Monday, August 21, 2017

NeoMarxists Begin Their War on Catholic America

The Life of St. Joan of Arc
Stilke Hermann Anton (1843 AD)

In my last blog essay I pointed out the futility of defending America's Confederate monuments in the face of the growing NeoMarxist movement in the United States. This of course is being challenged by NeoNazi racist groups in the United States, as we would naturally expect, and vice versa. Nazis and Marxists have always hated one another, and the violence against each reached its peak during World War II between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. Of course in the war against Nazism, America sided with the Marxists, even though the Marxists technically killed more innocent people, Hitler was deemed a greater threat, namely because of his close proximity to, and aggression with, Western Europe.

As uncomfortable as this may sound, had the tables been turned, in an alternate universe, and had it been the Soviet Union attacking France and Britain during World War II, America might have actually sided with Nazi Germany against the Soviet Union so long as the Nazis left Britain and France alone. I know, I've just committed "politically correct" blasphemy by stating such a thing, but I think it's true. America was in the European conflict of the War to help Britain and France. We would have allied with whomever it took to get that job done. Because you see, America's cosy relationship with the Soviet Union during World War II was no more than a strategic necessity. Had the tables been turned, we might have done the same with Nazi Germany. America's sole interest in World War II was making sure that America (and our primary allies of Britain and France) came out on top. President Roosevelt did what he had to do to insure that outcome, and if that meant allying the United States with the murderous, genocidal Joseph Stalin, then so be it. Even if he did kill more innocent people than Adolph Hitler. If the thought of this is starting to make you feel a little uncomfortable, then good! It means you're starting to understand history.

You see, my point here is to show that Marxism is just as evil as Nazism, and in some ways, its actually worse. In terms of body count alone, the Marxists killed far more people than the Nazis, and Stalin's genocidal efficiency would have made Hitler green with envy. Historically speaking, the Marxists were far more dangerous than the Nazis. For the Soviet Union acquired nuclear weapons and expanded their reach around the globe. This is what led to the Cold War. The Nazis could only wish for such things. Again, it was America's alliance with the Marxists against the Nazis that insured this outcome, but let's put things into perspective here. It was Marxism (the errors of Russia) that Our Lady warned us about at Fatima, not the errors of Germany. Both were evil to be sure. I bring this up to illustrate that just because NeoMarxists are protesting NeoNazis doesn't make the NeoMarxists any better, nor does it in any way legitimatise the NeoMarxist cause. They're both damnable heresies as far as Catholics should be concerned, and if allowed back into government power again, both will kill millions of people, just like their predecessors did.

So with that in mind, I want to share a little video here, which was witnessed by millions of Americans on nightly news and social media streams earlier this month...

In the above video, the large woman climbing atop the statue of a Confederate soldier is Taqiyah Thompson. She is a 22 year old student of North Carolina Central University. She is a NeoMarxist and leader within the Workers World Party, which is a well-known communist party founded in the United States back in 1959. You can read more about it here. This party supports the murderous and oppressive Kim Jong Un regime in North Korea. So let's be perfectly clear about something. While Confederate monuments stand for an ideal that can't be defended anymore, namely because the Confederacy lost the Civil War, and even though a few nasty racists like to rally around those monuments, that doesn't mean NeoMarxists are the right people to follow. NeoMarxists are in fact the worst people to follow, because their alleged crusade against racism and imperialism is really just a smokescreen. The Marxists of yesteryear did this too, using similar propaganda. It's a way to garner support by people who feel oppressed or marginalised. NeoMarxists, just like the original Marxists, really don't give a damn about Blacks and other minorities. They're just using them to further their Marxist agenda.

So now it appears the NeoMarxists are testing the waters in other areas they can protest, to further their cause. What are those areas? There has been some talk about tearing down America's national monuments to Washington, Jefferson, etc. So far that hasn't gained much traction, but one area that has gained some traction is the vandalism and removal of Catholic statues and monuments. Recently a statue of the Catholic heroine, St. Joan of Arc, was vandalised in New Orleans with the words "tear it down" spray-painted across its base. The perpetrator is believed to be a NeoMarxist with ties to the anti-racial group Black Lives Matter. More recently, similar anti-racist groups with ties to NeoMarxism protested statues of Christopher Columbus...

When will the madness cease? In my last essay, I pointed out that defence of Confederate Monuments will be impossible, since the Confederacy lost the Civil War and the whole cause has been so irrevocably linked with racism. The racist connection not entirely accurate, and it's not fair, but it is what it is. I pointed out that I have "bigger fish to fry" which explained why I was retreating from the Confederate argument to higher (more defensible) ground. Well, here it is. This is the higher (more defensible) ground. The attack against Catholic heroes, like Christopher Columbus and Joan of Arc, not only reflects a profound level of ignorance and brainwashing on the part of the protesters, but it also reflects a latent anti-Catholic bigotry that is typical of Marxism.

I'm sure that some will protest that remark. They'll do so by repeating the propaganda lies of Marxists which say that Christopher Columbus committed genocide against the Native American people. Let me help you out here with a little history lesson. One, that is Marxism. Two, that is a lie. Together they make a Marxist lie, and if you repeat it, you are aiding and abetting Marxism. That may not be your intention, but that is exactly what you are doing.

Now here's another history lesson about Christopher Columbus....

