A society that denies the reality of sin will inevitably deny the reality (and necessity) of repentance. A society that denies the reality of repentance will have no room for redemption.
This week’s alignment of issues provides a rare confluence of human ignorance and hubris. We recently witnessed the spectacle of a sitting governor defending infanticide ahead of his state’s vote (since defeated) in favor of expanding abortions to late term births, and even after the moment of birth. Governor Northam even suggested that, should a live birth occur, the doctors and the parents could ‘rationally’ discuss whether or not the child should be killed. Such talk was abhorrent to morally serious liberals, and in my mind, it places Northam in a category of individuals whose antiseptic, clinical appraisal of the dignity (or lack thereof) of human life is only matched by the supinity his moribund conscience. We only got done hearing with revulsion as a nation the true horror story of abortionist Kermit Gosnell, who admitted that he “snipped” the spines of living babies before discarding them, or dismembering them for his own private collection of infant appendages. Have we learned nothing?
Fast forward to later this week, when the same Governor, whom the media protected from serious questions regarding his opinions on the killing of living children, is revealed via some obscure yearbook picture of having indulged in some degree of racist humor. Immediately, the virtue signalling lynch mobs emerged, demanding his resignation and subsequent ostracisation from polite society.
Our culture has absolutely lost its mind. This is a level of doublethink and moral derangement which is almost impossible to conceptualize, where in the same week a man can be excused for calmly justifying infanticide, while he is to be condemned, and his public career ruined, because of a juvenile joke he made when he was a young man.
If we were ever uncertain until now of the complete impoverishment of the analytical skills of the journalistic fifth estate, this should remove any doubt. We saw it this past summer with the attacks on now Justice Kavanaugh. Now we see how the beast will devour its own children, much like Saturn devoured his own sons: certain extreme elements of the Left, which protected and justified his comments regarding the casual taking of innocent life, now seek to devour their own partisans.
Our society’s moral discourse is so corrupted that we can no longer determine what is right from wrong. Then, to make matters worse, no one seems to understand what constitutes a crime, which the state ought to penalize, and what characterizes a moral defect (we used to call these “sins”) which we may be able to disincentivize by indirect ways, such as social stigma or the forming of the conscience. Finally, because we lack a vocabulary of good and evil, sin and crime, we ironically do not drift away from moral absolutes, but we become more black and white in our thinking. This is what is happening increasingly both in the Church and in the secular world, and it will take a courageous return to the language of vice and virtue, good and evil, to protect people from the predations of the mob.
It’s as if everyone woke up one day and decided to forget what it means to be human; to forget what it is to love, to aspire, to fall, to be broken, to make mistakes, and to rise again. Almost everyone has moments in their past which would make them blush with shame. Perhaps in their private moments they may shed secret tears, and seek redemption through good action and the resolution not to repeat the same mistakes in the future. In the current untenable moral environment, they strain gnats, but swallow camels, and death comes by a thousand small cuts. But unlike our ancestors, there are hardly any penitential rites by which a man or woman may be restored, unless they are baptized in the putrid stream of leftist orthodoxy. Note how, ahead of the 2020 elections, most of the Democratic candidates have already begun to recite their public mea culpa. And who said public confession only belonged to the early Church?
A sitting governor this week justified, in a manner worthy of Mengele, the killing of an unwanted child. Such speech not even a century ago would have placed him among the category of a true hostis humani generis, an enemy of mankind. A sane culture in true, unfeigned moral outrage, would have sought his resignation on that basis, and no other, because a man of such depraved conscience cannot possibly be charged with the welfare of the citizens of his state. But no, instead we will focus on a moment of puerile humor, and use that for the media sponsored public two minutes hate. I wonder how long this civilization can stand up under the weight of its own contradiction until it commits suicide by exhaustion.
As I have remarked several times regarding the current crisis in the Church, we too are being conned into adopting this same sort of groupthink in our institutions and our legal apparatus, and yet we do not need to look very far to see how destabilizing such an approach is.
Christians, and indeed all people of good will, have a pivotal role to play during this crisis of civilization, because we are the last people who seem to believe in the things which underpin our civilization, and we are the few who seem to be sensitive to its erosion. The current climate is already causing record levels of hatred, depression, and isolation.
My advice is the following: turn off the TV, pray quietly in your room, smile at your neighbors, play with your pets, read a book. Humanize (and divinize) the world around you. Don’t let the moral ineptitude of our “leaders” discourage you. “Do not become conformed to this world, but be transformed according to the renewal of your mind” (Romans 12:1)