Frank Schaeffer -- the embittered liberal progeny of the late evangelical Christian scholar Francis Schaeffer -- appeared on MSNBC's "Martin Bashir" program this afternoon where he availed himself the opportunity to spew forth more venom against American evangelicals, who tend to vote for conservative Republicans.
Schaeffer was ostensibly brought on to react to new polling data that show 56 percent of Americans believe it's important for presidential candidates to have strong religious beliefs, even if those beliefs don't square with the voter's personal views.
In the process of the interview, Schaeffer indirectly compared evangelical Christians to the Taliban as he slammed "faith-based politics" (emphasis mine):
You can't win a [presidential] primary without the backing of the 25 percent of Americans who believe in a literal 6-day creation, think that gay people choose to be gay, believe everyone except them will go to Hell when they die because they didn't ask Jesus to accept them into His kingdom.
Look, this is deformed American politics. We're in a war of religion you know in this country and it's not much different than Afghanistan. A few less people are getting shot.
A balanced, objective journalist would have halted Schaeffer mid-screed, but Bashir let that go unchallenged. Indeed, a few seconds later the Huffington Post blogger lied about his father as he attempted to tar Michele Bachmann as a violent revolutionary in the making:
SCHAEFFER: [R]eligion impacts politics. You bring up Michele Bachmann. I was just reading an article again today where she was talking about the fact that the reason that she got into politics was reading my late father, Francis Schaeffer's books, on calling religious people to overthrow the U.S. government unless it, unless it sent Roe v. Wade back to the courts for a re-decision and take choice away from women. This element is very, very prevalent in the United States right now. And we can't kid ourselves about it, it's extremism under the form of Christianity.
BASHIR, closing the interview: Frank Schaeffer with the Huffington Post. Thank you very much for joining us.
The problem, if course, is that Schaeffer is and has been lying for years about what his father argued for in his books. In March 2008, the blog Catholics in the Public Square capably demonstrated how Frank Schaeffer took his father gravely out of context in order to argue he advocated a violent overthrow of the U.S. government.
Oddly enough, Bashir followed the Schaeffer segment -- full of its hyperbolic screeds against Tea Partiers and evangelicals -- with a "Clear the Air" commentary segment that favorably referenced Thomas Jefferson and the "theological" notion that underpins the political philosophy underpinning the American Revolution (emphasis mine):
[S]omehow, America manages to be exceptional in the way the United States allows differing races and religious groups to live together in relative harmony. Why is that?
Why is it that when political philosophies are found to be inadequate or incapable of achieving unity, America somehow holds together?
I know it's become something of a joke in some quarters that I, as someone born in Europe, should have such reverence for the founding documents of this country. But once again, it is the words of Thomas Jefferson that I think provide an insight into why, in a nation of so many ethnic differences, America is one.
In his majestic and immortal words, he wrote: "We hold these truths to be self-evident. That all men are created equal. That they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights."
In one sense, this is much more than a political sentiment. It is an overtly theological assertion that our Creator has endowed us all with an equal right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
And maybe that's the point. When political philosophy seems to break down, maybe we need reference to a higher power to settle the argument and help us live at peace.
Belief in God as a unifying element of American society, praise for a Founding Father, and an acceptance of American exceptionalism?! Had Bachmann said what Bashir said, Schaeffer surely would have had a cow.
What makes it all the more remarkable that Bashir has the cognitive dissonance to fail to counter Schaeffer's angry, loopy claims about evangelicals and then turn around to sound something like the kind of person Schaeffer despises.