CNN correspondent Tom Foreman's examination of the role of faith in the 2008 presidential race on Thursday night's "Anderson Cooper 360" featured the standard left-wing labeling of Christian conservatives. The segment, an examination of the so-called "separation of church and state," featured extensive soundbites from Pastor Rod Parsley of the World Harvest Church in Ohio, characterized Parsley as "no agent of tolerance," due to his stance against homosexuality and criticism of Islam.
Foreman opened his segment with a line that is eerily reminiscent of the creation account in the biblical Book of Genesis, and reflects the Left's view of the First Amendment.
TOM FOREMAN: In the beginning, there was a wall, a mighty barrier built by the Founding Fathers to separate church and state, block one from meddling in the affairs of the other. In school, we are taught that's what makes our country special. But what if that wall never existed? What if it's a myth conjured up in our lifetime to mask a greater truth, that America was conceived as a Christian nation?
The segment then covered the "Spiritual Heritage Tour" in Washington, DC, where Christian tourists "see proof of God's hand at work in American history," and ran a feature on Pastor Parsley. According to Foreman, Parsley "believes American history has been twisted to advance a secular agenda. He calls that fabled wall an urban legend." Also, "Parsley is one of an increasingly vocal and influential group of Christian conservatives who claim America was built on biblical principles by devout men of faith."
Foreman then cited critics of Parsley who "denounce the pastor's views as dangerous revisionist history, designed to create an intolerant Christian government." None of these actually appear on-air, but to Foreman's credit, he reported Parsley's view that "a secular left is trying to demonize and demoralize an increasingly powerful Christian right."
Whether the "Christian right" is "increasingly powerful" is a reality or a figment of the mainstream media's stereotypes of social conservatives is a matter of argument, but the same stereotypes emerge in the closing of Foreman's piece.
PARSLEY: If you sing "Onward Christian Soldier" in your Sunday school class, all of a sudden, folks want to label you as a jihadist, and say that you're fighting for a theocracy. Nothing could be further from the truth.
FOREMAN: Maybe not, but Parsley is no agent of tolerance. He's railed against homosexuals, denounced Islam as a faith that fully intends to conquer the world. His activist Christianity is hardly one-size-fits-all.
In Washington, after a full day of touring, a new sense of purpose.
DIANE EVANS, TOURIST: I would like to see God be the very foundation of everything we do in public and civic life.
FOREMAN: Another soldier in Rod Parsley's army of the righteous.
(Special thanks to MRC intern Joe Steigerwald for pointing out this segment.)