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Friday, May 3, 2019

Bracing for the Future with Mark Galli

Mark GalliMark Galli
Mark Galli
Editor-in-Chief, Christianity Today

Bracing for the Future

The identity politics that shape conversations on race, gender, and sexuality is hardening into a cultural philosophy, neo-Marxism, based not on class but power dynamics. It is becoming our new civil religion. As such, traditional religion is, for many reasons, a threat to society, whose members must be ostracized.
Religion today is being downplayed in American diversity politics, setting it up to be replaced solely by race and sex concerns in which Christianity is labeled an oppressor. In the past, religion was upheld as a diversity factor if only to protect Jewish Americans from anti-Semitism and Muslims from Islamophobia. Never to protect Christians from slander or discrimination.
Another example is how the conversation has shifted ground in sexual politics. Among the more interesting arguments in this piece is that we’re confused about rights and respect.
Often styled as “dignitary” harm, the idea seems to be that when you are refused a service due to the provider’s moral qualms about assisting you in certain activities, your personhood or identity is “demeaned,” and your “dignity” is attacked.
But author Gerard Bradley (who teaches constitutional law at Notre Dame) also suggests that the issue goes deeper, that Christians have unwittingly let the culture shape our very understanding of Christian faith, and this with hardly a peep of protest:
Before sexual identity could emerge as the colossus it is, religion had to be reduced from a set of beliefs and truth-claims about the way the cosmos really is to nothing more than one’s singular expression of ineffable spiritual experiences or of the collective identity of one’s religious tribe. … Only after the public realm was secularized and religion privatized—treated as just one of many possible sources of personal “identity”—could American religious liberty be so threatened by the individual’s demand to define oneself sexually without having to endure moral criticism by others. And the only way for religious liberty to climb back out of this rabbit hole of subjectivity is for believers to insist that theirs is a worldview, an account of the way that reality, visible and invisible, the temporal and the eternal, really is.
To be sure, I’ve featured a number of articles on such themes. But coming back to these issues periodically has helped me move from anger and frustration to a calm but bracing realization that such conflicts are part and parcel of life in Christ, to be endured with patience and forbearance, and the prayer that God will give the church courage to speak about reality, boldly and yet in love.
And to remember that our challenges are minor compared to brothers and sisters overseas.
Why Do Christians Do Horrible Things?
Apparently, the recent attack at the Chabad of Poway synagogue in California was perpetrated by a member of an Orthodox Presbyterian Church. Orthodox Presbyterian Carl Trueman has some wise things to say as he reflects on this tragedy.
Decision Fatigue
Let us end this edition of The Galli Report about religion, politics, and metaphysics and think about the daily life of a mom, who records “Every Decision My Kids Made Me Make in One Day.”
Grace and peace,
Mark GalliMark Galli
Mark Galli
Editor-in-Chief, Christianity Today

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