Almost a century ago, poet and critic T. S. Eliot famously remarked “If you will not have God (and He is a jealous God), you should pay your respects to Hitler or Stalin.” This was in a Cambridge University lecture given in 1939, on the eve of the war that was precipitated by the short-lived alliance between these rival alternatives to God, the text of which would be included in the book The Idea of a Christian Society. Seventeen years earlier a young Eliot had decried the cultural and spiritual bankruptcy of post-First World War Western Civilization in the poem “The Waste Land.” Five years later he had found the roots he had been looking for – note that he would later write the forward to Simone Weil’s The Need for Roots – when he converted to orthodox Christianity, joined the Church of England, and swore his oath of loyalty to the Crown becoming a British citizen. He had found the true path and in the words quoted above warned those who were pursuing materialistic ends and placing their hope in democracy of where their path would ultimately lead them.
It is just under eighty years since Eliot spoke those words and Western Civilization has not turned back to God in the interim. Indeed, it has become far more godless, materialistic and secular than anyone could have imagined back then, and in the process, despite Stephen Pinker’s recent arguments to the contrary, become far more crude, vulgar, and immoral. Sad to say, much of the blame for the state of our civilization belongs to the leaders of the church. If you read the historical and prophetic books of the Old Testament you will be struck by the number of times a particular cycle recurs – the leaders of God’s people go whoring after heathen idols, the people follow them into sin, and judgement and a curse comes upon them and their land as a result.
That the leaders of the church in our day and age are just as prone to lead their flocks into worshipping the false gods of the day as the leaders of the ancient Israelites were is evident in the moral blindness or cowardice that so many have displayed in their response to the recent events in Charlottesville even while tooting their own horns about their great courage in daring to resist the evil of white racism. It requires no courage whatsoever to speak out and condemn white racism in this era. All you have to do is go along with the mob. The true test of your moral courage is whether or not you dare to condemn the anti-white racism that hides behind the mask of anti-racism. Those who do so risk incurring the wrath of both the mob and the corporate globalists. The vast majority of church leaders, even among the supposedly orthodox, have failed this test badly. This is because they have bowed the knee to the false deity that presides over today’s pantheon of idols – the idol of diversity.
The events in Charlottesville as reported by the mainstream media seem to have produced a wide-spread breakdown in moral reasoning. Which is interesting because the disparity between the facts and the interpretation placed on those facts by the media is particularly glaring when it comes to this incident. We are told that because the “Unite the Right” rally was unambiguously pro-white and because neo-Nazi and KKK-types were unquestionably among the participants that all of those participating in the protest were white supremacists, and that therefore because of who they were, and because one of the counter protestors, Heather Heyer, was killed, it is the organizers and participants of the rally who must be singled out for blame and moral condemnation over the violence that occurred that day. This is morally bankrupt nonsense. It confuses consequences with culpability – just because the former were unevenly distributed between the protestors and counter protestors with the most severe consequence of death falling to one of the latter it does not follow in the slightest that in the allotment of blame the largest share must go to the former. Worse, it requires the premise that if a group’s views are regarded as repugnant or even if those views actually are repugnant, it is to be blamed for the violence that ensues when another group attacks them.
The facts of the case are these: the organizers of the “Unite the Right” rally went through all the legal hoops to get a permit to hold a legal demonstration; the antifa showed up armed and masked with the intention of shutting the demonstration down with violence; the Charlottesville authorities declared a state of emergency and ordered the police to shut down the legal demonstration; the police forced the demonstrators to evacuate the park, leaving them only one way out – through the antifa; and the antifa then attacked the demonstrators with baseball bats, clubs, homemade flamethrowers, and projectiles of various sorts. The man, James Alex Fields, who drove into the crowd injuring several and killing Heather Heyer may very well have been acting out of fear for his life rather than homicidal malice – that remains to be determined. What is clear is that the bulk of the blame for this event going violent is to be divided between the Charlottesville authorities and the antifa.
Although the media have been consistently portraying the antifa as “counter protestors” it would be more accurate to call them terrorists. They do not show up to picket, hand out literature, and forcibly but peacefully express their disagreement with those they consider to be racists. They show up masked and armed, to intimidate, harass, and attack, to block access and shut down events. Although “antifa” is short for anti-fascist, in their tactics they bear a far closer resemblance to the thugs who followed Hitler and Mussolini than do their opponents, which can be explained by the fact that they are generally fronts for Marxist-Leninist groups, Marxist-Leninism or Communism being the parent ideology of which Fascism and Nazism were mutant offspring. They claim they are fighting racism but you will never find them trying to shut down a lecture by a Marxist academic who calls for the abolition of whiteness or a concert by a rapper who explicitly calls for violence against whites in his lyrics. They show no sign of comprehending either that a racist might not be white or that a white might not be a racist but instead treat racist and white as if they are synonymous. This is itself, of course, a form of racism.
