Sri Lankans dying for our sins

[I]n the jihadist imagination Western Christianity and Western liberal individualism are the conjoined enemies of their longed-for religious utopia, their religious-totalitarian version of Islam. Tourists and missionaries, Coca-Cola and the Catholic Church — it’s all the same invading Christian enemy, different brand names for the same old crusade.

… [T]here is also a way in which liberal discourse in the West implicitly accepts part of the terrorists’ premise — by treating Christianity as a cultural possession of contemporary liberalism, a particularly Western religious inheritance that even those who no longer really believe have a special obligation to remake and reform.

… [A]s Ben Sixsmith noted for The Spectator, it would never cross anyone’s mind to suggest that Mecca or the Golden Temple should lose their distinctively Islamic and Sikh characters to accommodate people of different faiths.” But an ancient, famous Catholic cathedral is instinctively understood as somehow the common property of an officially post-Catholic order, especially when the opportunity suddenly arises to renovate it.

… [T]he main victims of Western liberalism’s peculiar relationship to its Christian heritage aren’t put-upon traditionalists in the West; they’re Christians like the murdered first communicants in Sri Lanka, or the jailed pastors in China, or the Coptic martyrs of North Africa, or any of the millions of non-Western Christians who live under constant threat of persecution.

… (“Sri Lanka church bombings stoke far-right anger in the West” ran the headline of a worried Washington Post analysis,” as though the most worrying consequence of dead Christians in South Asia were angry conservatives in America.)

Unfortunately the various conservative alternatives to this liberal muddle are not always more helpful to persecuted Christians. George W. Bush’s conservative-Christian naïveté helped doom Iraqi Christians. American-conservative support for Israel creates blind spots about the struggles of Arab Christians. The conservative nationalism that succeeded Bush’s idealism often treats Christianity instrumentally and forges its own alliances with persecutors ….

Ross Douthat, Are Christians Privileged or Persecuted?

Yes! This! Every word! Including the ones I didn’t excerpt. I’m astonished that nobody else who I follow” has raved about it yet.

April 24, 2019


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