On June 17th, 2015, Dylann Roof walked into the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, and gunned down nine innocent African-Americans. Just over one week later, five activist judges on the bench of the Supreme Court creatively interpreted both the meaning of marriage and the 14th Amendment of the Constitution to declare the “dignity” of marriage to be a fundamental right for same-sex couples. Both of these events are markers of the times, and the mindset behind these acts was actually quite similar. Hear me out.
The mindset I’m referring to is the tendency for individuals to find their identity in groups or subcultures and emphasize that identity over everything else in society. Those groups can form around anything from race and ethnicity, to science fiction, to body modification. Dylann Roof identified with groups of white supremacists he connected with on the Internet.1 Thousands of similar communities exist both online and in-person around specific cultures and ideologies. Most of these communities view themselves as counter-cultural with purposes of “oppositional culture-jamming.”2
It may not be possible to determine precisely how this mentality arose. America has always been an individualistic country – perhaps encouraging people to seek their own identity. Certainly subcultures have been in place in America for hundreds of years. One example is the current racial tensions exist in many major cities where subcultures have been developed in resistance to prejudice and / or aggression. Those racial tensions are worsening because both subcultures in conflict knowingly or unknowingly are emphasizing their identity as a group member over their connection to society. The same scenario is happening or will happen in other arenas as well as the social power of the internet allows – and encourages – more and more people to find their “tribe.”
And these tribes are not content to hold their contrarian views to themselves. No, they demand recognition and will not be silenced. They may seek status as a protected class in order to silence their enemies. They seek to hijack the corridors of communication with the ultimate goal of forcing society to accept their ideals. Some turn to violence and start riots, or murder to further their cause, in the case of Dylann Roof and others.
Thus, America is quickly developing into a class society in which the ruling classes are not those with money or political connections, but those with cultural power – the power to define morality and to shame and silence opponents. Right now, the “king of the hill” is the LGBT community, a small fraction of the population, but the most powerful one. They have systematically and cleverly worked their way into power by co-opting and redefining terms (like “orientation”, “gay”, “love wins”, “hate speech”) and carefully crafting their image using media and the arts.
The victories the gay agenda has seen were won through manipulation and intimidation, not through love or due process of law. The Supreme Court justices succumbed to fear – fear that they would be viewed poorly in popular opinion and in history. They hoped to make a name for themselves as heroes, lauded by the gods of popular society – which is why Justice Kennedy’s opinion reads more like an ode to warm fuzzies than a legal document.
As the cultural power of the gay agenda grows, so too will their arrogance. Having overthrown the Constitution – the highest law of the land – no law is safe. Now that the masses are fawning on them, they will use the same skills of manipulation and redefinition to turn those masses like packs of ravening wolves on their opponents. Their oppression will know no bounds. “Love” will turn to violence to impose its morality on every last pocket of resistance. But this will last only until they are overthrown by the next subculture seeking to advance their ideology and America – if not the world – implodes amid wars and struggles between competing subcultures.
The Church however, though it may be the original counter-culture, must not resort to these tactics. Although we hold dear our unity and identity in Christ, we also respect and find identity with every other person as made in the image of God. We don’t need cultural power – in fact we thrive without it. “Our kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36) and we do not need to resort to violence and manipulation to further the Kingdom of God. We expect “wars and rumors of wars” (Matthew 24:6) and for the morality of society to grow “worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived” (2 Timothy 3:13). In the meantime we will grow closer as a community of believers while welcoming those wounded by and seeking shelter from the totalitarianism of the ruling class.