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. . . and the Judaism which gave rise to it.
The Catholic Church celebrates the feast of The Passion of St. John the Baptist today (August 29th). The Baptist is the last and greatest of the Old Testament prophets — the forerunner of the Messiah, who is Priest, Prophet, and King, and in whom the Old Testament prophecies are completely fulfilled. But, significant to this post, and like Jesus, John was a Jew. We Catholics commemorate on this day how John lost his head by proclaiming the Mosaic law to the tetrarch Herod Antipas regarding marriage. Namely, you shall not covet your neighbor’s (or your brother’s) wife (also Leviticus 20:21). If you’re unfamiliar with the story, you can read about it in the Gospel according to Mark, 6:17-29.
While John’s message was principally to repent and be washed in the waters of baptism — not judge other’s behavior to be sinful to prove your own worthiness — he still insisted on the moral demands of God’s covenant law, even for the rich and powerful. And this was the strike that came against him — right at the neck.
John Grondelski is another such truth-teller who takes on nominal Catholics in his article, When Did John Lose His Head? He says,
No doubt Antipas and his sycophants would have launched a campaign to convince Jews that they had it wrong, that “love is love” and “love wins,” even for the incestuous.
He insists that “the reality of marriage and the morality of sexual activity are objective norms which “norm” the individual. Norms measure the reality and the activity; it is not the individual, or even the community, that defines the reality and the morality.”
And he ends with,
What’s at stake today is more than two thousand years of received Christian tradition that says the son of Zechariah and Elizabeth was right in taking the civil tetrarch of Perea and Galilee to task for copulating with his brother’s wife. Either John was right in rejecting their divorces and subsequent cohabitation or John—and the Christian tradition that lionized him—was wrong for two millennia by being “hateful” toward Mr. and Mrs. Antipas. The unspoken corollary is that Christianity is at its core at least warped, if not hateful. And there’s no pardon in contemporary cancel culture—even for a Baptizer—who opposed “love” in the name of evidently mistaken religious norms.
But, I’ll take it a step further and say that when the sign of ultimate victory is Christ on the Cross, the threat to the Left isn’t just the insistence on reality (of marriage, and much else) and speaking truth. The threat leftists recognize from Christianity is that adherents are willing to die, like John, and especially like Jesus, for love of reality and truth. “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake. . .” Christians believe that authentic love is self-sacrificial for the good of the other, even if the other doesn’t appreciate hearing the truth.
The Left hates Christianity because the conflicting visions are about the ultimate, life and death power struggle for souls. And a people willing to die for the truth are ultimately, eternally indomitable. Even if they lose their heads in the process.Published in