He was an Italian explorer financed by Spain. He was looking for a new trade route to the Orient. He didn't set out to find the American continents, they found him. Or rather, he bumped into them unexpectedly. He never did find that new trade route he was looking for, but he did discover two new continents that Europe was previously unaware of. Now it is true that Christopher Columbus wasn't the first European to discover the Americas. That honour actually belongs to Leif Erickson, a Christian Viking who discovered North America almost 500 years earlier. Erickson didn't stay long in "Vinland," or what is now northeastern Canada. He built a settlement, stayed for a few years, and then left just as mysteriously as he came, but the memory of his discovery was lost (or ignored) by most Europeans in the later Middle Ages. Columbus' voyage was financed by practical trade. The Spaniards wanted a faster trade route to the Orient and Columbus thought he could use the globe of the earth to get ships there faster. He was wrong, namely because Erickson's discovery of "Vinland" (as he called the Americas) was a whole lot bigger than any European ever expected. The hopeful trade route to the Orient was completely blocked by two enormous continents. So being a resourceful fellow, Columbus did what any explorer would do. He explored! He mapped. He documented. He informed the royal magistrates of Spain of his discovery. He was the European who discovered the trade route to the Orient was blocked by two enormous continents, and that there were inhabitants on those continents. He didn't go out and try to conquer them, and he most certainly did not commit genocide. He did, however, have some problems with governmental power. Or so it would seem from some recently discovered documents. Columbus was appointed governor of some of the small islands he discovered, and if the documents are accurate, it appears he did not handle power well. His alleged tyranny is indicative of men who are insecure leaders. Columbus was an explorer not a governor. He later begged the royals to send a replacement for him, which they did. Columbus was briefly imprisoned for his alleged tyranny, but later released to continue his exploration of the Americas -- this time as an explorer only. The only charge against Columbus that can rightly be made, if the reports are accurate, is that of local tyranny and colonial mismanagement. However, the charge of genocide is simply false. It is also propaganda.

It is true that in later years the Spaniards would engage in colonial oppression against Native Americans in Central and South America, but Columbus didn't cause that. He didn't approve of it, nor did he engage in it. To blame him for it is again a demonstration of lies and propaganda. History simply doesn't support such claims. You can't blame a man for something he simply did not do. The argument was that if Columbus hadn't discovered the Americas, then Spanish imperial conquest of the Americas would have never happened. Now let's just stop and think for a moment just how stupid this claim really is. We are being told that we should blame a man for genocide, because he discovered an area that would later be conquered by somebody else. Is that even logical?

The very definition of genocide is the wilful and intentional murder of millions of people by a direct act that intentionally causes that murder. It's sort of like the word suicide. Suicide is the murder of self, by a direct act that intentionally causes that murder. However, it is possible for somebody to inadvertently kill himself without committing suicide. For example; if a smoker develops lung cancer and dies, we don't say he committed suicide. Granted, his reckless and irresponsible lifestyle most likely caused his lung cancer, which led to his death, but he didn't intend to die. He wasn't actually trying to kill himself. It was, rather, an unintended consequence of his reckless behaviour. That is, by definition, NOT suicide. The same goes for genocide. For example; we could say that America's involvement in World War I tipped the balance of power in favour of the allies, resulting in the defeat of the Kaiser. This in turn brought about great economic hardship for Germany in the decades to follow, which resulted in the rise of Adolph Hitler, who killed millions of people. Now we could rightly accuse Hitler of genocide, but what about America? Our nation did, after all, play a great role in his eventual rise to power. Does that mean that America is guilty of Nazi genocide too? No. Because like the definition of suicide, it has to be caused by the WILFUL, INTENTIONAL and DIRECT act that causes the death(s). Only Hitler and the Nazis can be rightly blamed for that. The effect of America's involvement in World War I, which resulted in the rise of Hitler, was unintentional and indirect.

The same can be said of Christopher Columbus. Yes, his discovery of the Americas did lead to the imperial conquest of Amerindians by Spain, and some possible genocide of some Amerindian tribes, particularly the Aztecs, but that was an unintentional, unforeseen and indirect consequence. He didn't do it himself. Nor did he support it or cheer it on. In fact, his later life was racked with pain from a disease he likely contracted during his voyages, and he died in Spain, oblivious to the horrors suffered by some Amerindians.

I say SOME Amerindians, because not all of them were treated badly by the Spaniards. The Aztecs were far from the "innocent" and "peace loving" people today's NeoMarxists depict them as. In fact, they were an imperial power themselves, conquering neighbouring tribes. They regularly enslaved other Amerindians and used some for human sacrifices to their gods. It was one such display that ignited the war between the Aztecs and Hernan Cortes. In fact, Cortes didn't conquer the Aztecs on his own. He was assisted by other Amerindian tribes who allied with him, namely because they had a score to settle with the Aztecs. These native allies were treated well by the Spaniards, and benefited greatly from their imperial conquest. Some NeoMarxists today might call these natives "traitors" to their own kind, but let us not forget that the Aztecs had for centuries been pillaging their tribes, raping their women, enslaving and sacrificing their people which they took as prisoners. No, things weren't nearly as black and white as today's NeoMarxists would have us believe.

Let us not forget that the Spanish colonial method was considerably different than the French and British colonial methods. The French actually got along quite well with Amerindians in North America, and the British generally respected them as sovereign people. It was the French-Indian War (or "Seven Years War") between the French and the British that brought an end to this friendlier relationship with natives in North America, but my point here is that we can't paint with a broad brush. There were differences between the colonial powers in their dealings with the Native American civilisations and tribes. By far, the worst reputation was among the Spaniards, but even they changed their ways eventually, namely after an apparition of the Virgin Mary (Our Lady of Guadalupe) told them to.

