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February 1, 2024

Christians Are Not the Enemy

But they are increasingly viewed as the enemies of government with an authoritarian bent that recognizes few limits to its power.

In Nashville this week, six pro-life activists were convicted in federal court of conspiracy to violate the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act when they peacefully prayed and sang at the entrance to an abortion clinic in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, in March 2021. Those convicted now face a possible prison sentence of 10 and ½ years and up to $250,000 in fines.

The Biden administration’s Justice Department, which is remarkably blase about prosecuting those responsible for the 2020 riots or investigating dozens of violent attacks against pro-life crisis pregnancy centers, seems to view some Christians — specifically as a subset of conservative Americans generally — as a threat to the peace and security of the United States.

This time last year, FBI whistleblower Kyle Seraphin leaked an intelligence memorandum that originated within the Richmond, Virginia Field Office of the FBI. The memorandum purported to address concerns about “extremism” within segments of the Roman Catholic Church in America. Its title is a mouthful and reveals much: “Interest of Racially or Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremists in Radical-Traditionalist Catholic Ideology Almost Certainly Presents New Mitigation Opportunities.”

Those “opportunities” to “mitigate” violent extremism included recruiting spies or having federal agents “infiltrate” certain churches to provide intelligence about potential domestic terrorism. According to the memo, “Radical Traditionalist” (or “Rad-Trad”) Catholics — defined as those who attend the Latin Mass, oppose abortion, express dissatisfaction with the papacy of Pope Francis and dislike the modernizing reforms produced by the Second Vatican Council — are secretly “white supremacists” who are plotting violence against Jews and members of other faiths, Blacks and other minorities, and gay people.

The memo appeared to rely on definitions and other information about “hate groups” provided by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a leftist organization notorious for its sloppy and baseless accusations of racism and smears against conservative groups and individuals.

Embarrassed, the FBI subsequently disavowed the document as not meeting their “exacting standards,” and removed it from their systems. But one cannot help but wonder what the FBI would have done had the memorandum not been made public.

It isn’t just the federal government.

A family in Montana lost custody of their 14-year-old daughter last fall after being told that gender transition was the appropriate treatment for the child’s mental and emotional disorders. The family objected, telling government officials and health care workers that “transitioning” their daughter to a boy violated their “values, morals and our religious beliefs.” Their daughter was taken from them and placed in the custody of Child and Family Services.

Christian baker Jack Phillips continues to be harassed in the state of Colorado. Phillips won a Supreme Court case in 2018 after he refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple, arguing that it violated his religious beliefs. He is being sued again — this time because he has refused (also on religious grounds) to make a cake celebrating an individual’s gender transition.

The media loves to inflame this narrative as well. After Donald Trump won the recent Iowa caucus by a record-breaking margin, MSNBC co-host Joy Reid argued that the result was explicable because the state is “overrepresented by white Christians” who want people of color to “bow down” to them.

The primary reasons Christians are under attack are 1) because they refuse to bend the knee to a culture that exalts sex as the apex of all human activity, and 2) because they insist that there is a higher authority than government. Those two positions place Christians (as well as members of some other religious faiths) at odds with contemporary American culture.

The founding documents of this country make the underlying philosophy of our government clear. The Declaration of Independence, for example, states explicitly that all men are “endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights.” While it does not specify who or what that “Creator” might be, it is very specific that our rights come from that Creator, and not from the government.

Government in the United States today, however, will not tolerate the notion that anything — or anyone — limits its powers. That is, frankly, the source of much of the conflict behind the current push for “transgender” policies; nothing — not parental rights, not the needs of young people with mental illness, not fairness to biological women in sports, not even chromosomal biology — trumps the power of the government to declare that a man can become a woman and vice versa.

In other words, even the truth is whatever they say it is. Anyone who claims otherwise is an extremist, a “Christian nationalist,” a “white supremacist” or a threat. One need not be a Christian — or Jew or Muslim or Hindu or Buddhist — or indeed, a member of any organized religion to understand the wisdom of the principles enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, and the corresponding limits placed on government in our Constitution. Millions of Americans who do not see themselves as religious nevertheless hold those principles near and dear to their hearts.

They should nevertheless be just as concerned about the government’s attacks on Christians and other religious believers. Faithful Christians are not the enemies of Americans. But they are increasingly viewed as the enemies of government with an authoritarian bent that recognizes few limits to its power. The government’s attacks on freedom may be starting with Christians, but if not reined in quickly, they will not stop there.

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