By Jonathon Van Maren
I waited for awhile to write anything about the tragic mass killings in Orlando because a naïve part of me genuinely thought that people I usually disagree with would finally see the obvious: that the bizarre partnership between the political left and a significant and specific strain of radical Islam was one doomed from the very start. Gallons of ink have already been spilled trying to decode this enigma by bewildered conservative intellectuals—what common cause do the advocates of limitless libertinism and Middle Eastern mullahs share? Why, even after dozens of frolickers were gunned down in a gay nightclub, will the Obama Administration refuse to acknowledge the incompatibility of these polar-opposite forces? For that matter, why is it only left-wing thought leaders who seem bewildered about what the very public and self-proclaimed motives of the killer were?
The lengths to which the Obama Administration is willing to go to extricate Omar Mateen’s killing spree from the motives he proclaimed to the police during 9-11 calls and to the world on social media are staggering. Today, for example, the Department of Justice announced that it is “scrubbing references of radical Islamic beliefs from the transcript calls Orlando terrorist Omar Mateen made to police during his massacre.” Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who responded to the terrorist shootings in San Bernardino by promising to prosecute “anti-Muslim speech,” informed NBC that, “What we’re not going to do is further proclaim this man’s pledges of allegiance to terrorist groups, and further his propaganda. We are not going to hear him make his assertions of allegiance [to the Islamic State].”
To which the only logical response is: “Why not?”
As always, there are a number of answers. A number of commentators have pointed out that the Obama Administration has gone to great lengths to emphasize the fact that America is not, in fact, at war with “radical Islam.” At most, the US is at war with “terrorism” and “hatred,” which handily eliminates the need to deal with the fact that we actually have a good many more details than that. Thus, when it so happens that a Muslim man of Afghan heritage and a Taliban-supporting family tree declares allegiance to a group of genocidal barbarians who frequently toss gay men from the tops of towers to splatter on the ground below, before gunning down dozens of people in a gay nightclub, taking breaks to declare on social media that “The real muslims will never accept the filthy ways of the west,” this is enormously inconvenient to the narrative the Obama Administration has been promoting. For them, after all, the dangerous homophobes our culture should fear are the Republican Neanderthals protesting the federal government’s demand that female bathrooms be open to males suffering from gender dysphoria.
That fact probably strikes a bit closer to home. I watched with much less shock than I thought I’d have as across social media, lefties demanded that we stop talking about Islam and focus on the real threat to the LGBTQ community: Christians who oppose same-sex marriage and hold the same beliefs on homosexual behavior that orthodox Christians have for 2,000 years. A debate about redefining a fundamental civilizational institution, in the eyes of the left, can be equated to murdering people in cold blood. ACLU attorney Chase Strangio came right out and stated that Christians had somehow created the “anti-queer climate” that resulted in Orlando, making no attempt to explain how Christian theology that opposes murder in all forms and demands that we reject behavior but never people somehow created the Middle Eastern swamp that produced the ISIS killers who hate Christians as much as it hates members of the gay community. The appropriately-named Strangio, however, announced that, “I spend my life fighting Christian homophobia while being loved & supported by my Muslim family.” The idea that anyone should take the killer at his word when he pledged allegiance to a so-called state that defines itself as “Islamic” rendered him apoplectic. “The Christian Right has introduced 200 anti-LGBT bills in the last six months and people blaming Islam for this,” he wrote angrily. “No.”
Except, of course, no one is “blaming Islam for this” so much as they are noting that the killer actually took pains to inform the police and the public of his motives and his allegiances. But Strangio and many other commentators expressing similar thoughts as well as the Obama Administration are determined to rewrite the narrative to suit the one they hold as a matter of secular faith: Multiculturalism, regardless of the worldviews possessed by incoming immigrants, is an absolutely uncomplicated and inherently noble pursuit, the Sexual Revolution is a wonderful project distributing unmitigated happiness and freedom everywhere and to everyone of sound mind, and Christians are hate-filled, racist prudes who hate both homosexuals and Muslim people. Thus we see a bizarre narrative emerging: The gunman was handed an assault weapon by white Christian Republicans and actually hated gay people because of the Christian Right’s bigoted War on the Rainbow and Christians are now trying to incite hatred against Muslims by blaming this massacre on the Religion of Peace. Got that?
