Rod Dreher: The New Battle Lines

No More Mister Nice GayRod Dreher wrote recently on the American Conservative (The New Battle Lines) that the next step in the domination of culture by progressive elites will be to punish anyone who does not affirm homosexuality. I agree with him. The battle against gay marriage is lost. In fact, the moral inversion of Christian culture is largely complete (gay rights represents it final phase) and orthodox Christians (those who hold to the authority of the Christian moral tradition) have been relegated to a sociological minority. We have become the strangers in a strange land.

Dreher’s article approaches the question from a political angle and argues that the last bastion of any orthodox defense is the preservation of a conscience clause to protect those who disagree with the morality of the dominant culture. It’s compelling but not one that I think will be successful in the end. A conscience clause draws from either religious sensibility or a more developed sense of natural law. One doesn’t contradict the other of course, but in the former progressive ideology is fundamentally a moral reordering of society (inversion) that is necessarily intolerant of any competing truth claims, and the latter is usurped by a law governed by instinct and appetite — man is defined by what he feels.

I’ve argued for a while that gay rights will create the legal ground for the persecution of Christianity. It’s here. Also here is the warning Christ gave over two millennia although contextualized for our time: “They will put you out of the synagogues. Yes, the time comes that whoever kills you will think that he is offering service to God” (John 16:2).

The New Battle Lines

Source: The American Conservative

By Rod Dreher

This just in on behalf of the Pacific School of Religion, a major liberal Protestant seminary:

BERKELEY, Calif., March 11, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — On April 16-17, the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry (CLGS) at Pacific School of Religion will host a symposium addressing the ways in which the concept of “religious liberty” is being used to justify and further discriminatory actions, such as denying service to same sex couples or limiting the reproductive health care benefits for employees. “Religious liberty should emphasize our freedoms — the right to worship, to self-expression — and should never be used as an excuse for discrimination against any group of people,” states Dr. Bernard Schlager, executive director of CLGS and Dean of Pacific School of Religion.

The focus of the symposium will be to articulate a theologically-based and positive definition of religious liberty that explains why religious liberty should not be used as a license to discriminate. The symposium will also consider how the concept of religious liberty can be used to further religious pluralism in the United States.

This is the next step in the fight. It never was going to be enough for progressives to get gay marriage and discrimination against LGBTs outlawed except for within religious organizations. Now the push from progressive elites will be to tear down the wall protecting religious liberty to punish the wrongthinkers. If you don’t think this is coming, you are a fool. The Law of Merited Impossibility is vindicated more and more each day.

Time to lawyer up with the Becket Fund and other religious liberty legal organizations. This is where the battle is now.

On the political front, Maggie Gallagher surveys recent LGBT-related threats to religious liberty, and says:

This is not an exhaustive list by any means, but it points to where I think the greatest threats lie: closing down educational and work opportunities to traditionalists who dare to speak. If the GOP would like to leave a legacy that makes a difference, I would argue for generous anti-discrimination protections for those who favor or oppose gay marriage (unless they work for an organization whose substantial purpose is to favor or oppose gay marriage).


Read the entire article on The American Conservative website.


  1. Christopher says

    Things are moving very fast now.

    Something that did not get hardly any press happened in San Antonio Texas last year (forgive me if I have mentioned this here before). My sister in law first told me about this because she was at the time an “urban minister” (which is something of a cross between social worker and pastor) employed by one of the traditional African-American churches there (most of “Northern” and “American” baptist I believe). The city council, all from the political and cultural left of course, were to vote on an addition to the cities “non-discrimination” clause of “sexual-identity” that did NOT exclude churches, let alone church run institutions such as soup kitchens,etc. The traditional African-American council members, churches, pastors all protested. The rest of the city council instead of listening tried to shame the African-American’s by claiming it as a civil rights issue directly related to their struggle!

    The city council ended up putting a religious exemption in the updated law not because of the efforts of the real “civil rights leaders”, or because of their supposed commitment to “religious freedom” or “pluralism”. They did so because they were informed by the Texas AG that he would oppose this law in the Texas supreme court and they would of course lose given the current makeup of that court. In other words it was raw political power that stopped them. When they have the political power (and some day they will) it is clear what they will do with it.

    Note also that this is not San Francisco, New York, or Seattle. This is San Antonio Texas, deep in the heart of “christian” and “red state” America.

