- The American Conservative - https://www.theamericanconservative.com -

America’s Culture War Mercenaries

A reader passes along a government document putting out bids for a contract. Here’s the top of the document:

screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-9-50-04-pm

Apparently the (former Yugoslav) Republic of Macedonia [1], a small Balkan nation that emerged from the breakup of Yugoslavia, is insufficiently progressive on LGBT issues. So the American government is spending $300,000 to undermine the traditional Orthodox Christian culture of the country. Excerpts from the document (emphases mine):

Macedonia has ratified the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the European Human Rights Convention. Through ratification of these human rights treaties, Macedonia has assumed obligations and duties under international law to respect, to protect, and to fulfil human rights. Despite the adoption of international human rights principles, which are incorporated in domestic legislation, Macedonia has made little progress towards meeting European Union criteria in strengthening the rule of law and respect for human rights according to international reports. In these terms, the country has still not met the necessary requirements for EU membership. The 2015 EU Progress Report notes that “Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons continue to suffer discrimination and homophobic media content, both online and offline… Considerable efforts are still needed to raise awareness of and respect for diversity within society and to counter intolerance. This needs to be done through public campaigns and training of law enforcement bodies, prosecutors, judges and health workers.”

What does this mean? Are radio stations calling for pogroms against LGBTs? Or are newspapers simply calling on readers to hold fast to the traditional teaching on marriage? It’s impossible to say without further information. The diversocrats slap the Orwellian word “homophobia” — as if the pathology of fear were the cause of any belief that falls short of 100 percent affirmation. Similarly, we know from our own experience that when the Left says “respect for diversity,” it means “you will accept what we believe about LGBT, and cast aside your religious beliefs.” Macedonia is a country that is 2/3 Orthodox and 1/3 Muslim. I could be wrong, but I would not be surprised if many people there hold beliefs about LGBTs that would trouble even conservative Christians in the West. But we can be certain that as far as USAID is concerned, any belief about homosexuality and transgenderism short of what obtains in the offices of the Human Rights Campaign and the English faculty at Oberlin must be stamped out. More:

The LGBTI community is systematically discriminated against. The 2013 Macedonian Helsinki Committee Report on Hate Crime Incidents concludes that youth and members of the LGBTI community are the most affected members of society owing to the fact that sexual orientation and gender identity are not recognized grounds on which hate crimes can be perpetrated. Bias motivated crimes are not properly reported or investigated by the police. Relevant practitioners do not receive training regarding the identification and response to hate incidents. By not treating the hate crimes phenomena as a separate issue, the state does not offer special protection and support to victims.

Wait, so because the country’s legal system does not single out LGBTs for “special protection and support” when they are physically attacked, that means it’s homophobic? There are lots of people in this country (like Andrew Sullivan [2]) who find the concept of “hate crimes” philosophically and morally problematic, and inherently ideological. If Macedonia has hate crime designations for violence against other groups but not LGBTs, then that’s a problem. But is it really a problem that’s the business of the United States to solve?

More:

The LGBTI community in Macedonia faces numerous challenges, as noted in international reports. In May 2015, the International LGBTI Association, which rates European countries according to how fully they respect the human rights of and grant full equality to the LGBTI community, ranked Macedonia as 43rd out of 49 countries, the worst score in the Balkans. The community suffers from discrimination, physical violence, lack of legal protections, and use of derogatory language in the media, government, and society. The situation is particularly dire for rural LGBTI persons and youth. Exacerbating these problems is the ruling party’s promotion of a socially conservative, exclusionary agenda that relies on traditional gender ideology.

Well, there you are: sounds like the government of this traditionally Orthodox country promotes what the Orthodox church teaches about sexuality and gender, and what human beings have believed for time immemorial. And that is something the United States government will not tolerate, and in fact hates so much that it is planning to spend $300,000 to send in agents to undermine faith and family in a small Balkan nation. Cultural hegemony, liberal-style. Does Washington hire culture-war mercenaries to go into countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatr to spread the gospel of sexual diversity? Or do they just do this to countries too small, poor, and powerless to resist?

