I cannot help but admire the courage of Mary Eberstadt, author of the clandestinely published (by the Harper Collins Samizdat division) IT’S DANGEROUS TO BELIEVE, who stands in defiance of what she calls “the secularist-progressive alliance: a cultural band of like-minded people, united above all by their antipathy to the traditional Judeo-Christian moral code—including many (though not all) feminists, new atheists, advocates for same-sex marriage, rationalists, soi-disant humanists, postmodernists, militant secularists, population controllers, and other fellow ideological travelers.” 1
As her book documents, we have reached the point in America where “Doctrinally faithful Christians, Protestant and Catholic alike, are not only culturally disenfranchised. They are the only remaining minority that can be mocked and denigrated—broadly, unilaterally, and with impunity. Not to mention fired, fined, or otherwise punished for their beliefs.” 2
Despite which, Ms. Eberstadt is unblinking in the face of “the new intolerance,” an intolerance which fortunately has not yet infected the good folks at Harper Collins (Samizdat division). By my count, IT’S DANGEROUS TO BELIEVE is Eberstadt’s fifth book (a total which includes her one novel), which again testifies to her personal bravery: knowing that at any moment she could be arrested, jailed, exiled, silenced, or at the very least shunned by polite society, Eberstadt has soldiered on.3 In fact, she has managed to parlay her sense of persecution into a pretty nice career: she has worked for the U.S. State Department and as an assistant to Ambassador Jeanne Kirkpatrick, she has served as editor of National Interest, and she spent over a decade as a Senior Fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution. She is married to another right-wing scholar, Nicholas Eberstadt, whose career also seems to be going along nicely.
All of this, I realize, is mere ad feminam and in no way constitutes a response to, much less a refutation of, Ms. Eberstadt’s thesis. She concludes her book by urging us all “to do the right thing by listening to what [faithful Western Christians] have to say, and acknowledging their American right do say it.” By any reasonable standard, Ms. Eberstadt’s books and career constitute a pretty good refutation of her claims: somehow she’s managed to stay one step ahead of the anti-Christian Thought Police and seems to have had no problem at all exercising her "American right" to speak her mind.4
But don’t think it won’t happen just because it hasn’t happened yet, I suppose: the next sound you hear may be the secular hammer coming down on poor Mary Eberstadt--followed, one assumes, by the shutting down of Harper Collins (Samizdat division).
1 Just for fun, let’s rewrite Ms. Eberstadt’s description of her opponents and turn it into an equally fair description of her allies:
“a religious conservative alliance: a cultural band of like-minded people, united above all by their doctrinaire insistence on imposing on everyone their interpretation of the traditional Judeo-Christian moral code—including many (though not all) evangelicals, neo-Puritans, opponents of same-sex marriage, irrationalists, soi-disant “orthodox” Christians, reactionaries, militant fundamentalists, controllers of women’s bodies, homophobes, and other fellow ideological travelers.”
See, I was right—that was fun.
2 Have any non-Christians recently been fired, fined, or otherwise punished for their beliefs? I’m much too tired to do the research, but I’m guessing the answer is “yes” and that more than a few outspoken atheists, LGBT persons, Muslims, and heretical Christians have come a-cropper of employers and found themselves looking for employment elsewhere.
3 For instance, the federal government could sentence Ms. Eberstadt, for her thought crimes, to work at a bakery that sells wedding cakes to same-sex couples; she might even be forced to inscribe the frosted message "Congratulations, Adam & Steve!" The horror...
4 Apparently there was a brouhaha of sorts when Ms. Eberstadt was invited to deliver the commencement address at Seton Hall University in 2014; a handful of faculty members expressed their displeasure with the invitation and asked the university to withdraw it. The university declined to do so, Ms. Eberstadt gave her speech, and, as National Review acknowledged, "Eberstadt’s address went off without a hitch, meeting with prolonged applause. There were hearty congratulations from many faculty members as well." All's well that ends well.