The phrase in my title comes from Mencken, but the reality that we must deal with every day comes from . . . from our thought leaders, I think. It is a bad business when a nation’s thought leaders quit thinking.
A radical Muslim, working the ISIS angle, shot up a homosexual nightclub, murdering 49 people there, and then he himself was killed by police. His name was Omar Mateen, he did what he did in solidarity with ISIS, and apparently was shouting “allahu akbar” during the shooting. This means that his root motivations are a mystery to officials, and that if we drill down diligently we will find that the pressing problem of the day would have to be homophobic evangelical bakers and Islamophobic preachers. And guns. Don’t forget guns.
Public discourse today is one throbbing mass of sentimentality . . . but only of the approved sentiments. We refuse to analyze what happened dispassionately, whatever happens — because that would cause the approved narrative to collapse instanter. Instead we emote wildly in response, and if anyone dares to dissent, or is known to possess dissenting proclivities, they are promptly boiled in cauldrons of molten tolerance outrage.
The very first question I was asked about this murderous rampage was this one:
@douglaswils Could you confirm please Pastor that all the Florida victims gunned down are now in hell? Thanks.
This question was made a bit more relevant by the fact that the gunman’s father had said on Facebook that his son should not have done what he did, and that it was up to God to punish homosexuality. This is of course quite true, but it is also true that God will punish radical jihadis who murder homosexuals in nightclubs.
No morally serious theology believes that someone’s eternal destiny should rest upon whether or not the criminals involved in his death were being wicked or not. We will all of stand before God and answer to Him. And for any mortal man, this is a dreadful prospect, and the only possible way to prepare for it is to take refuge in Christ. I cannot take any refuge in the possibility that the person murdering me might be more in need of forgiveness than I am.
And if some prissy moralist wanted to say that these homosexuals died because they were greater sinners than the rest of us, the words of Jesus should rebuke him immediately.
“Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”” (Luke 13:4–5, ESV).
Some people look at the fact that these unfortunate people died while in pursuit of a sinful lifestyle. That is quite true — they did. But do you think they are the only ones deserving of judgment? After this story dies down, America will calmly resume the slaughter of babies by the tens of thousands, and the abortion carnage is only the capstone of any number of abominations. You think those 49 should have repented? Show them how easy it is. When that story disappears from the front pages, we will all return to our presidential campaign, with two of the most corrupt public figures in living memory vying for your vote. Don’t forget to vote, everybody! Your choices are between two different kinds of supporters of the Planned Parenthood meat merchants.
I should acknowledge that my questioner on Twitter should not be reckoned among the heavyweights, for he only had three followers. And I am guessing that those three followers were his sister and two mommies, but I cite him because it is an almost perfect example of a very common irrational emotional response to a situation that cries out for the very opposite of an irrational emotional response.
Notice that my questioner did not ask me if the murderer was in hell. The reason he did not ask that question is because it would not advance the narrative, which is that evangelical “haters” are the problem, and that we are the ones polluting the earth with our disapprobation of both homosexuality and Islam.
This is not straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel. It is straining out baby gnats and swallowing caravans of camels.
No, no, they will say. It is all connected. Evangelical opposition to homosexuality and opposition to COEXIST religiosity both contribute to a climate of rejection, exclusion, and division, which in turn helps create a climate of fear. We have to eliminate all such expressions from our public discourse because it actually contributes (eventually!) to tragedies such as this. In other words, they put their heads down and soldier through a long chain of subtle reasoning in order to get some of the blame onto the Christians, and with their heads down like that, they are able to overlook various Islamic outrages against homosexuals. The finest example of this most recently was PayPal’s official disapproval of North Carolina’s traditional bathroom policy, and all while doing business merrily in countries that execute homosexuals. This level of inconsistency is only possible if something else is going on, if another game entirely is being played.
The fundamental war here is on the remnants of our Christian civilization, and it would be good if Christians could eventually come to grips with that fact. Homosexual activists and jihadis do hate one another, and they know it. Sometimes that hatred breaks out, as it did here. But taking the averages, they both hate the vestiges of Christian culture more than they hate one another. They are not allies, but they are co-belligerents, and their shared task is to deal with the Christianity first.
It will be a fine day when the Christians start thinking of the Christianity first.