Ray Oliver Dreher (//; born 1967) is an American writer and editor. He is a senior editor and blogger at The American Conservative and author of several books, including How Dante Can Save Your Life. He has written about religion, politics, film, and culture in National Review and National Review Online, The Weekly Standard, The Wall Street Journal, Touchstone, Men's Health, the Los Angeles Times, and other publications. He was a film reviewer for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and chief film critic for the New York Post. His commentaries have been broadcast on National Public Radio's All Things Considered, and he has appeared on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, Court TV, and other television networks.
Ray Oliver Dreher
February 14, 1967
|Alma mater||Louisiana State University|
|Home town||St. Francisville, Louisiana, US|
Julie Harris Dreher (m. 1997)
Early life and educationEdit
Dreher was born on February 14, 1967, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He was raised in the small town of St. Francisville. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Louisiana State University in 1989.
In 2002, Dreher wrote an essay in National Review that explored a subcategory of American conservatism he defined as "granola conservatism", whose adherents he described as "crunchy cons." He defined these individuals as traditionalist conservatives who believed in environmental conservation, frugal living, and the preservation of traditional family values. They also express skepticism about aspects of free-market capitalism and they are usually religious (typically traditionalist Roman Catholics or conservative Protestants). Four years later, Dreher published a book that expanded upon the themes of this manifesto, Crunchy Cons: How Birkenstocked Burkeans, Gun-Loving Organic Gardeners, Evangelical Free-Range Farmers, Hip Homeschooling Mamas, Right-Wing Nature Lovers, and Their Diverse Tribe of Countercultural Conservatives Plan to Save America (or At Least the Republican Party). He later wrote a blog at Beliefnet with an emphasis on cultural rather than political topics.
He was an editorial writer and columnist for The Dallas Morning News, but left in late 2009 to become the publications director for the John Templeton Foundation. On August 20, 2011, Dreher announced on Twitter that he was leaving the Templeton Foundation in order to return to full-time writing. In 2013, Dreher published a book titled The Little Way of Ruthie Leming about his childhood in Louisiana and his sister's battle with cancer. In 2015, Dreher published How Dante Can Save Your Life, a memoir about how reading Dante's Divine Comedy helped him after his sister's death.
Dreher has written extensively about the "Benedict Option", the idea that Christians who want to maintain their faith should segregate themselves to some degree from a post-Obergefell society becoming ever more filled with hatred and try to live in intentional communities such as Trinity Presbyterian Church in Charlottesville, the Bruderhof, or the School for Conversion. (The phrase comes from Alasdair MacIntyre's 1981 book After Virtue, referencing Benedict of Nursia.) His book The Benedict Option was published in March 2017 and was described by David Brooks, in The New York Times, as "the most discussed and most important religious book of the decade." The book was widely reviewed, including by Rowan Williams, who said "The book is worth reading because it poses some helpfully tough questions to a socially liberal majority, as well as to believers of a more traditional colour."
Views on JudaismEdit
Dreher's emphasis on intentional Christian community has caused him to express admiration for Orthodox Jews. "We Christians have a lot to learn from Modern Orthodox Jews", he said in a 2017 interview with The Atlantic. "They have had to live in a way that's powerfully counter-cultural in American life and rooted in thick community and ancient traditions ... And yet, they manage to do it." In an opinion piece on The American Conservative blog he added, "to readers of this blog who harbor anti-Semitic views: don't even try to post them here. Anti-Semites are among the vilest people." Later in the same post he expressed support for the American–Israel alliance, writing: "Personally, I strongly believe in the US–Israel alliance. But it is not unlimited and unconditional."
Views on foreign policyEdit
Dreher supports a non-interventionist foreign policy. He was critical of US President Donald Trump when Trump ordered missile strikes in Syria on April 2017, accusing him of being a flip-flopper on non-intervention.
Dreher has been married since 1997 to Julie Harris Dreher, and is the father of three children.
Raised a Methodist, he converted to Roman Catholicism in 1993. He wrote widely in the Catholic press, but covering the Roman Catholic Church's sex abuse scandal, starting in 2002, led him to question his Catholicism, and on October 12, 2006, he announced his conversion to Eastern Orthodoxy. At the time, Dreher had argued that the scandal was not so much a "pedophile problem", but that the "sexual abuse of minors is facilitated by a secret, powerful network of gay priests", referred to as the "Lavender Mafia".
