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Liberals for the Benedict Option

A reader writes:

I really resonated with your post [“George Bailey is Dead”].  I am the son of blue collar union laborers from a rust belt city – steelworkers, auto workers, truck drivers.  My family wasn’t religious but I went to public school alongside tons of ethnic Catholic kids.  I was raised with pretty traditional working class values – the stuff that George Bailey stood for.  Now I’m like you — sitting out or feeling left behind.

I am a progressive socially.  That’s where you and I part ways.  But even there I feel left behind.  I am not the kind of militant, hateful liberal who would shut down a family pizza parlor for disagreeing with me on gay rights.  And I feel nothing but disgust towards the campus shenanigans you’ve been documenting.  I don’t know what it means for the future of this country when conservatives like you and liberals like me both need to hold our noses to vote and feel increasingly marginalized by the dominant discourse.  But I suspect it means a very hostile and broken and painful place for non-elites – for working people.  That breaks my union kid’s heart.

And though I am on the other side of the sexuality debate, I am a Christian and I still see a powerful need for a Benedict Option.  Not because of “the gays” but because of Who Runs Things Now and Where Things Are Going and what that’s going to do to families like the one I grew up in and the kind of men and women who raised me and those families with less social support and less robust economic means.  Folks who, I suspect, have much more in common with you and your family and the owners of Memories Pizza than with any campus liberal or corporate big wig.

What a great letter. It’s the second one I’ve received in the last 24 hours from a liberal Christian who supports the Benedict Option. I wonder what a liberal BenOp would look like?

I can’t see traditional Christians signing on for it, because to do so would require compromising on fundamental doctrines and teachings. Still, I want to affirm what is good among liberal BenOppers, and support them in ways that I can. Thoughts, readers?

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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