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America Under Cultural Dhimmitude

Religious conservatives are slowly but steadily becoming second-class citizens.

This morning I received a long e-mail from a reader who works in management at a major corporation. I can’t share anything from it now — maybe he and I can work out something whereby I can share a version of his letter while protecting his privacy — but it’s enough to say that he gave me a detailed account of how the bureaucracy in his company is collecting more and more data on its employees at the same time it’s tightening the screws on the internal culture of diversity. He said that traditional Christians are going deep into the closet there. If you don’t sign up as an LGBT “ally,” they know. No matter how openly supportive you may be of LGBT employees, the company is keeping track of who identifies as an “ally” openly, and who doesn’t.

It doesn’t take a paranoid to see where this is going. It just takes someone who has worked for a corporation, and who has seen how powerful the phrase “hostile work environment” can be.

It’s not “persecution.” But it is something. And it is real.

Ed Stetzer, writing in Christianity Today, observes that InterVarsity Christian Fellowship has been “derecognized” by the California State University system:

IVCF has been derecognized because they require their leaders to have Christian beliefs.

It’s not just InterVarsity that will be impacted. Following the same logic, any group that insists on requiring its leaders to follow an agreed upon set of guiding beliefs is no longer kosher (irony intended) at California’s state universities. This will impact many other faith-based organizations with actual, well, faith-based beliefs. Presumably, even People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals would have to allow Oscar Meyer to lead their campus chapters.

Only in a modern American university would this make any sense.

Now, it’s not persecution. Christians are not banned. People can share their faith. But, now, what we once called “equal access” has taken another hit—people of faith do not have equal access to the university community, like the environmentalist club, the LGBT organization, or the chess club.

Stetzer said the bigger issue is the “sanitization” of religious voices from the higher education community:

However, it appears, increasingly, that Evangelical (and Catholic and Mormon) beliefs are the new “racism” to be excluded from the free exchange of ideas at institutions of higher learning. For the safety and academic well-being of university students, Evangelicals must be organizationally separated (by derecognition) away from the scholastic populace.

Cardinal Francis George of Chicago writes about this issue from a Catholic perspective:

Swimming against the tide means limiting one’s access to positions of prestige and power in society. It means that those who choose to live by the Catholic faith will not be welcomed as political candidates to national office, will not sit on editorial boards of major newspapers, will not be at home on most university faculties, will not have successful careers as actors and entertainers. Nor will their children, who will also be suspect. Since all public institutions, no matter who owns or operates them, will be agents of the government and conform their activities to the demands of the official religion, the practice of medicine and law will become more difficult for faithful Catholics. It already means in some States that those who run businesses must conform their activities to the official religion or be fined, as Christians and Jews are fined for their religion in countries governed by Sharia law.

A reader of the tale of two churches, an outside observer, might note that American civil law has done much to weaken and destroy what is the basic unit of every human society, the family. With the weakening of the internal restraints that healthy family life teaches, the State will need to impose more and more external restraints on everyone’s activities. An outside observer might also note that the official religion’s imposing whatever its proponents currently desire on all citizens and even on the world at large inevitably generates resentment. An outside observer might point out that class plays a large role in determining the tenets of the official State religion. “Same-sex marriage,” as a case in point, is not an issue for the poor or those on the margins of society.

How does the tale end? We don’t know. The actual situation is, of course, far more complex than a story plot, and there are many actors and characters, even among the ruling class, who do not want their beloved country to transform itself into a fake church. It would be wrong to lose hope, since there are so many good and faithful people.

Catholics do know, with the certainty of faith, that, when Christ returns in glory to judge the living and the dead, the church, in some recognizable shape or form that is both Catholic and Apostolic, will be there to meet him. There is no such divine guarantee for any country, culture or society of this or any age.

 Read the whole thing. 

Look, this is coming. This is the new world. This is post-Christian America. You will hear the Law of Merited Impossibility people yelling that this will never happen, but when it does, you people will deserve it, to try to shout down your concerns, and to hide from themselves the illiberal truth of what they’re doing. But it’s happening, and you had better get ready for it, and get your children ready for it, because the people driving this thing believe so strongly in their own virtue. Error has no rights.

UPDATE: Just got an email from the reader who sent me the first one, about his corporation:

As I read that, it sounds more Big Brother for the sake of Big Brother than it is.

It’s more like this:

If you don’t sign up to be a member of the LGBT “ally” group, they notice—especially if you are (or are potentially going to be) a manager. LGBT employees need to be supported by their manager. The manager is the front line with such questions as “I need to have off next Friday because my partner is having surgery” or “do my partner and I qualify for corporate adoption benefits?” If you’re in a same-sex relationship and you don’t know if your manager is an ally, this is a very scary conversation to have. People want to know it’s safe to confide in their manager without fear of being judged.

The company needs to know which managers can be trusted to this end and which can’t. No matter how openly supportive you may be of LGBT employees, the company wants to track of who identifies as an “ally” openly, and who doesn’t. If they don’t count allies and non-allies, they won’t be able to prove things are “improving” nor will they be able to target managers for further inclusion coaching. So, by making it “safer” for some employee demographics to be open about their personal lives, they’re inadvertently closeting others.

Don’t get me wrong. The end game is as Big Brotherish as you present. People need to be made aware of what’s coming. My gut says, however, we need to help people see the logic of how these groups get there. Otherwise we demonize our opponents, making it harder to converse with them and come up with a solution that makes things better.

These people aren’t trying to persecute traditionalists, they just don’t care if they do. Largely, because they’re not aware that their actions are having this effect. They need to talk openly with more traditionalists, and if all the traditionalists just assume that every liberal has it in for them, how will the two sides ever have enough respect for each other to dialog openly?