Mary Eberstadt, author and senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, has an essay in the latest issue that analizes the new intolerance. In fact, the title of her essay is The New Intolerance. She explains how the title of her essay echoes the theme which has also appeared in "prominent pieces in several venues".
For there is no mercy in putting butchers and bakers and candlestick makers in the legal dock for refusing to renounce their religious beliefs—but that's what the new intolerance does. There is no mercy in stalking and threatening Christian pastors for being Christian pastors, or in casting out social scientists who turn up unwanted facts, or in telling a flight attendant she can't wear a crucifix, or in persecuting organizations that do charitable work—but the new intolerance does these things, too. There's no mercy in yelling slurs at anyone who points out that the sexual revolution has been flooding the public square with problems for a long time now and that, in fact, some people are out there drowning—but slurs are the new intolerance's stock in trade. Above all, there is no mercy in slandering people by saying that religious believer's "hate" certain people when in fact they do not; or that they are "phobes" of one stripe or another when in fact they are not. This, too, happens all over public space these days, with practically no pushback from anyone. This, too, is the new intolerance at work.
The first fact is that the new intolerance isn't just a Christian problem. It's an everybody problem. ...
Like related cultural unleashings, it will not stop at whatever courthouse door it's sniffing at the moment. It will want more.
... Nobody's free speech is safe when little Robespierres write the rules. That includes people who think they are safe because they have preemptively accommodated prevailing (politically correct) dogma and silenced themselves. Guess again. Practicing Christians who refuse to recant are on the front lines of the new intolerance today. But where they stand now, others will in the future.
The new intolerance facing Western religious believers today... is not an intellectual or philosophical force. In fact, it's hardly about ideas at all. It is instead something very specific, taken from playbooks that nobody should be proud of studying (Saul Alinsky's adversarial Rules for Radicals, perhaps?). It's about using intimidation, humiliation, censorship, and self-censorship to punish those who think differently. (I.e., Alinsky, in a nutshell.)
If the fury directed at religious believers could be pressed into a single word, as it can, that word would not be, say, theodicy. It would not be supercessionism. It would not be Pelagianism, Arianism, or other words that parted Christian waters in the past. No, in our time, that single word would be sex. Christianity present, like Christianity past and Christianity to come, contends with many foes and many countervailing forces. But it's single most deadly enemy in our time, the one with which it i locked in mortal combat, is not the stuff of the philosophy common room. It is instead the sexual revolution.
The new intolerance is a wholly owned subsidiary of that revolution. No revolution, no new intolerance.
... Everyone wants to be loved—or at least not hated. The fact that the new intolerance is able to exploit this ubiquitous desire, and to use it to tear Christianity from within as well as to isolate and intimidate people in its way—this is what makes the new intolerance so lethal.
(The new intolerance) is dangerous not only for the obvious reason that it spells censorship, but even more because it spells self-censorship—including within the churches. Inside Christianity itself, the scramble over the sexual revolution turns a community of sinners united by the shared search for redemption into something very difference: a discrete series of aggrieved factions, each clamouring for spiritual entitlement. It's institutionally destructive.
It claims to command the moral high ground, but in fact it does not and cannot. ... In the name of the revolution defended by the new intolerance, unborn innocents are killed by the millions every year, overwhelmingly on the sole ground they are inconvenient. The revolution singles out as particularly unwanted the fetuses who are female, millions more of whom are killed than males, to the apparent and bizarre indifference of many who claim otherwise to speak for womankind.
[Eberstadt includes in her examination of the new intolerance the case of the US federal government's attempt to force the Little Sisters of the Poor to provide contraceptive coverage in employee health insurance.]
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