As for the charge of genocide among Amerindians, even that is not as black and white as today's NeoMarxists would have us believe. Again, actual history is an inconvenient thing for them. The overwhelming vast majority of Native American deaths in the colonial period was due to smallpox not imperialism. Smallpox is an often-fatal infectious disease that doesn't care about your race, ethnicity, religion or geographical location. The problem was that everybody was getting it all over the world, and that includes Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas. It is typically spread by casual face-to-face contact, or contact with bodily fluids from infected persons. The 16th and 17th centuries were periods of prolonged smallpox plague throughout Europe, and because Europeans were exploring the Americas at that time, the infection spread to the Americas too. Smallpox claimed the lives of millions of Europeans. In various places throughout Europe, smallpox killed off between 50% to 60% of the regional population. In the Americas, however, it was a staggering 90% of Amerindians on both continents. Why? Was it genocide? Did some mad scientist from Europe concoct a smallpox bioweapon and have it lobbed at unsuspecting Amerindians via 16th-century canon fire? Probably not. More likely it was spread by casual contact between European colonists and Native Americans. Once infected, the Native American immune system (having been isolated from the rest of the world for so long) was completely unprepared for the aggressive virus. It spread through their population like wildfire, killing 9 out of every 10 people, all across the two continents. So staggering was the loss, that Columbus recorded two continents teaming with people in the early 16th century, while the British and French colonists (relative latecomers) reported that the North American continent was mostly uninhabited by the late 16th to early 17th century. One can only imagine the horror these Amerindians suffered from a disease their immune systems have never encountered before.

Is this genocide? Hardly. It's called a pandemic -- a plague run wild. Did the Spaniards intend to infect Amerindians with this plague? It's doubtful, since it ravaged their Amerindian allies just as badly as their enemies. This was the 16th century after all. The concept of germs was not well understood. Many Europeans still attributed disease to "evil spirits" at that time. So it's highly unlikely that this was a bioweapon for intentional mass destruction. Rather, it was an infectious disease that killed both Europeans and Amerindians indiscriminately. The higher mortality among Amerindians was the result of an inferior immune system which is the natural consequence for any group of humans who remain separated from the rest of humanity for too long. The charge of genocide against European colonists is artificial and contrived. Yes, atrocities happened. Yes, imperialism was a bad thing. Yes, hindsight being 20/20, Europeans should have gone about things much differently. But genocide is an unfair and inaccurate claim. The European colonists did not INTEND to wipe out 90% of the Native American populations by a disease they had no control of, didn't fully understand, and killed millions of Europeans as well. If we abuse the word "genocide" to apply to the spread of smallpox among Amerindians, then we would likewise have to abuse the word "suicide" to explain a similar loss of life by the same disease in Europe. It just doesn't make sense. Let's use the words correctly please! But NeoMarxists rarely ever do that.

The protests against Christopher Columbus might be chalked up to historical ignorance if they were isolated. However, the vandalism of statues of Joan of Arc reveal a much more sinister pattern. Whatever did poor Joan of Arc do to Amerindians or Blacks in America? The answer is nothing of course. She lived in northern France decades before Columbus re-discovered America in 1492. She never met an Amerindian, nor an African, and she certainly did nothing to harm them. She is a canonised Catholic Saint and a symbol of faithful Catholic resistance against unjust imperialism. She is just as much a religious figure as she is a national symbol of France. There is nothing about her that can in any way be misconstrued as a symbol of racism, imperialism, genocide or hatred. Yet she is a target of NeoMarxist propaganda. Why?

One can only assume that the reason is because she's Catholic, and she represents a strong and valiant Catholicism that doesn't capitulate to the onslaught of oppressive forces of the time. She resists them, and maybe, just maybe, that's what scares the hell out of NeoMarxists. That's why she's considered a threat. That's why they want her monuments torn down, and they're willing to recruit the useful idiots in Antifa and Black Lives Matter to make it happen. I think what we are witnessing here are the first scouts of a much bigger army coming later on. Currently NeoMarxists are busy tearing down Confederate monuments, but in the long-run, their eventual plan is to tear down monuments to Catholic heroes and Saints.

Do you doubt what I'm saying here? Think again. Even Saint Junipero Serra, who did nothing but help Native Americans, is under attack by NeoMarxists as well. In San Francisco the word "Murder" was painted on a statue of him outside one of his Spanish missions. The notion that Saint Junipero Serra was anything but a gentle missionary to Amerindians in California is pure Marxist propaganda, once again designed to drive a wedge between minorities and their Christian past, so as to condition them to accept a Marxist worldview.

This is consistent with what we saw recently with a small Antifa protest of Church Militant's men's conference in Detroit, Michigan. Again, we have NeoMarxists, this time protesting an event wherein Catholic men are encouraged to become good husbands and fathers, as well as faithful Catholics and responsible citizens. What's wrong with that? It doesn't fit the NeoMarxist ideal, and it once again represents a strong and valiant Catholicism that doesn't capitulate to the onslaught of oppressive forces of the time. Right now these incidents of NeoMarxist protest and vandalism are small, but in time, once all the Confederate monuments are torn down, they will focus their attention toward monuments of a Catholic nature. Christopher Columbus and St. Joan of Arc will most certainly be the first to come down in riotous acts of vandalism.

Some of my readers have asked me why I have retreated from Confederate monuments. I explained in a previous essay why that is. They're indefensible. So I have simply retreated to higher and more defensible ground. I am a 4th Degree Knight of Columbus, and I will stand for the monuments of Christopher Columbus and St. Joan of Arc. Likewise, I will stand for the monuments of America's Founding Fathers as well, simply because I am an American and will not stand by quietly to watch them be destroyed. Yet it is Joan of Arc that I particularly rally behind on this, because she is a Saint, and because she represents everything that we, as Catholics, must do now. We must stand by our Church, and the civilisation she created (Christendom), against the forces of NeoMarxism and NeoNazism, which are really nothing more than two sides of the same coin. The fact that they hate each other should be of no concern to us. We stand against both, and yes, they both stand against us as well. Nazis have always hated Catholics, just like Marxists have. The fact that Marxism and Nazism are at war with each other is their problem not ours. We should stand against both, and we will. Saint Joan of Arc, pray for us!

