A Russian Orthodox priest friend of mine believes that there’s a war on Christianity being waged in the United States. This war is not only happening in the United States — but internationally as well.
A quick Google search on the topic reveals many reports of increased hostility towards Christianity, especially in the United States. Many of these news items report calls for the destruction of religious statues, most notably of Junipero Serra, the Spanish missionary Philadelphia essayist Agnes Repplier described as “Spain’s gift to America,” a gift that was one “of disinterested benevolence.”
In 2020, a statue of St. Junipero Serra near San Francisco was defaced and pulled down on California’s Indigenous People’s Day. Masked leftist rioters sprayed red paint in the statue’s face before they toppled it.
In Denver of the same year, a statue of St. Jude was beheaded. This was followed by an image of Our Lady of Guadeloupe being toppled in Upland, California.
A parallel attack on religious statues occurred when Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) openly condemned St. Damien of Molokai, a Hawaiian hero who devoted a decade of his life to the care of lepers. AOC said that Fr. Damien’s statue in the U.S. Capitol was a part of “colonialism, patriarchy and white supremacist culture.”
In a tweet on August 4, Cortez tried to walk back her words:
“At no point did I say Fr. Damien was a bad figure – in fact, I explicitly stated that my observations weren’t about litigating his or any individual statue. It’s about the fact that a huge supermajority of statues in the Capitol are white men. Barely any women…”
When hearings were conducted back in 2018 for attorney Brian Buescher, a devout Catholic and Knights of Columbus member nominated for the US District Court for the District of Nebraska, Senator Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, and then-Senator Kamala Harris, D-California, mercilessly drilled Buescher on his Knights of Columbus membership, asking him about possible conflicts of interest, as if the organization had a game plan similar to that of the KKK. The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights also opposed his confirmation.
Worldwide, Reuters reported that 9,488 churches and church buildings were attacked in 2019. Lela Gilbert, Adjunct Fellow at the Center for Religious Freedom, writes that, in India, Christian churches are regularly attacked by the Hindu national movement and that in Pakistan as of May 2019, 200 Christians were executed on charges of “insulting Islam or Mohammad.”
In China, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has worked overtime tearing down Christian crosses. When the CCP instituted new legislation in late 2019 stating that “religious organizations must adhere to the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party,” that all but took the soul and substance out of “official” Christianity in that country.
In June 2020, Christianity Today conducted a poll among Catholics to find out what they thought were the most pressing issues facing the Church today. The results were surprising. The most pressing issue for Catholics was human trafficking, followed by poverty, climate change, and the refugee crisis. The persecution of Christians came in last.
The word “persecution” suggests the burning of churches, the arrests of clergy, and the forbidding of church services. But it must be stressed that the beginning stages of persecution are often so subtle that they may not be noticed.
George Yancey, a writer for Belief.net, wrote:
“By a clinical definition of persecution, yes, Christians are persecuted in the US. But I discourage Churches in the US from saying that we are persecuted since what we face today isn’t what most people envision when they think of persecution.”
Yancey goes on to say that while Christians aren’t exactly being beheaded in the USA as they sometimes are in the Middle East, the more openly devout Christians here face growing intolerance, lawsuits, jobs lost, and public disdain. As for being a Christian on the campus of most universities, forget it. Christians are regarded as, at best, uncool, and at worst, hateful and bigoted.
But arguably more concerning than the war on Christianity is the war within Christianity itself. When Christian churches change many of their own traditional dogmas to suit the secular culture, they contribute to their own collapse from within.
Generally, the kind of Christianity being promoted today is a milquetoast Christianity that does not challenge the mores and beliefs of the progressive secular culture – but seeks to blend with it so as not to cause offense. It is the Christianity of liberal Benedictine nuns like feminist social activist Joan Chittster of Erie, Pennsylvania, and scores of others who see Christianity as a kind of United Nations of the soul where the latest social justice cause becomes a tenet of Christian orthodoxy.
This new form of Christianity is changing many Churches and denominations, including Eastern Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism.
In Eastern Orthodoxy, a prime example of the infiltration of secular values into the Church can be measured by the actions of the Orthodox Christian Studies Center (OCSC) at the Jesuit-run Fordham University. The OCSC bills itself as a forum for “divisive perspectives on contemporary issues related to Orthodox Christianity,” including, for example, edgy topics like children who may identify as non-binary or transgender.
Orthodox “leaders” such as the always-sassy Sister Vassa of Vienna, host of the cultish “Coffee with Sister Vassa” podcast, might as well be a theological tentacle of the James Martin School of New Theology. Sister Vassa, for instance, loves posing for photographs of herself without her nun’s veil, so that viewers can see that there’s really a flesh-and-blood woman beneath all that Russian Orthodox garb.
The refugee crisis response on the aforementioned Christianity Today poll is a perfect example of how U.S. Catholics are drinking the political Kool-Aid of the Democrat Party. It is also indicative of how the Catholic Church in the United States may be on its way to Milquetoast-ville.
Consider how the U.S. Catholic Bishops Conference has issued statement after statement condemning current US policy on the deportation of illegal aliens, supporting sanctuary cities, and condemnations of the infamous southern wall during the Trump administration.
In 2019, millions of dollars from the annual Catholic Peter’s Pence collection were handed over to leftist billionaire financier George Soros’ funding agencies — where they were given to illegal immigrant caravans as they headed towards the Mexican-USA border in 2019.
During the 2019 U.S. Catholic Bishops Annual Assembly, 69 out of 212 bishops voted against language identifying abortion as the pre-imminent issue facing the Church today. Some critics cite this vote as further proof that the American Catholic Church has aligned itself with Democrats.
As my priest friend commented, “They want Christianity to be a nice little charming thing you do at Christmas or Easter…but something never to be taken too seriously.”
This means that the milquetoast Christians and churches who conform their beliefs to those of the ever-changing secular culture gain cultural and political favor over the more openly devout, who become the targets for persecution.
The competing Christianities—real vs milquetoast—have created deep divisions among believers, and a house divided cannot stand.