    Things are moving very fast now. We will be in the middle of a “hard” persecution very soon now…

  2. Christopher says

    Just wanted to point to this:


    Yet another microcosm of why the mere “legal” is certainly no haven – the New Moralists will define all these things (i.e. “religious freedom”, “speech”, “discrimination”, “fraud”, “mental disorder”, etc.) in their own terms and in a way to accomplish their own political, moral, and religious goals – which is of course the defeat of traditional Christian anthropology…

    p.s. One of the great deceits of “secular” or “modern” worldview is that it conned everyone into thinking that it was in fact not a religion/worldview and thus is the “neutral” ground where all other worldviews can meet, “dialogue”, and disputes can be mediated. Of course, this lie is coming more into plain view now that we see just how intolerant and moralistic this religion truly is…

  3. Gregory Manning says

    As a repentant homosexual and Orthodox Christian I have been baffled by the importance given to homosexuality within the culture at large and politics in particular. For the life of me I am completely unable to discern what quality, singular to homosexuals, is so crucial to the survival of any civilization that so much energy should be spent in its defense! Evolution certainly has no use for it. What is the purposeof it? It serves no utility that I can see. Why has it been given so much weight that citizens, and Christians like myself, must be oppressed if we refuse to “celebrate” it? I rarely watch TV any more but, a few years ago I heard some news commentator, enthused by the growing acceptance of homosexuality, exclaim that we, citizens of an (presumably) advanced civilization, had finally “arrived” in the 21st century because of this acceptance. Flabbergasted, I remember thinking how truly absurd we had become that we would consider the acceptance of sodomy and disordered affection as the high mark of an advanced civilization!

    I have no research to back this up but I am confident that the engine that drives this ludicrous phenomenon is not to be found within the gay community but rather outside of it. The force that drives it is extremely cynical and loathes humanity at large. Those like myself who have not only fled from this depressing and deadly life but have also chosen to seek out a new life in Christ will certainly be persecuted. I don’t look forward to it as such but I’m more afraid for those who are unable to see that they are being used. This includes not only homosexuals but heterosexuals who believe they are just being helpful. More especially, I fear for bishops and priests who have become, in their weak faith and gentle and well-meaning guilelessness, the proverbial “useful idiots”. Chesterton was right: the devil is more dangerous to his friends than to his enemies.

    In the film “A Man for all Seasons”, Thomas More thought he would be safe if he just kept to himself and remained silent but, as Cromwell angrily noted, More’s silence “roared” up and down Europe. We as Christians will not be left alone. Even if we keep to ourselves, our very existence will always be an intolerable witness to this evil delusion.

  4. Gregory, clearly the battle is with “spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places”. Romans 1 describes the place at which we have arrived in our culture. It is the end of the line in a long process of embracing sin–of embracing darkness and calling it light. I agree it is frightening, but we have the encouragement of our Lord in Luke 21:28, “Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.” And in John 16:33, “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” God bless you.

  5. Gregory, homosexuality is the banner sin for all other sins because unlike, say, usury, everyone past puberty intimately understands sexuality. In the battle over sin, then, homosexuality becomes a bright and unmistakeable banner, unlike microfinancing for poor women in Guatemala. Thus, those who wish to break down the castle walls against all sin wave that banner high, as do its defenders on the ramparts. So when Rod warns us about having already lost on gay marriage, I’m afraid he’s warning us as Christians against having already lost the cultural battle against all sins. This is what makes his Benedict Option so interesting and maybe so necessary.

    • Christopher says

      I like the way you put that Ken. To “break down the walls against all sin” means that sin is no longer recognized, which means that the definition of man has fundamentally changed, which means that Modern Man does not understand his ontological situation. It’s in an interesting story, probably going back all the way to when “the west” lost the “patristic consensus” sometime in the early middle ages.

      One thing I agree with you is that Classical Christians will have to stop pretending that their neighbors think like they do, and thus when they speak of the good and moralize they mean something similar to what Christians mean. Actually, I think this will be forced upon Classical Christians because we will be persecuted in real ways around the issue of “gay marriage”, “hate speech”, etc.

      Still, there are those who are going to be very slow on the uptake on all this. One example are the aged “metropolitian’s” who represent the EP and are arguing that modernist language centered around “non discrimination” and homosexualism be included in the upcoming “Great Council”. Their naivety is on full display because they really do believe that they can use language such as “non discrimination” and have it mean something in this context. They really don’t understand that to the New Man, such language means you have accepted their anthropology…

      • Michael Bauman says

        Christopher, “They really don’t understand that to the New Man, such language means you have accepted their anthropology…” and they (the New Men) would be right!

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