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Home/Rod Dreher/Every Knee Shall Bow

Every Knee Shall Bow

Well, Baylor University did what it was always going to do, and caved. Screenshots of the document — which you can see in its entirety here — follow. Notice the language they’re using to frame their capitulation to the culture, and to middle-class respectability:

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Shorter Baylor: “Why no, we are not abandoning our beliefs on human sexuality. But if we don’t act as if we have, LGBT students will kill themselves!”

Truthful Baylor: “We are totally embracing conformity with this post-Christian culture, but we’re going to lie to ourselves and to our alumni about why we are doing it.”

Seriously, the language Baylor’s document uses to rationalize the university’s capitulation is a perfect example of the therapeutic approach that soft totalitarianism uses to institute itself. Is what Baylor doing now “soft totalitarianism”? No, of course not. It’s wrong, from an orthodox Christian point of view, but it’s not soft totalitarianism. But note well: give it a few years, and the next step is to declare that any professors or staffers who hold to the orthodox Christian teaching on sex and sexuality must be suppressed as a necessary step to protect LGBT persons from harm. Six years ago, I gave a talk at a big Catholic university, and was told by four professors there — three of them tenured — that they would not dare to present the Catholic Church’s teachings on sex and sexuality in their classrooms, for fear of their students denouncing them to the administration as harm-bringers, and the university punishing them.

“You don’t feel free to quote the words of Pope Francis about homosexuality in class?” I asked, nonplussed (remember, this was years ago).

“No,” came the answer.

This is going to be Baylor University in five years. You watch.

Meanwhile, look at what’s going down in Toronto, over the objections of the Cardinal:

On May 6 the Toronto Catholic District School Board, which is elected by voters, passed three separate motions: one that proclaimed LGBT Pride Month in June every year, one that required the Pride flag to fly at all schools, and one that required the Pride flag to fly at the school board office. The board’s LGBTQ2S+ advisory committee, whose acronym includes “queer/questioning” or “two-spirited” concepts of sexuality, had recommended the passage of all three motions.

In its comments before the board vote, the archdiocese said that parents make a “clear choice” when they send their children to a Catholic school.

“They rightly expect that trustees, principals, teachers – all partners in education – will ensure that Catholic teaching is presented, lived and infused in all that we do,” the archdiocese said. “In that regard, the appropriate symbol that represents our faith, and the inclusion and acceptance of others, is the cross, which is visible at the entrance of every Catholic school. It is the primary symbol of our Christian faith: it draws us to contemplate the generous and sacrificial love of Jesus, as he lays down his life for all of us.”

“In a world that would crucify an innocent man, Jesus returns love for hatred and says: ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.’ (Luke 23:34) The love represented by the cross is that sacrificial love, centered not on self, but on others.”

Catholic school systems in Ontario are taxpayer-funded and schools are not owned by the dioceses in which they operate. While bishops set catechetical curricula and ensure sacramental ministry in school contexts, they do not exercise control over elected boards. Provincial governments set basic rules for the operation of those schools, while local decisions are made by trustee boards elected by Catholics at the time of municipal elections.

I’m going to write about this in a separate post, but yesterday I had an enlightening interview with a prominent liberal critic of the Orban government. I had asked a local friend to put me in touch with an Orban critic who can articulate his or her objections to the government in non-hysterical terms. The interview was really interesting, and I’ll tell you more about it on Monday. But here, I want to say that we talked about LGBT matters. This man told me that he supports gay marriage and adoption rights (gays have a domestic partnership law here now), but he can’t accept the polymorphous “sexualities” that are emerging in American discourse. He said that he hates how the Orban government whips up anti-LGBT fears.

I told him that he sounds like a reasonable American liberal circa 2010. I brought up how once gay marriage was constitutionally mandated, World War T started. Now we in America are told by the Left that if we don’t affirm everything about transgenderism, normalize it in elementary school, provide hormones to kids, and so forth, that we have blood on our hands. I told him that a pro-gay liberal professor who holds his beliefs would be demonized on many American university campuses today. I told him that even though I don’t know what the government, or government-oriented media, say about LGBTs, I expect that I would cringe at at least some of it. The problem, I told him, is that once in power, and once they have momentum behind them, the sex-and-gender Left gives you absolutely no possibility of dissent, no chance to say, “Here and not beyond,” no possibility of peaceful co-existence. We know this now in the US. And Hungary will find this out if it gives any quarter to this ideology.

Anyway, all churches and church institutions in which middle-class, worldly values are more important than fidelity to the Christian faith will capitulate. Baylor’s surrender was entirely predictable, as was the therapeutic language it would adopt to rationalize it. This is only the first step of the revolution at Baylor. As Neuhaus’s Law tells us, “Where orthodoxy is optional, it will eventually be proscribed.” It’s coming at Baylor, and in most Christian institutions in the West, as sure as the sun will rise in the east tomorrow morning. Read Live Not By Lies and prepare.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Lemingas well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

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