They All Involve Hills

Sharing Options

Dear Pastor,

You now have a limited number of options before you, and they all involve hills. You can determine to fight the current progressive overreach, or you can try to avoid doing so. If you know that you will fight, but only when it become absolutely necessary, then they will pick the terrain and you will be found defending Stupid Hill. Or you can resist now, and you select the terrain, and you can defend Shrewd Hill. Or you can go hide in those hills.

I am leaving out of consideration the pastors who are taking the opportunity provided by Obergefell to fold like a cheap suit. This is one of the great blessings of a crisis actually. You either stand in battle or you don’t, and which way you decided to go is kind of out there in public. It turns out that a number of moderate evangelicals were just liberals biding their time.

But back to the two honorable options — fighting now or fighting later. Here is what I mean by Stupid Hill and Shrewd Hill. If you wait until they pick the terrain, then the battle is going to be over taxes. Tax exemption, 501(c)3 status, tax receipts, and so on. That is Stupid Hill. When they come after everybody’s stuff, then we will fight. I know — our hash tag could be #MoneyWins. It will be the easiest thing in the world for them to represent our motives as corrupt and tainted. “They were pro-life, sure, and they objected to Obergefell, certainly, but things didn’t get hot until we wanted to go through their Mammon closet.”

Now I actually believe that there is nothing inherently dishonorable about fighting off thieves. But the rhetorical reality is this — progressives have successfully camouflaged their lust for other people’s money as the high point of their altruism, and our objection to being pillaged as our greed. That means that if we fight them at that point, it will be a two-front war. Progressives ought to have an uneasy conscience about their views of other people’s money, but as a matter of fact, they don’t. They ought to feel ethically ashamed of their views of taxation, but they are actually proud of it.

I therefore return to Saul Alinsky’s dictum that it is essential that you make your adversary play by his own rule book. This battle must be joined at the point of free speech, and that is my Shrewd Hill. They claim still to believe in it, and (given their actual behavior on this) the higher their dignified tributes to free speech, the sillier they look. More to the point, they know it.

They have actually gotten to the point where they maintain that a nude performance artist covered in chocolate syrup is what the First Amendment was designed to protect, and at the same time they want through coercion to suppress all political and cultural dissent, which is what the First Amendment really was about. And again, when this issue is pressed, they know they are vulnerable at this point.

Technically, they still praise irreverence, they praise uppity women, they praise speaking truth to power, they praise all that stuff. Right there in their playbook. Okay, since they are now the Man, since they are now the Establishment, let us give them something to deal with. Make them live by a principle they profess to love, instead of a principle they abandoned with seared consciences almost a century ago.

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Art
Art
7 years ago

Truly strategic. Thank you. Of course we will fight on the beaches and on the landing grounds too. :)

Nord357
Nord357
7 years ago

That sounds remarkably like “Lock and Load” Love that.

Moor_the_Merrier
Moor_the_Merrier
7 years ago

Last sentence: “Make *them* live by a principle…”

Otherwise, thank you, and I’ll be giving some thought to the ways in which I can be living this out.

Rev. R. W. Shazbot
Rev. R. W. Shazbot
7 years ago

Framing the battle over Free Speech sounds great in theory. But did it work for the Kleins? No, it did not. Did it work for Barronelle Stutzman? No, it did not. Did it work for Elaine Hugenin? No, it did not. I think it’s very unlikely that it’s ever going to work. Many people try to deny the clear parallels between Loving and Obergefell, but they are legion, and so far things post-Obergefell are proceeding pretty much just as they did post-Loving. I expect them to continue to proceed along those lines. In other words, people and groups that oppose… Read more »

Tom©
Tom©
7 years ago

Your deceleration of victory is quite amusing.

Rev. R. W. Shazbot
Rev. R. W. Shazbot
7 years ago
Reply to  Tom©

I don’t regard Obergefell as a victory, myself. Clearly, though, it’s a huge victory for gays and their allies, and pretending otherwise is just silly. I think people should have the right to refuse service to gay couples. I also believe they should have the right to refuse service to interracial couples. Or anyone else they choose. I’m just pointing out that nearly everyone denouncing Obergefell praises Loving. Well, you can’t have it both ways. If Obergefell was tyranny, so was Loving, And if Loving was decided correctly, so was Obergefell. Conservatives and Christians should have been fighting Loving decades… Read more »

Tom©
Tom©
7 years ago

Why would a Christian have a problem with Loving?
It supported individual rights, and involved one man, one woman.

Rev. R. W. Shazbot
Rev. R. W. Shazbot
7 years ago
Reply to  Tom©

Well, SCOTUS is bound by the Constitution. Where does it give them the authority to nullify state marriage laws you don’t like? And, remember, the place in the Constitution that gives them this power must *not* authorize them to nullify state marriage laws you *do* like

Christopher Casey
Christopher Casey
7 years ago

The problem with ‘Loving” and ‘Obergefell’ is that the federal government is not capable of rightly deciding who should or shouldn’t be allowed to mary.The reason the two cases are paralell is that neither one deals with what marriage is. If people understood marriage they would see the dissimilarity in the two.

