Republicans and conservatives say the darnest things.
First, Ann Coulter. Don’t think I am obsessing over here just because this is my second mention of her in two weeks. (Click here to see the first.) I don’t recall having written about her madness before these latest strikes. But it was hard to resist returning to the subject after reading an account of a lecture she delivered to the impressionable minds of Northwestern University. She took the predictable potshots at liberals. And then she proclaimed that the war on terror is a “religious war.” She explained, in a way:
“This is a religious war, not against Islam but for Christianity, for a Christian nation. When this nation was founded, there was nothing like it. Our founders said there is a God and we are all equal before God. The ideal of equality and tolerance is like nothing that has ever existed in the world before. That, too, is a Christian value. The concept of equality, especially when it comes to gender equality, was not invented by Gloria Steinem. It was invented by Jesus Christ. As long as people look long enough, they will always come to Christianity.”
Are equality and tolerance historical Christian values? (Note she does not bother to use the more PR-friendly and inclusive phrase “Judeo-Christian values.”) Ask the victims of the Inquisition or the Crusades. America’s Christian founders may have preached equality, but they hardly practiced it. See slavery. Did the “ideal of equality and tolerance” only appear with the birth of the United States? Check out the preceding Age of Enlightenment. (Locke celebrated a state of nature in which people were happy, tolerant, free and equal.) And Jesus invented feminism? Then why did the “Christian nation” of the United States deny women the right to vote? Why has the Catholic Church refused to ordain female priests? Why do certain fundamentalist Christians insist that women submit to their husbands?
And where currently is this tolerance that Coulter speaks of? Her Christian supremacist comrades–such as Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell–blast away at Islam and other religions. General William Boykin, a top Pentagon official, derided Islam while giving talks before evangelical Christians. And when George W. Bush last week commented that Christians and Muslims worship the same God, fundamentalist Christians howled in protest. The Reverend Ted Haggard, president of the National Association of Evangelicals and a frequent visitor to the White House, said, “”The Christian God encourages freedom, love, forgiveness, prosperity and health. The Muslim god appears to value the opposite. The personalities of each god are evident in the cultures, civilizations and dispositions of the peoples that serve them.” How’s that for tolerance?
Robertson has even accused Episcopalians, Presbyterians and Methodists of representing “the spirit of the Antichrist” and repeatedly called Hinduism “devil worship.” And Coulter showed little tolerance when she wrote of anti-American Muslims in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, “We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity.”