I've been pondering a post on the New Zealand blog Dark Brightness for several days now. The author (writing from an evangelical Christian perspective) seeks to put the conflict in our society in religious terms; the root of what each side believes.
There are two sides to this conflict: the deplorables and the elite.
The deplorables are:
- Faithful to God.
- Nationalist. They vote that way if they can. In much of the world, they use proxy parties, for they cannot.
- Fertile: they pity the gender diverse, the gay, and despise the propaganda.
- Mistrustful of authority: “Fool me twice…”.
- Tolerant of pain, difficulty and struggle.
- In love with beauty, truth, honour and earned achievement.
- Workers. More likely to be rural and tradesmen than academics or policy wonks.
The elite is:
- Credentialed, and they will let you know it. Being credentialed is not the same as being educated.
- Celebrating diversity. The rainbow is their flag, and Diversity is a jealous God.
- Hating the true, the beautiful and the good.
- Generally infertile: if they are, to their horror, heterosexual, they delay childrearing into their late 30s, and have one or two children at most.
- In love with death. They are for abortion, self castration in search of ideology or identity, homosexuality, and euthanasia.
- Avoidance of difficulty and struggle, seeking pleasure.
- Live by policy and words. Journalists, Activists, academics, policy wonks. To these, to speak is an order someone else will do.
The short version is that the elite are pagan, venerating Cybele and Molech. The deplorables are of Christ or seeking Christ through nature: they worship Jehovah Jireh, or will do so.
There's more at the link.
I'm not sure I agree with his perspective - but I don't disagree, either. I think the problem goes beyond an explicit identification with God, or a deity of whatever sort. I think it involves some pretty basic assumptions in many people's minds about what they believe in terms of humanity as a whole. Let me try to explain.
Many people today are not explicitly religious at all. In my circle of friends (mostly 'deplorables'), I'd say a minority expresses any particular faith. Many shy away from doing so, as if all overt religious belief is suspect to them. (Looking at the way many churches, denominations and sects have fallen prey to political correctness, it's hard to criticize that. Pentecostal evangelist Bob Mumford once defined secular humanism as "what happens when the world evangelizes the church". I'd say it's been very successful in doing so.)
However, those same people are loud in their support of the US constitution as written (and, more importantly, as intended and understood) by our Founding Fathers. They regard most of the modern claptrap about a "living constitution" as precisely what it is: an attempt to evade the explicit provisions of our fundamental law without following its built-in provisions to change it, because those involved know they can't succeed in that. It's a weaselly end-around to try to render moot the legal, philosophical and ideological foundations of our republic. They, and I, are determined not to let that succeed.
I think that's where the "Christian" element of many conservatives may be found these days. They may not have much in the way of overt, explicit faith at all. Rather, they have faith in the faith that is implicitly embodied in our constitution. As President John Adams famously said:
Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.
In that sense, fidelity to the constitution necessarily implies - albeit implicitly rather than explicitly - fidelity to the Christianity that informed it and guided those who wrote it.
In the same way, if we examine the motives of those who insist on a "living document" interpretation of the constitution - "loose constructionism" rather than "originalism" - their rejection of the latter is very often accompanied by their rejection of organized religion, or at least their willingness to subject religious beliefs to tests of political correctness, "relevance", and openness to change doctrines in the light of the current zeitgeist, rather than insist on eternal, timeless, unchanging truths. That approach has infected a great many denominations or sects, both Christian and in other religions.
Such people see God as a human creation, and any concept of God to be judged according to evolving, developing human insights. Of course, that also necessarily implies that "divine" revelation is not infallible, and is subject to reinterpretation as and when necessary. Those who are more originalist in their approach to the constitution also trend towards putting God above and beyond human interpretation. From that perspective, the Word of God judges us, and we are to conform ourselves to its standards. From the other, humans judge the word of god (no capitalization, thank you!) and determine its meaning according to our lights, not the Light of the World.
The question, for those of us who do have faith, thus becomes: how can we bring back a more explicit recognition of a Creator, a Savior, a moral arbiter, in the present debate? Is it even necessary that we should do so? I believe it is; but I'm one voice, with one opinion. Many of my friends and associates would argue against it.
What's the answer? What do you say, dear readers? Let's talk about it in Comments. I think the subject is worth exploring further. A tip o' the hat to the author of Dark Brightness for raising an interesting topic.