Wednesday, August 20, 2008

America vs. the Soldiers of Jesus

Kathleen Parker of

At the risk of heresy, let it be said that setting up the two presidential candidates for religious interrogation by an evangelical minister -- no matter how beloved -- is supremely wrong.

It is also un-American.

For the past several days, since mega-pastor Rick Warren interviewed Barack Obama and John McCain at his Saddleback Church, most political debate has focused on who won.


The winner, of course, was Warren, who has managed to position himself as political arbiter in a nation founded on the separation of church and state.

The loser was America.


His format and questions were interesting and the answers more revealing than the usual debate menu provides. But does it not seem just a little bit odd to have McCain and Obama chatting individually with a preacher in a public forum about their positions on evil and their relationship with Jesus Christ?

Yes, yes, YES! Horribly odd! Why do both parties feel that appealing to these types of voters is in line with, to paraphrase the title of McCan't's book, the Faith of Our Fathers? When Bush's aide whispered in his ear on Sept. 11, 2001 that America was under attack, little did many of us realize who the attackers really were. I think most of us will agree that while the 9/11 attack was a horrible event that seared the reality of terror into our minds forever, it was not entirely unprovoked. It was partially in response to a perceived affront to Islam -- that we somehow threatened their way of life as we continued to get deeper into relationship with Islamic governments over oil commerce.

America is still under attack, and actually has been under attack for decades. The warriors are quieter. They couch themselves in words of peace, brotherhood, and spiritual awakening. Yet they have infiltrated our institutions across the country, from school boards to city councils to the two chambers of the U.S. Congress to the White House. They are the Christianists, who, like Islamists, are committed to imposing a radical form of Christianity, including literal interpretation of the allegorical words in the Old and New Testaments, on our society. Calling us a "Christian nation," they attack laws at all levels of our society that do not promote their worldview, all the way up to our Constitution. They create new laws that do promote their worldview, and jam up our court system, all the way up to the Supreme Court, to gain legal validation for their tactics. After all, this country's population is overwhelmingly Christian, so how hard can it be to find a judge who allows his religious views to influence his interpretation of the law? They get elected to public office or get appointed by those elected, and surround themselves with like-minded individuals, excluding those who don't feel as they do.

Sitting by are those of us, Christian or otherwise, who passionately believe in the beauty and simplicity of our Constitution to protect and defend believers of all types, to make room in this country for them, and to celebrate what's possible when people work together despite our differences. But we're forced to be passive; after all, we are VASTLY outnumbered. Or are we? Do most Americans want a government which endorses a specific religion (or worse, claims to tolerate all belief systems but allows constituents to secretly ignore the law)? Is it really true that, as billmon wrote, "[t]he voters ... don’t seem to care much one way or another – as long as gas doesn’t get too expensive and the military casualties aren’t too high (or can be kept off the TV)?"

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