A Little More on Trump and the Benedict Option

After yesterday’s minor scuffle over Peter Wolfgang’s dubious suggestion that the so-called “Benedict Option” dumped Donald Trump on our doorsteps, Andrew Haines — editor of Ethika Politika — is stepping into the mix with “The Benediction Option is No Match for Trump, And That’s the Point.” It’s not my business to defend the “Benedict Option”; that gig belongs primarily to Rod Dreher. As indicated in yesterday’s post, I have been critical of the “Benedict Option” in the past, though I believe Dreher’s instincts are in the right place when it comes to the gravity of our present situation and the need for Christians to have some meaningful response to it. As for Haines’s brief defense of the “Benedict Option,” which rests largely on the idea that it represents an intellectual, moral, and spiritual turn rather than a social movement with measurable effects, I am not entirely convinced. Yes, Haines is right to highlight that the “Benedict Option” is in no way, shape, or form intended to stop the political ascendancy of someone as noxious as Donald Trump (or Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders for that matter), but if the thinking behind the “Benedict Option” is ever internalized by a sizable portion of American Christians, it most certainly will produce what Haines calls “real-world effects.” But will those effects be salutary? How one answers that question no doubt depends on how one understands being in the world but not of it (or, as is increasingly commonplace among contemporary Christians, being both in and of the world).

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3 Comments

  1. Bernard Brandt
    May 12, 2016

    Dreher’s ‘Benedict Option’ is indistinguishable from self-imposed ‘dhimmitude’. Discuss.

    Reply
    1. Aethelfrith
      May 12, 2016

      You have a point there. It’s also fairly consonant with cries from [white] reactionaries to mimic the Amish or the Hasids.

      Reply
    2. Gene
      May 17, 2016

      You mean indistinguishable from self-imposed dhimmitude for other people, particularly those willing to buy his book in order to be socially and politically Benedict Option correct in their dhimmitude.

      Dreher, on the other hand, makes his living by seeking out, wallowing in and curating outrage porn, a difficult row to hoe if one’s spiritual mandate is the Benedict Option and retreat from vulgar popular culture. As one commenter there put it, all the best naughty gay news tips and links are to be found on Dreher’s blog.

      Reply

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