In the last few posts I started to outline some specifics regarding what “loving our enemies while working to defeat them” might look like. Part I
I will bring this series to an end with a few more principles and some concluding thoughts in this post.
11) Consider lawfare Lawsuits, basically. Now hear me out: I don’t mean going stir crazy, airing out personal grievances in the courts, throwing our litigious weight around willy-nilly. But lawsuits *do* play *a* role in protecting the vulnerable and stemming the tide of evil. The Dobbs ruling that overturned Roe V Wade was just handed down a few days ago. How do you think that happened? Its a long, fascinating story but one thing is that it was spawned from ingenious legal maneuvering that basically forced the judges’ hand. They really couldn’t rule narrowly with a straight face and chart a middle way that preserved Roe. Pivoting to another arena, doctors and organizations who prey on vulnerable minors, ushering them through puberty blockers, hormones, and surgery on the flimsiest of bases will not stop doing so until they get hit where it hurts. They should be sued back to the stone age. Until there are significant legal consequences like that looming over their heads, they will continue to put kids under the knife. School districts that engage in trendy and avante garde discrimination on the basis of race in the name of diversity and inclusion should likewise be sued. The law should be used to stop powerful people from doing bad things that might be popular but are unfair, unjust, and harm those they claim to help. Public square persuasion is necessary, but not enough.
12) Study those that lived through communism. Then go and do likewise. Rod Dreher wrote a whole book about this: Live Not By Lies. It is a must read because it is such an eye opener. Those who lived through eastern bloc communism have done it before us. They were victorious over legit persecution, levels and kinds of opposition that we won’t even come close to facing in this country. They did it with only a fraction of the institutional power that we currently enjoy in this country. Studying how they did it will show us the way. We need to learn from them and do the same things they did. The time to build the same relationships and infrastructure they did is now. Even though the opposition we face isn’t and won’t be nearly as intense, walking the same path they did will pay immense dividends. Our eastern brothers and sisters from the past have a treasure trove of knowledge that we dare not ignore. Not listening to them would be the height of hubris.
13) Laugh. Remember comedy Honestly, while Christian comics do exist and its good to have wholesome, family friendly laughter available, what I have in mind here is a more spicy comedic critique of things like wokeness and gender ideology. Comedy speaks truth to power and punctures sacred sanctum in ways straightforward argumentation cannot. Laughter lowers the guard in very powerful ways. Most Christian and/or conservative comics I know of aren’t edgy to the degree needed to really do this well. The Babylon Bee is pretty good at it, but that’s the only example I can think of now. Some of what the Bee puts out there is pretty cringey if you ask me (parts of that Elon Musk interview were…well…bad), but lots of it is on the nose, so that gets a thumbs up from me. They are in the arena. Most comics critiquing Social Justice ideology currently are secular ones who are usually aiming their comedy guns at us. We should therefore be realistic about their ultimate allegiances while at the same time applauding and rewarding the risk they are taking. We should not become fan boys for loooots of reasons, but lets also not turn our noses up at them because they curse a lot and are usually pretty progressive. The Ricky Gervaises, Joe Rogans, Dave Chapelles, and Bill Mahers can be helpful allies in some strange, weird ways. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. We should encourage them when they stick their necks out and mock what needs to be mocked.
14) Lean into the rhetoric and framing battle Say whatever else you want to about him, but Christopher Rufo is great at this, as is Mike Young aka “Wokal Distance.” I get that Rufo is not everyone’s cup of tea and that sometimes his manner is way too pugilistic in the public square, but he intuitively grasps that the left wins by language games. They use rhetoric and words to favorably frame issues in their favor. They don’t have superior arguments as much as they have superior words. Hey…progressives can’t have all the fun. We have to get in on this and engage in our own rhetorical framing. There *is* a difference--a BIG difference--in how the left does this vs how we should do this. The left uses language to manipulate, obfuscate, and confuse. We should use language and rhetoric to accurately name and clarify. A great example is in abortion. The left uses rhetoric as euphemism, to hide the reality--its “reproductive healthcare” and the like. Pro-lifers use language to accurately describe the choice pro-choicers want to keep legal to clarify that abortion is not “reproductive healthcare”--it is unjustly killing a vulnerable person through the most barbaric means possible. Sure, that language is emotive and loaded. But it is loaded with reality, and the emotive connotations in such descriptions provide a window into reality, rather than a whitewashing of it. Tons of pro-lifers lean into that rhetoric already. Lets refine it and expand the same principle into other culture war issues. Again, if you want to see this done well and without apology, Rufo and Wokal are examples. Lastly, beating a dead horse here: churches should not be leery of providing training on how to do this well. Some churches might not have staff on hand that are adept at teaching how to do this, but there are people in the pews who can, and there are a ton of pros in the Church in general that can be tapped for the occasion. We have a bench that is quite deep- tap into that. All I’m saying is that there’s no reason a church can’t or shouldn’t in some way provide the means or space for the preparation so many average churchgoers are hungry for. For those who are not hungry for it--the above mentioned “grill Americans”--churches can and should wake them up to their need.
