A new biography of Stalin's daughter records that her understanding of him as a monster solidified when she overheard her father on the phone, when hearing that a Soviet Jewish leader was murdered on his own orders, instructing that "Mikhoels was killed in an automobile accident." After hanging up, Stalin repeated to his daughter, "Mikhoels was killed in an automobile accident." And so he was! Stalin and his police state had the authority to decree reality, and any who openly doubted that supposed reality were treated as the executed Jewish leader.
Dictatorships, especially totalitarian ones, recognize no objective truth, only what is determined or accepted by the state or ruling elites. Truth is a tool of control, enforced by coercion. The primary tools against this subversion of fact are the transcendent authority of religion, and what is observable in nature, confirmed by conscience. Christianity broadly understands that every conscience has been gifted by God with some notion of reality, however corrupted by fallen nature. When the supposed fatal car accident of the Soviet Jewish leader was announced, most thoughtful people must have known inwardly it was not so. But their interior common sense didn't matter. Stalin and the Party controlled reality, and all but martyrs bent to their truth.
Obviously the United States is not a totalitarian police state by any means. But our postmodern secular culture, as it becomes more divorced from the constraints and wisdom of religion, is becoming more detached from reality and more angrily intolerant of any dissent from its evolving fantasies. Any skepticism about the secular elites's latest shibboleths is treated with horror and vociferous denunciation, followed sometimes by coercive efforts to silence or drive from public life the dissenters if they refuse to go silent.
This month's coercive cause is the demand that not only Bruce Jenner is a woman, but that he was always a woman, even if he did not fully claim that identity until recently at age 65. Of course, it is now required to point out, Jenner is not now, was never, and will never be a woman. Neither he nor anyone else can make him a woman. But the ideologically rooted falsehood that he is and has always been a woman cannot withstand or tolerate pointing out the truth of what everyone deep down, including Jenner himself, really knows, which is that he is a man. Christianity teaches that on the Last Day, Jenner's body, which is eternal, will resurrect and stand before God as a man.
The hectoring pretense that Jenner was never a man, even when as a famous male athlete his masculine body appeared on millions of cereal boxes, magazine covers and television sets, almost recalls the Stalinist habit of doctoring photos to remove politically incorrect persons who officially no longer and never existed. Stalin's police state once employed thousands to literally splice from encyclopedias, history books and old newspapers any record of de recognized persons.
Transgender ideology does not have a police apparatus per se, but it has captured one of our great political parties, much of the media, academia, eventually much of government, including probably the judiciary, and of course much of corporate America, which is never slow to prostitute itself to avant guard forces of popular culture. Children will be instructed in public schools that gender is malleable and divorced from physical reality. Liberal clergy will preach it to their empty churches. Professional witch hunters will expose, attack and try to browbeat into silence, if not criminalize, dissent from transgender orthodoxy.
Ideologies premised on deep falsehood by definition require coercion and threats. When the Catholic Archbishop of San Francisco recently described transgenderism's variance with church teaching, and reality, a Religion News Service reporter mocked his "judging, judging, judging." Of course judging, and punishing, transgenderism's dissenters is not only fine, it will become, and maybe always is, a requirement for entrance into the ranks of cultural elites.
What's the cure for this rancid ideology that wars on many fronts against reality and liberty? Public dissent and mockery are important tools against pretentious falsehoods. Silence, especially from fear or indifference, only offers complicity. The Church, if committed to the Gospel and to genuine service to humanity, will be bold in reminding us all, despite the threats and harangues against it, that popular culture, even if armed with political and economic power, doesn't have the power to reinvent reality. Truth flows from the throne of God, Who is Himself Truth. Faithfulness to and love for Him will require telling the petty cultural Stalin wannabes of our day, no, it was NOT a car accident.