An ancient religious leader said, “Love Your Enemies”. Over the years, many Americans have questioned that leader and even more have questioned that strategy, but – until recently – almost none of us believed that war is better than love.
Fast forward to 2018, where war is suddenly respectable, even among followers of his religion. Where increasingly violent attacks on people and property are excused as “protest”. Where the presumption of innocence is trampled in our stampede to condemn. Where respectful disagreement seems a distant memory. What has happened to us?
Here’s a clue. The latest battle – one of the most savage in American history – occurred between two parties that go back many years; even longer than there has been an America. The parties are Man and Woman.
The differences between these parties are – I almost said undeniable, but even physiology is deniable in our day. We deny much that our parents believed, deny even the ability to know male from female, let alone masculine from feminine. And the more we deny, the more angry we become.
And that’s the clue: Our anger and confusion about even these, perhaps the most obvious facts of our existence. Woman is precious. Man is precious. If we cannot agree on this, there is nothing left for us to deny. We have hit bottom, and all is lost.
The clue – our anger and confusion about obvious things – means this war is moving our nation backwards. The warriors are not fighting for truth, but fighting to fight. The war is not waged to protect the innocent, but to give hatred something to do.
If we want to stop this war, we have to stop denying what is good and pure and obvious. We have to stop following and being bullied by people who tear down the beautiful things our parents and grandparents revered. We might even stop to remember that Jesus was right: It is love and not anger that rejoices in the truth and leads us back to peace.
We have watched the crisis – the fragile accuser, the unflinching accused, the swirling confetti storm of theories and reactions and proceedings and reports – and we have ended where we began. The accuser stands alone, describing an event that left no mark upon the world, not even in the memories of those said to be present. It may be real in her mind but, as far as we can tell, nowhere else. With compassion for whatever brought her to this place, we have studied her accusation and her accusation is false.
Curiously, this discovery creates an even bigger crisis, because – in our desperate longing – the accusation had already become true. It had to be true because the accused and the accuser fit their parts so well. It had to be true because the accusation would prevent a victory for the bad guys. It had to be true because everyone was watching. It had to be true, except it isn’t true.
In my own circle of Christian friends, the “truth” of Judge Kavanaugh’s guilt has already been celebrated. His assumed offense provided a perfect example of the larger story we want to tell, a story called Christian Feminism in which our enlightenment transcends the culturally-warped scriptures and powerful male villains like Judge K. receive their comeuppance.
Christian Feminism doesn’t get a lot of attention, but it should. It’s a conduit by which much of the world’s thinking is imported into the church and much of the church’s truth is neutralized in the world. One might think that Christianity would, quite apart from Feminism, provide a mandate to honor women, and so it does. Or that Christianity would provide a procedure to prevent the damage we’ve done to innocent people this week, and so it does. Or that Christianity would challenge the cruel conclusions of Feminism, such as abortion, and so it does. Given all of this, one might think the large number of Christian Feminists would disrupt and transform the ethics of Feminism but, as we have seen again this week, it doesn’t. In the pronouncements of CF, the C is often silent.
And so, I wonder what will happen to Judge Kavanaugh and his wife and daughters? Can they be forgiven for being even falsely accused? Will there be apologies from those who rushed to judgment – especially their fellow Christians? Will they ever be safe again, or is their destruction acceptable – just collateral damage in the war to move this nation further from its roots?