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Barronelle Stutzman: Hateful Bigot, or Martyr for the Faith?

1 July 2016

“I am deeply aware of how scandalous, even how obscene, it seems to speak of martyrdom from within the relative safety and prosperity of the liberal West, while so many of our brothers and sisters elsewhere in the world are dying for the faith. I have no answer to this powerful objection, and so I am also aware of the famous remark of Wittgenstein, “whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.” And yet the suffering of a Barronelle Stutzman does not become less real simply because liberal order has perfected the art of bleeding its victims slowly and invisibly through ten-thousand bureaucratic paper cuts, rather than with the sword or lions in the Colosseum. Certainly we must be grateful for that, and yet there is a peculiar challenge for Christian faith and witness in the fact that liberal order diffuses its power quietly, almost imperceptibly, without blood or spectacle or responsibility. It creates a real possibility that one’s sufferings may be visible only to God, so that it will always be possible to say, as many of our Catholic brethren seem only too eager to say, “Move on, there is really nothing to see here.”

Michael Hanby


One Comment leave one →
  1. 1 July 2016 12:08 pm

    Scandalous? Obscene? No, I don’t think so.

    One pain and loss are subjective in some senses, so they can’t be easily compared. Two, is death such a great sacrifice when compared to a destroyed life that one must still live?

    There’s a line from a book that was, in the book, used as an oath of sorts – Death weighs as the feather, duty weighs as the mountain. I can’t speak for anyone else but that makes sense to me.

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