A Post-Christian and Uncharitable Society

BOOKS: Fathom the Four Last Things
November 3, 2017
Saint of the Day for November 4: St. Charles Borromeo (October 2, 1538 – November 3, 1584)
November 4, 2017

That’s what we’ve become and are fast becoming even more so.

By Melissa Mackenzie, American Spectator, 11/2/2017

Christian charity is more than charitable giving. In fact, Christian charity is an attitude, a motivation, a place where love for all man comes. From Wikipedia:

In Christian theology charity, Latin caritas, is understood by Thomas Aquinas as “the friendship of man for God”, which “unites us to God”. He holds it as “the most excellent of the virtues“. [1] Further, Aquinas holds that “the habit of charity extends not only to the love of God, but also to the love of our neighbor”.[2]

The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines “charity” as “the theological virtue by which we love God above all things for his own sake, and our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God[3].

A charitable Christian is wise to his own sin and therefore overlooks the motes in his neighbor’s eyes. Furthermore, he trusts in God’s justice which is why he blesses those who curse him, turns the other cheek, renders to Caesar with taxes, is not easily offended, forgives 70 x 7, etc. A charitable Christian is an easy neighbor. He’s an industrious worker. He is not a braggart.

There was a time when it didn’t matter if one was a Democrat or Republican. Both would be at church on Sunday. Sinners all. C.S. Lewis, no big fan of church music said this:

I disliked very much their hymns, which I considered to be fifth-rate poems set to sixth-rate music. But as I went on I saw the great merit of it. I came up against different people of quite different outlooks and different education, and then gradually my conceit just began peeling off. I realized that the hymns (which were just sixth-rate music) were, nevertheless, being sung with devotion and benefit by an old saint in elastic-side boots in the opposite pew, and then you realize that you aren’t fit to clean those boots. It gets you out of your solitary conceit. It is not for me to lay down laws, as I am only a layman, and I don’t know much. [Emphasis added.]

The church service, itself, is humbling. There’s singing and worshipping. There’s bowing one’s head in prayer. There’s being taught a high ethic — an unattainable moral standard where the practitioner can only be saved by God’s grace. Finally, there’s communion — the humbling recognition that all Christians are bound together and saved by the sacrifice of Christ.

What happens, though, if people stop going to church and receiving these reminders? Only 18% of American Liberals regularly attend church. Few more visit occasionally. Has the culture softened as the Left has left the church? There’s much talk of #LoveWins but little actual love and less charitable giving, too.

In an interview with Laura Ingraham this week, Justice Thomas said, “We have the pluribus, where is the unum? What is there that binds us?”

Liberals, leftists, Democrats as a group of people feel free to express their political opinions. Furthermore, they don’t mind preventing people who disagree with them from freely expressing themselves. According to Cato Institute’s 2017 Free Speech & Tolerance Survey, a majority of Democrats feel that it’s okay to punch Nazis, for employers to punish employees for offensive Facebook posts, and to force others to use a certain kinds of pronouns. Eighty percent of Democrats believe it is hateful to say that illegal immigrants should be deported. Eighty-seven percent of Democrats say that it’s offensive to say that women shouldn’t be in combat roles.  Ninety percent of Democrats believe that it’s hateful to call homosexuality a sin.

To recap: using words is offensive and Democrats would like to ban this language but admit it would be difficult. Standards vary. Politics has taken on a religious fervor and Democrats have brought their zeal for righteous behavior into the political realm rather than the religious realm. This has made them intolerant of unbelievers and prosecutorial about political dissent. Esther Goldberg illustrates this point beautifully here at The American Spectator with a post about the liberal neighbors who ruined Halloween for the neighborhood. The joy-hating liberal puritans feel justified in their righteousness.

As Liberals have left the church, their Christian charity has left with it. There’s a benevolent tolerance one holds when one sees personal fallibility and is reminded of it weekly. Self-awareness tends to take the fire out of one’s self-righteousness.

Unfortunately for America, Republicans are following Democrats out of the church. There are more unchurched. More “spiritual” people. This is code for “Whatever I say is right is right.” What can citizens expect in a Godless, non-church-going society? They can expect Republicans to become like Democrats: angry, intolerant, and seeking political power as an end itself. Political power trumps God’s power to forgive, save, and redeem.

In Cato’s same research, 53% of Republicans favor stripping U.S. citizenship from people who burn the flag. The flag is a canary in the coal mine. As Republicans leave church and start turning to the authority of the state to enforce mores, expect more meanness — as in base crassness.

Christian charity is an essential element of America’s free society. The free exchange of ideas, the triumph of free speech, the tolerance for people of differing opinions and actions, even when viewing something as “sin” evaporates. A different moral code will be found and it will be made by people. People are fickle creatures. Righteousness will be defined by the latest slew of “right” ideas and laws will be made to enforce those ideas. Dissenting from those ideas will be forbidden. Friendships with apostates will cease. People will retreat to their ideological corners.

In an interview with Laura Ingraham this week, Justice Thomas said, “We have the pluribus, where is the unum? What is there that binds us?”

The church used to bind us. The synagogue. God’s grace used to bind us.

Not now. God is no longer judge of all and Americans are much offended. Foibles become legislated against.  The almighty state, run by offended people, is judge. Before the State, there is no communion, no salvation, little grace, and never charity. There is only force.

America will become coarser, meaner, less tolerant. As humility before God falls, the power of the state rises.