Christianity and Middle-Earth

Sunday, December 12, 2004

The Ring-Seekers

Religious Same-Sex Discrimination Worries Bishop

A Defeat For an Empire

The above are a couple of seemingly disparate articles that are enough to curdle your liver permanently, the one via MCJ and the other LGF

(Athanasius at Ecumenical Insanity has a third, but I wouldn't want you to miss his commentary, so you'll have to go there to get the link.)

The two, however, are rooted in the same Mordor-soil: a hatred of the lingering traces of Christendom.

Bruce Thornton comments on this mindset:

Only by such exploitation of the neuroses and ignorance fostered by religious belief and expressed by opposition to social issues such as "gay marriage" can the Republicans trick so many middle-class and working-class people into voting against their true interests, all of which center on economic issues.

After all, enlightened people know that religion is just a quaint superstition that flourishes among the unenlightened and undereducated, a projection of neuroses and fears more efficiently treated by modern therapeutic intervention or maybe a few courses at the local community college. The enlightened can tolerate Christians, as long as their beliefs remain a private lifestyle choice, one spiritual option among many, no better than Hinduism, Scientology, or Wicca.

But whenever Christians actually dare to make political choices on the basis of those beliefs, then the enlightened gatekeepers of American secularism in the academy and in the media rise up in righteous wrath and rush to the barricades to defend us against the barbarian hordes of true believers who if unchecked will transform our republic into a "theocracy" and impose their intolerant bigotry on everybody else. And when the President himself is one of these religious fanatics, then the prospects for the republic and the Constitution are dark indeed—even the usually rational New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman whined after the election that he was depressed "because Bush's base is pushing so hard to legislate social issues and extend the boundaries of religion that it felt as if we were rewriting the Constitution, not electing a president."

Apart from its sheer bigotry, which is itself based on ignorant stereotypes and underlying beliefs warranted not by reason but by faith (for example, the assumption that spiritual reality does not exist), this view of religion in public life demonstrates as well a misunderstanding and distortion of America's founding and the important role Christianity played in the creation of the U.S. republic.

A grab for power is not always channeled through direct force - shooting the Romanovs isn’t really a practical option these days. There are other effective weapons available, however: the press, the universities, the airwaves, and the courts.

Like Melkor, our intellectuals – both religious and secular - wish to order the world to suit themselves. From what I can tell, only the flaws and failings and errors of honorable men are visible to such eyes and magnified accordingly: they cannot comprehend chivalry and self-sacrifice or submission to Christ; thus are they blind to it in others.

But what they can see in all its glory is the Ring.

Evil does not always present itself as something dark and brutal and killing. It comes in another guise - one to which the literati are particularly susceptible - a golden, coaxing whisper of hidden musics and secret pleasures, of freedom from all restraint.

The Fire throws out its beguiling light and the song spins into splendorous dreams of yearnings fulfilled, cravings sated; all things in heaven and earth can be possessed. The golden lies command their will and their loyalty, and hungrily they surrender as desire manifests itself as truth.

They stand on the precipice deep in the belly of Mount Doom, the cinder-vomit of their new master spread on the plains round about and they see only the Ring as it glimmers over perdition. Burning cold without and burning death below, stone, iron, flame and poisoned ash in all directions - and their eyes are fixed on a sweet golden lie. It becomes heaven and earth and it becomes their reality.

They have hated all that is the West’s Judeo-Christian heritage for so long that they are utterly adrift and hopelessly lost upon the sour sea of their rebellion. They have no guide but their resentment and narcissism and preening disdain for all that is lovely and of good report: the stars mean nothing.

Behold! the sea-chart of that vast, unshriven, grey and formless world
Is dipped in golden fire-proofing, then to finger-circlet curled.

The only measure they know is the will to dominate all life and it is through that measure that they perceive free men.


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