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Christians Who Shill for the Secular Left

Posted outside my office door is an old cartoon. A bearded professor wearing sandals and carrying a backpack leads a group of wide-eyed undergrads into a land labeled “utopia.” As they merrily march along, they pass an exodus of escaping humanity, fleeing an ash-strewn landscape amid scattered bodies and smoldering ruins. “Isn’t this great?” the beaming professor asks. “We’re almost there!”

I thought of that scene when I read a shocking op-ed piece in the Washington Post by James K.A. Smith, a philosophy professor at Calvin College. He is known among Dutch-Reformed Calvinists and certain evangelical circles. Its unfairness, its choice of mockery over substantive criticism, its nasty accusations, and its naïveté really troubled me. Even then, I might have walked away, but its unwarranted derisiveness toward three good men who have really stood for their Christian faith, who have been put through the crucible (especially Anthony Esolen at Providence College), and—most of all—the wide audience the article seems to have fetched, prompts a response.

I’m sure Smith will want to deny this, but his article constitutes a hit-piece on behalf of the secular left, aimed at three new books by Esolen, Rod Dreher, and Archbishop Charles Chaput. Merely for opposing the redefinition of marriage alone, these men will be viewed by progressives as some sort of laughable, lamentable trio of “right-wingers,” even as Chaput has been a lifelong Democrat and was Pope Francis’s front-man when Francis visited the United States. The appearance of the article in the Washington Post, hardly an organ of esteem toward evangelicals, makes the affront worse. The liberals at the Post no doubt hope that Smith has provided a nifty take-down of these unsavory foes.

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