Policing our own ranks

Published May 9, 2024

WORLD Opinions

With shocking displays of anti-Semitism unfolding on college campuses across America in recent weeks, it is easy for conservatives to feel a sense of moral superiority. Progressives, it seems, are the real bigots. But we would be foolish to ignore the rot in our own ranks. In times of political polarization, the far right and far left sometimes appear to come full circle, mimicking one another even as they define themselves in opposition to one another. So it is today.

To be sure, it is hard to get a handle on the precise scope of the problem. At times, it has spilled over into the public eye, as when the vocal Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes met with President Trump in November 2022, or when Ron DeSantis’s campaign found itself in hot water over a campaign video accused of using neo-Nazi symbolism. More often, though, it lurks in the shadowy world of Twitter memes and pseudonymous Substacks. Many conservative pastors, however, report encountering various forms of anti-Jewish conspiracy theories and Holocaust denial in their churches, and when evangelical pastor Douglas Wilson (hardly known as a liberal) dared call out this phenomenon, it provoked a vitriolic backlash.

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Brad Littlejohn, Ph.D., is a Fellow in EPPC’s Evangelicals in Civic Life Program, where his work focuses on helping public leaders understand the intellectual and historical foundations of our current breakdown of public trust, social cohesion, and sound governance. His research investigates shifting understandings of the nature of freedom and authority, and how a more full-orbed conception of freedom, rooted in the Christian tradition, can inform policy that respects both the dignity of the individual and the urgency of the common good. He also serves as President of the Davenant Institute.

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