I simply can’t believe it.
In addition to all the rioting, looting, and destruction of private property there has been an act of unspeakable violence.
You might think I am referring to David Dorn, the retired black police officer who was murdered by protesters looting a pawn shop in St. Louis, Missouri.
Or maybe you think I mean Cannon Hinnant, the five-year-old white boy who was shot in the head at point-blank range in Wilson, North Carolina and whose death some members of Black Lives Matter celebrated as a suitable revenge on white people.
No, I’m not talking about that either.
The Left, which ignored these truly hideous acts of violence, wasted no time in shining a spotlight on another “violent” act. Brace yourself.
Following President Trump’s speech at the Republican National Convention on Friday in Washington D.C., Christian author, radio host, and noted pugilist Eric Metaxas beat a peaceful protester into a coma while his horrified wife looked on, begging her husband to stop.
Metaxas, a violent Trump supporter with shoulders like a lumberjack, pushed his wife aside and pounced on his victim with a breathtaking viciousness, bringing his iron fists crashing down into the face of the poor, beleaguered community volunteer again and again as the boy’s cries for mercy went unheeded and …
Of course, this isn’t what happened at all, but it is what the liberal social media mafia would have you believe. The actual story is a bit different.
* * * * *
By now, many Americans are aware of the fact that Black Lives Matter and Antifa protesters have made a habit of harassing attendees to Trump rallies. How they find time to do this amidst a schedule that is chock-full of the burning and looting of America’s cities no one knows. But such is their dedication that they made their way to D.C. to bring their brands of mayhem to the Republican National Convention.
You might also know that these protesters targeted Senator Rand Paul and his wife when they were leaving the convention on Friday night. Afterward, Senator Paul tweeted:
“Just got attacked by an angry mob of over 100, one block away from the White House. Thank you to @DCPoliceDept for literally saving our lives from a crazed mob.”
What fewer people know is that on this same sultry evening and only a short distance away, Eric Metaxas was leaving this same event with his wife, Susanne. For the uninitiated, Eric is a Christian conservative who was put on the map with his superb biography and bestseller Bonhoeffer.
As the couple made their way to a waiting Uber, a protester rode a bicycle toward the couple aggressively, shouting, “F*ck Trump! F*ck you!”
Maryland pastor Harry Jackson compared it to a game of chicken, noting that the man continually veered toward the Metaxases and then away at the last possible moment. Jackson himself considered using his cane on the mounted harasser.
Metaxas, understandably feeling that he and his wife were threatened, took a wild — impressively left-handed, by the way — swing at the thug, largely missing his intended target but causing him to swerve and wreck. Susanne hurried to the car and Eric, in a backpedal to make Nick Saban consider a scholarship offer, did the same while the man hellbent on tormenting RNC attendees pursued, shouting obscenities as he went.
Protesters are constantly filming their own provocations in the hope of capturing something that can be used to malign the objects of their hatred. Unsurprisingly, this was filmedand was rapidly uploaded and fed to the Left’s bloodthirsty social media allies who wasted no time in doing what they do.
Right Wing Watch tweeted: “Trump-loving evangelical author and radio host Eric Metaxas sucker punches an anti-Trump protester…”
Shrill Twitter “blue check” podcaster Brian Tyler Cohen wrote: “Right-wing hack Eric Metaxas committed a felony last night. It’s on camera. I wonder if the @DCPoliceDeptor FBI will do anything about it.” (Cohen, an actor, isn’t a real legal analyst, but he plays one on Twitter.)
In a fashion typical of the Left, there followed much handwringing and theologizing about what Jesus would do as if they really cared. I mean, these are the people who have no objection to the slaughter of unborn children and the torching of American cities in the name of progressivism.
Cancel-culture Christians, with the nauseating virtue signaling nod to the radical Left to which we have become so accustomed, joined in the off-with-his-head cries for justice.
One, Taylor Brown, who calls himself a “Wesleyan-ish Christian,” tweeted: “Eric Metaxas made news for throwing his Christian witness in the trash by being a fascist sycophant.”
My, that seems a bit extreme since all that Metaxas actually threw was a punch, and an errant one at that. In his rush to condemn the author, Mr. Brown confused the rider with the pedestrian and his own Christian witness with a fascist-ish tweet.
Another blue check, Pastor Nate Pyle, sounded off: “Eric Metaxas sucker punched a protester. It appears the fruit might be rotten.”
