Joe Biden vs. the Church in Africa
Nowhere is the evangelical zeal of liberals more clearly illustrated than in the Biden’s administration’s tying aid to Africa and other continents to the acceptance of the doctrines of leftist progressivism.
For many decades, liberals have excoriated the nineteenth-century Christians’ global evangelistic outreach as a characteristic of colonialism. They have ridiculed what they termed the “White Man’s Burden.” But now they imitate what they have despised by taking their own messianic vision of “equality” to those they deem backwards and ignorant.
If they are to have relief from poverty, hunger, disease, Africans must accept progressive dogma: abortion as a sacrament; trans self-identity in place of the Christian idea of imago dei and identity with Christ; and same-sex marriage in place of the Christian ideal of monogamy characterized by union between a man and a woman.
For progressives, it’s good for Africans to be raised up beyond their adherence to outdated Christian values artificially imposed by Western colonialism. It is best they see that inevitable evolutionary progress that discards the opiate of antiquated monotheistic religions is obviously as advanced for them as the West, and indeed the entire globe. Africans shall be shown by economic pressure just how inevitable the new progressive ways are. Money for bread and water will achieve the transformation from the sacred to the secular.
The condescension and contempt displayed by Biden’s foreign policy toward “third world” countries hint of a throwback to Spencerian Darwinism, an ideology that is inherently racist, as it saw Africans as less evolved than the West. Social Darwinist, predestinarian reasoning sees the rich and powerful as automatically right, as more advanced than the poor.
The result of the unholy pressure is great spiritual anguish among the devout. But ideological totalitarians do not take spiritual anguish into account. On the contrary, they consider the painful process necessary in order the unenlightened evolve. The tortuous process is deemed progress.
Thankfully, the Obama/Biden policy of tying aid to acceptance of and conversion to the progressive faith has not gone unnoticed or without protest by African leaders.
Cardinal Robert Sarah of Guinea and other Catholic (and Protestant) leaders are aware that Africa is now the global center of Christianity; not the spiritually enervated West. The growth of Christianity in Africa has been staggering. Christians now number almost 650 million souls; and the implications for global Christianity are enormous. As Western Christianity is increasingly capitulating to secularism, becoming less and less influential, Christianity in Africa now is shaped more and more by indigenous conservative and orthodox leaders who are no longer exclusively dependent on Western missionaries.
The Biden administration has also failed to note that almost all of Africa is monotheistic. Muslims, who also refuse accommodation to the Western progressive agenda, number in the hundreds of millions.
The Obama and now the Biden administration’s ham-fisted attempts to proselytize people they consider underdeveloped show utter contempt for peoples who do not wish to be converted; peoples who consider themselves as progressing forward in their faith despite material poverty; peoples who have found meaning transcending their circumstances; peoples who regard progressivism as going backwards, not forwards.
No objective observer should be surprised that African Christians (and Muslims) reject an ideology that strips the human being of meaning, erases the prospect of life eternal and does not know how to give meaning to suffering and finitude.
No one should be surprised that deeply religious Africans repudiate the economic blandishments of an administration that looks with bland equanimity on China’s persecution and extermination of the Uighurs. No one should be astonished if Africans reject abortion on demand as a Malthusian means of reducing their numbers, which are seen as rising unchecked and as ruining the environment.
No one should wonder if Africans who have tasted spiritual freedom do not regard separating the individual from all collective identity, especially familial and religious identity, as true freedom. Nor should they be shocked that Africans repudiate a “freedom” that supposedly liberates one from being human as imago dei, male and female.
Thankfully, leaders like Sarah adamantly reject Western secularist proselytization. In an interview turned into a book titled God or Nothing, he wrote:
“Regarding my continent of origin, I want to strongly condemn a desire to impose false values using political and financial arguments. In some African countries, ministries dedicated to gender theory were created in exchange for economic support! These policies are all the more hideous than the majority of the African population is defenseless, at the mercy of fanatical Western ideologues.”
The core issue, be it for African or other nations is whether or not the religion of modernism, now known as leftist progressivism, is to subsume Christianity, including Catholicism; not just in Africa, but throughout the globe.
For the fact is, pragmatically speaking, Biden and others who share his worldview, some deeply embedded within Catholic and Protestant hierarchies, actually adhere to another religion altogether; one in which they believe more fervently than the Christianity to which they offer ritualistic tokenism. For Biden and the likeminded, the progressive Left is to be the conscience of the globe’s culture, not any monotheistic religion. If Christian theology is to exist at all, it must become the handmaiden of leftist progressivism.
It is an unhappy truth that the march of leftist progressivism through Western institutions has included a march through the Church, with the consequence that progressive tenets are becoming the equivalent of universal laws that cannot be questioned -- even by the Church itself. The Christian religion now is expected to accommodate itself to progressive mores, which have assumed the positions natural law, tradition, creeds and councils once held almost uncontested by the Church. The ultimate goal is to desacralize the Church by what Pope Pius X and Archbishop Carlos Maria Vigano have called “the synthesis of all heresies.”
The synthesis has proceeded, first by getting the hierarchy to syncretize certain aspects of progressivism; then by subsuming it altogether, turning the Church into an instrument of progressivism. Progressivists see their syncretistic worldview as revelation that is universal. Anyone who doesn’t believe in the vision of immanentization of the eschaton via the march of progressive values, including those of the LGBTQ+ and pro-abortion movements, is spiritually underdeveloped, full of hate and needs to be converted and practice the progressive virtue of “tolerance.” Considered to be among the underdeveloped are all orthodox Christians, African or otherwise. The faithful are seen as needing to have their eyes opened to the new universal progressive paradigm that has moved beyond former paradigms, now justly consigned to the dustbin of history.
The solution? If the Church is to be authentic, it must return to its foundational beliefs, as Cardinal Sarah, Archbishop Vigano and others have insisted. Vigano has called on the Church to shore up its defense of the church against the attacks of secularism by returning to the authority of the Kingship of Christ.
Vigano calls on the Church to return to “loving fidelity to the Truth of Christ;” which Truth the Church has always taught transcends Caesar and the City of Man, both of which have always wished to convert and to govern the world unimpeded by any sacred transcendent values.
Fay Voshell holds a M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary, which awarded her the prize for excellence in systematic theology. Her thoughts have been published in many online magazines. She may be reached at email@example.com
Image: UN Photo/Olivier Chassot