And the Ones Left Standing Carry On

February 13th 2016 will go down as the day conservatism died in America. It died on a West Texas ranch. And it died on a stage in South Carolina. — Mike Adams

Justice Scalia funeral
Pall-bearers take up the casket of Justice Antonin Scalia

The results of Saturday’s South Carolina primary should break the heart of every American conservative. Yet, sadly, they should not have been unexpected. The signs were all there exactly a week before. On February 13th, as the nation reeled from the death of Justice Scalia, Donald Trump added insult to injury by dominating the Republican debate stage with childish tantrums and 9/11 conspiracy theories. One image summed it all up: Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio bickering with each other across Trump, who stood between them with a satisfied smirk on his face. It foreshadowed the state primary’s final percentages all too well, as Cruz and Rubio exactly split second place, trailing Trump by double digits. Even among people who call themselves born-again Christians, Trump was regnant. His competitors will plow forward and continue to rally their supporters as best they can, but the numbers don’t lie: The death knell of American conservatism is ringing, and Donald Trump has sounded it.

Another bell tolled on Saturday, signifying another death: that of Justice Antonin Scalia. But while those present were gathered to mourn, Father Paul Scalia delivered a eulogy to his father that was anything but mournful. Full of love and light, it celebrated the legacy Scalia left for his family and his country. Yet this was not the half of Father Paul’s message. Yesterday, as I grieved the double death of Justice Scalia and the conservative principles he spent his life upholding, Father Paul reminded me, as he reminded the nation, where we must fix our gaze:

We are gathered here because of one man. A man known personally to many of us, known only by reputation to even more. A man loved by many, scorned by others. A man known for great controversy, and for great compassion. That man, of course, is Jesus of Nazareth.

Father Paul’s entire homily can be watched here, although I must forewarn deeply Protestant readers that it is very Catholic. So, be it known that I do not personally accept the doctrines of Purgatory or transubstantiation, both of which Father Paul incorporates without mentioning by name. Watch it anyway. All of it. The whole thing.

Friends, I fear, as conservative pundit Matt Walsh articulated with such mournful eloquence on his Facebook wall, that we are on the brink of something terrible. As vacancies begin to open up on the highest court in the land, the stakes for this election are higher than ever before. Scalia’s death has given the next president more power to shape this country’s future than Barack Obama ever wielded. And make no mistake: If those who call themselves “conservatives” throw away their primary vote in a fit of blind folly on that pathetic creature known as Donald Trump, they are throwing their children’s civil liberties away with it. The window of opportunity for choosing a candidate with a prayer of defeating Hillary Clinton is closing as we speak. Soon, very soon, it will be gone.

And yet, where is it written that we would not suffer defeat in the service of that which is good? Indeed, our Lord himself warned us that things would get far worse before they got better. Still, there is a remnant. As men who just want to watch the world burn gleefully toss their matches on the pile, as we weep over the funeral pyre of all that we have held dear, we do not weep alone, nor do we grieve as those who have no hope. We grieve with the remnant. We grieve with those men whom we would not be without in a losing battle.

We grieve with Father Paul Scalia, that sadly vanishing breed of priest who still possesses a spine, who is unafraid to preach boldly of sin and redemption before a watching world.

We grieve with Senator Ted Cruz, who has spent his life tirelessly upholding the good and the constitution in numerous courts of law and now offers this country real conservatism, even as they chase after fool’s gold.

We grieve with Matt Walsh, America’s Jeremiah, who has spoken out against evil after evil with the appropriate balance of righteous anger, pity, and sorrow.

With every man who loves his God and loves this country, we grieve.

But take heart. Such men were born for such a time as this, to fight shoulder to shoulder with us in the long, painful defeat. They are like Tirian in The Last Battle, the last king of Narnia, who stood firm in the darkest hour. And when midnight meets the morning, and the fool has perished in the folly of his ways, they will be with us still.

And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

Revelation 21:3-4

 

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