Saturday, October 29, 2005

Andy Nowicki deftly demonstrates the arbitrary agnosticism of the secularists. These cultural commissars, as he calls them, scoff at Intelligent Design while fastening to Darwinism with idolatrous devotion. They call measures restricting abortion "theocratic," even as they defend a slew of laws unambiguously infringing on self ownership and bodily sovereignty--e.g, drug and prostitution prohibition (what, by the way, is the logic here--that a woman owns her uterus but not her cervix and vagina?) and mandatory seatbelt usage. They extol the artistry of gay-themed films but marginalize The Passion of the Christ.

With few exceptions, however, neither the enlightened secularist nor obscurantist Christian dares to impugn the fundamental aims, intentions or tactics of the American Imperium. In this the two camps lock arms--to the dismay of that Remnant of right-thinking agnostics and Christians who lament Western Civilization's steady slide into barbarism and savagery. The Imperium can go its merry way, waging perpetual wars against an endless succession of Hitlers du jour, inflicting collateral damage all the while. Secular liberals (who may balk at the occasional police action pursued against a "national liberation" movement) and conservatives (who may likewise chafe at "humanitarian" interventions undertaken by Democratic presidents) will generally follow. So long as it pays lip service to religious and moral values--never mind the morality of that endless regime of meddling, bombing, blockading and more bombing--the theocons will do the same.

The Christian allegiance to state is especially hard to figure, given that even secularists have come to appreciate historical Christianity's libertarian streak. In His famous exhortation to "render unto Caesar that which belongs to Caesar, and unto God that which belongs to God," Christ clearly taught that the interests of the two don't necessarily coincide. His apostles proclaimed a Gospel censored by the religious and civil authorities of their day. The Church throughout her history has taught that kings were subject to a higher law.

Perhaps the earliest and most dramatic incident of a king submitting to higher law came in 390 A.D., during the reign of the Emperor Theodosius. A Thessalonian mob, aggrieved with bread-and-circus curtailments, had risen in anger and killed a Roman general for imprisoning a popular charioteer. Theodosius had to respond and expected to be given a wide berth in meting out justice. Perhaps he was familiar with the 13th Chapter of St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans, in which Christians are encouraged to submit to the civil authorities. Perhaps he expected the theocons of his day to weave convoluted apologetics in his behalf. State terrorism in the service of civil order is a legitimate exercise in statecraft, is it not? Theodosius put 7,000 Thessalonians to the sword as retribution for their crime.
Imagine his chagrin when St. Ambrose, bishop of Milan, condemned the slaughter as an action unbefitting a Christian emperor. Theodosius had blood on his hands, in the good prelate's view, and only a lengthy and public penance could restore his good standing with the Church. Western Civilization thrived under such episodes of Christian lese majesty.

There's a lesson here for the cultural commissars of both left and right. The wonder is not that it's lost on them. It's the masses who should know better.


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