Chicken Sandwich, Side of Mockery Please

Rod Dreher wants to know who are the real ‘marginalized‘.

It is outrageous than any company would expect its workers to be involved in any political or cultural advocacy outside of their employment. But that’s what’s happening here. Obviously I don’t know the inner workings of this company, but given where this company is located, it sounds to me more like a tribal sorting ritual. The company, consciously or not, is trying to smoke out Those Who Are Not Like Us. The reader who wrote me understands that taking a stance on conscience against this internal company activism would mean preparing to be fired on spurious “hostile workplace environment” grounds (because to refuse to engage in this activism would be construed as bigotry). As I write in The Benedict Option, this is the reality for small-o orthodox Christians throughout more and more of corporate America.

In Option Dreher blames society’s fragmentation on the loss of Christian religion, a process that is accelerating. He lists five causes:

  • The philosophical disconnection between transcendent and material reality
  • The collapse of religious unity and authority in the Reformation (ignoring the Great Schism 500 years earlier, but ok)
  • The displacement of Christianity with the ‘cult of Reason’ and other factors of the Enlightenment
  • The effects of the Industrial Revolution
  • The Sexual Revolution of the 60’s to present

He goes on to explain each of these in depth, including the impacts of Ockham’s nominalism on metaphysical realism (p. 24), the Renaissance shift in focus from the glory of God to the glory of man (p. 29), Luther’s excommunication (p. 31), and the scientific revolution of the 18th through 20th centuries that ultimately laid the foundation for the social and economic advances he describes. Advances that include global corporations and waffle fries.

So here we are. What to make of it? A closet Christian friend (are we all now?) forwarded this:

The New Yorker has been taking it on the chin lately for its essay about Chick-fil-A’s “infiltration” of New York City. Although most of the piece is about the evils of fast food and the chain’s ubiquitous “Eat Mor Chikin” advertising campaign, the essay has been excoriated for its anti-Christian tone. “The brand’s arrival here feels like an infiltration, in no small part because of its pervasive Christian traditionalism,” we’re told. Not just that: “Its headquarters, in Atlanta, are adorned with Bible verses and a statue of Jesus washing a disciple’s feet. Its stores close on Sundays.” And lest we forget: “The restaurant’s corporate purpose still begins with the words ‘to glorify God.’”

What the author really seems angry about is that the company’s CEO opposes same-sex marriage. But the framing of the piece made Christianity the villain, and the headline — “Chick-fil-A’s Creepy Infiltration of New York City” — was sufficiently troubling that Nate Silver quickly tweeted “This is why Trump won.” Fair point. Religious bigotry is always dangerous. But there’s a deeper problem here, a difficulty endemic to today’s secular left: an all-too-frequent weird refusal to acknowledge the demographics of Christianity. When you mock Christians, you’re not mocking who you think you are.

2015 Pew Research Center study of race and ethnicity among U.S. religions provides some basic facts. In the first place, if you’re mocking Christians, you’re mostly mocking women, because women are more likely than men to be Christians. The greatest disproportion is found among black Christians, of whom only 41 percent are male. So you’re mocking black women in particular.

The Sorters have a problem. Since they are programmed to avoid “small-o” orthodox Christianity, they really do not know what they are looking for. When they find it in their own ranks they are genuinely surprised, which they will then necessarily down-play and move on to avoid being discredited. Without ignoring Dreher’s concern over religious policing in the public square and the human damage they can cause, he is giving them too much credit for the decline of western Christianity and civilization.

The Sorters have never been able to rip God from the heart. Faith is always surrendered willingly.

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