Finally, this excerpt:

The objectives of the program are:

1) Increasing awareness of LGBTI rights and advocacy;

2) Ensuring a safe place for vulnerable members of the community;

3) Developing institutional capacity by facilitating networks and the engagement of the LGBTI community members with each other (nationally and regionally), the broader CSO community, and local and national institutions; and

4) Assist LGBTI CSOs to build alliances with human rights and media CSOs to combat hate speech and exclusionary narratives. 

“Exclusionary narratives”? I suppose we should call the nearest Gender Studies faculty to find out what that means, but it’s pretty clear that US taxpayer dollars are being used to hire culture-war mercenaries to go into a Christian country, in complete disrespect for its religious belief and traditions, and destabilize them.

And if Washington finds traditional Christianity so threatening abroad that it’s willing to spend taxpayer dollars to hire Social Justice Warriors to fight it, what do you think the future holds for traditional Christianity in our own country? You had better start preparing  yourself, your family, and your community for the resistance. The New York Times today has a story about Iowa’s conservative Evangelicals trying to come to terms with their losses. It focuses in part on the Odgaards, an older couple who had to sell their business because they would not rent out the chapel inside it to a gay couple for a wedding. “It all flipped, so fast,” [3] one of them said.

It did. And it’s not flipping back, even if Donald Trump is elected president. It’s a new world now. The US Government is positioning itself as the enemy of traditional Christians, (and Jews, and Muslims) with our “hate speech” and “exclusionary narratives.” That’s a big reason why I wrote The Benedict Option [4].

 

Advertisement
92 Comments (Open | Close)

92 Comments To "America’s Culture War Mercenaries"

#1 Comment By Tim B On September 29, 2016 @ 12:45 pm

There is a December 2015 article in the NY Times titled “Us Support of Gay Rights May Have Done More Harm than Good.” It documents the huge amount of money the State department it is spending and harm that it is causing. It’s worth reading.

#2 Comment By AJ On September 29, 2016 @ 12:47 pm

So it comes to this, America now exports agents of perversion to bully small countries into accepting a narrow LGTBI agenda. Will the US now go to war to ensure that Gay Pride parades are held in cities around the globe?

Exporting revolutions. Exporting perversions. Exporting coups. Invading the world and inviting the world. Unending foreign interventions that are bankrupting the country. Under these circumstances, is it really wrong anymore to refuse to stand for the National Anthem for reasons far beyond Colin Kaepernick’s? Because the nation you are honoring by so doing is an ideal that no longer exists, and hasn’t for some time. It’s just a fading memory of past glories, shrouded in the mists of history. It’s just dying embers kept faintly glowing by a misplaced illogical patriotism that would make no sense to people if they really took it out and looked at it. The very air we breathe now is different, to paraphrase Solzhenitsyn.

#3 Comment By JonF On September 29, 2016 @ 12:51 pm

This is just one small facet of the US’s hyperactive foreign policy, which it deems it the proper business of our nation to go gallivanting around the globe looking for– well, not even monsters mostly– but also minor imps and gremlins to slay. If a Republican were in office our tax dollars would be going toward an international search and destroy mission against rightwing imps and gremlins– e.g., those sinning against the almighty demi-god Free Market. It’s national hubris writ large (and small).

#4 Comment By JonF On September 29, 2016 @ 12:55 pm

Re: Does it not sound as if the United States itself is in violation?

How? I am not aware that we practice child marriage or involuntary marriages in this country.

#5 Comment By JonF On September 29, 2016 @ 12:57 pm

Re: …at least under his leadership Russia is the one powerful country that stands up for traditional morality and that can and does serve as a check on U.S. cultural hegemony abroad.

Which is why prostitution is rife in Russia and the country has a high rate of HIV infections.
Beware buying into propaganda pedaled by autocrats. Russia’s supposed “morality” is a Potmekin village.

