“This respect and love require a commitment to conversation, and “conversation requires civility”—even when people do not reciprocate that civility. After all, it is Jesus himself who tells us that when we are struck on one cheek, we should turn the other toward our attacker. Civility should not be our religion, but “there are religiously imperative reasons for being civil that do not entail turning civility into a religion.”
Even if Ahmari and others now associated with First Things are right to say that the old-fashioned commitment to liberal proceduralism is a “dead consensus”—even if we Christians are facing a genuine crisis—charity, and the civility and decency that accompany charity and have so consistently been manifested by “Pastor French,” are what we are commanded to do. And charity begins at home. …”
I would like to offer a Lutheran perspective on Pastor French.
During the Reformation in Germany, Martin Luther and the Protestants fought the culture war against the Catholics by going straight for the jugular:
“We must fight everywhere against the armies of the Devil. How many different enemies have seen in our own time – the defenders of the pope’s idols, the Jews, a multitude of Anabaptist monstrosities, the party of Servertus and others. Let us prepare ourselves against Mohammad as well. But what will we be able to say concerning things of which we are ignorant? That it is why it is beneficial for learned people to read the writings of their enemies.” – Martin Luther
“Perhaps you want me to die of unrelieved boredom while you keep on talking.” – From The Bondage of the Will, pg. 244 of Luther’s Works, Vol. 33
“You shameful gluttons and servants of your bellies are better suited to be swineherds and keepers of dogs.” –From The Large Catechism, pg. 379 of The Book of Concord
“You are idiots and swine.” – From Against Latomus, pg. 148 of Luther’s Works, Vol. 32
“This teaching [of the supremacy of the pope] shows forcefully that the Pope is the very Antichrist, who has exalted himself above, and opposed himself against Christ, because he will not permit Christians to be saved without his power, which, nevertheless, is nothing, and is neither ordained nor commanded by God. This is, properly speaking, to exalt himself above all that is called God. . . . The Pope, however, prohibits this faith, saying that to be saved a person must obey him” (Smalcald Articles, II, IV, 10-12).
“Even if we were stones and wooden blocks, we could see by your works throughout all the world that you are lost, desperate children of the devil and also mad, crude asses in Scripture. Someone probably would like to curse you so that you might be struck down by lightning and thunder, burned by hellish fire, have the plague, syphilis, epilepsy, the plague of St. Anthony, leprosy, carbuncles, and all the plagues – but these are all caresses, and God has long ago punished you with greater plagues, just like God’s despisers and blasphemers should be punished.” – From Against the Roman Papacy, an Institution of the Devil, pg. 288 of Luther’s Works, Vol. 41
Was it nice of Luther to condemn the Pope as the Antichrist and to burn his papal bulls? NO, it was iconoclastic.
For centuries, Lutherans believed that the office of the Papacy was linked to the figure of the Antichrist. Even into the mid-20th century, the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod held firm to Luther’s doctrine that the Catholic Church had fulfilled the prophecies of the Antichrist. This idea that Christianity is synonymous with “niceness” or “civility” simply ignores the incivility of virtually the entire history of Christianity.
Luther said the Jews were “devils incarnate.”
“What shall we Christians do with this rejected and condemned people, the Jews? Since they live among us, we dare not tolerate their conduct, now that we are aware of their lying and reviling and blaspheming. If we do, we become sharers in their lies, cursing and blasphemy. Thus we cannot extinguish the unquenchable fire of divine wrath, of which the prophets speak, nor can we convert the Jews. With prayer and the fear of God we must practice a sharp mercy to see whether we might save at least a few from the glowing flames. We dare not avenge ourselves. Vengeance a thousand times worse than we could wish them already has them by the throat. I shall give you my sincere advice:
First, to set fire to their synagogues or schools and to bury and cover with dirt whatever will not burn, so that no man will ever again see a stone or cinder of them. This is to be done in honor of our Lord and of Christendom, so that God might see that we are Christians, and do not condone or knowingly tolerate such public lying, cursing, and blaspheming of his Son and of his Christians. For whatever we tolerated in the past unknowingly_and I myself was unaware of it_will be pardoned by God. But if we, now that we are informed, were to protect and shield such a house for the Jews, existing right before our very nose, in which they lie about,blaspheme, curse, vilify, and defame Christ and us (as was heard above), it would be the same as if we were doing all this and even worse ourselves, as we very well know.
