Thursday, May 05, 2005

This Same Tired Song Has Been Playing For Goin' On 25 Years

Those damned right wing fundamentalists and the imminent establishment of theocracy. It's been just around the corner for the last 25 years running. 15 years ago, I'd read some scare piece about them and think, "They've got to be stopped!" Now I read such a piece and think, "Excuse me, punk, you're talking about me!"

Don Feder has a nice article about the left's tendency to find a theocrat under every bed.

In recent decades, the Left has come to see evangelical Christians as the principal obstacle to the realization of its social agenda, hence the embodiment of evil. Correspondingly, attacks on "fundamentalists" have grown increasingly shrill.

Even so, the rhetoric of the past two weeks has taken the anti-religious right jihad to new depths.

Last week, Colorado Senator Ken Salazar (a Democrat, naturally) told a radio interviewer that Dr. James Dobson and Focus on the Family "are the Antichrist of the world" for urging citizens to demand their senators vote to end the filibuster of Bush judges. (Aside: Imagine the furor if Jerry Falwell had called Hillary Clinton "the Antichrist.")

Salazar later amended himself to say Focus and Dobson’s "approach was un-Christian, meaning self-serving and selfish." In effect, Salazar is saying that for a Christian group to attempt to get government to reflect Christian values is "un-Christian." If you say so, Senator....


When any other group (environmentalists, feminists, peace activists) organizes to effect political change through education, lobbying, and get-out-the-vote efforts, it’s called...democracy.

When Christians (as Christians) try to exercise their rights as citizens, it’s called sinister, an attempted hijacking of the political process – theocracy!


Earlier in the month, speaking of the horror of religious-right attempts to save Terri Schiavo’s life, DNC Chairman Howard Dean (who the Democrats considered too nutty for their nomination last year) rhetorically asked, "Are we going to live in a theocracy where the highest powers tell us what to do?" Democrats wouldn’t dream of telling us what to do – with our money, our businesses, our children or our lives. Not much.

The cover story in the May issue of Harper’s Magazine screams of “The Christian Right’s War On America.” Try to imagine a reputable publication doing a story about “The Jews' War On America” or “The Hispanic War On America.” Again, hatred of Christian conservatives is the last respectable form of bigotry.

Finally, in one of its typically unhinged editorials (this of April 26) The New York Times accused House Majority Leader Tom DeLay of threatening "the judiciary for not following the regressive social agenda he shares with the far-right fundamentalists controlling his party." That’s far-Right fundamentalists, as opposed to moderate or middle-of-the-road fundamentalists.

Do you begin to see a pattern emerging here? Desperate to avoid a debate? Claim it’s all a vast religious far-right conspiracy. Unable to stop a legislative initiative or ballot measure? Maintain its success would be a fateful step toward the establishment of a theocracy. Need an excuse for losing 7 of the last 10 presidential elections? Say you were done in by the legions of Jerry Falwell/Pat Robertson/James Dobson, etc. breaching the church/state wall.


The Left is incapable of debating any issue (be it abortion, gay marriage or the proper role of the judiciary). When confronted with arguments, its reflex reaction is to scream that their opponents are hateful – or to rave about the religious far right "hijacking the Senate," undermining the Constitution, spreading intolerance and laying the groundwork for an American Taliban regime.

Leftists have been on a 40-year losing streak. They lost the House of Representatives over a decade ago. Republicans have controlled the Senate for most of the past 20 year – and regained control of that body in the last election. Since 1964, Democrats have won the White House only three times (on each occasion, by running candidates who were leftists disguised as moderates). If that weren’t enough, they are regularly pummeled on referenda questions – from same-sex marriage and taxes, to immigration, the use of the English language, and term limits.

The Religious Right has become the Left’s escape hatch from electoral reality – its scapegoat, boogeyman, and red herring rolled into one.

In the past presidential campaign, the Democratic National Committee appointed a religion outreach advisor to help the clueless figure out a way to appeal to church-going America. For starters, Democrats and their allies could stop lying about, smearing, and inciting hatred against conservative Christians. Or is that too much to ask?

Christopher Hitchens today gives us a perfect case in point. Also look at the reader responses.

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