#6 Comment By Captain P On September 29, 2016 @ 1:02 pm

May Thermidor come quickly

#7 Comment By Peter On September 29, 2016 @ 1:05 pm

@mark_be

For what it’s worth, I think Uganda’s law was a bad one and I’m glad that it was thrown out by the court. Incidentally, it was thrown out on a technicality and not because the content of the law was deemed to be unconstitutional. The law called for life imprisonment for certain actions (rape, sex with a minor, and sex knowing one has HIV/AIDS) and lesser punishments for a whole raft of other things, including homosexual sex and gay-rights advocacy. I think it was a bad law, but given that the United States is paying for pro-LGBT advocacy you can see why traditional societies might feel the need to protect themselves. In a post-colonial world, pushing too hard for Western values is a backlash waiting to happen. As an aside, China is taking that backlash straight to the bank all across Africa.

American evangelicals did not play a substantial role in the law’s development and passage. Scott Lively is the only prominent person I can think of who makes preaching against homosexuality a prominent part of his work in Uganda, but he’s swimming with the tide on that issue there. The law was popular with most Ugandans, and the intrusiveness of the West in response to the law is resented, as you might expect.

Finally, you’re right that the Bush Administration spent billions of dollars trying to fight AIDS, and to that end some of the money was dedicated to abstinence education. Not abstinence only, as you put it, but abstinence as part of a package of prevention strategies.

For my part I don’t consider fighting AIDS to be ideological colonization. There are better Bush examples you could point to, such as the Iraq War, that better make your point that “everybody does it.”

#8 Comment By Colonel Blimp On September 29, 2016 @ 1:18 pm

Do you remember all those apocalyptic rants by fundamentalist preachers back in the 1980s/90s? You know, about how the Antichrist would have a Russian accent or look like an Arab? Oh, the irony. Robert Benson may have been closer to the mark a century ago in ‘Lord of the World’ when his imaginary Antichrist was a senator from Vermont.

I know I have said it before, but there is nothing in this that could not have been deduced from the lettering on the US seal, ‘Novus Ordo Seclorum’. For the Christian, the new order of the ages began with the resurrection of Christ. Any political order that thinks of itself as the salvation of humanity is simply idolatrous. What has emerged in America, perhaps what had to emerge from the strange farrago of Deism, Whiggery and Puritanical zeal in which the US was conceived, is a civilisation that is militantly opposed to traditional forms of human identity and social structures and see its revolutionary mission in salvific terms. It is not enough merely to dissolve and undermine tradition within ones own country – the rest of the world must ape at all costs. Michael Ledeen said it all better than I can:

“Creative destruction is our middle name, both within our own society and abroad. We tear down the old order every day, from business to science, literature, art, architecture, and cinema to politics and the law. Our enemies have always hated this whirlwind of energy and creativity, which menaces their traditions (whatever they may be) and shames them for their inability to keep pace. Seeing America undo traditional societies, they fear us, for they do not wish to be undone. They cannot feel secure so long as we are there, for our very existence—our existence, not our politics—threatens their legitimacy. They must attack us in order to survive, just as we must destroy them to advance our historic mission”.

If that is truly America’s historic mission, then it is a curse on the world from which we must hope to be liberated.

#9 Comment By Annek On September 29, 2016 @ 1:22 pm

mrscracker:

“A woman in Africa wrote in an article that while her local health clinic lacked for even the most basic, life saving medications, it overflowed with contraceptives donated from foreign interests. It gave her a pretty clear idea of how Western nations valued African lives.”

Yes, but have you seen the population forecasts for Africa? They’re staggering and unsustainable.

[5]

#10 Comment By Rebecca On September 29, 2016 @ 1:43 pm

“Time immemorial” means “since before we can remember”. So, yep, quite certainly as far back as human memory goes, heterosexual relationships resulting in children who are raised in a stable environment has been considered optimal. Before then, nobody knows, because nobody remembers. All speculation on that point is equally speculation. But the fact that the human race reproduced sufficiently in harsh conditions to survive until the times we can remember would seem to argue in favor of Rod’s point.

#11 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On September 29, 2016 @ 1:47 pm

Utter waste of money. Even assuming the the LGBTQWERTY agenda was the height of reason, decency, and humanity, trying to influence local cultures in this manner is no part of the diplomatic mission of any country, or any aspect of foreign policy.

It reminds me of Saudi Arabia spending its oil profits building Wahabbi mosques in countries that have never experienced this particular brand of Islam before.

Whether either one is right or not is irrelevant. Its wrong to impose upon another country in this manner.