In short: the secular left is not interested in fighting radical Islam, but they are interested completing their project of rooting out the last vestiges of Christianity in the West. Thus, their reaction to Islamic terror is to pivot and point. Loud noises about banning “hatred”—a feeling—and “hate-speech”—which can be defined as anything the secular left decides—replace calls to defend Western values against foreign ideologies. As I wrote after the Charlie Hebdo massacre as well as the slaughter in Paris, that is because we no longer have any “values” to begin with. After all, by the new standards of the secular left, run-of-the-mill Christians are now extremists.
It is for that reason that Christian commentators such as Peter Hitchens have denounced legislation in Great Britain aimed at “combating extremism” by pointing out, quite accurately, that he is considered by many to be an extremist simply for “holding the views my parents held.” A future government, he noted, could well use such legislation against any it disagreed with—especially due to the fact that the vague label of “extremist” was an intentionally imprecise term conveying nothing but the characterization those passing it would like conferred upon their opponents. In the same vein, the “anti-terror” legislation passed by the previous Conservative government in Canada, which gave federal authorities much liberty in regards to its spying activities, should have been viewed by Christian activists with suspicion. Just because the Harper government would not have used it against social conservatives does not mean a future government, with a broadly expanded and vague definition of “hate” and “hate-speech,” would not be tempted to do so.
Rod Dreher, an exceptionally clear-thinking writer over at The American Conservative, compared the Orlando terror attack to the 1933 Reichstag Fire:
Hold your Godwins, please. The term “Reichstag fire” refers to the 1933 arson at the German parliament building, committed by at least one communist. Hitler, the new chancellor, did not let this crisis go to waste. He took advantage of the outrage over the attack to push for sweeping laws suppressing communists, the Nazis’ political rivals. In this sense, Orlando is a “Reichstag fire” event, I predict, because it is a genuine and appalling atrocity that will lead to the demonization, in law and in custom, of orthodox Christians and any who disagree with whatever LGBTs and their allies want.
It’s going to happen. Social and religious conservatives had better get ready for it.
We already saw this yesterday, with this statement by Democratic Congressman Don Beyer from Virginia:
Number three, we must recognize that homophobia cannot be contained. Hatred breeds hatred. We are horrified that one man targeted LGBT victims at two a.m. on an Orlando Sunday morning. But we are not blameless, when we tell government contractors it is okay to discriminate against someone because they are gay or lesbian – or tell transgender school children that we will not respect their gender identity.
Our sincere, sustained message of inclusion will create a powerful wall against LGBT hate.
Got it? You oppose laws allowing transgendered males into the women’s bathroom and locker room, you are complicit in Omar Mateen’s slaughter. The only way to stop future massacres, presumably, is to suppress speech and thought we don’t like…
I believe this will be the line that emerges out of Orlando. And the campaign will happen because it’s in the playbook. GLSEN has over the years managed to get its teaching programs mainstreamed in schools under the guise of stopping bullying and making schools “safe.” The stated theory is that if you really want to stop bullying, you will teach children that there’s nothing wrong with homosexuality, transgenderism, etc. That is to say, it’s not enough that kids be taught respect and tolerance; kids must be taught that what orthodox Christianity says is not only wrong, but by implication makes schools unsafe.
It has been an extraordinarily successful campaign. And we are about to see it scaled up to the national level. Any Republican politician, and any religious leader, who opposes what the LGBT activists and their allies in the Democratic Party want is going to be tarred as having the blood of Orlando victims on their hands.
As dismal as Dreher’s analysis is, it’s hard to disagree with him. That a terror attack by another lone wolf with unambiguous motives, inspired by ISIS and following in the footsteps of Charlie Hebdo, San Bernardino, and Paris would result in widespread condemnation of the “Christian Right” is something that should stop us in our tracks. We are watching the finishing touches being put on a new reality the secular left has created. The reaction to Orlando shows us that regardless of what happens, the secular left is going to stick to their narrative: Christians are the enemy. We would do well to watch carefully, and prepare to be treated as a despised minority.