Bill Murchison

The trouble with modern times, from the standpoint of the conservatives, is all the emphasis they place upon diversity and individual choice. A thing doesn't have to be "true" or to suit a classically meditated set of beliefs; it merely has to catch the eye and interest of a few. We wouldn't try to stifle individual viewpoints, would we? It wouldn't be tolerant, would it? Tolerant of what? Tolerant of whatever turns you on. Such as Wicca. If it feels good, sounds good, looks good -- well, do it, and bless you. Don't you feel that 1960s spirit coming on?

The spirit of diversity, of course, implies a spirit of No Truth, rather than one of Truth, because, look, if we're really open and accepting of everything, nothing binds, nothing restrains and anything goes. Witches, Jesus, Zeus, Moses, Baal -- whatever turns you on, man.

Yet pushback inevitably comes. If Truth really is True, instead of merely relative to various perceptions, a strong coterie of believers is going to declare as much and insist Truth be maintained, just as conservative Anglicans do in their warfare with liberal leaders who seem to see them as a bunch of troublesome yahoos.

Parishes and whole dioceses have formally separated from the Episcopal Church, whose bad-tempered response involves suing for property and trying to strip departing priests and bishops of their authority so much as to minister the sacraments. This, while Wiccans and Druids multiply and scoffers such as Dawkins thumb their noses at the idea of a transcendent God.

Pope Benedict XVI has some idea of the stakes in the battle. Secularism, not to mention Islam, has thrown down the gauntlet to Christianity. The pope sees the world as ripe for intensive and faithful presentation of the Christian message; he wants all the allies he can get. The alliance he offers to Anglicans of like conviction is more than mere pushback. It's comeback -- on specifically Christian, specifically countercultural terms.

Bill Murchison

Bill Murchison is the former senior columns writer for The Dallas Morning News and author of There's More to Life Than Politics.
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