If Donald Trump gave any evidence of human decency, probity, discernment, patience, or judgment, this might tip me to voting for him. Unfortunately, he gives no evidence of any of the above.

I did refrain from casting an early ballot while I was downtown the other day. I really have to wait and see exactly what I’m going to do.

I’m not sure how the gay crowd would benefit from being associated with US propaganda. I’m afraid that the effect could be further mistrust and isolation.

Also true. The Ugly American, cultural imperialism, and all that.

#12 Comment By Red brick On September 29, 2016 @ 2:05 pm

New Babylon marches on!

#13 Comment By Red brick On September 29, 2016 @ 2:14 pm

“Rob G says:
September 29, 2016 at 10:13 am
Inside every poor benighted Macedonian is an enlightened multiculturalist Westerner waiting to get out.”

Rob G for the win.

Full metal jacket meets Oberlin faculty lounge!

#14 Comment By Rusty On September 29, 2016 @ 2:14 pm

While I was leaning toward sympathy for the Odgaards, the NYT disabused me of that:

Betty and Dick Odgaard used to own the tiny church next door to their home. They had built it over 13 years into an art gallery, bistro, flower shop and framing service. They even rented out the chapel, with its bright stained glass windows, for social events.

“I’ll remember these words for the rest of my life,” said Mr. Ellars, 35, a database administrator. “He looked at us and he said, ‘I can’t take your money, and we don’t do anything for free.’

By copping to the explicitly transactional nature of the property, Mr. Odgaard’s fate was sealed. Calling something chapel-shaped a chapel does not make it a chapel.

FWIW, I think it appropriate that these rent-seeking squatters were displaced by an actual congregation. Now the flower shop is a children’s ministry, and the little church “is already outgrowing the space.”

You really should be celebrating.

#15 Comment By M. F. Bonner On September 29, 2016 @ 2:31 pm

“The objectives of the program are:

1) Increasing awareness of LGBTI rights and advocacy;

2) Ensuring a safe place for vulnerable members of the community;

3) Developing institutional capacity by facilitating networks and the engagement of the LGBTI community members with each other (nationally and regionally), the broader CSO community, and local and national institutions; and

4) Assist LGBTI CSOs to build alliances with human rights and media CSOs to combat hate speech and exclusionary narratives.”

I have no idea whether the situation in Macedonia warrants any of this, given the small amount of money, perhaps not.

But, which of these things is it that you think traditional Christianity is opposed to?

If you were to change “LGBT” to “Jewish” or “Immigrant” would that change the reaction? What if LGBT was changed to Christian (I imagine there are a number of countries where this type of program might improve the lot of Christians)?

Perhaps it would bother you just as much if it were religious faith instead of sexual orientation that the program sought to benefit. Perhaps we shouldn’t be interfering in the internal affairs of countries whose traditions do not place a value on freedom of religion.

If so, I assume this government grant would bother you just as much:

[6]

If it wouldn’t, why?

In fact, some of these things might sound like things that could benefit a Benedict Option community, if they were embraced by government. If that happened, would you object?

Would a Benedict Option group be interested in:

1. Increasing awareness of religious rights and advocacy;

2. Ensuring a safe place for vulnerable members of the community;

3. Developing institutional capacity by facilitating networks and the engagement of the religious community members with each other (nationally and regionally); and

4. Assist religious CSOs to build alliances with human rights and media CSOs to combat hate speech and exclusionary narratives.

#16 Comment By Emrys On September 29, 2016 @ 2:32 pm

I agree that we should not try and undermine the religious and social structures of foreign sovereign nations and I am glad you agree too. So you will also of course agree that all US religions should stop sending missionaries abroad, who are doing exactly the same thing.

[NFR: Of course not. I don’t care if gay rights organizations want to go to Macedonia and undertake activism. My objection is to the US government paying for it. I would also object to the US government paying for religious proselytism. — RD]

#17 Comment By M. F. Bonner On September 29, 2016 @ 2:57 pm

“Here is Article 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

‘Article 16.

(1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.
(2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.
(3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.’

Does it not sound as if the United States itself is in violation? Or is the Declaration that we signed on to just another bigoted document?”

