Soon it will be all over, and we will know whether Hillary in her business-like trouser-suits or Donald, with his bar-room bravado has won the day.
Perhaps the most interesting feature of the campaign was not the revelation about Donald’s habitual misogyny (it was hardly unexpected!), but the rabid anti-Catholicism of some in the Clinton camp. This was not the protestant bigotry which used to characterize American politics. It was something new. The email exchanges revealed an antipathy to Christian values which betrays the trend and tenor of modern Western societies in general. Whilst exotic religions and strange beliefs (especially Islam) are embraced with inclusive tolerance, Christianity is considered ‘backward’ and deplorable.
We should take it as something of a compliment that Catholicism comes in for the most fervent criticism. Make no bones about it, we are the most deplorable of the ‘deplorables’ to whom Hillary referred. The spiteful emails of the chattering classes should not surprise us. They are merely the sound of the pigeons of the Enlightenment coming home to roost.
It has been easy for Christians to forget that for the best part of two hundred and fifty years the intelligentsia of the West has been the sworn enemy of our religion. Now the arrogance of the philosophes has become the currency of the internet, and the liberation agenda is beginning to enthral us all.
Pope Francis is right: ‘In Europe, America, Latin America, Africa, and in some countries of Asia, there are genuine forms of ideological colonization taking place. And one of these – I will call it clearly by its name – is [the ideology of] gender.’ The Enlightenment project, which was always to replace the sovereignty of God with human autonomy, is moving towards a final denouement where sex itself becomes an arena of human choice and ‘freedom’.
The strange thing is that Christians – Catholics even – have been willing collaborators in this assault on the divine – by embracing, piecemeal, its aims and advances, until the Scriptures themselves have been rendered authoritative only when they can be made to seem in agreement with the ambient culture.
The American bishops, quite rightly, objected robustly to the recent defamatory emails – but their ‘liberal’ attitudes on other matters show them to be colluding with those they criticize.