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Under Siege - Introduction

  • AUSTIN RUSE

"With Ruse's signature wit, "Under Siege" reveals the good, the bad, and the downright ugly, but offers a fresh vantage point to embrace our challenges with joy and deep confidence in God, come what may." - Carrie Gress


Introduction

rusefrontjjkjWe live these days in a dark valley.  We kill our elderly in the name of compassion.  We kill our children in the name of convenience.  We mutilate sexual organs in the name of God knows what.  We warm ourselves with the cold comfort of believing that at least we seem to be better than the ancient Romans.

In my many years of writing columns and essays, I have spent a lot of time staring into the abyss.  I have considered this to be my beat.  My wife does similar work, and she often jokes macabrely with me about all the things we have seen in this dark valley.  Sometimes we wish we did not know quite so much.  As the "replicant" Roy Batty says in Blade Runner, "I've seen things you people wouldn't believe."

But this is the work God has given me to do: to look into the abyss and to tell you what I see.

You may think looking into the abyss will change you.  It can.  It might.  I do not recommend it to everyone.  Thomas Gray speaks to those who cannot: "Where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise."  But this book is not about the darkness.  It is about the joy, the joy of knowing that God has sent us here, right now, to protect His creation.  It is also about courage, sometimes even reckless courage.

There is a scene in the 1987 movie Full Metal Jacket where a sniper has pinned down American soldiers in the streets of Hue during the 1968 Tet Offensive.  Two men have been shot and are lying in the open, writhing in agony.  The platoon leader, "Cowboy," orders his troops to stand down, saying, "We cannot refuse to accept the situation."  For years, I had thought his wise admonition was that we must be fearless in knowing and addressing the difficulties before us.  But I watched the movie again recently and saw things differently, things that are applicable to our times.  Cowboy urges caution because he is afraid of losing more men.  His counsel is to hunker down and hide behind the rubble in the street — a tactical retreat.  But his fear doesn't help the men who have been shot; neither does it help the men who are with him behind the rubble.  It only preserves the snipers in their perch.  "Animal Mother," strapped with ammo and toting a massive machine gun, refuses to accept the situation.  He ignores Cowboy, jumps over the rubble, and charges forward, machine gun blazing.  He understands the situation, but he refuses to "accept" it.  Though he cannot rescue the dying men, he does rally the troops, who in short order take out the sniper.  In one final, sad irony, it is not Animal Mother who gets killed by the sniper's bullet, but Cowboy.

Heroes are those who confront evil and charge the sniper's nest.  That is the situation we are in.

In His great providence, God has allowed a great evil to come upon our land.  But He has also sent us, in His great providence, to do something about it.  What an honor that is, an honor that we should accept.  We should not accept that the situation is lost; we should not hunker down and wait for better days.  We are the Lord's hands and feet on this earth, and better days rely upon us.  We must charge the sniper's nests now lodged in the government, the academy, the corporations, the media, Hollywood.  We must charge with joy in our hearts that this is the mission that He gave to us.

Come with me through the valley of the shadow of death, for not only is He with us: He sent us! And on the other side is sunlight and great joy.

Heroes are those who confront evil and charge the sniper's nest.  That is the situation we are in.

In chapter 1, we descend into the abyss.  Some of what we see will be known to you; some will be new.  All of it is horrifying.  But never fear; the chapter is not explicit.  It is intended only to show accurately the landscape that we are in, so we can think about it clearly.

In chapter 2, I explain how we ended up in this dreadful place.  It was not simply bad luck or bad fate.  Powerful people set us down this path.  I take a closer look at the wall of separation between church and state.  This wall has been breached, but not in the way the liberal media says it has been breached.  Indeed, it has been breached by the government on behalf of new faiths.  Did you think we live in a pluralistic society where each faith is equal before a neutral and benevolent government?  We don't.  In fact, I argue that there is a rising State Church with dogmas enforced by local, state, and federal governments, along with allies in the academy, the media, and corporate America.

In chapter 3, we further examine how this new State Church functions.  We discover who are its priests and prophets, and what is its mission.  We also look at the celebrated "nones" who have largely drifted away from Christianity.  In fact, these nones are not nothing.  They are deeply religious, and in many ways, they have helped form the denominations of the new State Church.  They consider Christians to be the new heretics, and they treat us accordingly.

In chapters 4 and 5, I describe our situation in its historical context.  You will be surprised at how our current fight is quite ancient and how it is playing out in the same way it did a few thousand years ago.  Oddly, this should give us some comfort.  We have already fought these same battles — and won.

In chapter 6, after we have really explored and understood the situation we are in, I look at attitudes that tempt Catholics: living frozen in fear, living lost in nostalgic fantasies, or dissipating our days in distractions, sports, video games, and much else.  In this chapter, I admonish you not to miss the great mission that our Father has sent us on.

But finally, the joy.  In chapter 7, I demonstrate how we are living through one of the most remarkable epochs the Church has ever known, and I implore you to see that never has there been a finer time to be a faithful Catholic.  I urge my fellow Catholics and all Christians not to miss this extraordinary time.  Our descendants will envy it just as we envy the time of our founding generation, the generation of the Civil War, and the Greatest Generation.  This is what awaits us if we embrace the job God sent us to do.

For the last several years, I have been giving a talk to audiences around the country called "No Finer Time to Be a Faithful Catholic."  It is always met with cheers and standing ovations.  With so much evil around us, and for so long, people tend to forget what an astonishing time we are living through — not in spite of the troubles all around us, but precisely because of the troubles.  We were made for union with God in Heaven.  But on this earth, we were made for fighting.

Austin Ruse October 22, 2020
Feast of Pope St. John Paul the Great

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Acknowledgement

Austin Ruse. "Introduction." from Under Siege  (Manchester, NH: Sophia Institute Press, 2021): 1-9. 

Reprinted with permission of Sophia Institute Press. 

The Author

ruseAustin Ruse has headed the Center for Family and Human Rights (C-FAM) since shortly after its creation in the summer of 1997.  Austin was a founder of the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast and a founding columnist at The CatholicThing.org. He is the author of Under Siege: No Finer Time to be a Faithful Catholic,  Fake Science: Exposing the Left’s Skewed Statistics, Fuzzy Facts, and Dodgy Data and the award-winning Littlest Suffering Souls: Children Whose Short Lives Point Us to Christ.

Copyright © 2021 Sophia Institute Press
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