Sunday, June 5, 2016

On Christians ministering to racists

If liberal Christians were forced to minister to racists the same way they minister to LGBT people, they'd deconvert en masse.

Even the crypto-liberals who deploy the 'Yes it's a sin, but it's more important to save their souls, let's discuss that in the far future' line would choke before arguing that a person's racism be ignored, and that it's more important to bring them to God and into the community.


Anonymous said...

I recall a G.K. Chesterton Fr. Brown mystery that made a related point. I only vaguely remember it, but the book opened up with a character arriving and going to Fr. Brown for confession. He had been drinking and partying or some such thing like that. Fr. Brown gives him a relatively strict penance - something like doing an amount of charity work to atone for his actions.

When the annoyed gentleman tells everybody about his crime and penance, everybody gets annoyed at Fr. Brown for being too hard on the poor guy. "Show some mercy! Show come compassion!".

Later in the story, Fr. Brown hears Confession from the villain - can't remember if he was a killer or something else, but it was something very bad. He gives the villain the exact same penance as the partier from early, making everyone angry.

Fr. Brown's response was that the reason people asked for mercy for the first guy is that none of them thought what he did was really very bad; it was a false mercy. And now that somebody did something they ACTUALLY considered bad, that false mercy goes out the window.

The application is obvious: homosexuals deserve mercy, because what they do isn't really that bad. Racists don't, because what they do is the Worst Thing Ever.

In other words: It's a false mercy.

Crude said...

It's the deception more than anything which I find irritating. But they know that stating outright 'I don't believe this is bad' may be a one-way trip out of power, or out of influence, so instead everyone has to pretend to lay low.

I remember that story from GK Chesterton. Or at least a summary of it. Wasn't it something like the guy was the twin of someone who was an asshole?

Mike said...

I have not read all the Father Brown stories, and of those that I have, it has been a long time since I have read them. However, is this perhaps the passage you are referring to?

“I wouldn’t touch him with a barge-pole myself,” said Mallow.

“There is a limit to human charity,” said Lady Outram, trembling all over.

“There is,” said Father Brown dryly; “and that is the real difference between human charity and Christian charity. You must forgive me if I was not altogether crushed by your contempt for my uncharitableness to-day; or by the lectures you read me about pardon for every sinner. For it seems to me that you only pardon the sins that you don’t really think sinful. You only forgive criminals when they commit what you don’t regard as crimes, but rather as conventions. So you tolerate a conventional duel, just as you tolerate a conventional divorce. You forgive because there isn’t anything to be forgiven.”

“But, hang it all,” cried Mallow, “you don’t expect us to be able to pardon a vile thing like this?”

“No,” said the priest; “but we have to be able to pardon it.”

He stood up abruptly and looked round at them.

“We have to touch such men, not with a bargepole, but with a benediction,” he said. “We have to say the word that will save them from hell. We alone are left to deliver them from despair when your human charity deserts them. Go on your own primrose path pardoning all your favourite vices and being generous to your fashionable crimes; and leave us in the darkness, vampires of the night, to console those who really need consolation; who do things really indefensible, things that neither the world nor they themselves can defend; and none but a priest will pardon. Leave us with the men who commit the mean and revolting and real crimes; mean as St. Peter when the cock crew, and yet the dawn came.”

“The dawn,” repeated Mallow doubtfully. “You mean hope — for him?”

“Yes,” replied the other. “Let me ask you one question. You are great ladies and men of honour and secure of yourselves; you would never, you can tell yourselves, stoop to such squalid reason as that. But tell me this. If any of you had so stooped, which of you, years afterwards, when you were old and rich and safe, would have been driven by conscience or confessor to tell such a story of yourself? You say you could not commit so base a crime. Could you confess so base a crime?”

-The Secret of Father Brown (1927)

Anonymous said...


I think so. I'll have to re-read that story.