So is Pastor Nate’s judgment. To hear this version of events, the biked-up ruffian was merely a boy on his paper route when a Metaxas haymaker caught him completely unaware. Oh, the humanity!
The internet mob then crashed Metaxas’s Wikipedia page in an effort to make their version of events a permanent feature of cyberspace.
Rod Dreher of the American Conservative came to Metaxas’ defense. Sort of. Wrote Dreher:
“Eric Metaxas really shouldn’t have hit the guy, but I don’t really mind that he did, because the jackass, bless his heart, deserved it.”
According to journalist Andy Ngô, the jackass in question was none other than Anthony P. Harrington, a member of Antifa convicted of felony possession of a weapon and robbery in Portland, Oregon.
Ponder that for a moment. Note how it did not make its way into the “sucker punched” narrative. Harrington had crossed the country to do the very thing he did to the Metaxases. And let’s be clear what that is: to terrorize.
As I perused the various social media posts commenting on the video of this supposedly shocking event, the prevailing moral reasoning seemed to be that one is never justified in physically defending himself unless he is first physically assaulted. When I mounted a modest defense of Eric on Twitter, a fellow named Mario tweeted me:
“I never advocate for violence, Larry…. Metaxas sucker punched the man …”
Really? Mario wouldn’t use violence to defend his wife? His children? His country? Himself? Tweets of this kind undoubtedly make their senders feel morally superior, but they are detached from reality.
In researching things of this kind, one looks for patterns; patterns in thought, patterns in language. Groupthink. Do you spot the pattern, the groupthink, here? It’s found in a single phrase:
The “sucker punched” narrative was set early on in this story by the Left and the gullible virtue signalers fell right in and repeated it word-perfect.
Antifa and Black Lives Matter protesters are trained to agitate, to provoke, to terrify. The legal term — I was told this by an actual lawyer — is “menacing.” Who among us hasn’t seen the videos of these menacing hooligans intimidating, physically crowding, shouting, bullying police, churchgoers, counter-protesters, and anyone with whom they disagree?
Fewer, however, have experienced the fear that such a crowd can inspire. I have on more than one occasion, and I can tell you that to watch it all at the safe distance of YouTube and InstaTwitFace and then to offer self-righteous judgments about how Eric’s behavior was “out of control” is to demonstrate not wisdom, but a colossal ignorance.
As we have seen, Rand Paul felt intimidated to the point that he believed his life was in danger. Economist Stephen Moore said the same thing. Senator Ted Cruz offered this description: “… literal mobs were harassing people — screaming and threatening physical violence — as they walked out of the convention.”
Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, who attended the RNC and witnessed the mob, said: “What happened last night outside the White House was not a protest. It was a vicious mob whose only purpose was to spew hatred and vitriol — even on the elderly and disabled.”
The idea that self-defense is limited to a post-assault scenario is the sort of reasoning an aggressor would endorse, but it is not sound reasoning. Worse, it is not sound Christian reasoning. Like another favorite bible verse — “Judge not, or you will be judged” (Matthew 7:1) — many seize upon Matthew 5:39 — “If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also” — when it is convenient to do so.
There is a certain irony in the fact that those who would ruthlessly apply the latter verse to Eric, have to ignore the former verse and their own spurious biblical logic to do it. Regardless, Jesus, God made flesh (John 1:14), is manifestly not a pacifist and orthodox Christian theology does not reside with the Amish. There is such a thing as “just cause,” and there is no hypocrisy in defending oneself and others while condemning the violence of the radical Left.
God has even given otherwise docile beasts an instinct to defend themselves, their young, and their herd when threatened. Anyone who has ever seen a dog corner a house cat knows that much.
As for Eric “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” Metaxas himself, the characterizations of him as a violent man are, as Dreher pointed out, absurd. Eric, who is a friend and well known to me, is nothing of the sort even if he is a trim and feisty welterweight measuring five-feet-seven.
Larry Alex Taunton is a freelance columnist contributing to USA Today, Fox News First Things, the Atlantic, theNew York Post, CNN, Daily Caller, and The American Spectator. He is also the author of The Gospel Coalition Book of the Year The Faith of Christopher Hitchens, and the soon-to-be-released Around the World in (More Than) 80 Days: Discovering What Makes America Great and Why We Must Fight to Save It. You can subscribe to his blog at larryalextaunton.com and find him on Twitter @larrytaunton.