The Daily Devil’s Dictionary: Defining “Persecution”

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The pastors weigh in for Roy Moore, the “unwavering” champion of explicit actions that, at least in one sense, were intended to bridge the generation gap.

Today’s 3D Definition: Persecution

Newsweek fills us in on the massive support Roy Moore has mustered from the Evangelicals in his great state of Alabama to counter the effect of what they consider undeserved negative publicity related to his history of child abuse. Fifty-three Alabama pastors have pitched in to defend Moore and re-establish the true moral priorities electors should be thinking about. They express great concern for Moore as a victim of persecution: “After being re-elected again to Chief Justice in 2012, by an overwhelming majority, he took another round of persecution for our faith as he stood up for the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman.”

In a democracy, an “overwhelming majority” cannot be wrong, whereas the sanctity of marriage must always be right, even when it involves fondling minors in one’s occasional unsanctified moments.

Here is its 3D definition:

Persecution:

The complaint habitually made by groups of people whose culture is founded on the act of oppressing others and who overcome their feelings of guilt by seeing themselves as victims

Contextual note

In their letter of support, the Southern pastors make explicit the source of persecution: “You can know a man by his enemies, and he’s made plenty — from the radical organizations such as the Southern Poverty Law Center and the ACLU to the liberal media and a handful of establishment politicians from Washington.”

They recognize in Moore “a warrior for the unborn child, defender of the sanctity of marriage, and a champion for religious liberty.” The liberty they are referring to appears to be liberty for their religion in its holy combat against everything else.

Historical note

In their letter, the pastors set the tone with this challenge: “We are ready to join the fight and send a bold message to Washington: dishonesty, fear of man, and immorality are an affront to our convictions and our Savior and we won’t put up with it any longer.”

Experts at the Daily Devil’s Dictionary are investigating the history of the notion about “the fear of man,” which can be traced to the book of Proverbs in the Hebrew Bible: “The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is safe” (Proverbs 29:25).

In the Evangelical tradition this expression, “fear of man,” appears to be glossed as “peer pressure, people-pleasing, or co-dependency.” In other words, the capacity to take into account the wishes and needs of others. Someone with the fear of man would thus be the contrary of the admirably unbending doctrinarian Moore that the pastors describe as an “immovable rock” “with a rare, unconquerable resolve” and an “unwavering faith in God and his immovable convictions for Biblical principles.”

In the context of Moore’s trials and tribulations, we are left wondering if the notion of “the fear of man” the 53 pastors cite doesn’t apply to the emotions felt by Moore’s young victims.

*[In the age of Oscar Wilde and Mark Twain, another American wit, the journalist Ambrose Bierce, produced a series of satirical definitions of commonly used terms, throwing light on their hidden meanings in real discourse. Bierce eventually collected and published them as a book, The Devil’s Dictionary, in 1911. We have shamelessly appropriated his title in the interest of continuing his wholesome pedagogical effort to enlighten generations of readers of the news.]

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observer’s editorial policy.

Photo Credit: Christopher Boswell / Shutterstock.com

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