Shane Schaetzel is an author of Catholic books, and columnist for Christian print magazines and online publications. He is a freelance writer and the creator of ' -- Apologetics and random musings from a Catholic in the Bible Belt.'

A Catholic Guide
to the Last Days
for Protestants

Monday, August 14, 2017

Choosing Our Battles Wisely

A Confederate Cemetery Monument in Denton Texas
Vandalised on July, 20, 2015

I am a student of history. I love learning the real reasons why things happened. It's not just how they happened that interests me, but why. That's the real interesting thing about history. That's what makes it come alive. This is why history is boring in public school classrooms. It's because the "whys" of history are filled with religious explanations, but in public schools, they're not allowed to talk about religious explanations, or at least not too deeply. For this reason, many of the "whys" of history are lost, and the study of history (on a public high school level) becomes little more than the memorisation of names, dates and places, in what seems like a disjointed chain of events without rhyme or reason.

Nobody really taught me American history. I learned it myself, the hard way. Yes, I had history teachers in public high school, and one of them was pretty good, but even he knew his limitations. He tried to teach the "whys" of American history to the best of his ability, as far as the school would let him, and I got a little glimpse of things through his class. In the end, however, what really did it for me was college. I took a college American history class in my freshman year. I thought it would be easy, because I had just taken the same class in high school the year before. I encountered two problems. The first was that my college American history teacher was from another country (the irony), and his accent was so thick I couldn't understand him. The second problem was the history book. It had almost nothing in common with my high school history book. I was failing what should have been an easy class for me. So I did something radical. Rather than drop the class, as most of the other students did, I stuck through it and I passed it. But this is how I did it. I went to the library and spent hours there. I must have read through dozens of American history books, on my own, trying to figure the whole thing out. Eventually it clicked. American history is really all about the history of religion in America! Once you understand that, the whole thing comes alive!

Religion played a vital role in the founding of the British colonies in America, and the movement of colonists between those colonies. It also played a vital role in the founding of the United States and the type of government these early Americans eventually settled on. Within that type of government was a political conflict, again based on the religious experience of these early Americans. Without getting too deep into it, the conflict was between Federalism and Antifederalism. Federalists wanted a strong centralised government, like what existed in England. While the Antifederalists wanted a loose decentralised government, something more akin to a confederacy. In the end, the Federalists won the day with the ratification of the United States Constitution. That, however, didn't mean the conflict was over. The Antifederalist mentality lived on, particularly in the Southern states, which saw the increasing power grabs of Washington City as the prophetic warnings of their Antifederalist forefathers coming to life. For all the talk of slavery and secession, the real cause of America's Civil War was really only about one thing: the conflict between Federalism and Antifederalism. The political arguments that originally took place in Philadelphia's Independence Hall, during the Constitutional Convention, would eventually find themselves playing out on the battlefield all across the nation just a generation later. The Northern armies represented the Federalists, while the Southern armies represented the Antifederalists. Like the Constitutional Convention, the Federalists eventually won the day in the Civil War.

Antifederalism, also known as "States Rights," was crushed in that 78-year span between 1787 to 1865. What began as a civil debate in a Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, ended in a bloody Civil War and the surrender of the Army of Virginia at Appomattox. It's all connected. It's all the same thing. The issue of slavery was just a distraction.

I think this is why so many Southern Americans hoped to keep the memory of the Confederacy alive, because they hoped that by enshrining the heroes and battles of the South, some aspects of the Antifederalist arguments might be kept alive. This is why there are Confederate monuments, statues, and battle flags all across the American South. It is, after all, a big part of our American heritage, and the arguments made for decentralisation and States Rights remain very much a part of American politics today.

However, something tragic happened on the way to Antifederalist revival in the 21st-century. It was married to racism, Antisemitism and Anti-Catholicism. The wedding occurred slowly over the course of the 20th-century, and the marriage was finally consummated during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 60s. It was during this time that racists, from all corners of America (North, South, East and West), adopted the symbols of the Old South to signify their hatred of Blacks, Jews, Catholics and other minorities. The honeymoon lasted over the remainder of the 20th-century, and now what has emerged is nothing short of a complete hijacking of the Antifederalist (Confederate) argument to bolster hatred of everyone who is not a White, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant (W.A.S.P.).

To be sure, Robert E. Lee is rolling in his grave right now. I'm sure the thought of monuments dedicated to his memory, now being used as flash-points in a virtual race war slowly erupting is something he would object to. Being an honourable and humble man, he would likely insist that such monuments to his memory be removed as soon as possible to keep the peace.

However, this latest eruption over Confederate monuments and Confederate flags is in itself a religious movement of sorts. During the 1950s and 60s, while Northern and Western racists were consummating their marriage with the signs and symbols of the Old South, a new religious movement was birthed on American soil. It wasn't anything new. In fact it had been widely accepted in Europe for nearly 100 years prior. I'm talking about militant Secularism here, which eventually manifested itself in Marxism in the early 20th century. In America it took a softer approach, preferring the term "Liberal" at first, and then "Progressive" later on. It could best be described as political Leftism, because the way it promotes itself is by creating an amalgamation of various different groups, known as "identities," and then promotes itself as the defender of these "identities." This is what is meant by "Identity Politics." However, what these identity groups fail to realise is that they're all just means to an end. The final goal has nothing to do with defending or promoting a particular group's identity. Rather, it's about consolidating all power to a centralised government, because militant Secularism isn't about identity at all. It's about putting the government above everything else -- even God.

