Jewish World Review Nov. 10, 2004 / 26 Mar-Cheshvan, 5765

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Religion baiting — The elite media declared open season on the President and his supporters | A nasty streak of religious intolerance is rearing its ugly head in America. And it's coming from America's cultural elites.

The election of George W. Bush has exposed an ugly anti-Christian streak in many of those who work in America's most powerful newsrooms. A flood of vicious opinion pieces over the past few days have generalized Christians who helped elect the President as a group of knuckle-dragging Neanderthals whose aims are nothing less than anti-American.

Not surprisingly, some of the most offensive and bigoted rhetoric came from the opinion pages of The New York Times, a paper that at one time embraced diversity of thought and belief. But apparently, those positions of convenience are closeted away when it comes time to opine on conservative Christians.

The day after George Bush's victory, the Times ran an Op Ed by famed historian Gary Wills, who questioned whether a people who believe in the Virgin Birth of Jesus can be called an enlightened nation. Wills suggested that because of those Christians who helped elect George Bush, America now shares more in common with al Qaeda and Saddam's Sunni loyalists than modern Europe. Wills wrote, "Americans wonder why the rest of the world thinks us so dangerous... They fear jihad, no matter whose zeal is being expressed."

So according to the Times Op Ed page, if you believe in the Bible's account of Jesus' birth, you are at par with those terrorists who killed 3,000 Americans on September 11th. Strip it down any way you want, but that is what lies at the base of Wills' jihad argument.

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Thomas Friedman, long one of my favorite columnists on all matters foreign, concluded that Mr. Bush was elected by Christians who are hell bent on legislating social issues and "extending the boundaries of religion so hard that it felt as if we were rewriting the Constitution and not electing a president."

Rewriting the constitution? Just because George Bush carried Ohio by 100,000 votes? Talk about one of our most gifted writers losing all perspective.

Meanwhile, The Washington Post's E.J. Dionne swung wildly at windmills blasting away at the "exploitation of strong religious feelings" and the "radical efforts to destroy the achievements of progressive government."

George Bush and Christians radicals want to destroy American government? Oh really? I guess I missed the debate when the W. laid out that plan of attack.

Michael Moore blasted the President, of course, for pandering to the Christian conservatives, while Maureen Dowd accused Mr. Bush of taking America into "another dark age, where we replace science with religion and facts with faith."

The Pulitzer Prize winner concluded that "The new evangelicals challenge science because they have been stirred up to object to social engineering on behalf of society's most vulnerable: the poor, the sick, the sexually different."

Dowd also accused the President of running a "jihad along the fault lines of fear, ignorance and religious rule."

Never in my life as a practicing attorney, a newspaper publisher, a Congressman or a news host have I witnessed America's cultural elite become so unglued over any historical event. And most distressing is the fact that these opinion leaders are singling out a group of Americans for no other reason than the God they worship.

To paint all Republican Christians as angry, hate-filled, science-loathing, right-wing beasts only helps explain why the Mainstream Media continues to lose market share and why those Democrats who take solace in their bigoted anti-Christian screeds remain out of power for another four years.

It leads me to wonder, can we only be good Americans if we turn our backs on our faith, or become champions of abortion on demand, stem cell research without reservation, and marriage defined in a way that conflicts with the spiritual beliefs of a majority of Americans?

Isn't it interesting that when pluralism and diversity of thought become politically inconvenient, it is the cultural and media elites who become the most close-minded and bigoted?

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Former Congressman Joe Scarborough (R-Fla.) hosts “Scarborough Country,” 10 p.m. ET, weeknights on MSNBC. He is the author of the recently published "Rome Wasn't Burnt in a Day : The Real Deal on How Politicians, Bureaucrats, and Other Washington Barbarians are Bankrupting America". (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.)Comment by clicking here.

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