Who’s responsible for perpetuating the Culture Wars? A good bet is it’s the one who casts the first Taliban/Al Qaeda/Sharia Law stone. So today, that would be Catherine Rampell, with a droolingly stupid smear of American Christians in the February 3 Washington Post.
Rampell, as a worldly liberal in good standing, implicitly pooh-poohs the idea that “Much-dreaded ‘sharia law,’” from “mythical hard-line Muslims” could happen here. No, the real sharia threat comes from (Wait for it!) “hard-line Christians” who want to “impose their beliefs and practices on the rest of us.”
(It would be a lot easier to take secular liberals of Rampell’s stripe seriously if their disdain for believers weren’t so selective. Yes, the enemies – Muslims – of her enemies – Christians – are her friends. But the enemies of her enemies have a habit of driving trucks into flea markets and flinging gays off buildings. A couple of months in, say, Yemen might serve Rampell as a bracing corrective, no?)
Anyway, it’s just horrible. If conservative Christians have their way, poor Rampell will be dragged into a church somewhere and doused with holy water (“It Buuuuuurns!”) Betsy DeVos might force her to have the option not to send her kids to failing teacher’s union-dominated schools … wait, strike that. Rampell has that option now. It’s inner city minority parents that don’t. Oh well.
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The Christian depredations go much further. “This week, The Nation’s Sarah Posner published a leaked draft of an executive order that would require federal agencies to look the other way when private organizations discriminate based on religious beliefs.
The effect of the order might be to create wholesale exemptions to anti-discrimination law for people, nonprofits and closely held for-profit corporations that claim religious objections to same-sex marriage, premarital sex, abortion and transgender identity. It would also curb women’s access to contraception through the Affordable Care Act. (A White House official did not dispute the draft’s authenticity.)
I smell Hobby Lobby! So those damned Little Sisters of the Poor will get away without buying morning-after pills for their handymen? Oh for shame …
The other sure sign of descending Christian fascism is President Trump’s mention at the National Prayer Breakfast Thursday that he’d like to do away with the Johnson Amendment. As Rampell explains, “The provision basically says that if you want to be exempted from paying taxes — meaning you are effectively subsidized by other taxpayers, who pay for your access to emergency services, roads and other government functions — you can’t be involved in partisan politics.”
So you do away with the Johnson Amendment, you’ll have rabid preachers on loudspeakers and TV prescribing the politics acceptable only God, and after Church the streets will fill with rabid Christians firing AK-47s in the air and shouting “Death to Infidels,” just like in Sharia countries. After all, that’s what it was like in this country before the Johnson Amendment was adopted in the … Eisenhower Administration … never mind.
Having done her best to raise the specter of theocracy, Rampell throws it back on Christians. “The far right has done a lot of fear-mongering about the undue influence that religious fanatics may soon exert on the body politic,” she sneers. “Seems they better understood what they were talking about than most of us realized.”
Who knows maybe Rampell is correct. For years now Christians in the Middle East have been involved in mass-dislocations, property destruction, forced conversions, torture, and murder in all kinds of creative, and one might almost say Biblical, ways. Involved, but not in a way that would help advance Rampell’s, er, argument.