With the U.S. men’s national soccer team ditching the red, white, and blue in favor of the rainbow flag for their activities in Qatar, perhaps the most striking thing is that Qatar’s attitude toward homosexuality was the battle chosen. Never mind that a Christian can go to jail for ten years in Qatar for practicing their faith in public. When the U.S. has to choose between gays and Christians…
Take, for instance, Adolfo Martinez, rotting in an Iowa jail, nearing the end of the third year of the sixteen-year prison sentence that ended his multi-colored-flag-burning career. Even Courtney Reyes, executive director of One Iowa, a statewide LGBTQ advocacy group, was incredulous of the judge’s sentence, saying,
Hate crimes against the LGBTQ community are a serious matter as they inflict distinct emotional harms on their victims, and strike fear into the communities they target. That said, true justice should always strive to be about rehabilitation, reconciliation, and healing communities. It is difficult to see how a 16-year prison sentence accomplishes any of those goals.
Orthodox. Faithful. Free.
Sign up to get Crisis articles delivered to your inbox daily
This article should not be construed as a defense of Adolfo Martinez, a man who seems to have some serious issues—a fact that does not make his prison sentence any less obscene.
I have had occasion to daydream about what it would be like to be a juror for such a trial. Of course, that would never happen; devout Christians, especially those with eleven kids, don’t get chosen to juror trials that have anything remotely to do with sexual morality; that is an indisputable fact of life. Many years ago, my father-in-law’s name was drawn for jury duty. The case had to do with child porn. He was a father of ten. The defense immediately rejected him.
We are without peers.
In our legal system, in the area of sexual crime, all will be judged by the morally bland. The first requirement for jury assignments in the realm of sexual vice is that you have to be shallower than a sidewalk puddle on a sunny summer’s day in Las Vegas.
But suppose I was chosen for such duty. During deliberation, what would I say? I think that I would explain that the rainbow is a thousands-of-years-old Judeo-Christian symbol of God and man’s covenant and that the use of it as a symbol of pride for a sexually perverse lifestyle is an obvious hate crime against Jews, Christians, and Muslims, whose continuous traditions hold such acts to be gravely disordered. (The flag destroyed by Martinez had been hung on a church.)
Joe Biden described the rainbow flag as “the very symbol of diversity and inclusion.” The biblical rainbow was the grand finale to the great flood, easily the most exclusionary event imaginable! As symbols go, it is the antithesis of inclusivity.
Including sin was not the order of the day when God submitted the plans for the ark. I would ask why putting such a flag on a church is not a hate crime of desecration. I would argue that the response—burning the flag—was proportional to the offense: the proper response for insult given to a sacred symbol.
The jury, of course, would be a hung jury, and I might be hanged in the process. My argument would not sway the sidewalk puddles, those members of what Austin Ruse calls “the new state religion,” whose members are the only people with peers.
Yes, only the shallow have peers in an American court of law; all others are barred. In a justice system of trial by peers, justice becomes impossible when the populace becomes unjust.
In that new religion, there is only one unforgiveable sin, and the rainbow-banner-burners have committed it; pro-life sidewalk counselors have committed it; conservative voters have committed it; faithful Catholics commit it just by drawing breath.
An old saying goes, Hate the sin; Love the sinner. Clearly, Christian tradition has recognized the legitimacy of hatred as an emotion of disgust—not for persons, but for things that are disgusting: sins.
In a previous Crisis article, I wrote about the “conflation of personal temptation and identity” and how “identifying with one’s temptations is the bedrock of the sexual schizophrenia of our day.”
An equally potent disease in our spiraling culture is the conflation of emotion and virtue, and its flipside, emotion and vice. Without this conflation, virtue-signaling would be seen to be the absolutely meritless charade it is.
Hatred is an emotion, a psycho-physical response. Malice, on the other hand, is a malignance of intellect and soul. It entails desire, possibly even intent, to harm another. Like all sin, it is a function of the will.
Is it wrong to feel disgust? I’m disgusted by the way some of us worship social status instead of our Creator, and that some of us use His name in vain. I hate that some of us are too spiritually lazy and self-satisfied to spend a lousy hour or two a week in study, prayer, and worship; and I despise how people disrespect their parents, their heritage. I’m disgusted when parents ignore their children, their progeny; and I despise abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide, divorce, porn, adultery, pedophiliac acts, and every other sexually perverse act. I hate theft and lying. A lot. I hate sin.
