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The Rise of Anti-Christianity in the West

ICC Note: The following opinion piece by Wallace Henley for the Christian Post takes a look at the cultural process gradually marginalizing and eventually seeking to eliminate Christianity from the public sphere in the United States. The article provides some key insights and examples into how Pastor Henley believes this process is taking place. ICC regularly monitors incidents of anti-Christian discrimination in the United States, incidents which appear to have grown increasingly frequent over the past two decades. 

5/12/2014 United States (Christian Post) – “There is now a serious risk that Christianity will disappear from its biblical heartlands,” said a report by think-tank Civitas about persecution of Christians in the Middle East. Ample evidence suggests there are those who would like Christianity to vanish from the West as well.

The Civitas report was titled “Christianophobia.” It “highlights a fear among oppressive regimes that Christianity is a ‘Western creed’ which can be used to undermine them,” according to a report in the London Telegraph.

A “Western creed”? The contemporary “Western creed” is post-Christian and increasingly even anti-Christian. One could hardly classify as Christian a culture where the Selfie is the icon before which multitudes worship, where unbounded sexual engagement is the core sacrament (people have now used their God-given creativity to link sex and Selfie by photographing themselves just after a romp), where the biblically based family is becoming a museum piece, and where the blood sacrifice is too often unborn children.

In fact, as the growing movement to stifle free speech and expression reveals, Western culture would like to get rid of the pesky voice of biblical Christianity altogether.

Some nations suppress Christians, their beliefs and messages violently. Current Western culture, however, has its own style of trying to silence the real church. It follows a specific sequence, which has accelerated in recent years.

The chain moves from caricaturization to marginalization to vilification to villainization to criminalization to elimination.

One of the easiest ways to discredit someone, an institution, movement, or idea is to caricature it by making the subject look comical or grotesque. Some caricatures are done admiringly and lovingly, like those on theater playbills or the walls of New York delis.

The other style of caricaturization comes from spite, anger, and hatred – like those the Washington Post’s Herblock drew of Richard Nixon (Herblock’s most vicious was probably a cartoon of Chuck Colson just after he had become a Christian), or in the way some racist publications depict Barack Obama.

The aim of grotesque caricature is to make the subject appear clownish, a bumbling buffoon who should not be taken seriously, or a sinister monster, as we will see in a moment.

Vilification easily follows from marginalization. To vilify is to defame and slander. The goal is to shrink respect for the person, movement, institution, or idea being vilified.

Marginalization says the person, movement, institution, or idea deserves only a minimal and peripheral role in culture. But vilification suggests there really should be no role at all for the vilified subject. It has nothing to contribute to the great societal conversation, not even from the cultural boondocks.

Now the danger mounts and the possibility of persecution looms. What has been merely caricatured, marginalized, and vilified is now villainized. That pesky person, movement, institution, or idea is no longer to be scorned merely, but feared. It’s the bad boy on the cultural street, ready to trip or assault the noble civilization-builders and freedom-defenders who gallantly march by.

Elimination logically flows from criminalization. The offenders must be removed for the greater good. In some parts of the world elimination is of the blatant style: hang them, gas them, behead them. Anything. Just eliminate them.

In civilized America elimination takes a different form. Fire corporate leaders who have gone against political correctness and the Establishment line. Dismiss them from boards. Lynch them in the media. Anything short of literal blood. Just get them out of the way.

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