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From The Friday Mailbag

Have you done the Face App thing yet? I understand people being afraid of giving a Russian company access to an image of yourself, but here’s news: if you’ve uploaded photos to Facebook, a multinational already has plenty of pics of you, and they’re available to anybody who can access them on FB. I did it, and used the Face App aging function to see what I will look like as an old man. The image on the right is a mirror image of the one on the left, only aged. Funny, huh?

A reader from Poland writes:

I have just finished reading your most interesting article on Poland’s Crisis. I must say, being both Catholic and slightly „off-the-main-current” person, that your observations are quire right. Quite, but not entirely.

Let me explain. You seem to base your opinion on Warsaw and Warsaw-oriented people. Should you decide to come to other regions, like for example Silesia (deed deep down south), your vision might have been totally different.

What I am trying to say is that in rural areas, like mine for example, nobody really cares for the Warsaw divisions. We are happy to be able raise our kids and be free from LGBT propaganda spread happily by the so called total opposition. We support the government not because we are into politics. We do it because we can clearly see that what the present government does is good for us. As simple as that. No sophisticated philosophies here.

As far as „a Millennial-Generation Catholic who was part of the conversation” is concerned, I would be more than glad to share my e-mail with her/him, so that she/he had the opportunity to get to know the first Catholic satisfied with the bishops. Sure, they are fallible and may err, but that ARE our pastors in the most profound meaning of the word. „To generalize is to be an idiot”, said William Blake. May this quote suffice for my comment (not to be taken personally, of course).

Let me express my gratitude and admiration for your splendid book „The Benedict Option”. I read it with pleasure and it gave a lot of spiritual benefit.

Another reader writes (this one Catholic from Warsaw in his 20s):

Catholicism in Poland is rather passive and conformist. For many many years all you had to do was to attend liturgy every Sunday and obey your Church leaders. But now it is high time to organise (the left knows how to organise and mobilise and because of that they have achieved so much!) and stop relying merely on the Church hierarchy. There are some movements which try to activate the laity, but most of them have insignificant impact and cannot attract wider masses. Most of them base on emotions or something like prosperity gospel (or, as you would have put it: mixture of Catholicism and Moral Therapeutic Deism). But such things cannot strengthen us enough to resist the world which is against us.

I have also read your new blog entry about visit in Tyniec. That Benedictine father you spoke with seems to be pretty intelligent man! I will try to contact him. And, to be honest, I was quite disappointed that people cannot believe that we are now heading towards Ireland-like scenario… I have shown you the data which make me such a pessimist. But I prefer to be pessimist in peace with truth than stay in a peaceful comfort zone without any link to the reality. Prophecies (and such research are real prophecies and wake up calls for Polish Catholicism!) are real even if they are not pleasant.

That reader sent me a story about a conservative magazine in Poland that’s distributing an anti-LGBT sticker for stores. Naturally the usual suspects are having an absolute fit over it. The reader, who identifies as a Catholic traditionalist who supports the Church’s teaching on sexuality, is frustrated by this gesture:

It makes Catholics look like fascists, or at least ridiculous.

Me, I don’t blame Polish Catholics and conservatives one bit for wanting to push back, and push back hard, against the Pride propaganda. But that message goes way too far. How would they feel if someone put out a “No Christians Welcome” bumper sticker? Of course they would say that the Pride ideology pervading more and more workplaces mandates this de facto. When I was in Poland, I talked to people who work for US and Europe-based multinationals, who said that they are afraid of losing their jobs because they are observant Catholics who disagree with the Pride campaigns inside the workplace. They made it clear to me that these campaigns are going beyond tolerance, and requiring affirmation. One manager told me that he is getting close to the point where he’s going to have to resign as a matter of conscience.

The US Ambassador to Poland spoke out publicly against the magazine’s anti-LGBT sticker. Wouldn’t it be nice if President Trump’s ambassador would speak out publicly against the policies of US multinationals to force cultural imperialism on Polish workers? Wouldn’t it be nice if President Trump himself would urge Congress to come up with legislation protecting the jobs of American workers who dissent from the Pride propaganda blitz?

