The Orthosphere comments:
From its founding, First Things has been the premier journal of high Christian engagement with the public sphere in the West. The basic proposition of the journal has been that American liberal democracy could be domesticated to Christ by a concerted ecumenical effort of philosophical evangelism. Much good has come of this project. But with the recent spate of stunning reversals on sexual policy, and with Christianity ever more clearly in the crosshairs of our secular overlords, the writers of First Things seem to be recoiling from the secular culture of the West, and its liberal cult of Moloch. More and more, they seem to realize that rapprochement with liberalism is a bargain with the devil.And so the long retreat begins, as Christendom withdraws from the public square in the face of increased ridicule and overt hostility from secular society.
It’s not just that the editors saw fit to publish an article by our own Jim Kalb back in December. In the February issue, First Things took a decided turn toward orthogony to secular political discourse, as if they all with one mind awoke to a realization that dawned on most traditionalists several years ago: America is too far gone to be saved. As Lawrence Auster then began to say, “It’s their country now.” Likewise also for the West in general.
First Things seems now to have reached the same conclusion.
In retrospect, we really should have seen this coming. What support is there for liberal democracy, much less the universal franchise, in classical Eastern or Western Christian theology? What sort of Christian society can let matters like abortion, sodomy and other ontological issues be resolved by democratic vote? Another thing we didn’t realize at the time: we weren’t actually supporting democracy, we were supporting our status as the demographic majority. Now that that status has been destroyed by public welfare and mass immigration (with the active participation of numerous Christian sects), it is simply too late. Orthodox and orthodox Christians will be a shrinking minority for the foreseeable future.
Of course, I've been sounding the alarm on this since February 2013, and more urgently since April 2014. Fr. Stephen Freeman has now noticed, as has Rod Dreher. In sum, there are no longer any safe spaces in the American polity to raise your children in the Faith. Most Christians will embrace with enthusiasm the State's egalitarian, tabula rasa worldview.
A correspondent writes:
You have often noted in your blog the hostility that your talk of "community" has evoked in conversations with other Christians, and though I have believed you, I had not experienced it for myself so I had no idea what that looked like.A robust Christianity--indeed, a robust religion of any stripe--is the ultimate affront to the secular State. There can be no right-to-be-let-alone in secular society. Deviant lifestyles must be validated, above all. Any movement which denies this is to be regarded as treasonous. As Rod himself notes, at the invitation of First Things,
I did not realize that Rod Dreher has been speaking of the Benedict Option for some time, so I was happy to find many of his articles on The American Conservative. I have been reading many of his articles over the last hour as well as the comments that follow, and I am amazed at the hostility that pours forth from the comments section towards this idea and towards him for putting this idea forth. I finally see that to which you were referring earlier. It baffles me. I can comprehend that some people would not agree with him. I do not, however, comprehend why they would become so hostile to something that will not affect them a great deal. Do you have any ideas as to why this is so?
Put bluntly, given the dynamics of our rapidly changing culture, I believe it will be increasingly difficult to be a good Christian and a good American. It is far more important to me to preserve the faith than to preserve liberal democracy and the American order. Ideally, there should not be a contradiction, but again, the realities of post-Christian America challenge our outdated ideals...
There are no safe places to raise Christian kids in America other than the countercultural places we make for ourselves, together. If we do not form our consciences and the consciences of our children to be distinctly Christian and distinctly countercultural, even if that means some degree of intentional separation from the mainstream, we are not going to survive.
Christianity in America still lives in places and among people who have not yet sold out to moralistic therapeutic deism. Those Christians who have a vocation to politics should exercise it, and they need our support. But Christians who believe that politics will save us should discard those illusions now. The primary focus of orthodox Christians in America should be cultural—or rather, countercultural—building the institutions and habits that will carry the faith and the faithful forward through the next Dark Age.
Rod has his detractors in this corner of the Internet but he really does get this one. And so does classic secular leftist James Howard Kunstler.
Christendom has been a Colossus astride the West. And now, for the first time in 1,702 years, we are to become a post-Christian society, with little thought given as to what comes next.