Throughout this time of leftist violence, churches around the country have been vandalized and statues of Christ and the Virgin Mary desecrated. In several instances – a church in New Haven, Connecticut, and a resort in Montana among them – the culprits left graffiti supporting anarchy and the Marxist group Black Lives Matter. Black Lives Matter leader Sean King has tweeted, “I think the statues of the white European they claim is Jesus should also come down. They are a form of white supremacy. Always have been.”
Of course, leftism has always stood in opposition to religion. Karl Marx believed that religion – by which he largely meant the Christian religion – was part of the false consciousness that kept people in ignorance of the true economic nature of their oppression. This is what he meant by calling religion, “The opiate of the masses.”
Marx wrote: “The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness.”
Everywhere Communists oppress believers – which is everywhere there are Communists – they are essentially saying, “Don’t look to God to save you from your sorrow. Look to us, the party, the state.” Leftists know that God alone stands in the way of their utopian vision of an all-powerful government.
I only wish conservatives were that wise.
On the right, for years, we have tried to form a coalition of Christians and unbelieving capitalists. As a result, both philosophies have been emptied of value.
On the capitalist side, we reduce the pursuit of happiness to a dream of economic success rather than a struggle toward virtue. We hold up Ayn Rand, who said, “The concept of God is degrading to man,” and who said of the cross that “it is in the name of that symbol that men are asked to sacrifice themselves for their inferiors.”
On the religious side, our Christianity has either become an adjunct of capitalism in the form of the so-called prosperity Gospel, or it has devolved into what the philosopher Schopenhauer described as “banal optimism.” Christian movies and rock songs, empty of suffering and therefore of reality, describe a world in which Jesus magically transforms the tragic life of humankind into a gigantic smiley face.
If capitalism were enough to safeguard freedom, the Chinese would not now be on a warpath of oppression. But as Walter Russell Mead noted in the Wall Street Journal this week, “the Chinese Communist Party—armed with information technology that lets it monitor and control economic activity on a scale Lenin could only dream of—has grafted market mechanisms onto a communist state structure with great success.”
Capitalism is the servant of freedom, not its source and not its master. When Jesus said, “You can’t serve God and Mammon,” he meant your heart must bow to one and not the other.
As for Christianity, if it were nothing but an endless celebration of life on earth, then its god would not have sweat blood in terror before being nailed to a cross where he cried out in despair and died in agony. Keep your smiley face for some other religion.
It’s not that Americans must worship Jesus or be Christians to be free. It’s that they cannot logically defend freedom without the conclusions about God drawn from a Christian culture. This is why the great Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia used to point out that, though the founders forbid the state to choose among religions, the state was permitted to choose religion over non-religion.
If we want to remain free, it must.
The logic of America stands on God’s shoulders, not just any god but a god with a personality derived from Christian thought. It is he who endowed us with our self-evident and pre-political rights. To secure those rights is the sole reason and justification for giving sinful human beings power through government. When government fails in that purpose or offers us gifts in exchange for our rights, it is no longer legitimate.
The personality of our god also implies the existence of moral truth; not a winning narrative – an objective truth recognizable to the individual human conscience even when the world becomes an empire of lies. If Socrates could be legally put to death with the approval of a democratic society, if Jesus could be crucified with the consent of the people, the government, and the church, then the conscience of the individual is sacred and the voice of the individual can never be canceled for any reason, even by – especially by – the majority.
We cannot defend our freedoms without embracing the Creator of the Declaration, a Creator deduced from the Gospels. There is a reason the supporters of Marxist slavery destroy his image.
He is the only thing that can stop them.