Which of these would the US be violating?

“(1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.”

I am not aware of any US law that prevents men and women from marrying, without any limitation on race, nationality, or religion. We do not restrict marriage by race, we do not restrict marriage based on religion (except, perhaps by restricting polygamy), and we do not restrict marriage based on nationality. In fact, we go further than Article 16 appears to require, as we also do not limit that right based on sexual orientation.

“(2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.”

As far as I know forced marriage is not legal in the US.

“(3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.”

Based on the number of US laws and statutes that privilege marital status, I don’t see the US in violation of this statute either. We even include same sex couples in this privileged status.

#18 Comment By A Little Weird On September 29, 2016 @ 3:53 pm

So the Comintern of the 21st century will be a rainbow of colors, not just red.

#19 Comment By Alex (the one that likes Ike) On September 29, 2016 @ 4:04 pm

The thing that somewhat calms me down though is that amount of money. Yes, it looks like a hell lot of money not even for an average Macedonian and not even for an average American. I believe it would look pretty decent even for an average Swiss. My poor redneck heart bleeds when I see a sum equal to six F-150s spent on this.

A local mobster of some town can also do a noticeable harm by spending this money on buying some people’s allegiance. But advancing an official political agenda? I doubt 30 million would be enough to achieve even superficial results. And if you, for instance, analyze the economy of any 20.000.000+ country, you’ll see that a billion is a trifle. And if that country has any significant level of corruption, a billion may be stolen in a month, if not in weeks. The thing is that even our kids may still deem large amounts of money as something they were, say, in 1960s. Let’s put it this way: you can still do many improvements to yourself having suddenly got 100.000. But you won’t do a damn with a billion if you want to advance an agenda that ain’t already popular on its own.

#20 Comment By Suburbanp On September 29, 2016 @ 4:08 pm

I thought it was really interesting that both of the Christian couples interviewed by the NYT were on their second marriage. Wasn’t their an article just the other day saying the children of divorce don’t go to church? Perhaps there is a point here for discussion?

#21 Comment By Giuseppe Scalas On September 29, 2016 @ 4:24 pm

Emrys

US religions

Which would be…?

#22 Comment By Wes On September 29, 2016 @ 4:36 pm

Hey between this and enlightening our rural farmers (below), we will have the entire globe covered very quickly.

[7]

#23 Comment By ludo On September 29, 2016 @ 4:36 pm

I fear such programs are almost intentionally dangerous, peoples lives will be put at risk, both in the case of the NGOs and the serviced community; in the case of such anthropologically normative matters (it is a reflect of a still-functioning traditional culture) peace and tolerance must develop organically or not at all.

#24 Comment By Irenist On September 29, 2016 @ 5:04 pm

The government will pay for religious charities to do works of corporal mercy (feed the hungry, care for the sick, etc.) but not directly for evangelization. However, the government will pay for evangelizers of the LGBT ideology. It is far past time we stopped pretending that secular liberalism is value-neutral. It is as much a metaphysically informed worldview as any religion, and we ought to disestablish its church.

#25 Comment By Alan On September 29, 2016 @ 6:20 pm

To answer your question Rod, no, they don’t go into places like Obama’s favorite country, Saudi Arabia (where you can be executed for being gay). Yes, they do only go and do this to countries that are too small, poor and powerless to resist. The hypocrisy of this movement knows no bounds.

#26 Comment By Alan On September 29, 2016 @ 6:27 pm

Rusty, what part of “freedom of association” in the US Constitution don’t you get? Or, have you too been brainwashed by the MSM / US Govt? PRIVATE BUSINESS….means they have the right to do business with, or not do business with, anyone for any reason. Well, it meant that when the US was still governed by the Constitution.

#27 Comment By ngb On September 29, 2016 @ 9:31 pm

NFR: What you report is disgusting and ought to be protested. No argument with me there. But you don’t have to undermine people’s religion to fight this thing. If these thugs were faithful to Christianity, they would not behave like this. — RD]

But there’s no evidence that USAID is undermining anyone’s religion. There is not a single reference to religion in any of the excerpts you posted from that document. It seems that you’ve fallen into the trap of treating your own speculation as fact.

