I need to jump into my way-back machine to make some observational connections.
I’ve been following this popular political narrative for years, decades now. What I have seen is stunning hypocritical ignorance on the left to accept reality.
Back before Islamic radicalism was really on the radar to most people, we had these philosophical and religious conversations bustling around, later on the web with the internet. They were fairly simple to follow. There were passions on both sides.
The secularists on the rise were out in force to seize control of public dialogue. Successful in many aspects, the idea was to purge any mention of religious expression. But of course that was a political discussion, I mean what else could it be? It was laced with vitriolic hatred for anything of religious nature. Any morals or values founded on Christian principles were deemed taboo, at least for practical applications. Enter religious freedom and the 1st amendment debate. Of course, those spewing hatred were atheists, humanists and secularists, or anti-religion zealots. Anyone else was just not with the times, or hip to reality, as they portrayed it. That is a powerful marginalization tactic embraced by the Left, to simply dismiss a whole segment of society. An especially large one.
Somewhere along the way, we also had the creation of the moral majority. (founded in ’79, dissolved in late 80’s w/ resurgence in early 2000’s) Remember Jerry Falwell who was the poster child for all things Christian meddling in politics, and a huge target of the secular Leftists who despised him. This was was a reaction to the times not the cause of them. Now I won’t say Christians were always the innocent victims, they’ve had their share of problems. We are reminded all the time, so leave that to critics who regularly make the case. I don’t need to.
Onward to dialogue
These conversations took shape around religious liberty. Christians were frustrated by the onslaught of what were some heavy-handed, viscous anti-religion zealots. Okay, so they said their beef was with organized religion of all stripes. They set out with fervor to descend on any sites or organizations spewing Christian rhetoric or themes. That would become easy with Google ordering their popularity. Any place serving up or discussing Christian perspectives inevitably got a visit from one or more of these villains.
Often their M/O was a sneaky way to gain credibility by, first, appearing to agree with some part of the discussion, but then taking issue with the direction it was going. They usually got more argumentative as it went to eventually full rage at the site, its people, and their “narrow-minded” views — according to them. Typically they would post stuff countering the Christian message, in calculated ways, then accuse the site of not honoring the first amendment if it was removed or they were banned. This was just a game and they would come back under another alias if they were ejected.
It was sort of a daily thing. The more popular the site was the more persistent they got. Their goal was to shut it down, or confuse it so people lost interest, or eventually drive the owners to throw up their hands. It only took a few of them to wreak havoc on a site. These trolls may have been easy to spot but that didn’t matter. Most people are very familiar with that formula, which is the point. It was too common but worth remembering now.
Many Christian authors or site owners made a habit of saying other opinions were welcomed. That was a huge invitation. Trolls would hang any rules around the site’s neck in a typical liberal process-style argument — just like radicals do. Why do I bother with all this background? It is to remember where we’ve been, sort of like Moses reminding Jews of the goal instead of focusing on the hardships.
As things do on the internet, it evolved from there. Many people thought it was too much trouble to have an open, public, Christian forum on the net. One by one, many larger ones disappeared or reinvented themselves.
Then there were blogs sponsored by the Town Hall website. It was a hub for conservatives to hang out, talk, network, and explore news and activism. Many Christians migrated to these blogs as they popped up weekly on their pages along with the current news and regular columnists. That lasted until they decided they didn’t want the hassles anymore or server space became a factor. Off the starry-eyed bloggers went to start their own blogs, experience in tow. But before that happened, the same sort of pattern formed of Liberals and antagonists invading TH pages with regularity. It was as if Liberals had no other place to go or anything else to do except troll Townhall pages and blogs in search of arguments, causing chaos — not to mention calling people names using every personal attack they could come up with.
Onward and upward
Many former participants or bloggers found their homes on new blogs in the blog domains. Conservatives and Christians sort of regrouped in new and different areas. Many focusing on just politics, and some only on Christian topics. Some combined topics with news and current causes. It became a hodgepodge network of activism and information that breathes life into an otherwise hum-drum internet catering to liberal news and savvy entrepreneurs.
There was now a counterweight of conservative opinion out there, widely spread, even before social media like Facebook and twitter took off. You can still find some larger sites that stick to Christian issues or forums. They don’t make quite the same “all are welcomed” claims because, face it, all are not welcome — nor should they be. Some just want to cause chaos. It’s an evolving world in technology and information.
Evolution in motion
Back in early 2000’s things did change with the attack on 9/11. But before that we had the attack on the Cole and earlier WTC bombing in the 90’s. So those conversations and awareness was already out there. Though 911 did change many things, including dialogue on the web. The anti-Christians, naysayer antagonists and Leftist zealots on the internet were flummoxed on strategy.
They still opposed the Christians in the usual manner. But adjustments were made in dialogue regarding the newfound fears of terrorism. Christians were taken more seriously and had some credibility. Christians may have had a point to their concerns after all?
Then came the reminder of the left’s religious obsession almost immediately after 9/11. There was an onslaught of talk and fear that this would cause a huge backlash and resentment against Muslims. Who would be the villains? (not the anti-reliegion zealots) But it didn’t have to be real. Just the possibility of it happening was enough to provoke all kinds of talk, suspicions, theories aimed at Christians. What did we do… did Christians cause the attack? Were we to blame?
The double standards came out front and center. Here was religious-based hatred driving terrorism via Islamists. It would seem the classic example Leftists had hunted for over the years. Finally, they had the connection of bigotry and hatred to religion. What did they do? So they preached tolerance. Their longstanding intolerance for Christianity suddenly morphed into tolerance for Islam — for anything but Christians. They were fascinated by Islam. We were told it was a peaceful religion. It was only a handful of people, obviously off the path, who committed violent jihad. The former Christian critics became self-anointed tolerance experts.
Do you think that would translate to say Christianity? Why should it in their minds? They had already made their case against old, ancient, superstitious beliefs. But a complete pass was granted to Muslims and Islam. Almost immediately, Islamic spokesmen came out telling us that it had nothing whatsoever to do with Muslims or their peaceful religion. And they looked to cite any example of bigotry they could find as Islamophobia.
Suddenly it was us, the victims, who had a disease: Islamophobia was the diagnosis and watchword. The mission was complete. Christians went from being victims, and direct targets of hatred, to the culprits of anti-Islamic hate. It didn’t even take note that those fighting for religious freedom were the Christians. Now they were the chief villains.
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