Monday, May 09, 2005


A couple of days ago I commented on the preposterous claim by Christopher Hitchens to the effect that Christianity is intrinsically intolerant and that secularism is the path to tolerance. One only needs to point to the wonderful "tolerance" of atheistic Communism to see how absurd that proposition is. What PID says about Christianity and politics set me to thinking about the topic again, however. PID points out that for around a century now the theologically "modernist" churches -- which mostly means the established churches -- have been supporters of the political Left -- including such unsavoury and intolerant Leftists as Communists. So I think one could in fact argue the opposite of what Hitchens does. I think it is the LEFTIST churches that are most intolerant. Like all Leftists, they are would-be dictators and they support authoritarian and control-freak policies with great regularity. For more details, see today's post on LEFTISTS AS ELITISTS.

And when we look at history, who is the most raving Christian fundamentalist who has ever had significant political power? I think it would have to be Britain's Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658). And what did he do? Did he ruthlessly destroy all who disagreed with his doctrines? What did he do about the Jews in particular? No group could be a bigger challenge to Cromwell's theology than the Jews. They didn't even accept Jesus as the Messiah, let alone any of the other doctrines of Protestantism. You know what I am going to say, don't you? Far from persecuting the Jews, it was Cromwell who allowed them back into England -- for the first time since Edward I expelled them all in 1290. That nasty intolerant old fundamentalist Protestant!

Cromwell was no saint. He massacred those who opposed him militarily (such as the Irish) but after the holocausts unleashed on Hamburg, Dresden, Hiroshima and Nagasaki under the aegis of FDR and Truman, I don't think the Left have much room to condemn Cromwell for that.

The basic point I am making is once again the perennial conservative warning about the complexity of human affairs. Simple generalizations (such as "secularism leads to tolerance") just will not do. Those who preach tolerance are often the most tyrannical and those who want to impose minor restrictions -- as Christian conservatives certainly do on things like homosexual marriage -- may nonetheless be the most tolerant overall.


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