Jun 29, 2015

Poor Wayfaring Dreher

"Voting Republican and other failed culture war strategies are not going to save us now," writes Dreher, implying that Orthodox Christians in America had been looking to the Republican Party to save them.

From the perspective of an Orthodox Christian, I can imagine no stronger indictment of "Orthodox Christianity" than that such a thing could be thought, written--apparently in all seriousness--and then published by a major news organization without anyone thinking anything of it.  One traditionally thinks of Orthodox Christians, in America or otherwise, as turning to Jesus to save them, but in my four years an atheist I seem to have fallen behind the times.  Like the Israelites of old, they have turned to Egypt for their succor and found it a staff of crushed reed, an "ally" who only ever intended to use and betray.

But now, deprived of both their asserted "right" to bend the law in service of their oppression and of any knowledge of what their sacred text actually says about marriage (virgin-saving and polygamy both come to mind), they find themselves cast adrift, exiles in a cruel, debauched world which crucified their very Lord.

In the mouths of the overweight majority of the richest and most powerful nation that ever existed, the persecution narrative becomes a marvelous emetic.  Christians must paint themselves as victims--as the outcast, the persecuted, those despised of the world.  Jesus promised his followers that they would be exiles; at least some of these lily-white Republican stooges have read those passages, and the implications lay buried in their collective subconscious like a stinger.  If we're not being persecuted, then we're not followers of Christ, and Dreher's jawdroppingly un-self-aware whinge is but the latest pearl to grow from that sand-grain abyss.

Middle-aged white dudes wrapping themselves in the shawl of misery and LARP-ing out 'Poor Wayfaring Stranger' would be hilarious were the underlying terror less heartfelt, and that terror would be pitiable were it not for the suffering they inflict on others to assuage it.  Make no mistake: Team Evil does not consist solely of knuckle-dragging bigots justifying their inborn hatred with a few clobber passages, nor does the remainder consist entirely of decent people who just can't square the good they want to do with the evil that the Bible commands.  Beneath and woven through them both is fear--fear at the juxtaposition of their station and their beliefs, a fear so profound that in their desperation they latched onto something this stupid in order to wish it away.

This is as charitable a picture as I am able to paint of those now falling onto their carefully positioned fainting couches, and it is dredged from my own experience at considerable emotional expense.  Perhaps I am wrong, perhaps he is not tormented by his faith into tormenting others.  But being as how his politics and beliefs have tormented others, eliminating fear reduces the field of explanations to malice and stupidity. If you look at this great milestone towards the end of oppression, violence, and hate, and all you've got is "Woe is me!" then you're either a horrible person or you're really fucking dumb.

And whatever else he is, Dreher isn't dumb.

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