Mandeville, LA – I am browsing my regular sites searching for good writing on the Orlando tragedy and lo and behold, this irreconcilable screed passed as a way forward at the Imaginative Conservative website:
“Second, we need to recognize the constitutional responsibilities and freedoms regarding religion. America as a secular state is governed by the Constitution, which guarantees the right to private religious practice, expression, and association. This freedom is a vital one for Americans to uphold as a unique cultural good. And yet, it comes with limitations. America cannot survive unless the different religious identities within her recognize the legitimacy of other religious expressions. An Islam which follows the teachings of Mohammed yet also respects the practices of Christianity, Judaism, and atheism is an Islam which can flourish in America.
What what what!? Got that Christian? In ‘Muricah fake Gods and their warped “catechism” can “flourish in ‘Muricah”. But wait, the illogic and heretical contradictions continue.
The majority of cultural and practicing Muslims fit in this category; it is the minority which cannot join in the American experiment. An Islam which operates with murder is not an Islam we can permit within the public square of American life.
Thirdly, we must recognize the intellectual fervor and attraction of radical Islam. There is a strength and beauty to absolute claims; as a college student, I found Roman Catholicism attractive precisely because of its claim to be the correct expression of Christianity grounded in history, theology, and tradition. While I did not embrace that expression of Christianity, I recognize that its argumentative appeal is stronger initially than the Protestantism I embrace. I think the weakest part of Protestantism is its reliance on individuals reading Scripture correctly. In a sense, Catholicism has it easier: The Magisterium removes the possibility of misreading divine writ. And yet I believe that this is the position Scripture calls us to. I raise this example to highlight the strength of Western culture today. In the West, we value a multi-cultural experience unique in human history. That pluralism is both our glory and our shame. Radical Islam looks at the pluralistic West and argues that we have abandoned any adherence to truth, beauty, and goodness beyond materialism. In place of vapid consumerism, radical Islam upholds a coherent theological vision asking men to die for an ultimate Good.” [Emphasis mine- MC]
Read the whole thing if you can risk perverting the logic and ontology you are hopefully trying to live and practice. Herring is denying the literal and pragmatic definition of “culture”, taken from the Latin cultura “a cultivating, agriculture”. That a “culture” produces fruit necessarily follows from the act of “cultivating” the soil, planting then nourishing the seed. This process can be replicated anywhere the substances required occur, this is their nature. No child who has grown up around a garden would state that crop plants grow hanging from a house’s gutters yet the same child would know that pressing a watermelon seed into tilled soil can produce that beautiful red fruit he will eat too much of this summer. The unity of this process is apparent and part of its nature: soil + seed + water and sun= watermelon. In the same manner “Christian Culture” sprang from ONE seed: Christ. ONE Teaching: the Natural Law which produced the Magisterial teaching. Defended in its inerrant nature by ONE Church, that founded by Peter. This is a reality that most folks, reading this far, will angrily deny but yet the history of Christendom, warts and scars and all, cannot be historically denied and thus presents THE problem: Christian ‘Muricans are impervious to evidence.
This is the error in thinking we are currently possessed with: that unity can be achieved while denying the One unifying force that has proven it can bring it about: Christendom. On the one hand it is painful to witness the illogic behind Herring’s thinking but hopeful to read his enthusiasm for the future. Then again, that Hope is tempered by the fact that his enthusiasm will meet Prudence, Orlando, San Bernardino and Charleston SC; welcome to ‘Muricah, 2016. Christopher Dawson explained the history of Christendom in his The Rise of Christian Culture. Note that in his introduction, Dawson makes clear the case that religious pluralism has produced sacred traditions across the globe but only once, in Christendom, was unity in defiance of pluralism produced:
“Hence any study of religion which ignores and leaves on one side the accumulated experience of the Christian past and looks exclusively to the remote and partially incomprehensible evidence derived from the study of alien religious traditions or even to our own abstract notions of the nature of religion and the conditions of religious knowledge is bound to be not merely incomplete but insubstantial and unreal. And this is most of all the case when we are considering, as in these lectures, the problem of Religion and Culture-the intricate and far-reaching network of relations that unite the social way of life with the spiritual beliefs and values, which are accepted by society as the ultimate laws of life and the ultimate standards of individual and social behaviour; for these relations can only be studied in the concrete, in their total historical reality. The great world religions are, as it were, great rivers of sacred tradition which flow down through the ages and through changing historical landscapes which they irrigate and fertilize. But as a rule we cannot trace them to their source, which is lost in unexplored tracks of the remote past. It is rare indeed to find a culture in which the whole course of this religious development can be traced from beginning to end in the full light of history. But the history of Christendom is an outstanding exception to this tendency. We know the historical environment in which Christianity first arose: we possess the letters of the founders of the Churches to the first Christian communities in Europe, and we can trace in detail the successive stages by which the new religion penetrated the West.”