Sep. 3, 2016

I want to be wrong.

All too often we read of acts of mass murder.  When someone comes out of nowhere, with a high-powered weapon, and starts murdering as many people as possible as quickly as possible.  And sometimes, though not always, a motivation is provided.  So when someone murdered leftists at Utoye Island in Norway, their motivation was that of conspiracy theories to the effect that Europe will become Islamic owing to migration and high birth rates.  The motivation was not that of the far-right, but of the mainstream right.  While when someone murdered a group of black people at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, in the USA, the motivation was entirely that of white nationalism.  The Charlestown Massacre was an act of white nationalist terror.  And the Orlando Massacre was motivated by an outright hatred of gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered people.  Which again is not a far leap from the mainstream right.

It must be stated clearly and directly, that it is just a matter of time that when we read about a terror attack or another massacre or another mass murder, it will be committed by someone who claims to be an Orthodox Christian. And they will have an FB profile with photos of Corneliu Codreanu, Tsar Nicholai II, and the "Mad Baron" Nicholai von Ungern-Sternberg.  Their likes will include Brother Nathanael, Julius Evola and Aleksandr Dugin. Replete with the infamous quote of Metropolitan Volodomyr of how the republican priest is supposed to be a bad priest.  With a confederate flag on top of it all.  They will be avid supporters of Presidents Putin and Assad. With of course, a lot of chalk-board scratching complaints about "cultural Marxism", “white genocide” and "political correctness".

Indeed, so many of these things should be considered warning signs.  So many atrocities can be laid at the feet of Corneliu Codreanu and the Iron Guard.  As well as at the feet of Nicholai von Ungern-Sternberg.  Making a hero out of people like that is tantamount to making a hero out of Charles Manson.  And should be considered a warning sign that someone who makes a hero out of such people, is someone with an impaired sense of right and wrong.  Impaired enough to commit murder.

And the person who commits this mass murder might actually turn out be a member of the canonical Orthodox Church, on top of it all.  But even if they are with an Orthodox jurisdiction that is not considered canonical, it might not matter.  The perception in the eyes of the public cannot be undone.  We see this with the Roman Catholic Church, that even with Pope Francis, the image of the Roman Catholic clergy is still not fully rehabilitated owing to the sex abuse scandals.  This is also more abundantly clear with respect to Islam.  That even though it is a fringe element of Islam that commits acts of terror, the perception of Islam in the eyes of the international public is still tainted.  It will not matter if someone from an uncanonical old calendar Orthodox group commits mass murder.  Public perception of our Church will make us guilty by association.  The leftists that so many Orthodox reviled will be the ones to defend them.  While many on the right will suddenly turn on us.  After all, they do not look at the moral conservatism of Islam and see allies.  They do not make common cause with Muslims over opposition to feminism, abortion, or LBGT rights.  And they will likely cease to be allies with the Orthodox if one of our own commits mass murder.

I want to be wrong.  But unfortunately, there are far too many warning signs from too many angry Orthodox Christians on the internet.  They should not be ignored, but are.  Sooner or later, someone from our Church with very dangerous views will act on them.  Irresponsible statements from clergy will brought against them, and bishops will be taken to task for their failure to heed the warnings signs.  We are tomorrow’s Muslims.