It seems as though Dreher is saying that Christians need to be ready to live as religious minorities. But he fails to acknowledge an important distinction between the two groups, beyond mere size. Jews act like a counter-cultural, marginalized group because they’ve been that way for two millennia—powerless, small in number, at odds with the broader cultures of the places where they’ve lived. The American conservatives Dreher is addressing, on the other hand, are coming from a place of power. For many years, they dictated the legal and cultural terms of non-Christians’ lives. The Benedict option is relevant precisely because America is becoming more religiously fractured, and Christianity is no longer the cultural default.
Dreher is not embracing this fact, or even accepting it peaceably. His work is largely a project of lament. He speaks about Christianity in apocalyptic terms: the Sexual Revolution has “[deposed] an enfeebled Christianity as the Ostrogoths deposed the hapless last emperor of the Western Roman Empire in the fifth century,” and the greatest danger to Christians in the West “comes from the liberal secular order itself.” He prophesies dire scenarios for Christians in America: “We are on the brink of entire areas of commercial and professional life being off-limits to believers whose consciences will not allow them to burn incense to the gods of our age,” he says, warning that young Christians who dream of becoming doctors or lawyers may have to “abandon that hope.”
Most importantly, he writes with resentment, largely directed at those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender and their supporters—the people, he believes, who have pushed Christians out of the public sphere.
“We are on the far side of a Sexual Revolution that has been nothing short of catastrophic for Christianity,” he writes:
It struck near the core of biblical teaching on sex and the human person and has demolished the fundamental Christian conception of society, of families, and of the nature of human beings. There can be no peace between Christianity and the Sexual Revolution, because they are radically opposed. As the Sexual Revolution advances, Christianity must retreat—and it has, faster than most people would have thought possible.
This has had far-reaching consequences in all spheres of life. In the professional world, “sexual diversity dogma” is pervasive, he writes—an attempt by companies to “demonstrate progress to gay-rights campaigners.” In the future, “everyone working for a major corporation will be frog-marched through ‘diversity and inclusion’ training,” he says, “and will face pressure not simply to tolerate LGBT co-workers but to affirm their sexuality and gender identity.”
In politics and culture, “we in the modern West are living under barbarism, though we do not recognize it,” he writes. “Our scientists, our judges, our princes, our scholars, and our scribes—they are at work demolishing the faith, the family, gender, even what it means to be human.”