Although an evangelical Christian, my admiration for fellow believers remains under firm control - possibly because I was raised as a Preacher’s Kid or PK. Grow up inside the sausage factory, the saying goes, and you may have a lingering distaste for scrapple; but grow up a PK and you are almost certain to see Christians struggling to live up to their faith.
My skepticism was most recently fueled by “woke churches” on both sides of the pandemic, some supinely accepting governmental interference, others acting as if “go along to get along” had been added to the Apostle’s Creed. If some Christians were already hedging their bets, then the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas War on October 7th became a challenge to both faith and reason. Had the mythical “Push-Me-Pull-You” creature invented by Dr. Doolittle somehow found a place in the nation’s pulpits? Why else had the barbaric savagery of the Hamas attack inexplicably given way to bizarre assurances that Israel was equally at fault? By appearing to take both sides, was Barack Obama the latest convert to this new doctrine? https://www.nytimes.com/2023/11/04/us/politics/obama-israel-palestine.html
Eric Metaxas has famously warned that American religious liberties are in peril (Letter to the American Church, Washington: Salem, 2022). How appropriate that Albin Sadar, one of his proteges, fearlessly attacked the latest heresies. “The battle against evil is heating up…(Some) Christians seem to be hedging their bets, intent on not offending the wrong people…careful to remain lukewarm in their response to anything controversial.”
Working alongside Metaxas on his radio and television broadcasts was like fighting at the Alamo. “There were thousands of Santa Anna’s soldiers coming against fewer than 200 defenders of our old Spanish mission…(But) what made it worse was that it seemed as if half of the other fighters inside the Alamo were shooting at us—or they were chiding us for even fighting at all instead of being “good Christian men” who should show love to everybody. But who can dispute the fact that we are now being overrun by evil?” Mr. Sadar’s conclusion is equally chilling: “If the church doesn’t wake up and stop being woke, this nation—and by extension, the world—is a goner.” https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2023/11/hey_woke church_its_time_to_wake_up.html
Those startling thoughts could be usefully preached and debated this weekend across the nation’s churches. But thoughtful Americans may be influenced long-term by a remarkable speech given this week in Washington to the Federalist Society, a deeply conservative group of lawyers, movers and shakers. Their most unlikely orator: Bari Weiss, a gay Jewish woman, formerly of the New York Times but now the founder and editor of The Free Press. Since October 7th, Ms. Weiss has been celebrated for her clear writing and fearless, hard-hitting devotion to the facts, regardless of what delicate interests might be offended.
Her speech to the Federalists could hardly have been more momentous had it been accompanied by a divine hand writing ominous prophesies on the ballroom’s walls. Arguing that antisemitism is always a symptom, “It is never about Jews. It is about everyone else. It is about the surrounding society or the culture of the country. It is an early warning system—a sign that the society itself is breaking down.” This ideology of nihilism has now swallowed “All of the crucial sense-making institutions of American life…universities…cultural institutions…nearly every major corporation. It’s inside our high schools and elementary schools.” So what is to be done?
“I am here because…in the fight for the West, I know who my allies are (and not who) one might imagine them to be. My allies are people who believe that America is good. That the West is good…America and our values are worth fighting for – and that is the priority of the day.” To a thunderous ovation, she concluded: “Our enemies’ failure is not assured and there is no cavalry coming. We are the cavalry. We are the last line of defense. Our civilization depends on us.” https://reason.com/volokh/2023/11/14/bari-weisss-olson-lecture-you-are-the-last-line-of-defense/
Both Judaism and Christianity presume an all-powerful, omniscient God who regularly delights in using unlikely messengers to get our attention. And unexpectedly blessing us with Allies we could never even imagine.
COL (Ret.) Ken Allard is a former West Point professor, Dean of the National War College and on-air military analyst for NBC News.