It is commonplace in war to demonize the enemy. The purpose is to scare your troops, even more to make them so furiously angry they will not hesitate to kill. The civilians back home must understand the enemy are monsters.
The Japanese did this incredibly well in the island battles of World War II. The Japanese propagandists convinced civilians that the Americans would rape and kill and even eat their children. So frightened were these civilians that they threw themselves off of cliffs rather than surrender to the invading Americans who were shocked and heartbroken to see the broken bodies of mothers and children at the bottom of cliffs.
The British war department circulated a rumor in World War I that the Germans had literally crucified a Canadian soldier. This was a myth that animated the imagination of British soldiers. This is not to say that atrocities do not happen and did not happen. The Germans shot an awful lot of innocent Belgian civilians in the opening days of that savage conflict. But it is to say that there is such a thing as propaganda the purpose of which is to turn the enemy into monsters, all the easier to hate and kill them.
Orthodox. Faithful. Free.
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In recent years, the secular Left has been working feverishly to turn Christians into violent monsters. We are told that the number one threat of terrorism in America is from the Right, and there is a connection between this kind of domestic terrorism and Christianity.
They cannot come right out and say its Methodists, and it would be silly to say that it was—after all, Methodists tend toward lefty politics and potlucks more than violent protests. So, it’s not the Methodists that have them spooked. It is more like you and me.
Consider a scholarly paper published in 2022 that argues a correlation between “Christian Nationalism” and “political violence.” They say “Christian Nationalism” is the belief the United States is a Christian nation. But that’s not all. Adherents to this dangerous belief are tolerant of racism, hold “anti-immigration views,” have “anti-Islamic” sentiments, possess “attitudes” about same-sex unions, and are suspicious of certain responses to Covid.
These “Christian Nationalists” oppose restrictions on the Second Amendment and believe in certain conspiracy theories—like that the 2020 election may have been rigged. Possessing all these beliefs is tied directly to “political violence,” of which the only example they present is the “Christian insurrection” of January 6th. During the January 6th riots, Christian insurrectionists “brandished” Bibles.
Which brings us to a 2022 piece in The Atlantic in which the author says that the AR-15 has become a “sacred object” to “Christian Nationalists.” He also says the Rosary—yes, the Rosary—has “been woven into a conspiratorial politics and absolutist gun culture.” He says, “the rosary can be a weapon in the fight against evil and turned into something dangerously evil.” The author is frightened of the website Roman Catholic Gear because it is “dedicated to offering battle-ready products and manuals to ‘stand firm against the tactics of the devil.’”
The author was also scared by a video series about manhood produced by the Knights of Columbus called “Into the Breach.” His concern is that “among radical-traditional Catholic men, such concerns take an extremist turn, rooted in fantasies of defending one’s family and church from marauders.”
There are boatloads of such bombast and bigotry online. A woman named Melissa Graves, who heads the Department of Intelligence and National Security Studies at The Citadel published a piece in Foreign Policy magazine called, “The United States Needs Deradicalization—for Christian Extremists.”
There is a fairly new book called The Flag and the Cross: White Christian Nationalism and the Threat to Democracy in which the authors argue that
white Christian nationalism has animated the oppression, exclusion, and even extermination of minority groups while securing privilege for white Protestants. It enables white Christian Americans to demand “sacrifice” from others in the name of religion and nation, while defending their “rights” in the names of “liberty” and “property.”
All this is going on while Evangelical and Catholic Churches are burned and otherwise defaced, and the head of the Justice Department says the FBI has not found any perpetrators because most of these atrocities occurred “at night.” Can anyone blame the faithful of the secular Left for burning our churches after years of the Black Legend that Christians are monsters?
Go look up an engraving called “The Black Legend,” a 1598 engraving by Theodore de Bry that shows a Spaniard feeding Indian children to his dog. This is how the faithful of the secular Left view devout Christians. And beware.
[Image Credit: Shutterstock]