[NFR: Don’t be naive. — RD]

#28 Comment By Simon94022 On September 29, 2016 @ 11:30 pm

The USAID ideologues are spending my tax dollars to promote their religion.

#29 Comment By Redeemed-Deplorable On September 30, 2016 @ 12:14 am

Have they begun a similar initiative in Saudi Arabia or other Islamic states?

#30 Comment By roberto buffagni On September 30, 2016 @ 6:59 am

On 29 th september, at 12.42 pm, @Alex tells us about the violent attack by masked people against a gay film festival in Macedonia, and Mr. Dreher comments: “What you report is disgusting and ought to be protested. No argument with me there. But you don’t have to undermine people’s religion to fight this thing. If these thugs were faithful to Christianity, they would not behave like this.”

Of course, I agree with Mr. Dreher: ethically, there is no other possible answer.
But when a State, btw the world hegemon, enforces its values, ideology or religion on another State, we are not playing the game of ethics: we are playing the game of politics. And as Carl Schmitt taught us, politics is based on the dichotomy friend/foe. Gay activists, when actively supported by a great power whose track record in destabilizing foreign countries is staggering, become de facto assets of the said foreign power (even if they care just for their issue, homosexuality, gender rights, etc.).
The fact that foreign support for “human rights” issues is not violent does NOT mean that it’s not political subversion. (See, for example, what Gene Sharp’s “Albert Einstein Institution” says and does: [8])
If Macedonia lets US sponsored ONGs put a foot in their door, they know what is bound to follow. They just have to look at Ukraine, where US Department of State spent 5 billion dollars to destabilize a legal government (publicly said by Ms. Victoria Nuland). What happened? First, long, peaceful political rallies against the government (btw, many the protesters were on a salary paid by US taxpayer). Then, something very bad happened: someone began to shoot protesters. First we were told that the government had ordered the police to shoot the peaceful protesters. Then, it was discovered (even by leading EU officials) that the snipers had targeted BOTH policemen and protesters. The political rallies became violent: instead of peaceful protesters, they were lead by Pravy Sektor, a neonazi political movement sponsored by USA and EU. The government fell, bloody civil war followed, etc.

To sum up: When Western powers and supranational organizations sponsor “human rights agendas” in foreign countries, they do not just undermine other people’s religion. They undermine their political and cultural independence/existence. If they want to resist, they have to fight politically. In this political struggle, naturally Christianity becomes a political issue, which is unfortunate but inevitable.
See, Mr. Dreher: a country, or an entire people, cannot choose the “Benedict Option”. “Benedict Option” is an option for individuals who live in Western, post-christian countries. For a people which is still culturally Christian and want to be Christian in its future, choosing the “Benedict Option” means that you are bound to disappear, and you are waiting for death in your reservation.
So that I dont’ know (I really dont’ know) if your last words, “If these thugs were faithful to Christianity, they would not behave like this” are correct.

#31 Comment By Rob G On September 30, 2016 @ 7:18 am

Paul Gottfried made this point in his “Liberalism Trilogy” years ago. Nowadays whenever you “export democracy,” multiculturalism necessarily rides along like a hag.

#32 Comment By dan On September 30, 2016 @ 8:39 am

I guess they didn’t go over well, but my favorite comments from Trump during the debate were:

“That makes me smart” with regard to not paying taxes and “it would be squandered” with regard to what would have been done with the money if the government had it.

This pretty much proves the point.

#33 Comment By Ken’ichi On September 30, 2016 @ 8:52 am

So some Westerners, particularly Puritan-descended Americans, send out missionaries to convert the heathen. What’s news about that, except for the particular faith they’re trying to spread this time?

#34 Comment By Ken’ichi On September 30, 2016 @ 9:10 am

>>Alex (the one that likes Ike)

The way of flipping back after her four (if she’s lucky enough) years, won’t be just hard. It gonna be violent. When a reaction strikes, minorities of all sorts, especially loudmouthed and arrogant ones, become the first victim and prey.

What makes you think that:
1. There will be a reaction, a “flipping back” at all?
2. That the left won’t be able to use the power of the state and the power institutions to crush and defeat such a “reaction”?