The voice of moral clarity in the aftermath of Charlottesville has been that of American President Donald J. Trump of all people. He unequivocally condemned white supremacism and neo-Nazism, but rightly distinguished between white supremacists and neo-Nazis on the one hand and those who were neither but participated in the rally to protest the erasure of history and the changing of culture. He did not shirk from calling out the antifa and allotting them the share of the blame that they so rightly deserve. This refreshing moral clarity was sadly lacking among many Christian leaders.
Take Timothy J. Keller, for example. Keller is the founding pastor of the Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan. An apologist and the author of numerous books, Keller has something of a celebrity status among evangelical Protestants. In an article for The Gospel Coalition that came out the same day that President Trump gave his press conference, Keller began by asking the question:
How should Christians, and especially those with an Anglo-white background, respond to last weekend’s alt-right gathering in Charlottesville and its tragic aftermath?
Note the words “especially those with an Anglo-white background”. Keller is guilty of the very racism that he condemns so vehemently in this article. Indeed, he is guilty of the worst form of racism possible – racism against your own people.
Later in the article, Keller commits gross eisegesis when he reads the modern political discussion of race into St. Paul’s address to the Epicureans and Stoics at the Areopagus in Acts 17. The Apostle was not addressing the Greek idea that other peoples were barbarian, when he said that God had made “of one blood” every nation on the earth, but rather was establishing that the God he was preaching and Whom he identified with their “unknown God” was not a tribal deity but the One True God Who created the universe and to Whom all people owe worship. Furthermore, I find it difficult to believe that Keller does not know this and that this was an honest hermeneutical error on his part rather than sheer mendacity in order to pander to the spirit of the times.
Keller makes reference to “the idolatry of blood and country.” Keller has written extensively about idolatry in his book Counterfeit Gods. There too he refers to the idols of blood and country or race and nation. Now, I have no objection to what Keller says about this form of idolatry. Obviously blood, country, race, and nation can be made into idols, as the history of the early part of the last century proves all too well. Let us return to the quotation from T. S. Eliot with which I began this essay. “If you will not have God (and He is a jealous God), you should pay your respects to Hitler or Stalin.” Hitler, was the very embodiment of the idolatry of blood, country, race and nation. Note, however, that Eliot saw another option for God-rejecters in Stalin.
What I don’t see anywhere in Keller’s article – or his book for that matter – is any condemnation of the idolatry of those who brought the violence to Charlottesville on August 12th – the antifa. Again, it is easy to rail against the idols of blood, country, race, and nation, for these are the idols of a century ago. These idols were popular in the early twentieth century, but when they devoured their worshippers in the bloodbath of the Second World War, twentieth century man rejected them. He did not, however, turn back to the true and living God, but erected yet another idol – the idol of diversity. It is this idol whom the Stalinistic antifa worship and barring a revival in which there is a mass turn back to the true God, she, by the time her cult has run its course, will have exacted more in the way of blood sacrifices from her worshippers than her predecessors ever did. It is this idol that the faithful and courageous man of God is called to speak out against in our day and age. This is precisely what Timothy Keller – and far too many other – Christian leaders refuse to do, preferring to bow their knee to the new idol, just as the “Positive Christianity” cult that Keller rightly condemns as heretical, prostituted itself to the idols of the Third Reich.
Orthodox Christian teaching is that God divided the nations at Babel but in the Kingdom of God outside of history (the Fall to the Second Coming) He will gather “a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues” before the throne of the Lamb. Within human history, the Kingdom of God is represented on earth by the church, the body of Christ indwelt by the Holy Spirit, that accepts into its membership through baptism, anyone from any nation who believes in Jesus Christ. There is nothing in orthodox Christianity that requires us to support efforts to undo Babel politically, whether they be by dissolving the nations of the world into a global order of world federalism or by maximizing diversity within countries through mass immigration and then attempting to administer race relations bureaucratically. Indeed, to do this is to commit the utmost folly, to do the very thing most likely to exacerbate racial tensions, hostility, and violence. It is what the idolatry of diversity looks like.
Those who today are returning to the idols of blood, race, and nation are doing so because they have had a glimpse of the apocalyptic disaster that lies ahead of us if we continue down the path of the idolatry of diversity. Their solution is no solution – we must turn back to the True and Living God, through Him Who is the “Way, the Truth, and the Life.” It is not likely that this will happen, however, if Christian leaders continue, like Timothy Keller, to whore around with the idol of diversity, and to refuse to name the evil of anti-white racism disguised as antiracism, while hypocritically pretending to a moral courage they do not possess by reserving their vehement denunciations only for those evils the mob is howling after.
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