Because militant Secularism views government as divine, all things (even religion) must be subject to the state. As for Antifederalism (States Rights), or the idea of a decentralised government, that has no place in a militantly Secular society. All vestiges of government decentralisation must be crushed, and that's easy enough to do when all the historical relics of the Antifederalist argument (the Confederacy) have been married to White Power, NeoNazi, racism!

So come the tragic events of Charlottesville, Virginia last week, wherein amid violent clashes between NeoMarxist and NeoNazi protesters, over a monument to Robert E. Lee slated to be removed, an Ohio man (a Northern man with ties to racist groups) drove his car at high speed into a marching crowd of NeoMarxist demonstrators, killing one and injuring scores more. The man was captured by police, thank God, and is facing charges, that when convicted of, will surely send him to prison for a very long time, that is, if he doesn't receive the death penalty. The whole incident was captured on multiple smartphone video cameras and broadcast on the Internet for all the world to see. Since then there has been a national outcry, over the span of just a couple days, that has resulted in mayors and city councils all across the American South calling for the demolition of all Confederate monuments, as well as the total anathematising of the Confederate Battle Flag.

It's not going to end in Charlottesville. In fact, it only began there. The battle over the symbols of the Old Southern Confederacy is over, and just like the Civil War itself, the Confederacy (and Antifederalism) lost. It's over. There will be no recovery from this.

The symbols of the Confederacy will soon be relegated to the ash heap of history. As unfair as it is, and as historically inaccurate as it is, the Confederate Battle Flag will now be relegated to the same level as the Nazi Swastika Flag. Monuments to the Civil War heroes and battles of the South will soon disappear. The memory of the Confederacy will be nothing more than a footnote in the history books within a generation. Whatever lessons it had to teach us about Antifederalism and the dangers of a centralised Federal government, are now drowned in the cries of "White Power!" and "Heil Hitler!" These are overshadowed only by the media attention they receive and the cries of Leftists trying to shout them down. All real political discussion is over in America. All real historical education is finished. The only thing left are two extremists, the extreme Left and the extreme Right, shouting in the streets at one another, throwing rocks and bottles at each other, and committing shameful acts of violence against each other. Political and historical discourse is dead in America. All that is left is hate and violence now.

So where does this leave us as Catholics? I must confess that a sad day has come if you're a lover of history like me. Because the time has come to choose our battles wisely.

I can't save the memory of the Old South. I can't salvage the good ideas about decentralised government that came from there. I can't honour the memory of Confederate soldiers who died for something other than slavery. I can't because I'm just one man, and there aren't enough people like me to get the job done. For every time I shout "Antifederalism" or "States Rights," it's drown out by the shouting of "White Power" and "Heil Hitler" which is further drown in the cries against "Racism" and "Bigotry." A lowly little history-lover like me can't even get a word in edgewise, and even if I do, I'll be labelled with the Klansman and NeoNazis who's beliefs I oppose and despise. So it's over folks. This is the end of the road for me when it comes to American history.

I've come to the conclusion that Americans don't want to know their own history. Some are too busy jumping on bandwagons to care. They're too busy identifying with either the NeoMarxist Left or the NeoNazi Right to bother. The rest just don't care about anything other than food and circus (entertainment). I've come to the conclusion that in today's America, I have to pick my battles wisely, because there is no more room for frivolous history lessons about Antifederalism and the Civil War. We've moved way beyond that now. It has been said that a nation that forgets its past has no future. I agree with that. America has most certainly forgotten its past, and we are now witnessing a national demonstration that indicates it has no desire to relearn it. It has also been said that those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. I would like to add that those few, who actually do learn from history, are doomed to helplessly watch as others repeat it.

For this reason, among many others, I don't personally believe the United States will survive the 21st century. Short of another Constitutional Convention (Article V, Convention of States) in which a new set of delegates can totally remake ourselves as a nation, this government will continue to descend into the rule of political strongmen (billionaires like Donald Trump), until finally it collapses under its own weight. The lessons of the Old South are lost, along with the Confederacy and her symbols. I have to ask myself; is this the proverbial "hill" I want to "die" on? Is this really my battle to fight? Is this really what I want to be my own personal legacy?

The answer is no.

I have bigger battles to fight, and bigger proverbial fish to fry. America is lost, along with her history. It's time to let it all implode, and let the archaeologists sort it out centuries from now. By the time that day comes, I wonder if anyone will remember an American Civil War ever happened, let alone, what it was really about. I suppose that all depends on how well we are able to erase our history from our collective consciousness. At this point, I say let them do it. Let the monuments come down. Relegate the Confederate Battle Flag to the Nazi Swastika. Go ahead. History obviously doesn't matter to Americans anymore, so go ahead and make up a new story to fit the political ideology of the day. If it keeps the peace, and it prevents Americans from killing each other, then I suppose it's worth it for now.

So let the confederate monuments, statues and battle flags all come down. Let them be dismantled and put away in museums. Let all history of the Confederacy and Antifederalism be erased from our collective memory. Let America be ruled by political strongmen, and maybe (if we're lucky) we'll get another Constitutional Convention to peacefully remake us into something entirely new. Or maybe not, and the United States Federal government will eventually collapse, leaving the fifty states to reorganise into new countries of their own making.