In other news, here’s a good and detailed e-mail from a reader who was at the Trump rally in North Carolina this week:

I attended the Trump rally the other day at Greenville. Despite being unable to watch the rally from inside ECU’s convention center, I watched the live broadcast on the jumbotron adjacent to the building. I was surrounded by hundreds, if not thousands, of Trump supporters decked out in MAGA gear, and the crowd outside mirrored the reactions of the crowd inside in real time. Your image of a right-wing mob foaming at the mouth with rage is completely off base. Nobody was angry at the rally, except for the left-wing protesters shouting “Fuck Trump!” randomly. People were in a good spirits. There were no skin-heads or Neo-Nazis. There were elderly Church ladies handing out Trump flags, and there were many female college students watching with their boyfriends, parents, or friends. There were more minorities than you might expect, including a dark-skinned Hispanic couple that parked behind me and whom I chatted with briefly. I met a friendly college student during the walk to the arena that had voted for Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary before voting for Trump in the general. This was the first time in two years he felt comfortable enough to wear a MAGA hat in public without fear of harassment.

I am utterly flabbergasted at how cluelessly the media is reporting the event. The “Send her back!” chants were an innocent joke. It’s ludicrous to suggest that the “mob” of elderly ladies and parents was on the verge of violence. Matt in VA is always writing about how the Republicans need to be more aggressive in their rhetoric and their actions. Your favorite commenter is constantly lamenting that Republicans roll over when they encounter the slightest resistance from left-wing activists. Well this is what a mild dose of Matt in VA’s political culture looks like. And once again, the Republicans revert to the party of apologetic pansies.

To the media, “Send her back!” might be the harbinger of a second Kristallnacht. But to more Americans than you realize, the image of a punky, loudmouthed Congress-girl being thrown out of a plane over Somalia onto her ungrateful butt is funny. The joke is funny because it’s ridiculous. There is zero chance of Omar being deported. None. People who laugh at this impossible scenario are not bad. Think of your friend “Jackie” whom you referenced in a previous post. You referred to him as “a really nice guy”, someone you “have mad respect for”. Now, I don’t know what “strongly uncomplimentary” comment he made about AOC, Omar, etc. But from your description, I suspect if he had been in Greenville he would have joined in on the chants. That wouldn’t make him a “racist” or even a bad person. It would make him no different than millions of Americans who swear at the news on TV.

I understand why the “Send her back!” chants touched a nerve for you. The Deep South has a history of vigilante violence against blacks. Two of your previous posts about race (the first about the respected townsman who murdered the black man falsely accused of rape, the second about the mob of 20,000 Louisianans celebrating and picnicking while another black man was arbitrarily accused of rape and murdered) represent some of your best writing because the accounts are so chilling. But we don’t live in the Jim Crow era anymore. Blacks are not being rounded up and murdered. Neither are Mexicans, nor Muslims. To compare the Greenville rally with events from 70 or 80 years ago in radically different political contexts is lunacy. Race never even came up during the chants… unless the mere criticism of minority Democrats is “racist”.

Furthermore, I am sorry for the abuse you suffered in high school Rod. I know what it is like to be awkward growing up, to feel ignored as chaperones decline to intervene in the midst of teasing. I am thankful things never escalated to anything remotely close to what you had to endure. But Rod, what if one of those kids had stood up for you? What if one those kids, instead of joining the bullies, had walked up to the lead tormentor and kicked him in the balls or given him a wedgie? Would you have berated your rescuer for “assaulting” the bully? I suppose we’ll never know. But we both know with moral certainty that the leftwing activists of the Democrat party are bullies. We saw it during the Kavanaugh hearings, we saw it during the firestorm over the Covington Catholic kids, and we saw it when homosexual activists tried to force Jack Phillips into bankruptcy for the crime of not baking a cake. And we’ve seen the left’s bullying in a hundred other incidents of racial demagoguery against whites and religious intolerance against Christians. They will not be satisfied until every monument to Washington and Jefferson is smashed and every memorial cross for dead soldiers is uprooted. The Democrat voters are not bad people. But their politicians are trying to destroy everything you hold dear. You know this is true. In this day and age we can’t take the left’s narrative of events at face value.

We cannot solely rely on Donald Trump to save us. Even Trump was swayed by the media’s false narrative around the “Send her back!” chants. That is why you wrote The Benedict Option. Christians need to band together and prepare to be hated and despised. It won’t be easy, but there are more of us than the left realizes. And no matter what, if we put our trust in God things will work out, whether it be in this life, or the next.

As one Christian to another, I ask that you give the Trump supporters in Greenville the benefit of the doubt. Christians should be slow to judge, especially towards people we disagree with. I promise you, nobody is planning on kidnapping Ilhan Omar back to Somalia (as appealing as that may sound). And I can tell you with the moral certainty of an eyewitness, there were no monsters among the Trump supporters in Greenville. There were only family and friends, neighbors and countrymen, and brothers and sisters in Christ.

I appreciate that feedback. I sincerely do.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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