Under the guise of compassion and caring, the left attacks people like Barronelle Stuzman, a helpless grandmother who refused to provide flowers for a same-sex wedding from her flower shop, trying to force her to approve of that which she cannot in good conscience endorse.

All the while, it claims to act in the best interest of society, acting on behalf of all those poor same-sex couples who can’t get flowers for their ceremonies—except that they can. They can even get flowers from Barronelle for anything other than a wedding. In spite of the lawsuits that happened after her refusal to sell the flowers, she says she still thinks of her former customer as a friend and would happily sell him flowers if he walked into her shop tomorrow. Meanwhile, both her former customer and the State of Washington are trying to take everything she has for not bowing at the altar of sexual sin.

But these radicals want to look as though they care as they force their views on others. It’s what bullies do. That way other people think better of them, and they sleep better at night, assuaging any guilt they may feel for giving nightmares to genteel grandmothers. The progres­sives’ compassionate bullying reminds me of the catchy slogan for “Monsters, Inc.” in the Disney Pixar film of the same name: “We scare because we care.”

For example, the very people who support Planned Parenthood’s butchering and selling of baby body parts also advanced the disaster of Obamacare because they care for children. The same people who insist that “The Vagina Monologues” be permitted on col­lege campuses also set up “safe zones” to restrict free speech because students must be protected from harmful ideas—like marriage being between a man and a woman. They outlaw incandescent light bulbs so we can use only toxic mercury because they care about polar bears and penguins with happy feet.

Around the country, progressive bullies have attacked Christians for daring to put their faith ahead of the pet causes of those who feign compassion while destroying life-giving liberties. What we are seeing is a scorched-earth, take-no-prisoners approach as the wildfire burns across our land. It is not enough that Christians be quiet. Christians must be silenced and punished. Their faith cannot be respected. Legislation that ensures that people are free to live and work according to their faith without fear of being punished by government must be stopped and decried as discrimination.

In Denmark, France, San Bernardino, and elsewhere, we have seen Islamic extremists take lives because of the Islamic extremists’ beliefs. They do not want tolerance. They do not want pluralism. They do not want to show respect for the views of others. They will take life as revenge for being offended. There will be no magnanimity. There will be no mercy. In taking life, the Islamic extremists want to create a public spectacle. They want not just revenge for perceived wrongs, but also to make others fear—and to think twice before doing the same. They want to silence others and drive them from the town square. They use death and violence to do it.

Thankfully, unlike the radical jihadists, progressive activists have not turned physically violent for the most part.

Instead, they are intent on compassionately crushing any who disagree with them. Unlike the Islamic jihadists, they will not kill, but they will destroy. They won’t cut your head off, but they will destroy your reputation so that you are afraid to show your face in public. They won’t burn down your home, but they’ll take the homes, businesses, and life savings of any who defy them. They will use the tools of the state and mob action—fear and intimidation—to make it happen. They threaten, scare, and make public examples of those who disagree in order to send a mes­sage that dissent is hazardous to your emotional, mental, and finan­cial health. There will be no magnanimity, and there will be no mercy. There will be no going down the street to another florist, baker, pharmacist, venue operator, or photographer. Any who defy them are labeled bigots and driven to the fringes of society.

The progres­sives’ compassionate bullying reminds me of the catchy slogan for “Monsters, Inc.,” in the Disney Pixar film of the same name: “We scare because we care.”

They will viciously attack those who disagree with them because they tire of the debate, which they never wanted to begin with. They have no interest in explaining or defending their beliefs. They want victory and know that the only way to get it is to silence, isolate, and destroy any who get in their way. The progressive activists who yell “bigot” at those who disagree with them are the jihadists of American culture. But unlike the jihadists—who don’t care if everyone approves of their destructive ways—it’s important to progressives that they appear to be kind as they mercilessly crucify you for your faith.

Crushing legal action and punitive lawsuits are one way the left punishes those who refuse to recant their faith. Death threats and harassment are other tactics the left employs to make you care.

That’s what happened to Memories Pizza in Indiana after the state passed its own version of the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). A reporter in need of a story stuck a camera in the faces of Crystal O’Connor and her father, Kevin, owners of a small-town pizza shop. She asked them a hypothetical question—what would they do if a same-sex couple asked them to cater a wedding ceremony? The O’Connors said they would never deny anyone service on the basis of sexual orientation, but they would decline to sell piz­zas for a same-sex wedding ceremony because of their religious beliefs. Key word: would. No one had asked them to cater a wed­ding. No customer had walked away displeased and claiming, as in other cases, that he or she had been emotionally raped by the ordeal. Nothing. Memories Pizza doesn’t even cater weddings. I. Kid. You. Not.