As for Catholics, let's focus on how we will rebuild America after it's inevitable collapse. Whether it will be rebuilt as a new union of 50 states, following another Constitutional Convention, or a collective of new countries in the place of the old after it falls, we cannot know. What we do know is this. The new America (or Americas) that must be rebuilt will need to be rebuilt on Christian principles entirely. Because militant Secularism is bankrupt, and the racial violence we see unfolding now is just another symptom of that.

Shane Schaetzel is an author of Catholic books, and columnist for Christian print magazines and online publications. He is a freelance writer and the creator of ' -- Apologetics and random musings from a Catholic in the Bible Belt.'

A Catholic Guide
to the Last Days
for Protestants

Monday, August 07, 2017

Thank God for Evangelicals!

Evangelist Billy Graham and Pope Saint John Paul II

You know, I've had a re-awakening in the last couple weeks, and it's all thanks to some friends of Pope Francis. Bear with me, this isn't what you might think.

On July 13, 2017 a papal adviser, Father Antonio Spadaro published an article with Presbyterian Pastor Marcelo Figueroa, in the Vatican-vetted magazine La Civiltà Cattolica, entitled "Evangelical Fundamentalism and Catholic Integralism." The article was painful to read. It's also been excoriated by some American Catholic bishops (click here for an example). Had it just been another liberal article in another liberal magazine I wouldn't have cared. I certainly wouldn't waste my time writing about it on my blog. I've got much better things to do. However, this particular article was Vatican-vetted by the Curia Secretary of State. It's not an official Vatican publication, but it does receive the blessing of the Vatican, and I suppose, that's why it hurts. I personally don't know what Pope Francis thinks, and I assume he is more open-minded than this, but I now know what at least one of his advisers thinks.

In the article, Spadaro and Figueroa refer to social cooperation between American Evangelicals and Catholics as an "ecumenism of hate" along with a litany of calumny describing such cooperation as "strange ecumenism" that is "attributable to its xenophobic and Islamophobic vision that wants walls and purifying deportations." I don't even know where to begin with such nonsense.

Not only am I a devout Roman Catholic, but I was reconciled to the Catholic Church from both Evangelicalism and Anglicanism. My entire family (mother, father, sisters, cousins, in-laws, etc.) remain Evangelical. Before becoming Anglican, and eventually Catholic, I studied for the ministry in an Evangelical association, and substituted on Sunday mornings for the pastor while he was away. Today I am not only an Internet apologist for the Catholic Church, but I'm also a catechist for my local parish. So I am uniquely qualified to speak on the connection between today's Evangelicals and faithful Catholics in America. All I can say is that not only are Father Spadaro and Pastor Figueroa incredibly ignorant of this social ecumenism between Evangelicals and Catholics in America, but they also seem to be laughably ignorant of American politics in general.

Let me tell you how it really is...

Yes, a lot of faithful Catholics and Evangelicals voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election, but let's be clear about something. The overwhelming vast majority of us didn't vote FOR Donald Trump. Rather we voted AGAINST Hillary Clinton. It just so happened that Donald Trump was the only viable alternative to a Hillary presidency. Yours Truly actually voted for Bernie Sanders (a self-described Socialist) in the Missouri Democratic Primary, not because Yours Truly wanted Bernie Sanders as president, but rather because Yours Truly was willing to do just about anything to stop a Hillary presidency. Yours Truly then turned around and voted for Donald Trump in the general election for the exact same reason. I didn't vote for Sanders and Trump because I particularly believed in either one of those candidates. Rather the prospect of a Hillary presidency was so frightening that I was willing to vote for Sanders and Trump (two polar opposite candidates) in the hope of stopping her. To use an American football colloquialism, something I'm sure neither Spardaro nor Figueroa will understand (namely because they don't seem to understand anything else about America), it was nothing short of a "Hail Mary Pass," and by that I mean pun intended, because I did pray a whole lot of "Hail Marys" in the process.

I'm sure a similar story can be told of most American Catholics who likewise voted for Trump in the general election. For that matter, the same can be said of most Evangelicals, who's favoured candidates in the primary were clearly: Ted Cruz, Ben Carson and Mike Huckabee -- not Donald Trump. However, none of them could best the incendiary campaign of Donald Trump, and the reason why he won is because that incendiary method was directed primarily toward Hillary Clinton, which tapped into the absolute fear and loathing most Christian Americans had toward her all along. His occasional comments about illegal aliens and Muslim radicals paled on comparison to his fiery comments about her. His scorched-earth campaign style left every stop with a smouldering reminder of why so many Americans distrust and dislike the former First Lady and Senator from New York. That's why he beat his Evangelical rivals in the primary, and that's why he won the Republican nomination for president. In the end, that's why he won the general election and the presidency.

Let me make this crystal clear for anyone at the Vatican who might be reading this. Speaking as an American Catholic, down here in the trenches of the political battles unfolding in America, the one and only reason why Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election is because of Hillary Clinton. She is the reason why he is the president today. She is the reason why faithful Catholics and Evangelicals turned out en mass to vote for Donald Trump and the Republicans last November. She is the reason why the Republicans are now the majority in the U.S. Congressional House and Senate, as well as the majority of the state legislatures and governors mansions around the nation. She, and she alone, is the one singular reason why things turned out the way they did. She was the candidate with a pro-abortion advocacy record unparalleled in American history. She was the candidate with her disdain for Evangelicals and faithful Catholics. She was the candidate with her "deep seated... religious beliefs... have to be changed" comment (see here) that scared the hell out of faithful Christians all across America. She was the candidate with her "it takes a village to raise a child" background. She was the candidate with her history of corruption and cronyism. She was the candidate with her shady connections and questionable ties, not to mention her sleazy husband. She was the candidate with her pro-globalism agenda. She was the candidate with threats to isolate Russia, in Ukraine and Syria, pushing the superpowers ever closer to another World War. She was the candidate with her history of arming terrorists in Syria, selling uranium to Russia, and abandoning an American embassy under terrorist attack, all while she was Secretary of State. She was the candidate with her support of Obamacare that has bankrupted millions. She is the reason why the mainstream news media is afraid to say it, and she is the reason why the Democratic Party will never admit it. It was her.  It was all her all along. And it was only her. She's the reason why Donald Trump won the election. She and no other. That is what's really going on down here on the ground in America, and that's what some in the Vatican seem to have no understanding of. I find it absolutely frightening that such men have the ear of the Vicar of Christ. It's terrifying actually. I can only hope and pray he pays little attention to them.

