Thursday, March 30, 2006

The "War on Christianity" Insanity.

Via Ed Brayton, I see that the Dallas Morning News has a good editorial about the ridiculous "War on Christians" conference that was just held. This editorial is much better than the one I panned a few days ago, although it's about one specific instance rather than the general tone and demeanor of the whole thing.

All this time I thought the whole War on Christianity thing was a bunch of nonsense, but at the conference they pulled out the trump card. Some good Christian soul has indeed been persecuted. And it's that holiest of holy martyrs, Tom DeLay:

"We have been chosen to live as Christians at a time when our culture is being poisoned and our world is being threatened," Mr. DeLay told the crowd. "The enemies of virtue may be on the march, but they have not won." The Texas evangelist who organized the conference likened Mr. DeLay's legal and ethical woes to – wait for it – the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

But lest the faithful prematurely canonize Mr. DeLay as a martyr for the faith, they should consider how Team DeLay, with its paladins of public piety, has specifically manipulated sincere Christians for personal gain.

The article then goes on to describe some of DeLay's ethical problems, most of which are old news by now, but the story of Edwin Buckham, which is basically a case of outright fraud, was new to me. (Go read the editorial for the scoop.)

Hiding behind religion is the last refuge of a scoundrel. It's a sure sign that DeLay lacks much in the way of a legitimate defense for all his wrongdoing when he plays the religious persecution card and misrepresents the actual substance of the allegations against him. Whereas most people use religion as a guide to help them behave better, DeLay and his type use it to help them behave worse, to excuse and cover-up their immorality by proclaiming to be pious men whose religious devotion automatically makes them beyond reasonable suspicion. The organizers of this conference, sadly, have shown us what religion looks like when it goes sour.

On a related note, I watched a segment on Chris Matthews' show last night featuring Tony Perkins (one of the organizers of this nutball conference) vs. the Rev. Al Sharpton. Watching it over dinner as I was, I feared I might choke on my lima beans. But Sharpton, in spite of not being my favorite spokesman for the left, verbally beat the crap out of Perkins. The transcript is here, and below I quote my favorite part:

PERKINS: Well, one writer criticizing this claim of Christians being under attack said there are no Christians today being thrown to the lions [this is almost certainly a reference to the Krattenmaker piece that I critiqued a few days back -- ed.]. Well, I agree, there's none being thrown to the lions today, but I'm not for allowing those cubs to grow up to become adult lions. And that's what we're talking about is addressing these issues.

And the Reverend Sharpton is incorrect. It is Christianity that is the target. The county of Los Angeles, the seal taken to a court case by the ACLU. They had to remove the cross from the top of the mission that is part of the emblem of the city. It is Christianity.

SHARPTON: But that is not because they're attacking the cross. They're saying that there are those citizens that don't believe in the cross. And I would have that position if there was a
different religious symbol in a city that I lived in and paid taxes.

But I would like Tony to tell me how what Tom DeLay is facing has anything to do with his religion or any religion at all. I mean, I think it's an insult to Christians to act like because of his religion, he's been charged with what he's been charged with. It has nothing to do with his religion.

PERKINS: I don't think anybody ever said that, Al.

SHARPTON: I think everyone said that at this meeting this weekend that was cited when we came on. He was introduced as a man that was being persecuted because he stood up for
Jesus. Tell me how Jesus and being accused of embezzling funds is the same thing. What chapter did you get that out of the New Testament?

Naturally, it sounds a lot better live with Sharpton getting worked up into a bit of righteous indignation. After Perkins was reduced to muttering and having to spit his teeth out, I thought the whole thing went off great, until Matthews, being the kind of guy he is, has to end it with this bit of nonsense coming out of nowhere:

MATTHEWS: Well I don't agree with the stuff about Tom DeLay, but I do believe there is a campaign against religion in this country and we hear it all the time. I think you're right, that's true, it's just true.

Matthews, unfortunately, didn't explain to us how the 10-15% of Americans who aren't religious have succeeded in marginalizing the nearly 90% who are, leaving us with a culture and government that are overwhelmingly hostile to religion. It would have been interesting to hear how all of those Congressmen and Senators (not to mention a President) who fall all over themselves puffing up their religious credentials are actually campaigning against religion. But sadly, the segment ended before this revelation could come to light.