Thursday, April 27, 2017


The New Yorker did an extremely generous profile of Rod Dreher this week. If that profile were the only thing you'd ever read about him, you wouldn't know he was nuts. The profile sympathetically tells Dreher's life story as a metropolis-hopping journalist whose heart is really in the holy boondocks (where for some reason he just can't seem to sink down roots) and his apotheosis as an author of easy-reading religious books. Profiler Joshua Rothman lauds Dreher's in-stores-now Benedict Option as a friend-of-Jesus-in-a-chartreuse-microbus plea for Christians to "consider living in tight-knit, faith-centered communities, in the manner of Modern Orthodox Jews," and seems not to have noticed the apocalyptic lunacy of his long public trail of magazine columns. Speaking of which, here's one from this week, responding to a poll that shows 62% of liberals belong have a religious affiliation, down from about 85% in the 1990s:
There Will Be No Religious Left... 
More broadly, we could say that many of the things liberal Christians believe in and advocate, in contradiction to normative Christian orthodoxy, already exist outside the church, period. Liberal Christianity often appears as a somewhat desperate attempt to sanctify modern beliefs...

There will be no religious left in the long term because the religious left, as it is currently constituted, doesn’t even believe in its own religion.
Considering there are still millions of liberals going to church or shul or whatever, this seems rather hysterical. To the extent Dreher bothers to explain why he thinks liberals are doomed to atheism, rather than spew hot gas and adjectives, he mainly cites sex. His sources rail against "a church unwilling to say that all homosexual genital relations are morally wrong; a church which at least makes some allowance for abortion when necessary to assure a mother’s freedom"; Dreher howls that the lib-godly "futilely try to update their doctrines to accommodate the modern world — especially regarding sexuality..." and are about "the legitimization of homosexual desire and the approbation of sexual permissiveness," etc.

Those of you who've read my criticisms and others' of Dreher will know this is SOP for Dreher, who is obsessed with sex, especially homosex (gay "persecution is coming" and you should "prepare for resistance"; gays are coming to kill him, just like they did black people in the days of Jim Crow) and double-definitely trans sex (the he-shes are taking over the multiplexes, even in Texas!). But those who only know him from The New Yorker will get only the merest hint of this when Rothman delicately broaches the subject -- and boy do I mean delicately:
I told Dreher that his life story seemed very similar to those of many gay men I knew... Surely, I said, he must have sympathy for gay Christians.
Like many orthodox Christian intellectuals, Dreher holds labyrinthine views on homosexuality. He is opposed to same-sex marriage but in favor of civil unions...
Labyrinthine, he says! And in the last ditch Rothman finds a Gay Friend to defend Dreher. Want to guess who that might be?
The writer Andrew Sullivan, who is gay and Catholic, is one of Dreher’s good friends... 
“There is simply no way for an orthodox Catholic to embrace same-sex marriage,” [Sullivan] said. “The attempt to conflate that with homophobia is a sign of the unthinking nature of some liberal responses to religion. I really don’t think that florists who don’t want to contaminate themselves with a gay wedding should in any way be compelled to do so. I think any gay person that wants them to do that is being an asshole, to be honest—an intolerant asshole. Rod forces you to understand what real pluralism is: actually accepting people with completely different world views than your own..."
It's perfect in a way: Sullivan, onetime king of the gay conservatives who made his movement bona fides by pimping The Bell Curve to polite company (and only just recently showed how easy that was for him by wondering aloud why black people can't be more like those nice Asians), now steps up to protect America's cuddliest homophobe by telling us the hundreds dozens couple of gay people who give florists a hard time are the real bigots. He may get that crown back from Milo yet!

Now if someone has the bad taste to notice Dreher raving "We are all Brendan Eich" and predicting gaymageddon unless the Elect mount the battlements,  he can just wave his pass -- in such fancy type, too! -- and go on about his Crusader business.

Soon enough we'll be hearing about Erick Erickson's misunderstood pluralism.

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