, full coverage, for a man, his wife, and four concubines, would be way more expensive than the current set up.

And this brings us to one of the hidden sources of all the mischief, which is governmental regulation of the economy, including our Byzantine tax law, and excessive entanglement in things like insurance, health care, and so forth. That is what this fight is over — remember the point about envy. Homosexuals are fighting for the term marriage, but they are also fighting for the swag. And Christians, who would otherwise just let them have the civil term, and who would come back to the faithful portion of the church in order to have their “covenantal marriage” solemnized, do not do so because that would involve walking away from the benefits. In order to have the benefits at all, we are being told we must share the term marriage with homosexuals. And this means that another name for what is happening is extortion.

But the good news is that this benefits system of ours is bankrupt already. In the long run, stupidity never works. King Canute could not make the tide stay out, the Supreme Court cannot make an anus into a vagina, and Congress doesn’t have enough dye to turn their ocean of red ink black. When all is said and done, the world is what God made it, and not something else. A perverse insistence on declaring the world to be something other than what it was created to be is the prelude to catastrophe. That is where we are right now. The good news is that, like hurricanes, catastrophes pass. Those who were prepared for it (living in the brick house of biblical marriage) will be in a position to help with the rebuilding. Those who built their gay marriage grass hut on the beach will not be.

4. I will finish with a few cryptic statements, in the hope that I will be able to develop them later. Economics is sexual. Everything is connected. To accept perversion anywhere requires the acceptance of perversion everywhere. To pretend that Ares, Aphrodite, and Hermes are sovereigns of distinct realms is to capitulate to the fundamental pagan illusion, the illusion of compartmentalization.

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On Refusing to Live in Pinkletown

A little while ago, a few weeks back, we had a discussion here in this space about my insistence on using um, flamboyant and non-PC language when discussing the homosex phenom. We had a good time in that discussion, but we weren’t done yet.

Let me appear to change the subject for a minute. In The Art of War, Sun Tzu says something profound, something that very few conservative culture warriors, God bless them all, get. He argues that the wise general first attacks the enemy’s plans, then secondly, his alliances, and then third, his army or his forces. Get that? You don’t attack the enemy in the first instance; you attack what he is doing. You attack his plans first.

The push for homosexual marriage is very recent, and it is still ongoing. That particular battle is still in process, and no, we haven’t actually lost it yet. But we did lose some earlier battles, which is why the challenges are so great now. Conservatives tend to think that “the plan” is to corrupt our laws as a way of corrupting our youth, and so on. But that is a later phase of the strategy. The plan, as Orwell could have told us, was to corrupt the language first. The goal was to do this by establishing themselves as the sole arbiters of what constitutes “hate,” what puts the phobic into homophobia, what forms of discourse are automatically out of civilized bounds, what qualifies as hate speech, and so on. They put on the robe, walked up behind the bench, and have been issuing decrees ever since.

Unless we draw the line sometime, there will soon be laws against putting those foamy hand soap dispensers in homeless shelters, on grounds of hobofoamia. We are up against it, people.

For some strange reason, mainstream conservatives have tried to fight these characters on the explicit issues of law, but have not challenged them in this central corruption, the corruption that gives them the power to pursue all the rest of it. To be sure, conservatives have complained about the weird standards as they have been applied (“How is it ‘hate speech’ to simply say that I believe Prop 8 should have been enforced in California?), but complaining to the ref does one thing that we should never want to do in this instance, which is acknowledge that these guys have any right to act as refs. As soon as we grant that fundamental usurpation, surprise, surprise, we will have plenty more weird calls to complain about.

What we must needs do is this, confreres? What is their plan? They want to be the discourse cops. Instead of making them discourse cops, and then spending our time pointing what a bad job they are doing at it, why not gleefully embrace the duty and high responsibility of tweaking them every lawful chance we get? We tweak them by doing whatever it was they just prohibited. This is quite different from objecting to them applying their bogus standards all the times when we didn’t do anything.

Now I say “lawful chance” because, while they are not the discourse cops, there is such a thing. The Holy Spirit wants us to keep our speech gracious, seasoned with salt. Jesus tells us that we shall give an account for every idle word we utter. We should shun corrupt speech, and steer completely clear of the shrill malice of the Westboro Baptists. But we only do this because Jesus requires it. We frankly don’t care what the harridan in charge of Speech Codes at Behemoth State Cow College thinks of it. Do we? We care for her good opinion about as much as we care for the good opinion of the Westboro Baptists.

So what is their plan? They have assumed the center by seeking to regulate what we may and may not say. Before all marriage law battles, before every legislative clash, before any of that. And I have sought to assume a different center — the center of a conservative resistance to their central hubris, a hubris that was in evidence decades ago, and which they are taking full advantage of now. I promised at the top that I would be writing about my refusal to live in Pinkletown. Someone might point out that in fact I am doing so, so what about that? I should rather say that I refuse to live in Pinkletown while calling it by its approved name, which is something like DignityandAffordableHousingforAllville. And by refusing to acquiesce in this aboriginal corruption, this perversion of words, I am making it possible for my great-grandkids to live somewhere besides this linguistic shantytown.

The reason conservatives are dismayed today by how the ground appears to be shifting beneath their feet is that they do not recognize how complicit they have been in this whole process. Let me make up an example, and I will leave it to you to decide how true to life it might be. A junior research assistant for the DC office of FamiliesRUs is talking to some reporters the day after the Supreme Court debacle and in response to a question, off the record, he said he “really had to hand it to the homos. They were dedicated to their mistaken cause, far more dedicated than many of our people are,” etc. Despite being off the record, a tape of the exchange was leaked, and the uproar was lurid and overdone. Of course, FRU started apologizing like crazy, fired the assistant on the second day of the controversy, and then started apologizing for not having fired him on the first day. And when I say “apologizing,” I mean apologizing like Paula Deen would have for having said kaka in kindergarten. At least, that’s what it sounded like. Press releases, video tape, a second video tape, a press conference, and then pressuring a conservative publishing house — that was going to publish this hapless young man’s book in the fall — to spike it.

Impossible, you think? Conservatives! The opposition of the today’ radical proposals, enforcers of yesterday’s.

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