Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Pro-Life Useful Idiots for the Left

The Anchoress notes that the lunatic fringe of the Terri Schiavo vigil is making the rest of us look bad and possibly scaring off the moderates:

I wasn't going to discuss the Krugman piece, which is a pulling -all-the-alarms-and-throwing-the-dress-over-the-face-aria "...dangerous extremists belong to the majority religion and the majority ethnic group, and wield great political influence." It's one of Krugman's standard scripts: the danger of the evangelical right in America.

But I'm so angry that some Christians are playing into this script that that I have to comment.

Yes, Christians are playing to the script. They're playing to every nasty stereotype of them that the left has ever constructed. We have that media-hog and rabble-rouser Randall Terry getting WAY too much air and mic time. I began to really worry the moment I saw him being interviewed as a family spokesperson. Fortunately, they've given him the boot, but too late. In the short time he had the cameras trained on him, Terry has done what he always does when he gets before the cameras; scared the hell out of non-believers and made moderate Christians rush to reassure their secularist friends, "I am NOT like that! That is NOT my idea of Christianity."

Meanwhile, other Christians are calling the President Bush and Governor Bush - the two politicians most sympathetic to their cause - all sorts of names. "Pilate", and "wimp" and "traitor." Their rhetoric has been so remarkably inflamed, that the president and the governor are very likely loathe to make moves they might have made otherwise, for fear of it being interpreted by the media as pandering to these extreme people, and for the even greater fear of their moves being interpreted by these angry Christians as a victory, and a validation of their tactics.
One of the disadvantages of my anti-TV policy is that I sometimes miss little tidbits like the fact that Randall Terry has entered the fray. I generally don't like to criticize fellow Christians in public, even when they are embarassing, because I feel that deep down I have more in common with even the snake-handling faction than I ever can have with the most urbane of unbelievers. Or, more precisely, that what we have in common, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, goes deeper than my disgust with their tackiness and anti-intellectualism.

But I think what the Anchoress points out here is that this is more than merely tackiness:
The 2004 elections and the "morality" meme that followed them served to tempt some Christians - a distinct minority - to the sin of Pride. It was heady to look at the red/blue map and realize that the democrats only successes were in the monied, cosmopolitan areas on either coast. "God has brought victory to the lowly," one Christian wrote to me, crowing. It was tempting to believe, I admit it.

Pride. It goeth before a fall.
In fact, I would say that she is being a bit too generous. If she is right in her diagnosis -- and I think she is -- then these people are imperilling something far more precious than the 2006 elections: they are imperilling their own souls. This kind of pride is of diabolical origin and, though it may begin with a love of life, it ends with a hatred of our neighbor. It is this sin, call it pride or self-righteousness, which motivated the Pharisees to crucify Jesus on the grounds of defending the purity of their religion.

Obviously not all of the people who are registering dismay about the Schiavo case are committing this sin, and a lion's share of the culpability goes to the media who seek out the wackos in order to impugn the rest of us. But I have noticed a certain level of hysteria even among people that I otherwise respect. I am going to give the Anchoress the last word on this subject:
Pray for Terri Schiavo. But then display the faith you so loudly proclaim by trying to comprehend that more is at work here than mere earthly machinations which are being played to. Attach yourself to the things of the spirit and leave aside things of the world, or the world will entangle you and distort your message.

Update: Dan at Regnum Crucis has similar thoughts.

No comments: