By Charlie Johnston
Things are starting to take shape. By the end of the week, CORAC will be formally registered as a non-profit. Sometime shortly thereafter, we will have a dedicated bank account that can accept donations and pay bills. The database is being mounted as we speak. At least a spreadsheet will go out to regional contacts by the end of next week – and I expect to have initial main contacts set up in each region by the end of this week. Meantime, a website is being built and should be launched in the next couple of weeks. The National Conference will be on the weekend of September 12 and 13 in Limon, Colorado. I will be setting up the program over the next week and a half. For information on hotels and such, contact Mary Lapchak at email@example.com. Limon is just 70 miles east of Denver International Airport directly off of I-70. It has abundant hotels because it is something of a crossroads, yet maintains a sort of plain, rural, western feel. There will be a professional videographer taping this one, so the quality of the video will be much higher than at my presentation a week ago.
A lot of people have been sending me suggestions on how to enhance security and keep everything private. Truthfully, I have mixed emotions about that. While I appreciate the thought involved and the reasonable concerns, I largely want to do this openly, right in front of God and everybody. If you want your voice to be heard loudly throughout the world – (and I want that for us and all the seriously faithful) – worrying about muzzles seems counter-productive to me. If anyone wants to shut us up, I want them to have to do it right out in the open, not behind a curtain of secrecy. I feel strongly about this. It is kind of like when I refused to take any defensive weapons on my pilgrimage or to filter the water I drank from streams: we are either on God’s side or we are not. If we are and are dedicated, He will use any efforts to thwart us to advance His intentions (which is NOT the same thing as saying we will never be thwarted). If we are not, we ought to be thwarted – and rethink and regroup. I want the dedicated enemies of faith to be forced to reveal themselves. So I am open to mild, prudent steps – but my basic attitude is that if you want to stop us, have at it and see how that works out for you.
When all is said and done and this Covid scare is in the rearview mirror, I think it is going to be seen as the biggest case of gaslighting and public policy malfeasance in the history of the world. That is not to say it was not a serious matter. It is a very strange virus that barely affects most people under 40 at all, is roughly akin to the flu (though NOT as deadly) for people between 40 and 70, and is very dangerous (at least twice as dangerous as the flu) for people in their late 70’s and older. Actual medical studies show conflicting evidence on the efficacy of masks and physical distancing. Some show some real help in preventing spread of the infection, others show some genuine dangers, including some long-term damage. But the key is that, except for those in their late 70’s and older, this is more innocuous than the flu. If all these draconian measures imposed from government are justified, why aren’t the same measures justified for every flu season? That is going to become a MUCH more important question – because what all the draconian measures ARE good for is establishing social control and getting people accustomed to following orders that are not democratically adopted, just imposed by ambitious bureaucrats and politicians. If that is the case, even the mildest risks can be used to justify vast usurpations of authority by a preening elite over the rest of us. I think that, in the end, after all the inflated stats are pulled from the Covid numbers in the U.S, the actual death toll will be well below 100,000. To worry about new infections, with what we now know, is an exercise in futility. You don’t hear much about Sweden anymore – because it is inconvenient to the narrative. Early on, when Sweden chose to forego shutting their economy down or enforcing strict rules on their citizens, the leftstream media and politicians predicted it would become a veritable Zombie Apocalypse. Sweden bet that it would quickly establish a herd immunity by counting on the good sense of its people to take sensible precautions and protect the most vulnerable. Now, both deaths and the infection rate are collapsing in Sweden. They were right – and our preening, incompetent, public health officials here – and the media who trumpet them, hate that. If we institute contact tracing for Covid, we should institute it for the flu, too. It is not about public health anymore, but about getting a massive DNA database forced on the population. Covid has not just been the equivalent of a mosquito – an annoyance. It has been more like a wasp you are allergic, too. A vigorous approach was justified. But we have shot ourselves in the leg to get rid of it. I deeply respect science. I loathe its evil twin, #science. The pretense of expertise among our bureaucrats will not survive this fiasco.
Following is the written formal transcript of my talk in Limon last week, entitled, “One of the Family”:
Jesus Christ is true God and true Man. The Eternal Son took on our humanity some 2,000 years ago. In doing so, He condescended to become a member of the family of man. After accomplishing His salvific sacrifice on our behalf, He rose into heaven to resume His place with the Father and the Holy Spirit. In doing so, He invited all who will follow Him to become part of the family of God.
I start with some home truths, some of them truths that have been lost by many of even the most pious among us. These truths are foundational to living the next right step well in communion with each other.
The first truth concerns resurrection. Many – probably most – modern Christians believe in a gauzy, ghostly afterlife. But they don’t really believe in resurrection (which is a specific type of afterlife) because they don’t understand the original meaning of the word. Most Jews believed in an afterlife – the same gauzy, ghostly one modern Christians believe in. So why did so many of them get so furiously angry at St. Paul for preaching resurrection? Because it is a very different type of afterlife than what they believed in. Paul taught not that our spirit will supplant our physical body in the afterlife, but that our spirit and body will be fully united – and for which our present bodies are the seed. This glorified body will be as different as an oak tree is from the acorn by which it was raised – but it will be a real, unique and identifiable body. Paul emphasizes this reality constantly, particularly in the 15th chapter of 1st Corinthians. It is a true body that, even so, is bound neither by space nor time. After the Resurrection, when Jesus called to His disciples from the shore at dawn, He ate fish with them to assure them He was not a ghost. Yet when He appeared to them in the upper room, neither the walls nor the locked door impeded His quiet entry. All faithful Christians know that Jesus was a man. I tell you from the Gospels that He is a man, His divinity and His humanity united in the perfect harmony in which He appeared to His followers and in which He will come again in glory at the end of time. He is Our Lord – and He is also our true Brother, constantly inviting us to become one of the family with Him.
Early on in the first chapter of Genesis it is written that God created man in His own image; in the divine image He created them; male and female He created them. If, then, man is created in God’s own image, he must share in the fundamental active nature of God. What is God’s fundamental nature? Through the eternal procession of love between the persons of the Holy Trinity, He creates. This was the tragic error of Enlightenment thinkers: they painted man as fundamentally a consumer – a complicated animal, which, given food, shelter and companionship, would be content. But man can be neither content nor live with the dignity with which God endowed him without living his nature as a creator. Even the Enlightenment thinkers, the Marxists, Socialists and tyrants of all stripes know this implicitly: they reserve to themselves and a small cadre chosen by them the role of creators. It is only the vast multitude of little people of no account who must meekly and gratefully accept the largess of their betters. This is the second truth.
This reality, which all progressives deny, has unfortunately led many of the faithful to assert that all people are children of God. But this is NOT what the Bible says. What it actually does say – in the first Chapter of John’s Gospel, is that, “to all who received Him, who believed in His name, He gave power to become children of God.”
The Church founded by Jesus Christ – God, Himself – was the first religion in history that had no ethnic or geographic barriers to membership. Anyone could become a Christian. But you cannot become one by being just what you have always been. To become one of the family and secure its benefits, you must embrace its duties, living in accord with Our Lord and Brother. Our faith is not a mere moral system; it is an intimate familial relationship in covenant with God. It is not hard. Jesus, Himself, says that His yoke is easy and His burden light. But it is the consummate and transforming work of a lifetime. It is not like joining a social club – it is being adopted into the very family of God. God gives you the power to become part of His family, but He does not force you. If you do not choose to exercise that power, though, you are NOT a child of God. You make that choice not so much by what you say as by what you do. The parable of the two sons in the 21st chapter of Matthew makes that very clear. The one son told his father he would obey but did not; the other said he would not but did. Jesus asks quite pointedly which of these did his father’s will. God imprints each of us with a knowledge of good and evil to start with – and then judges us by what we do with the knowledge we have. Thus, no one can justify actual evil by saying he didn’t know – for God gives us that knowledge in the starter package. And no one can get away with refusing to follow the knowledge he is given in order to refine his faith. What a glorious and amazing faith we have! It is devised so that the simplest among us can easily get to the heart of it – and the canniest among us can barely begin to plumb its depths.
The third truth is that God’s love is absolute – and absolutely unselfish. Surprisingly, many Christians are fuzzy on this point. They think that because our God is a jealous God and demands our exclusive devotion, He must be somewhat vain. To the contrary: He does this for our benefit, not His. We are family. You are jealous of your own kids’ devotion (at least you are if you are good parents). If you let them go traipsing off wherever and with whomever caught their fancy, you would expose them to grave (and perhaps mortal) danger.
If you owned the only fountain – the only source – of clean water in all of Colorado, one would say you had cornered the market. Though tempted to charge an exorbitant price for this vital commodity, you might well charge a reasonable price instead and be acknowledged as a profound benefactor of the people of the state. Either way, you would not be without gain for yourself.
God is the only source of living water in the universe. He is the only source of life in the universe. He invites us to drink freely from His fountain of living water solely because He wants us to have life – and have it abundantly. He gains nothing by it. He loves us and wants us to live with Him rather than die in outer darkness – which are the only two choices in the universe. He leaves the choice to us, though, all while longing passionately for our salvation rather than our destruction, solely because He loves us.
The fourth home truth concerns the mother of Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary. Many modern, otherwise faithful, Christians are, at best, indifferent to Mary and, at worst, downright hostile to her. This baffles me. It was not part of the Reformation and, in fact, has only arisen over the last 200-300 years. In his last sermon in 1546 Martin Luther, the founder of Protestants, said, “Is Christ only to be adored? Or is the Holy Mother of God rather not to be honored? This is the woman who crushed the serpent’s head. Hear us – for your Son denies you nothing.” Yes, Martin Luther called her the Mother of God, for there were plenty in that day who maintained that Jesus was not God at all, just a man born of a woman who grew to become a profound moral teacher. But serious Christians – both among the Catholics and the Reformers – knew that when the 2nd Person of the Trinity, the Eternal Son, chose to take on our humanity, He chose to be born of a human woman, a woman chosen from all eternity to become Mother of the Eternal Son – who took on our humanity without abdicating His divinity.
If the phrase, “Hail Mary, full of grace,” offends you, your quibble is not with Catholics, but with the Archangel Gabriel, for this is the salutation with which he greeted her at the Annunciation. If the phrase, “Mother of God,” offends you, you are offended not just at Catholics, but at Martin Luther, John Calvin, Ulrich Zwengli and the rest of the founders of the Protestant movement, who all referred to her under that title – often, admittedly, to emphasize Christ’s divinity rather than her maternity – but the three I mentioned by name were all serious Marian devotees.
In the first chapter of the Gospel of Luke, during her Canticle of Praise, Mary says, “Behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.” You cannot coherently claim to believe in the inerrancy of Scripture while simultaneously implicitly denying the truth of this passage.
The prejudice against Mary that has grown strong in some Christian circles once filled me, too, with dread at properly acknowledging her. Wanting neither to be deceived nor to offend God, I humbly told the Lord that I was going to pray the Rosary (which is not so much a paean to Mary as it is an extended contemplation of the life of Our Lord WITH Mary) for the next three weeks. I told no one else. I asked Him to show me, during this period, whether this was approved by or offensive to Him – and that I would abide by what He showed me. I have been a Marian devotee ever since, joyfully going with her to her Holy Son.
I strongly recommend this method to all serious Christians. I know that, for some men, Christianity is just the pretext they use to justify their efforts to impose their will on others. For these, my cry will fall on deaf ears. But for those who are serious, this method leaves the matter safely – and intimately – between you and God.
Our Lord is offended by many things in the modern world. One of the things He is most offended by is the general contempt and indifference with which so many who call themselves Christians treat His mother.
I have said many times that God calls all faithful Christians – Catholics, Protestants and Orthodox – and all faithful Jews to act as full and equal partners in the work before us. And to treat all men of good will, whatever their faith, as true neighbors. I mean it. But this is urgent. God told Job’s seemingly pious friends that, “…you have not spoken rightly of me as has My servant, Job.” God told these men He would not hear their prayers; that they must go to Job and ask Job to pray that they be forgiven, for God would hear Job’s prayers. I tell you, if you call yourself Christian and hold Mary in contempt, your prayers will fall on deaf ears. Go with Mary to her Son and your prayers will be heard – and you will be re-connecting with the deepest roots of your faith, whether you be Catholic, Orthodox or Protestant.”
Now we are in the opening stages of a great cultural battle. A substantial portion of society would make war rather than let our Christian culture and heritage of liberty survive. Understanding the stark depredations that any such war would bring, we must strive mightily to avoid such a cataclysm. But we must firmly resolve to accept war rather than allow our Christian culture and heritage of freedom to perish.
Before discussing how to put our faith into effective action, a few home truths about the base political sloganeering that substitutes for philosophical thought in these times.
The social justice warriors propose to atone for past oppression based on skin color by mounting a new and opposite regime of oppression based on skin color. Our only legitimate choice is to oppress or not to oppress. If we choose to merely calibrate which classes of people will be oppressed and which favored, we just create a wheel in which every class of people will get their turn in the box of the oppressed on a slowly rotating basis. Once you internalize the reality that all are created in God’s own image, racism is impossible. Even now, the purported beneficiaries of the Black Lives Matter movement are disproportionately its victims. It is primarily black businesses, neighborhoods, and livelihoods being destroyed by the Black Lives Matter, Antifa, and Defund the Police movements. This is not a push for social justice, but a pretext for seizing power. Either all lives matter – or no lives matter.
We took a very wrong turn several decades ago when we defined some crimes as hate crimes. This opened the door for those covetous of power to redefine commonplace speech with which they disagree as “hate speech.” In a free republic, criminal law can only be based on what you do, not on what you think. The latter is reserved for dictatorships – and any free nation which adopts it has taken a big step towards tyranny. The only effective cure for offensive speech is more persuasive noble speech. The alternative to free speech is not unity; it is explosions of insurrection leading to civil war for, as a wise man said, convincing someone he must shut up is not the same thing as actually convincing him. This is a lesson that all dictatorships ultimately learn to their sorrow.
In its purest form, market capitalism is simply the conviction that a man is entitled to the bread he has earned by the sweat of his own brow. Socialism posits that a bureaucratic parasite class must be set up that owns all the bread created by everyone and decides exclusively how it is to be distributed. Both systems understand that government can give nothing to anyone without first taking it from someone else. But socialists consider this to be a great feature, for it allows them to mask their seizure of power as social justice. It is also why socialist societies always go broke. Turns out people are not willing to sweat near as much to support the parasite class as they are to support their own families.
Last Friday Chief Justice John Roberts joined the four Democratic appointees on the court in deciding that discrimination against religion is not discrimination at all. The court decided that it was fair for Nevada to rule that casinos, taverns, restaurants, theatres, brothels and just about everything else could operate at 50 percent of their normal capacity – but churches, no matter how large, could have no more than 50 people at a time. It made me think of a rueful comment a friend of mine – also a judge – made to me. He said that whenever someone equates the law with morality, he reminds them that the people who hid Anne Frank were breaking German law, while the people who killed her were following German law. Roberts is the most mendacious chief justice since Roger Taney, who decided the Dred Scott case. He thinks he is protecting the prestige of the courts by veering drunkenly between honest rulings and concessions to the leftist mob that are entirely untethered to the Constitution. He is destroying both the legitimacy of the courts and public confidence in them. The credibility of the entire justice system has become a parody of itself – just another tool in the revolutionary box to oppress Christians and others devoted to liberty and truth.
This is why I have joined with hundreds of people across the country to form CORAC – the Corps of Renewal and Charity. Our faith, our families, our freedom are all under assault from an ignorant pagan left who think they are doing something new – but who are so historically illiterate that they do not know they are summoning a very old and malignant destructor of humanity.
Christianity is not merely one among many competing systems of morality. We are the family of God. As part of the family, we are called to do our Father’s will. God calls all men to salvation. So first and foremost, we must proclaim the Kingdom. I am angered by the pagan leftist revolutionaries, but I also deeply pity them. They have lost the capacity for simple joy and can only harvest their own destruction. If they lose, their bitterness and misery will lead them to self-destruction. If they win, their prize is destruction – not only for themselves, but for many innocent victims as well, just as with Robespierre, Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mao and countless other pagan tyrants throughout history.
Our call is to defend the faith, hearten the faithful and defend the faithful. So, while proclaiming the Kingdom we are called to build up and support the faithful who are under assault. And should the pagan left take power and hold sway for a time, CORAC will act collectively to defend the faith and physically defend the faithful. We will not submit to any tyranny that denies God; not even a soft tyranny that says we do not have the same rights and privileges as looters and rioters – or even as gamblers, johns at brothels, and restaurant and theatre-goers.
While the question remains in dispute, we will organize Christians to support each other and to support those who, though they are not of us, fully support religious freedom, the Bill of Rights and the foundational principles of faith, family and freedom.
Our rights are not granted by government. They are endowed to us by God Almighty. The founders recognized this. They did NOT set up a government which granted us rights. They set up the Bill of Rights in acknowledgment of what God had endowed us and as a test of the legitimacy of any government. The first duty of any government is to secure and defend the natural rights of its citizens. When it ceases to do so, it abdicates its legitimacy and forfeits the loyalty of the people who occupy its boundaries.
Unfortunately, since World War I, most Christians, including leaders have defined themselves as relentless pacifists, often making them willing dupes and enablers of tyrants. It was not always so. In the Middle Ages, Islam launched a war of extermination against Christianity. The Muslims had taken all of the Iberian Peninsula and big chunks of France and Italy – determined to wipe Christians from the face of the earth. The faithful mounted the Crusades as the Christian counter-attack against this vast Muslim aggression. Our schools largely paint the Crusades as an instance of an unprovoked Christian attack on “peaceful” Muslims – yet another of the many things leftists know that just aren’t so. Christianity defended itself and prevailed.
St. Joan of Arc went to war in the early 1400’s to rescue France from annihilation. Christians are not – and have never been – required to sit and accept their destruction while impotently wringing their hands over it. At times we have lacked the power to defend ourselves effectively. We do not just have the option of defending other Christians under assault; we have the positive duty to physically defend our brothers and sisters when they are under assault. We pray by doing and do by praying. Neglect nothing.
So, we will act as the family of God. We will proclaim the Kingdom to all. We will not initiate any conflict. But we will stand boldly for the family. When our leaders stand boldly, we will gather with and support them in solidarity. If they neglect their solemn duty under God, we will stand anyway. When our brothers and sisters are assaulted, we will defend them. If they are physically assaulted, we will imitate the Crusaders, St. Joan of Arc, and St. George and will physically defend them.
We want no quarrel with anyone. Above all, we would that all men would exercise the power God has given them to become children of God, drinking freely from the living waters that lead to eternal life and joy. But we will defend the faith, hearten the faithful and defend the faithful. That is the least that members of a family can do for each other.