Mark Steyn's brilliant monologue on what's left to worship when the clergy lose their beliefs. The pewsitters have largely seen through this act. You don't need to go to church to imbibe the secular faith the clergy are now offering for the most part--the culture is awash in it.
STEYN: Even in a decaying Christendom, there is something heartening about Sunday service on Easter morn with the church pews packed as they rarely are, and ...oh, wait, no, sorry, my mistake. That was the old Easter – before the state rolled the stone in front of the church door. So the hosannas were decidedly muted yesterday: Singing remains forbidden in California churches. In Spain, they’ve taken the additional precaution of banning hymnals. In Greece, they’ve banned loudspeakers, just in case you’re tempted to hold an outdoor service.
For the record: Steyn's reference to California was to a recent SCOTUS case - "Justices Roberts, Kavanaugh and Amy [V2 catholics all] kept a prohibition on singing and chanting until the churches could show evidence that it could be done safely or the state permitted secular businesses to allow similar singing and chanting."
But really, why not just cut to the chase? In Ireland, ALL in-person services are illegal, and, like Father Hughes in Mullahoran who said mass to forty congregants, you’ll get a 500-euro fine if you’re minded to try it. And Pastor Cronin at the Abundant Grace Church in Dublin was arrested mid-service. In one of posterity’s little jests, an Irish Catholic is currently only free to practice his religion if he heads north across the border, where under the tyrannous British Protestant yoke the churches are open, unlike down south.
However, don't get carried away--what the State giveth the State can take away. Here's British coppers in South London seizing the pulpit and closing down worship in mid-service: ...
What's the proper response to that? Here's Pastor Artur Pawlowski in Alberta, Canada: ...
He called them Nazis and the Gestapo--preach it, preacherman! And through the sheer power of his words he drove the coppers down the stairs like Jesus throwing the money-changers out of the Temple. "For it is written, My House shall be called a House of Prayer and ye are not gonna make it a Den of Totalitarian Goons!" The only people committing a crime there were Her Majesty's miserable and unworthy Calgary Constabulary, who were in breach of Section 176 of the Canadian Criminal Code:
Everyone who wilfully disturbs or interrupts an assemblage of persons met for religious worship ... is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.
That's a slam dunk! And that Canadian pastor should file a complaint with ... the ... oh, the police.
There is a tragic element to the diminished state of the Christian churches, a year into this thing. If ever there were a huge opportunity for religious ministry, a world in which everything else is dead--movie shows, sports, concerts, restaurants, all the noisy distractions of the secular consumerist life--is surely it. And yet, for the most part, starting with the social justice pontiff in the Vatican blaming Covid on climate change, the churches blew it.
And saddest of all an unchurched year has seen church membership in the US fall for the first time below fifty per cent of Americans. Which is a pity. Because, when the churches fall silent, the only religion left is The State.
You can watch Steyn here.