In Deuteronomy 13:12 Moses writes that any city that is given to idolatry shall be totally destroyed by fire, and nothing of it shall be preserved.If he were alive today, he would be the first to set fire to the synagogues and houses of the Jews. For in Deuteronomy 4:2 and 12:32 he commanded very explicitly that nothing is to be added to or subtracted from his law. AndSamuel says in I Samuel 15:23 that disobedience to God is idolatry. Now the Jews’ doctrine at present is nothing but the additions of the rabbis and the idolatry of disobedience, so that Moses has become entirely unknown among them (as we said before), just as the Bible became unknown under the papacy in our day. So also, for Moses’ sake, their schools cannot be tolerated; they defame him just as much as they do us. It is not necessary that they have their own free churches for such idolatry.
Second, I advise that their houses also be razed and destroyed. For they pursue in them the same aims as in their synagogues. Instead they might belodged under a roof or in a barn, like the gypsies. This will bring home to them the fact that they are not masters in our country, as they boast, but that they are living in exile and in captivity, as they incessantly wail and lament about us before God.
Third, I advise that all their prayer books and Talmudic writings, in which such idolatry, lies, cursing, and blasphemy are taught, be taken from them.
Fourth, I advise that their rabbis be forbidden to teach henceforth on pain of loss of life and limb. For they have justly forfeited the right to such an office by holding the poor Jews captive with the saying of Moses (Deuteronomy 17:10) in which he commands them to obey their teachers on penalty of death, although Moses clearly adds: “what they teach you in accord with the law of the Lord.” Those villains ignore that. They wantonly employ the poor people’s obedience contrary to the law of the Lord and infuse them with this poison, cursing, and blasphemy. In the same way the pope also held us captive with the declaration in Matthew 16:18, “You are Peter,” etc., inducing us to believe all the lies and deceptions that issued from his devilish mind. He did not teach in accord with the word of God, and therefore he forfeited the right to teach.
Fifth, I advise that safe-conduct on the highways be abolished completely for the Jews. For they have no business in the countryside, since they arenot lords, officials, tradesmen, or the like. Let them stay at home. I have heard it said that a rich Jew is now traveling across the country with twelve horses his ambition is to become a Kokhba devouring princes, lords, lands, and people with his usury, so that the great lords view it with jealous eyes. If you great lords and princes will not forbid such usurers the highway legally, some day a troop may gather against them, having learned from this booklet the true nature of the Jews and how one should deal with them and not protect their activities. For you, too, must not and cannot protect them unless you wish to become participants in an their abominations in the sight of God. Consider carefully what good could come from this, and prevent it.
Sixth, I advise that usury be prohibited to them, and that all cash and treasure of silver and gold be taken from them and put aside for safekeeping. The reason for such a measure is that, as said above, they have no other means of earning a livelihood than usury, and by it they have stolen and robbed from us an they possess. Such money should now be used in no other way than the following: Whenever a Jew is sincerely converted, he should be handed one hundred, two hundred, or three hundred florins, as personal circumstances may suggest. With this he could set himself up in some occupation for the support of his poor wife and children, and the maintenance of the old or feeble. For such evil gains are cursed if they are not put to use with God’s blessing in a good and worthy cause. …
But if the authorities are reluctant to use force and restrain the Jews’ devilish wantonness, the latter should, as we said, be expelled from the country and be told to return to their land and their possessions in Jerusalem, where they may lie, curse, blaspheme, defame, murder, steal, rob, practice usury, mock, and indulge in all those infamous abominationswhich they practice among us, and leave us our government, our country, our life, and our property, much more leave our Lord the Messiah, our faith,and our church undefiled and uncontaminated with their devilish tyranny and malice. Any privileges that they may plead shall not help them; for no one can grant privileges for practicing such abominations. These cancel and abrogate all privileges.” – Martin Luther, On the Jews and Their Lies
The Reformation was spread through Flugschriften which were these short, cheap, punchy little pamphlets in German that contained religious text and woodcut images (bold graphics) that were usually extremely abusive depictions of Luther’s enemies. These little pamphlets went viral in Germany and his Catholic opponents were heavily out published in the Early Modern social media war. Luther himself with intimately involved in crafting the optics of his works and brought new printers to Wittenberg to heighten their aesthetic appeal and impact.
Martin Luther and his allies didn’t fight the Reformation like David French and his fellow milquetoast classical liberal conservatives. They were vicious and had much more in common with the Alt-Right meme warriors. There is even a Martin Luther insult generator.
I’m not interested in relitigating the Reformation with Catholics so much as pushing back against David French-ism. We live in a different time and the challenge we are facing today is the collapse of Christianity and its marginalization under the dominant secular culture. If it had been up to people like David French, Protestantism wouldn’t have even been a puff of smoke in the annals of European history. Apparently, David French was never taught the true history of Protestantism in Sunday School.
Note: This is what a man who shakes the world sounds like and there is no way on earth he would have been cowed by political correctness.