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Christians Need To Stop Playing The Self-Flagellation Game

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Christians Need To Stop Playing The Self-Flagellation Game

Christians shouldn’t blame their sisters and brothers when, as Jesus predicted, the world doesn’t love Christ and therefore doesn’t love his Christians.

Leftists love the self-flagellation game, a fun little exercise where you gather in a circle with people of your tribe, say you’re going to punish yourself for causing some problem in the world, and then whip the tar out of the guy standing next to you. Technically, of course, this is not self-flagellation. But that’s the fun part. As long as you act like you’re tearing up your own flesh, you can give as many lashes as you want to the guy that you think is really guilty of the transgression.

Leftists are masters of this game. They’re quite skilled at wincing and saying, “I, a poor, miserable sinner, deserve pain for refusing to check my cisgender privilege,” while unleashing all nine tails o’ the cat on the real culprits, those awful conservatives who cause a transgender suicide every time they assume that a person with an Adam’s apple, a five o’clock shadow, and a Y chromosome is a male.

But when losses in the culture war frustrate conservatives, they can occasionally be persuaded to try their hand at a round of the game liberals invented. In March of 2014, Ross Douthat grabbed the whip and repented of the sins other Christians have committed against the LGBT community, essentially arguing “we made our bed of having to bake gay wedding cakes by treating our gay neighbors with intolerance instead of charity, now it’s time to lie in it.” Recently, Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry joined the self-flagellation circle, arguing that Christians only have themselves to blame for the recent Irish referendum in support of gay marriage.

Focusing on Gobry’s fresher words, I suppose it’s possible that he meant to unleash the lash on himself. But considering how clearly and consistently he has articulated Christian sexual ethics in the past, it’s difficult to believe he’s having an Oscar Schindler moment, thinking, “I could have written one more column detailing the connection between marriage and procreation in Christian thought.” Rather, it seems far more likely that, in frustration at Ireland’s vote, he’s pulled the leftist trick of criticizing his own group so he can unleash the lash on his fellow Christians for undermining his efforts.

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