So now that I've vented a bit, let me move on to the social cooperation between Catholics and Evangelicals in America.

It helps to understand the religious makeup of America first. The United States is still a very Protestant country with a Secular government. The reason why America's government is Secular is because there are so many different Protestant denominations in the United States, and America's Founding Fathers wanted to avoid a repeat of the oppressive confessional state that existed in England for centuries following the Protestant Reformation. This Secularism was originally welcomed by American Catholics, many of whose parents and grandparents fled to the colonies from the Penal Laws in England. Granted, American Secularism has taken on a more militant nature in recent decades, which is problematic to be sure, but only a tiny minority of faithful Catholics in America want to turn the country into a confessional state defined by the Catholic Church, and even those few concede that toleration should always exist for Protestants and other religious groups, at both the political and legal level. In other words, even those most extreme Catholic Integralists, infinitesimally small as they are, acknowledge that legal and political toleration of various religious beliefs is generally a good thing, and would prefer to "return the favour" toward Protestants in America who have done the same for Catholics over the last two centuries. For some strange reason, Spadaro and Figueroa seem to think these Catholic Integarlists are much larger than they really are, and they mistake the political and social alliance between regular faithful Catholics and Evangelicals as some kind of sinister conspiracy to overthrow the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution and replace it with a Christian Fundamentalist theocracy.

Another thing Spadaro and Figueroa fail to understand is that in recent decades a growing rift has developed between American Evangelicals and Fundamentalists, almost to the point where we could begin to talk about them as two separate religious entities. While there is a general crossover between Evangelicals and Fundamentalists when it comes to religious doctrine, which is staunchly Protestant of course, the difference is in emphasis and attitude. Evangelicals tend to focus on the core beliefs of the gospel (evangelium) showing more tolerance and flexibility on peripheral doctrines. While as Fundamentalists (shrinking in number now) tend to hold core gospel beliefs and peripheral doctrines on equal footing. As a result, Evangelicals express a much stronger willingness to work with Catholics, cooperate with us, and tolerate our difference in belief. While Fundamentalists do not. The move away from anti-Catholicism is measurable in Evangelical circles, especially in the Bible Belt of the United States (the Traditional South or "Dixie") wherein Evangelicals are more likely to confess ignorance of Catholic beliefs rather than vehement opposition to them. As a former Evangelical pastor in training (during the 1990s) I can testify that the trend was already in motion back then. We, in Evangelical church leadership, found ourselves having to frequently remind our congregations of our opposition to Catholic teaching, though we confessed admiration of Catholic devotion and discipline, all the while acknowledging that they very well may be Christian. That was in the 1990s. A lot has changed in the two decades since. These days Evangelicals are far more likely to acknowledge Catholics as fellow Christians, all the while admitting ignorance about Catholic teaching and practices.

Much of this current relationship came about in the 1980s and 90s, on the front lines of the American proverbial "culture wars," particularly in the trenches of the Pro-Life Movement. Faithful Catholics and Evangelicals found themselves under fire together from hostile forces on the Secular and Pagan Left in America. (Yes, there is a "Pagan" Left in America. Just ask any Wiccan or New Ager.) We faithful Catholics watched the Left belittle and malign the very people we stood side-by-side with (Evangelicals) on the street corners of America during Pro-Life demonstrations. We all suffered the insults and profanities together by passing traffic. We all endured the egg throwing and garbage tossing by the same motorists passing by. Even our little children, who stood there with us, were subject to the same, asking "Mommy, why do they hate us so much?" Ours was an alliance forged in the crucible of soft persecution by the American Left, and we built strong relationships through it. Today, it can be said that many faithful Catholics in America feel a stronger kindred with local Evangelicals than we do with cafeteria Catholics in New York, Washington DC, Europe and yes, even the Vatican. Why? I think the Spadaro/Figueroa article speaks for itself on that. Too many of our fellow Catholics are too clueless, or too snobbish, to understand what it's like to have raw eggs, garbage and profanities thrown at you and your small children, while you stand side-by-side with Evangelicals having the same things thrown at them, in our public proclamation of the Gospel of Life.

It was during this time that a group of prominent Evangelicals and Catholics produced a statement pledging our support for one another in the midst of this cultural upheaval. The document itself was a major source of division between Evangelicals and Fundamentalists, accelerating the rift between them, but it forged a deeper relationship with Catholics and Evangelicals on the front-lines of the battle with the Secular and Pagan Left. The name of the document is Evangelicals and Catholics Together: the Christian Mission in the Third Millennium. It's a document that every Catholic and Evangelical should read and share with others.