15) Preserve history Lastly, this is one of the top methods the revolutionaries have to wipe out a culture and civilization--make its citizens forget. There’s a reason why almost every dystopian story features revisionist history as a technique of the totalitarians--it makes the populace easy to manipulate and control. I just finished watching The Man in the High Castle Amazon series. The premise of the show is pretty interesting--what would the world look like if the Axis powers won the war and invaded America? In the show, set in the early 60s, The Third Reich controls about ⅔ of the US while the Japanese Empire controls the other third, the west coast. At one point starting near the end of season 2, The Reich institutes a campaign to deprive the people of their history. Calling it “Jahr Null”--Year Zero--they carpet bomb or melt any statue or artifact like The Liberty Bell or Statue of Liberty that bears positive testimony to America’s history. They institute a massive education campaign to liberate the young from the past, as it is a repository of oppression and backwardness. “Break free of the past. You are the trailblazers that will lead us into the glorious future!” All the kids wear “Jahr Null” arm bands, and eventually riot in the streets, beating up any old person who represents the old retrograde guard. The obvious reason for this is that the success of such a campaign will allow the powerful in the Reich to tighten their grip on the country they occupy. Hmmm….sounds familiar. Though definitely not to the degree in The Man in the High Castle, it’s still kind of a thing nowadays. I’m not trying to defend every single monument or statue out there. I get that some of our monuments honor and glorify men that ought not be honored and glorified. Coming to their defense is not the point. The point is that if you want the enemy agenda to prevail, slide into historical passivity. You don’t actually need to do anything for that to happen. Just keep being a grill American. So lets go the other way. Resist by actively preserving our history. Warts and all yes. Teach the sad and tragic parts along with the good. We must be honest--there’s a lot in our past that’s shameful. But there’s a lot to be proud of too, a lot of good to be preserved. We have a tradition we’ve inherited that needs to be aggressively stewarded and passed on. We must educate historically with intention. Promote and fund classical schools that do this well. Make learning history part of home discipleship, along with Bible, prayer, apologetics, etc. Unless they go to a solid classical school, they ain’t getting it in class. Fund, donate, and patronize universities that take this seriously, like Hillsdale. Churches: provide learning opportunities for this, in the form of book clubs and classes. If there is no staff on hand to do this, see comments above about at least providing room for that teaching and finding pros or volunteers in the pews who can do this well. We have the people resources for this. …this includes church history! Most Christians’ grasp of church history is woefully inadequate. Regarding the role of churches: there’s a pattern developing here, that has come up in almost every principle in some way--providing space for teaching and learning.
So that’s quite a list. More of a wish list than a blueprint, given the overly ambitious scope. Easier said than done, yea I get that. No one person, institution, or church can do even 10% of what’s listed. Same for the Church in America in general. Still, a guy can dream.
You'll notice that the lion's share of space was devoted more to the "defeat" side than the "love" side. Why? It is because in our circles, figuring out how to love isn't all that controversial, but figuring out how to defeat our enemies is harder and much more likely to make readers uneasy. If even a small number of Christians were to pick just a select few to improve or focus on…if even a small number of churches were to intentionally lean into just 1 or 2 formally…if just a few more establishments are created devoted to a few of the particulars above, that would make a difference. Kaizen. That’s really it at the end of the day: do something, no matter how small, in the place God has planted you. Bloom where you are planted intentionally. That’s all you can do, and that’s good enough.