Yet the URL to the original story at the time of this writing still lists the headline as: “rfra-first-business-to-publicly-deny-same-sex-service.” Truth be damned. The national media ran with the story, and the backlash from progressive bullies began. Death threats, calls to burn the shop to the ground, incessant phone calls with fake orders, and endless harassment of all sorts forced the owners to shut the doors of the business for more than a week. The shop has now reopened, but the message was received loud and clear—state your religious beliefs at your own risk.

When conservatives set up a fund on the website GoFundMe.com to help Memories Pizza cover costs as it stayed closed, progressive bullies harassed GoFundMe. Alix Bryan, an employee of CBS’ Rich­mond, Va., affiliate, filed a complaint with the Internet fundraising company alleging that the fundraising campaign for Memories Pizza was fraudulent—“just in case,” as she tweeted. The progressives could not stand others standing with Memories Pizza. “Are you kidding me? Indiana pizzeria raises $17k in an hour by being bigoted?” tweeted Alix Bryan. In fact, the Memories Pizza fundraiser, spearheaded by conservative radio host Dana Loesch, raised more than $842,000.

There is one key reason why those on the left must force their beliefs on the rest of us. It’s really very simple. If they didn’t force their craziness on us, we would never embrace it. Deep down, they know that to be true. Progressive thinking doesn’t work in the real world. Its beliefs are inconsistent with all of nature. It requires us to believe things that we know do not fit with the reality we experience every day. It is completely at odds with what we know to be true about ourselves.

Andrew T. Walker, coauthor with Eric Teetsel of “Marriage Is: How Marriage Transforms Society and Cultivates Human Flourish­ing,” describes the truth of the matter:

Philosophical liberalism is built on lies about human nature. It is built on this truth that humanity is at root and at heart good, and the problem is that society tramples on otherwise good individuals. And so we ought to correct society by leveling the playing field altogether. That notion of inherent goodness, biblically speaking, is false and wrong. Liberalism is by nature coercive because it is built on a system of anthropological falsehoods. And for false­hoods to be taught and to gain acceptance in pop culture, they have to be mandated. … [L]iberalism succeeds by suppressing truth, and you suppress truth by codifying those lies into law.

Most of us are honest enough with ourselves to admit we are sinners, that we fall short of being the person we know we should be. We recognize that human nature is broken. Different religions speak about the flaws in humanity in different ways, but as a Christian I have no problem using the same word God uses to describe us even though He loves us—sinner. The word literally means one who falls short of the mark, of the holy standard defined by the God who cre­ated us. In the political arena, conservatives recognize that we are all defective at some level, and so our system of government must include both accountability through checks and balances and religious virtue that transforms us from within.

There is one key reason why those on the left must force their beliefs on the rest of us: If they didn’t force their craziness on us, we would never embrace it.

The left’s bullying tactics are not restricted to the issue of same-sex marriage. That is simply the latest front in its assault on freedom. It’s applying the same pressure to those who believe the rather obvious truth that there are only two genders—male and female—and not the more than eighty you can choose on Facebook. We used to view people who were confused about their gender with compassion. We recognized that they needed therapy. Now we must affirm them or be scorned as evil discriminators oppressing Bruce Jenner as he tries to discover his allegedly authentic self.

Progressives use the force of government to take money from those who work to give it to those who refuse to do so. No one would naturally do that and think it a good idea. Because we recognize our fallen nature, we innately know that a handout culture does more harm than good. So the left must mandate the redistribution of hard-earned wealth to others as an act of compassion. It must use the force of government to fund abortion, because if progressives came to your door selling “I kill babies and sell their spare parts” T-shirts, you probably wouldn’t buy one. The left must use the force of gov­ernment to withhold water from the farmers of California’s central valley, turning what was once America’s breadbasket into a dust bowl. No one in his or her right mind would ever do such a thing. It must force us to embrace the top-down educational standards of Common Core even though it’s obvious that parents—not bureaucrats in Washington—are best positioned to direct the education of their own children.

If those on the left did not force us to care, most of us would dismiss them as loony and go on about our lives. So it should come as no surprise that progressives resort to coercive tactics. The use of force is standard operating procedure for philosophies that lack the moral and logical fortitude to stand on their own. If you can’t con­vince someone through persuasive arguments and sound reason, apply pressure.

History abounds with examples of oppressive ideologies that were supposed to magically usher us into a new era of enlightened living—if only we did as we were told. None of them ended well for the common person, like Barronelle Stutzman, who is simply trying to live a life grounded on core values of faith, family, and freedom.

This is adapted from Erickson and Blankschaen’s new book “You Will Be Made to Care: The War on Faith, Family, and Your Freedom to Believe”.