By Charlie Johnston
The single most chilling event of the last year occurred yesterday afternoon – and it didn’t have anything to do (maybe) with the American Presidential debate last night.
I am not a fan of the Michael Savage Show. I listened once some years ago and that was enough for me. But he does have a daily syndicated radio show with 400 affiliate stations and an estimated 20 million listeners. In his second hour yesterday, he started discussing Democratic Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton’s health. Suddenly, his show was cut off by the New York affiliate, WABC, and replaced. As word trickled in on what had happened, Savage told his audience what had happened. As he began this, his show was suddenly cut off by many of his other affiliates and replaced with a tape of an old show. This second link is more fevered, but offers an audio of that full second hour so you can hear for yourself.
It is most unlikely that his affiliates simultaneously decided his show was not to their liking and pulled it, replacing it with the same old taped show. The show is syndicated through Westwood One, so perhaps the syndicator pulled it en masse. Perhaps Westwood One did not want to face the same troubles Silicon Valley Executive Peter Thiel is facing after having endorsed against the Democrats this year: Thiel’s Palantir Technologies company is being sued by the Department of Labor for racial discrimination against Asians – for only hiring 44% Asians! He is probably the only guy in the country being sued for discriminating against Asians – and with Asians comprising near half his workforce. The company is threatened with forfeiting all its federal contracts, $340 million worth. That Thiel is openly gay did not slow the feds down: in fact, it probably made it all the more urgent that they crack down on him to discourage any other defections from one of their ‘core’ constituencies.’ Though the allegation is laughable, it sends a chilling message to others who may be contemplating revolt.
I have written repeatedly that though the anti-God progressives think they have been leaping from victory to victory these last few years with lawless bullying and punishing of Christians and social conservatives, they have actually been revealing themselves for the mindless, power-obsessed brutes they are and, in the process, discrediting themselves. Though their relentlessly triumphal malice dulls their wits, I suspect that even the anti-God progressives are sensing they are losing the contest of persuasion. Rather than risk losing the country and all their ‘gains,’ if that became a serious possibility in their minds, they would turn to what has worked reliably for them these last few years: brute lawless force. Christians and conservatives have been ineffective in defending Constitutional and moral liberty. The Congress and the Courts have been laughably inept, sometimes even co-conspirators with the aggressors rather than defending foundational freedoms.
So today, as we get deeper into these times of fulfillment, I contemplate some stark possibilities.
If free and open communication is suspended for more than a day, I will set out on foot toward Washington, D.C. It will not be my sole means of transportation (at least I hope not), but will be how I start. I will not broadcast my route, but I will travel in plain sight, unarmed. If the politico-media complex which currently occupies the governing and cultural institutions of this country seeks to take by force what they cannot win by persuasion, let’s see how they handle a 10-million man march. I do not expect to walk alone.
Why, though, only a 10-million man march in a country of nearly 400 million? Most people will have other, vital things to do to begin restoration of a genuinely civil order. Those who walk will mostly be comprised of unattached men.
The bulk of the people, in such a dire crisis, should be occupied in forming little communities to provide mutual support and assistance to each other, giving special attention to the weakest and most vulnerable in the community. The locus of organization must be the local parishes and churches. Sadly, even local governments are heavily infected by cadres of people who think the essence of governing is forcing their imperial will on a reluctant population wanting mainly to be left alone. Do not succumb to the temptation to withdraw from the community, to go into isolation. There is strength in numbers, particularly numbers who actively provide each other support and assistance. Make these communities open to any person of good will, regardless of their faith or lack thereof. The persecution of early Christians in Rome was often blunted by the Christians’ eagerness to help and offer aid and succor to any who needed it. In some cases, pagan authorities looked the other way from outlawed Christians in their midst because the Christians were the most effective source of health care and charity around. Remember, all faithful, sincere Christians and Jews are full and equal partners in the work before us during this Storm.
Rely on local police to provide protection for your communities; local officers, sheriff’s deputies and state police. They are your neighbors and already a part of your community. They will stand with you. Sometimes I think that is why the federal government has worked so hard to vilify local police: because they know such officers would not stand with oppressors in a crisis. Don’t worry overmuch about the military. Certainly, there has been a purge of top generals in the last decade to fill slots with men whose lust for advancement surpasses their love of country, but the honor culture in the middle officer corps and among enlisted men remains strong and vibrant.