RFB
RFB
7 years ago

Mr. McDivitt, I am addressing you as an ally (I hope) versus a co-belligerent. First, the fact that SCOTUS declined the Elane Photography case is not significant in view of the reality that first instance issues (or even second or thirds) sometimes do not possess sufficient inertia to breach a SCOTUS threshold for a hearing. Secondarily (and building upon that principle), a large volume of similar cases, in multiple circuits, generating rulings that can conceivably create judicial conflict can produce a “need” for SCOTUS review. Stalin’s organ did not have fantastic accuracy, but it made up for it with sturm… Read more »

Art
Art
7 years ago

For the love of money the homo-jihadists will go after a lot more than florists and bakers and photographers. They will go after any and all who resist in any way participating in their celebration of perversion. “We want you to weld up a frame for our wedding canopy.” “We want you to build a stage for the final ceremony.” “We want you to embroider the napkins.” “We want you to do an ice sculpture.” “We want you to trim the hedges in the shape of . . . ” “We want you to marry us.” “We want you to… Read more »

Rev. R. W. Shazbot
Rev. R. W. Shazbot
7 years ago
Reply to  Art

“For the love of money the homo-jihadists will go after a lot more than florists and bakers and photographers.”

Yes, they will, as I summed up with “etc.”

David Trounce
7 years ago

Did it work for the Kleins? What do you mean by, “work”? Absolutely it worked. It has raised the courage of a mulitude of christians. It has caused christians to get organised on their knees and it has thoroughly exposed the weakness of the adversary. It has put the foolishness and hypocrisy of the world on stage. It has put the Kleins and untold numbers of believers in a position to publicly declare that Jesus I Lord. Jesus was crucified: Victory or Defeat?

Rev. R. W. Shazbot
Rev. R. W. Shazbot
7 years ago
Reply to  David Trounce

Oh, I didn’t know the Kleins won their case. For some reason I’d been under the impression that they’d been fined $135,000 and had lost over half their income.

My mistake. Sorry.

Alex in Wonderland
Alex in Wonderland
7 years ago

Epic comment of “Happy Talk”, eh? I’m catching on.

Tom©
Tom©
7 years ago

Honest mistake.
They received at least twice that amount from donations.

Rev. R. W. Shazbot
Rev. R. W. Shazbot
7 years ago
Reply to  Tom©

That’s great! They didn’t lose their case, didn’t have to pay a fine, didn’t lose half their income for the past few years (and who knows how many years down the road), and they got a lot of donations.

So what’s all the fuss about? You should let Rev. Wilson know the Kleins won their case. He and several other prominent Christian pastors and leaders seem to be under the same false impression that they actually lost their case, and that this doesn’t bode well for the future of religous liberty for people who oppose gay marriage.

Alex in Wonderland
Alex in Wonderland
7 years ago

Yep, sure enough. Our free religion is freer than it ever was! We won more religion by losing the case with extra speech restrictions tacked on. Well. Then. If that’s winning, we could have won a whole lot easier by baking the cake.

All these new definitions…it’s an epidemic…and Christians aren’t immune…we need a new dictionary for a new America…losing a court case and more rights is now winning them…got it :)

Tom©
Tom©
7 years ago

I’m sure Wilson knows that case law is not the end all be all.
Obviously his shot across the bow went over your head.

David Trounce
7 years ago

Gregory, no, you are not mistaken. They did lose their case (thus far). But you asked “Did it work?”. To which I reply, “Like a charm….”

doug sayers
7 years ago

Splitting some useless hairs, I think, in this one Reverend. Our “free speech” is defined as hate speech and will be condemned. What difference does it make which “reason” they give for hating biblical Christianity. We’ll be fine if we lose our tax exempt status. It may actually be a good thing. The Kingdom of God does not need freebies from the government; it doesn’t run on money.

RFB
RFB
7 years ago
Reply to  doug sayers

Mr. Sayers, “The Kingdom of God does not need freebies from the government…” First, the keeping of that which is your own, either as a church body or the individuals thereof, is not a “freebee”. Government cannot “give” anything that it first does not take, using the compulsory power of government by threat of imprisonment and death. “…he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer…For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very… Read more »

Dave
Dave
7 years ago
Reply to  RFB

The church is de facto exempt, a concept which is no longer taught but was established centuries ago.

doug sayers
7 years ago
Reply to  RFB

I hear you, RFB. My point was that we will be fine without our exemption, regardless of how we describe it. It appears that the Church in China (and other such places) is doing fine with little help from their government.

They that are for us are more than they which are against us. The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation; the dying Lamb’s blood will never lose its power…
We must not expect this vile world to be a friend of grace…

Hope thou in God.

katecho
katecho
7 years ago

Wilson wrote: If you wait until they pick the terrain, then the battle is going to be over taxes. … “They were pro-life, sure, and they objected to Obergefell, certainly, but things didn’t get hot until we wanted to go through their Mammon closet.” I agree that the set up is nearly complete for secularists to begin accusing the Christians of active resistance only at the point of taxation (money). We could have taken a stand and actively resisted sooner, on other issues, but I think Christians did not expect things to deteriorate so quickly. We took a patient approach,… Read more »

Jack Bradley
Jack Bradley
7 years ago

I’ll take Shrewd Hill, despite Eeyore McDivitt’s prognostications. Now is the time to exercise our right of Free Speech without apology, which is why I loved your flag pic. They exercise their First Amendment right to the Nth degree under that rainbow: witness your experience in Bloomington (as just one of myriad examples). Never were Lincoln’s words more apropos: “Neither let us be slandered from our duty by false accusations against us, nor frightened from it by menaces of destruction to the Government nor of dungeons to ourselves. LET US HAVE FAITH THAT RIGHT MAKES MIGHT, AND IN THAT FAITH,… Read more »

Scott Clark
Scott Clark
7 years ago

Doug, On taxation, part of their rules is to force the acknowledgement that taxing non-profits would include things like the American Cancer Society or the Boys and Girls Clubs. They should be pressed to acknowledge that either all non-profits should be taxed or that only religious non-profits should be. Most people accepting the “churches should be taxed” argument don’t realize the same argument applies to all non-profits. Framing the taxation argument that way highlights the religious discrimination inherent in the argument. Of course, I’m not suggesting the tax argument is the “hill”, just that there is a way to help… Read more »

Rob Steele
Rob Steele
7 years ago

I think they’re ready to cede that terrain and admit they never really wanted free speech. Now what?

Barnabas
Barnabas
7 years ago
Reply to  ashv

A Marx Bros fan to boot. You’re my kinda guy ashv.

BooneCtyBeek
BooneCtyBeek
7 years ago
Reply to  Rob Steele

They have already started framing the argument. Listen carefully. Several have said we have the right of freedom of worship. They plan to box us into our four walls.

Rob Steele
Rob Steele
7 years ago

Came across this on “white fragility”. It explains some of the displaced guilt your enemies project onto you and so suggests a way to really provoke them. Don’t know whether weaponizing it is wise but can easily see it as a tool to contrast what they’re doing with love. Want to make them live by their own rules? Bam.

Barnabas
Barnabas
7 years ago

As Doug Wilson is the only clergyman other than Voddie Baucham speaking out against cultural Marxism he has garnered a bit of attention. Part of this attention is having his blog linked by people who make a hobby of being an atheist. Unfortunately this has resulted in a rash of commenters selected not only for evangelical atheism but also for too much free time. This has resulted in a significant degradation in the level of conversation here. My advice would be to resist the urge to argue with those commenters. It may take and exchange or two to realize what… Read more »

Rob Steele
Rob Steele
7 years ago
Reply to  Barnabas

“Don’t feed the trolls” is the Internet version of “Answer not a fool according to his folly.”

Alex in Wonderland
Alex in Wonderland
7 years ago
Reply to  Rob Steele

Prov 26:4 Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.

to be precariously balanced with

Prov 26:5 Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.

Peter Anselmo
Peter Anselmo
7 years ago

Pastor Wilson,

A pastor friend of mine writes:

“My point was that Peter and Paul didn’t waste their time fighting culture battles against Caesar and the Roman senate (who I would argue are far worse than anything in DC). They wrote about the Gospel and the church living with eyes fixed on the glory of the cross. I am preaching an expository sermon this Sunday on how the people in my church can receive wisdom while others are wasting their time railing against the Supreme Court.”

What do you think of this sentiment?

Alex in Wonderland
Alex in Wonderland
7 years ago
Reply to  Peter Anselmo

I keep thinking about this. It surely seems close to futile fighting culture battles, and it seems about time to learn to live in wisdom in an overwhelmingly pagan society. And what good is railing on others if we’ve forsaken the foremost duty of being holy. But I keep thinking it’s just a bit too soon to be quiet in this area because of the duty/privilege we’ve been given as “we the people” the government, and keep hoping the church can do both: receive wisdom AND rail :)
Here are a few other thoughts that might relate:
http://mytruthyourtruth.net/christian-symbolic-pacifism/

"A" dad
"A" dad
7 years ago

While I am all for being on shrewd hill as opposed to stupid hill, in the battles laid out here, let’s not forget about “the Hill of the Skull” where our war was won, at ultimate cost, by somebody else. Many people don’t want to hear about what was won on that hill, but the win on that hill towers over all others!