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The “national freak-out” about Indiana’s religious freedom law is telling. It shows where Christians in America stand in an age-old cycle that the world has put us through repeatedly.
Indiana’s law did nothing but apply a common principle: If I want to print anti-abortion pamphlets that a printer doesn’t like, the printer can decline my job. If Aryan Nations wants to hire me to make white supremacist pamphlets for them, I can decline their job.
But many cultural elites think Christians (and Orthodox Jews, Muslims, and traditional Hindus, by the way) are in a special category when it comes to our beliefs about marriage. We’re bigots, you see, and bigots have no rights.
How is it possible that we have come this far in a nation that to this day remains predominantly Christian?
We have seen again and again how Christian nations can turn against the Church. Once the cycle starts, it gets uglier and uglier — until it gets so ugly that the enemies of the Church are shown up for what they are, and finally defeated.
In the first part of the cycle, Christians are made to be the bad guys — they call us enemies of progress and they proclaim that our moral positions are an affront to the enlightened.
You saw this in the 20th century as Catholics became the bad guys in two places where we predominated:
In the next part of the cycle, they offer us the oh-so-reasonable option of just forgetting about Jesus Christ and his teachings, and going along with them.
Finally, the cycle crescendos to the point where the enemies of the Church openly intimidate and attack us.
Ironically, official voices try to maintain an air of respectability and fairness through all of this cycle. They aren’t anti-Catholic, you see; they just fear the Church is too antagonistic — too opposed to evolving moral norms; too stuck on ancient fairy tales that hold society back.
We saw where this cycle comes from during Holy Week.
The authorities felt threatened and disgusted with Jesus Christ and his truth, and so they captured him and put him on trial.
His views were judged to be intolerable, antiauthoritarian, and dangerous.
They whipped up popular opinion so that people who had welcomed him days before cried out for his death.
And then it ended as it always does: Those who lash out against Christ expose themselves as the real bigots — and then Jesus rises from the dead.
Americans are living in a strange fantasyland right now. On the planet Earth, Christianity is on the rise in a worldwide revolution of freedom and love. Our Church is the world’s leader in education, health care and service to the poor.
But in the Western media-frenzied mind, Christianity is the bully, and the latest attempts to redefine morality are imagined to be new and freeing truths that the bully is senselessly opposing.
You can be sure we will one day return to the cultural norm that says “Marriage is something sanctified between a man and a woman,” as Obama put it in 2004 — because “Marriage is as a marriage has always been, between a man and a woman,” as Hillary Clinton put it in 2000.
In the meanwhile, expect the cycle to continue: First they call us bigots, then they deny our freedoms, then they openly attack us.
But in the end, we rise again.