A Cause Worthy of a Civil War
I recently read an online article criticizing The Benedict Option here and found myself deeply saddened by what I read.
The Reformed author’s article set out to criticize Rod Dreher’s Benedictine strategy for orthodox Christians preserving the Faith as the Western world enters into a new Dark Age. Jesse Johnson-the article’s author-described three problems he had with the The Benedict Option: a “racial” problem, the “Catholic problem,” and a “Baptist” problem.
Here is a quick synopsis of each problem: The “racial” problem was a criticism that Dreher “necessitates a revisionist view of history” when he failed to mention slavery and segregation, while praising our forefather’s moral aptitude. The “Catholic problem” was Johnson’s dissatisfaction with the Gospel being absent from Dreher’s work — a well found criticism. Finally, Johnson’s “Baptist” problem is Dreher’s sacrifice of religious freedom in his suggested subcultures and communities — another valid criticism. But my focus is on the “racial” problem. For all intents and purposes Johnson is wrong about the “racial” problem.
After reading Dreher’s book, I never once found myself longing for a recognition of slavery and segregation to make myself feel better about the moral brokenness seen in the first 200 years of American history. By no means whatsoever am I disregarding the demonic evils of slavery and segregation; rather, my argument is that it was not appropriate to include them in The Benedict Option. Why? Because of how they ended.
Yes, Dreher romanticizes the morals of our forefathers when he does not specify that those whom we need to look to are the American saints of old, and not American society in general. Even though the absolute majority of Americans never owned slaves, did not segregate, nor think colored people were subhumans, there still were apostates who claimed the Christian mantra to justify their demonic, racist ways of thinking. That being said, we in today’s society might be able to rightly and obviously criticize slavery and segregation, but we are not sinless.
Perhaps the most moral, godly, and admirable characteristic of our forefathers that we do not possess today was their willingness to fight for “the least of these.” In both the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement, colored people and whites fought to emancipate the slaves and to make sure colored people had the same rights as whites. The Civil War cost 750,000 men their lives fighting for the preservation of the Union and the end to slavery. Afterwards, the Civil Rights Movement cost the lives of thousands, though the number is harder to calculate brave men and women died for truth and justice. Let us remember no other nation, let alone Christian nation, fought to end slavery.
What Johnson overlooks is Christian America’s repentance of slavery and segregation that led to change, which was all due to their faith and in turn their morals. So there is no “revisionist” history in The Benedict Option, but is, in fact, in Johnson’s article.
Johnson says today’s society is just as broken as it was during the era of slavery and of segregation. This is clearly not true for two reasons: revival and abortion. First, revival: the Second Great Awakening during the early 19th century directly led to the end of slavery. Vast swaths of Americans became Bible-believing, faithful Christians who could not stand seeing their nation sanction such an evil sin. These “revived” Christians made up the majority of the society, kept American culture firmly Christian, and fought to end slavery and segregation. Thus, for this first reason, our forefather, American saints should be mimicked.
Second, today America is plagued with an evil vastly more demonic than slavery or segregation that Johnson completely glosses over: abortion. Ironically at the end of the Civil Rights Movement one group of people lost all of their rights and were worth less than the slaves: the unborn. A direct result of the Sexual Revolution — Satan’s most destructive scheme the world has ever seen — abortion has cheapened human life and over the past 45 years has taken the lives of 60 million babies in America alone. Four and a half times more babies have been aborted in the past 45 years than slaves lived in America in 1860, the height of slavery. So to say Americans are just as morally deprived as our forefathers is an absolute lie.
Johnson’s first criticism of The Benedict Option is the only issue he could have chosen that has no merit whatsoever; especially since Americans, to the credit of “revived” Christians, repented of their sins in blood. However, today’s American Christians do little to combat an evil that has killed more people in America than Hitler’s Second World War in totality. If there ever was a cause to fight a civil war in order to save a suppressed people every bit as human as you and I it would be for the millions of babies aborted. If not a military war, which I do not recommend, then a war in the legislature and courts that will not relent until every unborn person is protected by the law.
Other issues like sodomite-marriage, gender dysphoria, healthcare, contraception, drug abuse, the debt ceiling, pretty much everything else except defense should be abandoned until abortion is ended. No compromise, no relenting because we on the side of life have science, truth, and most importantly God on our side. If we are unable to rid America of her most heinous sin, then I fear we will see a destruction worse than the Civil War befall upon our nation.
So Jesse Johnson, you are completely wrong about your “race” problem criticism of Rod Dreher’s The Benedict Option. The “Catholic problem” and the “Baptist” problem are we found; and as you said Dreher is good at diagnosing, but not prescribing. The Western word is entering into a new Dark Age, but the solution is not to turn inwards to ourselves and our communities, but outwards to the world to spread the Gospel. We pray for another Great Awakening that leads America back to her Christ and that makes this great land a beacon of hope and freedom throughout the world.
But until then, we pray…