Jewish World Review Dec. 21, 2004 / 9 Teves, 5765
A case of collective projection
If anything, the assault on Christianity I chronicled in my book, "Persecution," is getting worse. Perhaps the perception that "moral issues" contributed to President Bush's re-election has heightened the secular Left's irrational fear of Christians.
We've seen the acceleration of attacks on Christmas throughout the nation: the discriminatory banning of Christmas carols, Christmas cards and nativity scenes, the substitution of politically correct terms to replace "Christmas," and the systematic effort to paint Christmas as a symbol of exclusiveness and intolerance.
We've read the editorial lambasting of the Christian Right with aggravated fervor: Maureen Dowd likened Christian conservatives to "a vengeful mob revved up by rectitude running around with torches and hatchets after heathens and pagans and infidels." Nicholas Kristof lampooned Christians who believe in the Rapture. Liberal icon Bill Moyers exhibited pangs of horror at anti-environmentalist Christian fundamentalists who "may believe that environmental destruction is not only to be disregarded but actually welcomed even hastened as a sign of the coming apocalypse."
I get the sense in reading these types of diatribes that the discomfort among some toward Christians has ripened into full-blown paranoia and that something drastic must be done about it.
It's almost as if they're thinking the Christian mindset is so dangerous that it must be preemptively silenced, or that Christians want to establish a theocracy so their influence must be preemptively diminished. What else explains their freewheeling demonization of Christians and their concerted effort to suppress their religious liberties, all in the name of tolerance, inclusiveness and freedom?
They obviously miss the irony that they are already engaged in the very behavior that they merely fear Christians might engage in if not stopped. But this is hardly surprising from people who are responsible for promulgating speech codes in the name of free expression. It is the magnitude of their collective projection that is astounding.
Just consider Bill Moyers' displeasure that "Nearly half the U.S. Congress before the recent election 231 legislators in total more since the election are backed by the religious right." G-d forbid!
Or consider Kristof's subtle depiction of Christian conservatives as extremist and divisive. "The central question of President Bush's second term," argues Kristof, "is this: Will he shaft his Christian-right supporters, since he doesn't need them anymore, and try to secure his legacy with moderate policies that might unite the country?"
In a similar vein, Charles C. Haynes of the First Amendment Center, wrote, "But in the wake of the most negative, religion-saturated campaign in living memory, the danger of a public square poisoned by hatred and division needs to be taken seriously."
While Haynes is also mildly critical of those at the other "end of the spectrum" who "want to make our public square a religion-free zone," he unmistakably places the blame for divisiveness and poisoning the public square on Christians. And he certainly implies that Christians would silence all other voices: "But flush with victory, some conservative Christians may wish to torpedo any 'reaching out' to religious groups with a different vision for our nation. After all, evangelicals have had the ear of the president for four years to the exclusion of most other religious voices."
For all the Left's pride as sophisticated and nuanced thinkers, they exhibit great confusion over the notions of "reaching out," "exclusiveness" and "hatred," at least concerning the Christian mindset.
Does "reaching out" mean that Christians should soften their position, for example, on abortion or gay marriage? If they don't, are they being unacceptably exclusive, intolerant or hateful? The Left surely doesn't condemn itself as exclusive, intolerant or hateful for wanting to radicalize the definition of marriage or for refusing to budge on the Christians' insistence that the unborn is entitled to protection equal to that of the already born.
That Christians can't seek to influence the culture, politics or the public square without being of accused of trying to establish a theocracy is maddening. It is precisely because of this nation's Judeo-Christian roots that those of all faiths enjoy unparalleled religious liberty.
Secular leftists constantly recite the statistic that some 80 percent of Americans are Christian. And they proudly concede America's unmatched record on religious liberty. Yet they are blind to the conclusion that those two facts taken together constitute powerful evidence against their misplaced fear that Christians want to suppress the religious liberty of others or shut them out of the political process.
Contrary to the conventional wisdom of the misguided secular culture, Christians will continue to fight for the religious and political liberty of all people, not just Christians. I wish I were confident in making a similar statement about the Christophobic secular Left.
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David Limbaugh, a columnist and attorney practicing in Cape
Girardeau, Mo., is the author of, most recently, "Persecution: How Liberals Are Waging War Against Christianity". (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.) Comment by clicking here.
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