In December 2003 I wrote a column describing the onset of the Western Christian civilization collapse.
I re-read it last night and decided that it bears repeating. Herewith Civis Romanus Sum as I wrote it then. Tragically, nothing appears to have changed in the past six years.
In 1964, James Burnham, then an editor and a colleague of mine at National Review, wrote "Suicide of the West," an assault on liberalism that showed how the left was incapable of opposing the advance of atheistic communism and explained that liberals are, in effect, anti-Christian by their very nature and thus a bunch of patsies for the guardians of the Gulag.
Today we are seeing the proof of his contention, and America has joined Europe in a headlong suicidal rush toward the precipice, beyond which lies the death of Western Christian civilization that gave birth to the United States.
All around us we can see the evidence of decline of the civilization, which ultimately produced governments that for the first time in history recognized man as having been made in the image and likeness of God and, as such, is entitled to be treated with the dignity and respect due children of our Creator.
This was a concept peculiar to Christianity and implied in the Judaic civilization from which it sprung.
In many ways, it was a Christianized version of Roman civilization, which accorded to its citizens rights and privileges and a rule of law granted to no other people in the known world.
As H.W. Crocker wrote in "Triumph," his monumental short history of the Catholic Church, the Roman concept of human rights survived the fall of the Empire within the confines of the Catholic Church, which safeguarded and nurtured it and bestowed its benefits, now enhanced by the doctrines of Jesus Christ.
Crocker quoted Father Philip Hughes as observing that from the "fifth century down to the discovery of America in the fifteenth, Europe and the Catholic Church are two names for the one thing." And that one thing was called Christendom.
As Crocker wrote: "Christianity was increasingly manifest in Roman law. Constantine codified Christian practice from the time of the apostles and made Sunday — the day Christ rose from the dead — the day of rest, appropriating the day from Roman sun worshipers, of whom he had been one."
The Church, he wrote, was Roman: "it was born and grew within the confines of the Roman Empire." As a result, any European could boast, with St. Paul, "Civis Romanus Sum" — I am a citizen of Rome — and, as such, entitled to all of the rights and benefits that citizenship conferred.
Neither feudalism, absolute monarchies, oppressive princes, and tyrannical principalities could for long suppress the Roman Christian ideal promoted by Catholic Rome of the inherent dignity of mankind and the advantages that flowed out of it for every human being.
As the Romans had fought off centuries of barbarian invasions, Romanized Christendom fought off Islamic hordes who once threatened the very heart of Europe, reaching as far as the gates of Vienna where they were finally routed by Christian armies.
And it should not be forgotten that it was the Crusades launched by Rome that saved Western civilization from being destroyed in the name of Islam by the Osama bin Ladens of the time.
The doctrines of Christianity formed the moral bulwark which protected mankind from the ever-present temptation to descend to the level of the lower order of the animal kingdom, to go for each other's throats, to plunder the property of others, to commit murder, rape, adultery, and a whole host of offenses against God and neighbor.
It was Christendom which observed and protected the law laid down by God in the Ten Commandments, which laid the groundwork for a strict moral order that did not exist outside of Christianity.
Today we observe the sickening spectacle of the grandees of the European Union turning thumbs down on the Pope's request that the new European constitution acknowledge the debt the Old World owes to the creed that gave birth to what is now Europe, that protected and nurtured it for 2,000 years, and without which the continent would never have survived.
The liberal mindset that Jim Burnham exposed has cast aside Christianity, destroyed the concept of Christendom, and left Europe exposed to the consequences of a secular paganism, which recognizes no moral limits on an allegedly modern human free to indulge himself in whatever he desires and which proclaims what might have been Ted Bundy's motto: "If it feels good, do it." It felt good, so he did it.
This secular humanism denies the old adage that man without God is a beast, and he is never more beastly than when he denies and seeks to justify his beastliness.
Here in America we are watching our Christian heritage being torn down like the toppling of a statue of Saddam in Baghdad. The wall of defense Christianity provides us, protecting us from the horrendous excesses of which Godless man is capable, is being taken down, brick by brick, leaving us defenseless.
If we allow ignorance of the history of Western man and Western Christian civilization to blind us to the perils we face, we will join Europe in the plunge into the new society they are now enthusiastically embracing — the society of the beast, where the doctrine of the survival of the fittest replaces the doctrine of the Golden Rule.
All of our rights, all of our entitlements to be secure in our homes and in our persons, all of the protections our moral order affords us are rooted in Christianity. Drive Christ out of our nation and our lives and we will be exposed to the kind of perfect nation envisioned and imposed by Karl Marx and his acolytes Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein.
Phil Brennan writes for Newsmax.com. He is editor and publisher of Wednesday on the Web (http://www.pvbr.com) and was Washington columnist (Cato) for National Review magazine in the 1960s. He is a trustee of the Lincoln Heritage Institute and a member of the Association For Intelligence Officers. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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