That relationship didn't stop there. In the Bible Belt of America, where Catholic parishes are small, and Evangelical churches are large, there came a sharing of resources and abundance. Many Evangelical church leaders reached out to Catholic families, not in attempted proselytism or anti-Catholicism, but rather neighbourly affection. They offered their meeting rooms and property grounds for Catholic events pertaining to social renewal. In some rare cases, as need arose, they even offered their church buildings for Catholic mass when Catholics had no building of their own. They also offered their youth-group activities and field trips to Catholic children, who were local friends with the children of Evangelical members. At the same time, Catholic schools began taking in Evangelical children. Homeschooling networks, strong with Evangelicals in the Bible Belt, began accepting Catholic children for membership, and Evangelical adults began referring to their Catholic neighbours as their "Catholic brethren in the Christian faith." Yes, of course there was the occasional friction between Catholic and Evangelical theology. That's the sort of thing that happens when people of different faiths get together. Friction, when handled properly, can lead to greater understanding and mutual respect. In the Bible Belt, just about every faithful Catholic is a mini-apologist for the Catholic Church. We have to be, and as a result, Evangelicals tend to be much more respectful now than in ages past. This relationship between faithful Catholics and Evangelicals in America is real and solid. It's built on common persecution from our common adversaries, and it's grown in a spirit of both curiosity and respect. This supposed "ecumenism of hate" that Spadaro and Figueroa speak of simply does not exist. Faithful Catholics and Evangelicals in America are allies because we have to be, and we're better off because of it. Perhaps some of our Catholic brethren in other parts of the world will eventually understand someday, when they too find themselves side-by-side with a few Protestants while being attacked by a society that hates them both. I suppose in Europe, that day may not be too far off now. Lord knows, Catholics and Evangelicals in heavily Islamic countries tend to be very tight with each other. Is this also an "ecumenism of hate?" I don't think so.

I have lived in the Ozark Mountains of Southern Missouri for a quarter of a century now. This is deep within the Bible Belt of the United States. Over that span of time I have watched, with my own eyes, the breakup of Evangelicals and Fundamentalists. I have also watched the softening of Evangelicals toward Catholics, while Fundamentalists harden and shrink into irrelevancy. Catholics in this area have reciprocated Evangelical hospitality rather quickly, and the relationship that now exists is fairly strong. Nothing would please the political Left more than a rupture between faithful Catholics and Evangelicals now, but I've got news for them. That's not going to happen. We remember the raw eggs, garbage and profanity the American political Left threw at us and our children. We stood side-by-side with Evangelical parents as we tried to shelter our babies from this stuff, while simultaneously proclaiming the Gospel of Life. Now our children have grown up with their children. Some of their children have become Catholics, and some of ours have become Evangelicals. (The latter may not be ideal for us, but it is reality. Our blood has mixed with theirs and vice versa.) Our children sometimes attend Evangelical events, and their children sometimes attend Catholic events. Faithful Catholics and Evangelicals work together in the workplace, sometimes against management that is openly hostile toward traditional Christianity. In the same public schools, Catholic children are told to put away their rosaries, and Evangelical children are told to hide their Bibles. Neither are allowed to proclaim their faith too loudly. Both whisper their faith to one another, and both silently share their prayers with each other. That kind of relationship won't be broken by a nasty article vetted by the Vatican Secretary of State, any more than the constant Leftist attempts to get us to turn against each other. If I only had a dollar for every time a political Leftist tried to tell me that Evangelicals secretly hate me. I'm sure they say the same to Evangelicals about Catholics. Of course they want to drive a wedge between us. Our cosy relationship presents a political threat to them and their agenda. I think they're starting to figure that out now. I bet they're thinking maybe they shouldn't have thrown so many eggs at us in their youth. Maybe they should have thrown their garbage into trash cans, rather than at our children. Maybe their profanities and middle fingers should have been more restrained in those days. Ah! Regrets. C'est la vie.

Today, the alliance between faithful Catholics and Evangelicals is strong, and I say thank God for that! What would we do without Evangelicals to take the place of cafeteria Catholics who are too clueless, or too snobbish, to help us in our social struggles? Thank God for Evangelicals who loan their chapels to Catholics in need of a place to say mass. Thank God for Evangelicals who invite Catholic children to youth functions without intent to proselytise them. Thank God for Evangelicals who fearlessly stand side-by-side with Catholics on street corners during Pro-Life demonstrations, willing to suffer all the same abuse we do for the sake of the Gospel. Thank God for Evangelicals who have witnessed to lapsed Catholics and brought them back to some faith in Christ after they've abandoned it for atheism and hedonism. Thank God for Evangelicals who consider Catholics their Christian brethren, even when they confess ignorance about our beliefs and practices. Thank God for Evangelicals who stood with us in the last presidential election against that horrible woman (Hillary Clinton) who would have surely used her executive powers to hurt the freedoms and liberties of all religious people. Thank God for Evangelicals, because without them, political Leftists and cafeteria Catholics would have already turned America into another Venezuela or Argentina. Thank God for Evangelicals who aren't afraid to loudly proclaim their faith, and put a Christian stamp on almost everything they touch. As a Catholic in the Bible Belt, I am grateful for their cultural events, entertainment and amusement parks, which are friendly to the Gospel message. Thank God for Evangelicals who make movies with a good moral message. Thank God for Evangelicals, for simply being Christians we faithful Catholics can ally with. I suppose, as a former Evangelical, I would be biased in saying that Evangelicals make the best Catholics when they reconcile with the Catholic Church, but after years of watching RCIA classes, that has been my observation.

Shane Schaetzel is an author of Catholic books, and columnist for Christian print magazines and online publications. He is a freelance writer and the creator of ' -- Apologetics and random musings from a Catholic in the Bible Belt.'

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