Do not burden a Priest or Pastor with temporal leadership. Their job is to provide spiritual guidance to the community and succor to the afflicted. Temporal leadership will devolve on those who most devote themselves to serving the community, not to peacocks vainly seeking self-actualization. To effectively serve the community, the spiritual and temporal leadership must work in regular consultation and harmony with each other.
Bishops have a critical role to play. Diocesan boundaries already cover the bulk of the globe. They are a natural center for coordination, communication, and support. They are a kind of miniature states, already in place. Dioceses can facilitate communication and coordination between parishes and other houses of worship within their boundaries – and communications with other dioceses. The pastoral role of Bishops will be pre-eminent during any time of crisis.
These last few weeks I have been contemplating the shooting at Umpqua College in Oregon last year. The gunman specifically targeted Christians, asking hostages one-by-one if they were Christian, then executing them if they said yes. He murdered nine students. The first person to be asked that question probably did not know what the consequences of a yes answer would be. The last eight almost certainly knew what the stakes were, but they declared their faith anyway.
This was Oregon, one of the least religious states in the country. It’s a pretty safe wager that the majority of those Christians who were martyred did not know they were Christian until they were forced to choose. It was a profound sign of hope for me in the midst of that terrible tragedy. The anti-God progressives insist that life has no meaning, that all we get is as much transient pleasure and power as we can grab. Christianity teaches that life has profound, ultimate, eternal meaning. Forced, with the highest stakes, to choose between a grubbing life with no meaning or to believe in the transcendent meaning that Christianity proposes, most chose meaning despite the murderous rage of the gunman.
The last few years, the government and its eager brownshirt allies in the media and cultural institutions have been relentlessly asking, “Are you a Christian?” When the answer is a firm yes, the respondent is fined, bankrupted, even jailed, or stripped of their livelihood. Government officials have presumed to examine sermons and books for signs of heterodoxy against the new official pagan sensibility. It started with a few florists and bakers. It has expanded to anyone who doesn’t want their daughter forced to share the restroom with grown men. It won’t stop until it is stopped. Until the cultural brownshirts are toppled by overwhelming resistance, they will continue to push the boundaries into the brave new world of their fevered, obsessive fantasies.
Another question, scarcely louder than a whisper, sometimes obscured by the sound and fury of the Storm engulfing us, has been rising simultaneously with great urgency. It is the same question that Jesus asked Peter three times in John 21, after the Resurrection: “Do you love me?” In these times of trial, when Christians are being ridiculed, marginalized and actively persecuted in the west, Jesus is asking us to declare. Do we love Him? The answer comes with our actions, not our words. Once again, Jesus gives a call to action if the answer is yes. He tells us to “Feed my lambs,” not to conquer His opponents. His opponents are collapsing in on themselves and the Lord, Himself, will give them a final shove and chance to repent. We are called to focus on feeding His lambs. In short, acknowledge Him, take the next right step, and be a sign of hope to those around us.
Though I was told in late 1997 that we had gone so far afield that only the Storm would be enough to bring us back to God, I still find a part of myself sometimes rooting, with my critics, that I am wrong, wrong, wrong…that Donald Trump will live a Saul on the road to Damascus conversion, be calmly elected and inaugurated, and all this would pass. That hope is blunted by the knowledge that such a scenario would only be piecemeal, and would not give us motivation to fully know and live our dependence on God. At best, it could only be a truce in the culture wars – and perhaps not even that. Throughout the world, throughout history, anti-God progressives cannot live in tolerance with others. There is something about the ideology that insists they must impose their will on everyone; all must bend the knee to their pagan sensibilities or be crushed and disposed of. Whether it is the gulag, re-education camps or death camps, anti-God progressives will abide no dissent. They can’t live and let live, for it is always about power with them.
William Seward, the man who was to become Abraham Lincoln’s Secretary of State, said before the Civil War that the divisions in the country were so deep and unbridgeable that we were headed for an “irrepressible conflict.” We are there, again. But this time, it will be of much shorter duration – and the anti-God progressives have overtly declared war on faith and God, Himself, as well as His people. Already, much worse scenarios have been averted because of the rise of real faith among so many in so many hearts and homes throughout the west. Many, as the Storm has become visible and more furious, have already turned their face back to their God in hope.
If the irrepressible conflict must come, know that it is not the end of anything but the dying convulsions of the old order. It is the beginning of our restoration to God. You are called to feed His lambs and thus, become participants in the Rescue He will send.
Semper fidelis! Adeste fidelis!