>>BCaldwell

Western Progressivism has always been that way and the United States has been the main culprit pretty much since the opening of Japan in the second half of the 19th century.

Indeed.

#35 Comment By mrscracker On September 30, 2016 @ 9:18 am

Annek says:

Yes, but have you seen the population forecasts for Africa? They’re staggering and unsustainable.”
********
Thank you for the BBC article link. I remember reading it on their website.
I guess whether it’s appropriate for foreign interests to decide what’s “sustainable” for Africa is a whole ‘nother conversation.

#36 Comment By Alex (the one that likes Ike) On September 30, 2016 @ 1:48 pm

Ken’ichi,

What makes you think that:
1. There will be a reaction, a “flipping back” at all?

The history. Dysfunctional systems alway fell. Some may last longer, but they always do.

2. That the left won’t be able to use the power of the state and the power institutions to crush and defeat such a “reaction”?

If it were really the left, it could be able. But it is just a leftist establishment disconnected from its base, much like the GOP establishment is disconnected from the right.

#37 Comment By Matt On October 2, 2016 @ 12:43 am

Forget the Benedict option, the Arena option is the only one the left will give you.

#38 Comment By Rob On October 2, 2016 @ 11:54 am

“It did. And it’s not flipping back, even if Donald Trump is elected president.”

The author knows this for a fact because …?

One thing we DO know is that with Clinton, this sort of thing will be accelerated.

Only with Trump is there a chance of stopping it.

#39 Comment By Thymoleontas On October 2, 2016 @ 4:51 pm

Rod, this is perpetual world revolution, and, though unwilling, we American Christians are being forced to fund it.

You write of a Benedict Option, but at what point should we start writing about civil disobedience?

#40 Comment By Giuseppe Scalas On October 2, 2016 @ 4:57 pm

I have to concur with roberto buffagni here.
How do you say ‘gay pride’ in Macedonian? ‘Gay pride’. Just like Coca-cola and McDonalds, ‘Gay Pride’ is considered an American brand in Russia and Eastern Europe.
I don’t condone violence. But it’s well possible that the attackers mentioned by Alex weren’t homophobes, but nationalists.

#41 Comment By Alejo On October 2, 2016 @ 5:56 pm

It’s a difficult subject but as a Christian I cannot see anything wrong with helping spread human rights for LGBT people in these countries. I’m uncomfortable with the cultural colonialism we’re engaging in but my heart aches for the young LGBT men and women in countries where they are abused and oppressed. They are are under constant threat and have little to no government protection. Sometimes conservative Christians act as if the LGBT community were this powerful well connected group of wealthy people. Nothing further from the truth, especially in places like Macedonia. Here in the US we’ve gained a lot in a relatively short period but really we are constantly at the mercy of the majority. There could be an anti-LGBT backlash and there’s hardly anything we could do about it since we’re probably around just 5% of the population. There really aren’t many of us. I can’t imagine the pain and hardships that LGBT people go through in other places. Helping them shouldn’t be a bad thing.

#42 Comment By Mia On October 2, 2016 @ 7:41 pm

“Do you remember all those apocalyptic rants by fundamentalist preachers back in the 1980s/90s? You know, about how the Antichrist would have a Russian accent or look like an Arab? Oh, the irony. Robert Benson may have been closer to the mark a century ago in ‘Lord of the World’ when his imaginary Antichrist was a senator from Vermont.”

I actually think some of that was more recent, particularly the conception of an Arab antichrist. Back in the 90s, I found myself watching a lot of the local Christian channel since I didn’t have cable and lived not too far from the station, and they had some great end times films worth looking at even now. Cheesy, but I had a few favorites.

“A Distant Thunder” was one in heavy rotation that I liked to try to catch: [9]

But Jack Van Impe did one in the 90s called “Apocalypse: Caught in the Eye of the Storm” that featured a Greek or Italian antichrist named Franco Macalusso: [10]

That film was written by Peter and Paul Lalonde of “This Week in Bible Prophecy,” and they were totally cool. They were these young guys with a hip look at everything they felt was wrong with pop culture with a Bible prophecy slant. Some of the others might have been wacky, but I’ll always have fond memories of their show.