The conservative Faith and Freedom Coalition is in the middle of a three-day "conference and strategy briefing" in Washington, D.C., which proved to be a sufficient justification for MSNBC's Martin Bashir to bring back anti-conservative-Christian hatemonger Frank Schaeffer to denounce the meeting as essentially a congress of an American Christian Taliban.
"I think what you have to understand when you look at the religious right in action these days is that they speak in Orwellian doublespeak. They say the opposite of what they mean. They talk about faith and freedom, the conference should really be called Politics and Bondage," Schaeffer, the prodigal son of the late famous evangelical theologian Francis Schaeffer snarled. [MP3 audio here; video is posted after the page break]
"Look, what's the common denominator of all their faith and freedom politics? It's to take away the freedom of choice for women, to take away contraceptives from women who work for Roman Catholic institutions, to take away choice for women, to take away gay marriage from gay people, this is not freedom. This is another form, the American form of Sharia law being imposed because of religious fiat," Schaeffer insisted.
For his part, Bashir failed to challenge such a strong assertion by Schaeffer, which essentially chalked up the religious and moral beliefs of millions of American religious voters as reactionary and extremist.
But wait, there's more!
"[W]hen you're looking at the religious right, you have to balance their hatreds," Schaeffer noted, insisting that evangelical Christians in this election have the quandary of "do they hate the Mormonism of Mitt Romney more than they hate the pretended Islamic faith quote unquote of the president?"
In doing so, Schaeffer collapses the legitimate doctrinal and theological quarrels evangelicals may have with Mormons into a "hatred," when he should well know that is far from the case. Evangelical Christians, Catholics, Jews, Mormons and others can and do work in the political sphere on issues of common cause relating to public policy matters.
But of course that cuts against Schaeffer's preferred narrative of an evangelical theocratic conspiracy. And of course, without a shred of evidence or naming specific names, Schaeffer insisted religious conservatives think Obama is a secret Muslim.
What's more, in the very next breath, Schaeffer added, perhaps completely unaware of how un-Christlike he was sounding:
Do they hate the Hispanic and brown people and people of color in this country more than they will embrace their own Hispanic evangelicals? In this particular case, I think we're going to go with race-based politics. They have lied about our first African-American president, and they will turn their backs on their Hispanic brothers in Christ, in the Christian community, in order to maintain their race-based American and race-baiting white politics.
Moments later, Schaeffer doubled down on the race card by insisting that conservative evangelicals are really upset with Obama because he's "a black man sitting in the White House that in their view belongs to white people, I guess, in perpetuity."
Does Schaeffer really think that evangelical conservatives would disdain Obama if he was with them on social policy issues like abortion and traditional marriage? Bashir didn't bother to challenge Schaeffer on that point, although it would be the logical follow-up question of a journalist striving to be fair and objective.
For all his bluster, Schaeffer -- a convert to Eastern Orthodoxy -- failed to provide evidence for any of his overly-broad claims, failed to give specific instances of race-baiting. In effect, Schaeffer was given a platform to publicly slander his brothers and sisters in Christ on national TV, all while fellow Christian -- an evangelical one in fact -- Martin Bashir failed to correct him and indeed encouraged him.