Shouldn’t we all? Or have we been socially groomed to the point where we have become incapable of righteous indignation? Seriously, when’s the last time you even heard that term? Could any term be more politically incorrect?
My previous article stopped short: our culture not only teaches us to conflate temptation and identity; it teaches us to conflate sin and identity: sins are us. Therefore, to hate a certain kind of sin is to hate the sinner’s sacred identity—to hate the sinner.
And never missing an opportunity to turn everything on its head, the purveyors of this conflation clearly believe that it is acceptable to hate a sinner when his sin is the sin of hating another’s sacred sin. Got that?
This is the paradigm more and more at work in our judicial process—these are the people desperately sought for jury duty in a variety of cases.
However, this all goes well beyond emotion; beyond simple hatred. If not out of pure malice, what possible motive is there for putting someone in prison for sixteen years for burning a flag? Our nation—indeed, the world—is growingly maliciously anti-Christian. They want to do us harm.
Progressivism is malicious. Such vicious malice is the foundation of the whole hate-crime craziness and the resulting rash of unconstitutional legislation criminalizing an emotion.
So, what sins are conflated with identity? St. Paul writes, “…the immoral person sins against his own body.” He goes on to say, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, who you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been purchased at a price. Therefore, glorify God in your body.”
We know intuitively that there is something sacred about our bodies. When one evicts the Holy Spirit to make room for sin, a dire need arises to enshrine something—anything—to regain that sense of the sacred; to fill the emptiness. And thus, license is enshrined, and it becomes who and what we are.
But it never fully satisfies. Loving the sin only fosters self-loathing in the sinner; the emptiness remains: a lingering, annoying need to replace the Spirit that was thrown out. So it is that the flipside of criminalizing negative emotion is the canonization of feel-good emotion. Filling the void with emotion becomes seemingly salvific: a spiritual placebo.
Affection is not a virtue because emotion is not virtuous, just as emotion is not a vice and certainly not a sin or crime. Expressions of affection are meritorious when done for the good of the other. Expressions of anger are sinful if not intended for the correction of the other.
Properly ordered emotions like sympathy and empathy can become a springboard to virtue; but just feeling them—while it may tell us something about our relative emotional health—does not make us virtuous.
Feeling affection is not the act of loving. Love is an act of the will. Only creatures with free will—in the visible world, humans—are capable of love. Simply feeling something is neither good nor bad.
On occasion, Jesus exhibited powerfully negative emotion. False religiosity really chapped His hide, and He did not suppress the feelings it ignited. His righteous indignation was not well-received by the self-righteous of the day any more than it is now.
And what about us? How many of us are willing to call sin sin? Is sin disgusting to us, or have we been successfully groomed? Grooming is all about normalizing the obscene, the outrageous, the unthinkable, the painful, the perverse, the disgusting until it no longer triggers an emotional response—until we are comfortably numb.
You see, the deep irony is that those who put their glorified empathy on display are the very same who make war on negative emotion, preventing it from being the sentinel God intended it to be.
The groomers themselves, of course, are already numb. If they can destroy vigilance and just get everyone to be comfortable, all division will cease. All sin that has been claimed as an identity will miraculously no longer be sin. There will be no derision or division.
The unforgivable sin—the sin of recognizing sin; the sin of righteous indignation—will have been purged. Then all that was once disgusting will have been fully transformed to the glorious. Peace on earth. Defund the police. Kumbaya.
That is the delusion. Do not doubt that it is believed, and believed with even greater fervor than you and I possess—a malicious, bloody-fanged faith. Faith does not save unless it is faith in the source of all charity. Charity, a word that is difficult to conflate, is avoided by the “all love is love” crowd—the folks redeemed by emotion.
As our courtrooms begin to look and sound more and more like soap operas, expect little by way of earthly justice. There is a good chance that no one remotely resembling your peers will be allowed on the jury.
Misplaced faith is spiritually terminal. Righteous indignation is a beginning, a call to do battle with the enemy that has enslaved our brothers and sisters.
Emotion is your servant. Don’t be its slave.