- Dreher, Rod (2006). Crunchy Cons: How Birkenstocked Burkeans, Gun-Loving Organic Gardeners, Evangelical Free-Range Farmers, Hip Homeschooling Mamas, Right-Wing Nature Lovers, and Their Diverse Tribe of Countercultural Conservatives Plan to Save America (Or at Least the Republican Party). New York: Crown Forum. ISBN 9781400050642. OCLC 501338224.
- — (2013). The Little Way of Ruthie Leming: A Southern Girl, a Small Town, and the Secret of a Good Life. New York: Grand Central Publishing. ISBN 9781455521913. OCLC 980453515.
- — (2015). How Dante Can Save Your Life: The Life-Changing Wisdom of History's Greatest Poem. New York: Regan Arts. ISBN 9781941393321. OCLC 955673884.
- — (2017). The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation. New York: Sentinel. ISBN 9780735213319. OCLC 968346200.
- Web page titled "Our Speakers:/Rod Dreher" at the website of the Orthodox Speakers Bureau, retrieved March 18, 2009
- Dreher, Rod (July 12, 2002). "Birkenstocked Burkeans". National Review Online. Archived from the original on October 23, 2012. Retrieved July 24, 2012.
- "Crunchy Culture: Author Rod Dreher Has Defined A Political Hybrid: The All-Natural, Whole-Grain Conservative", by Hank Stuever. The Washington Post, May 3, 2006
- "Welcome to the new Rod Dreher blog". Rod Dreher.
- Dreher, Rod (January 1, 2010). "The last days of Crunchy Con". Archived from the original on February 6, 2010.
- "Rod Dreher". Twitter. August 20, 2011. Retrieved December 23, 2014.
- "The Little Way of Ruthie Leming: A Southern Girl, a Small Town, and the Secret of a Good Life: Rod Dreher: 9781455521913: Amazon.com: Books". amazon.com.
- "How Dante Can Save Your Life: The Life-Changing Wisdom of History's Greatest Poem: Rod Dreher: 1941393322: Amazon.com: Books". amazon.com.
- Schneider, Athanasius (September 21, 2018). "Bishop Schneider on chastity vs. a society 'becoming ever more cruel'". OnePeterFive (Interview). Interviewed by Julian Kwasniewksi. Archived from the original on December 29, 2018. Retrieved September 22, 2018.
Our current society is also becoming ever more cruel and filled with hatred. So we have to lift up the true love, charity.— Dreher, Rod (2017). The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation. New York City: Penguin Random House. ISBN 978-0-7352-1329-6.
Post-Obergefell, Christians who hold to the biblical teaching about sex and marriage have the same status in culture, and increasingly in law, as racists.
- "Life Among The Bruderhof". The American Conservative. Retrieved May 15, 2017.
- "Benedict Option FAQ". The American Conservative. Retrieved May 15, 2017.
- Linker, Damon (May 19, 2015). "The Benedict Option: Why the religious right is considering an all-out withdrawal from politics". The Week. Retrieved October 1, 2015.
- DeVille, Adam A. J. (July 14, 2015). "Would Alasdair MacIntyre Live in a "Benedict Option" Community?". Catholic World Report. Retrieved October 1, 2015.
- Dreher, Rod (October 6, 2015). "Benedict Option FAQ". The American Conservative. Retrieved July 7, 2016.
- "Rod Dreher's Monastic Vision". The New Yorker. Retrieved May 15, 2017.
- "Alien Citizens | The University of Chicago Divinity School". divinity.uchicago.edu. Retrieved July 7, 2018.
- "The Benedict Option: A new monasticism for the 21st century". www.newstatesman.com. Retrieved May 31, 2017.
- Dreher, Rod (February 22, 2017). "The Christian Retreat From Public Life".
- Conversion & Reconciling Narratives, Rod Dreher https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/conversion-reconciling-narratives-catholicism-orthodoxy/
- "Crunchy Con's Conversion Crisis". Journey To Orthodoxy.
- The Gay Question: Amid the Catholic Church's current scandals, an unignorable issue
- The American Conservative: Author Archives: Rod Dreher
- Appearances on C-SPAN
- Moosewood Republicans The New York Times Book Review
- God, Guts, and Granola A review of Dreher's Crunchy Cons by Robert Stacy McCain
- Hold the Granola A review of Crunchy Cons in First Things
- Has neoconservatism passed its 'Best-Before' date? A review of Crunchy Cons
- What Is a Crunchy Conservative? National Public Radio Commentary
- A Christian Counterculture in a Post-Christian Age KFUO (AM) Issues Etc. Interview