Conservative Christians Love Jesus But Hate Liberals

Rachel Maddow did a segment Thursday night on Republican hypocrisy and the manufactured outrage over the contraception requirement issue. During the segment she played a clip from a panel discussion that was part of the Conservative Political Action Conference—the place where conservatives go to sharpen their long knives.

The panel discussion was led by Genevieve Wood of the Heritage Foundation, and one of the panelists was a man named Cal Thomas, a syndicated columnist familiar to readers of the Joplin Globe, which used to regularly publish his right-wing rants.  He is also a regular on Fox “News.”

Before we see what Mr. Thomas had to say during a discussion on the contraception issue—which, naturally, was couched in terms of religious liberty—I want to tell you a little bit about the Christian columnist.

Thomas writes a column with Bob Beckel (a Fox “News” Democrat) for USA Today called “Common Ground.”  The two columnists wrote a book by the same name, which was subtitled, “How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America.” Get that?  Partisanship is “destroying America,” and Thomas knows how to stop it.

Cal Thomas was at one time the vice president of Moral Majority (1980-1985), a conservative Christian political group founded by right-wing fundamentalist preacher Jerry Falwell.  About Mr. Falwell, Thomas said in 2007:

Without him, it is doubtful Christian fundamentalist, Evangelical Christians and conservative Roman Catholics would ever have mobilized into the significant voting bloc that elected Ronald Reagan twice, George H.W. Bush once and the current President Bush.

So far, we know that Mr. Thomas doesn’t like America-destroying partisanship and he has been part of an explicitly Christian organization with the word “moral” in its name. I’m just guessing that if you write a book about how to stop war-like partisanship, you are probably against war-like partisanship. And I’m also guessing that if you  lead a group that calls itself “Moral Majority,” you must think you are part of the majority with morals, right?

Thomas is also a spiritually sensitive fellow. He recently criticized Alaska Airlines for removing from its meal tray a small card that had a verse from one of the Psalms printed on it. But Cal had an inspired plan to outsmart those too-sensitive airline executives:

I think what I will do is every time I now fly on Alaska, I will take out my Bible, open it to the Psalms and read one about being thankful to God. Maybe my seat-mate will see what I’m doing and either be blessed or ask a question.

Now, that’s quite a nice picture of the gentlemanly Thomas with his Bible on his lap in the airplane, honoring God by reading a Psalm of David, perhaps stirring an observant sinner to repentance. I’m starting to tear up thinking about it.  GOP Jesus must be proud of Cal.

But, alas, there is more to the Cal Thomas story, like what happened today at that CPAC panel discussion.  Genevieve Wood played a clip from Rachel Maddow’s appearance on Meet The Press, in which St. Rachel dared to criticize the GOP for its position on contraception, and then Ms. Wood asked Thomas this question:

Cal, let’s talk about this religious–this is serious, we laugh about it, but this is serious in terms of, if they get away with this, what would happen in a second term? If that outrage doesn’t turn to action in November, what are we looking at here?

Tapping into his ample supply of Christian charity, Thomas replied:

I’m really glad, Genevieve, that you played the Rachel Maddow clip. I think that she is the best argument in favor of her parent’s using contraception. I would be all for that! And all of the rest of the crowd at MSNBC, too, for that matter.

Big laughs all around. Applause. Cheers. I think I even heard GOP Jesus let out a glorious guffaw!

But when the laughter faded, what we had left was a man—who has made a fine living off blowing his Christian trumpet; off touting his virtue as a Christian; off pushing the idea that morality resides on the side of conservatism*—publicly suggesting that a liberal commentator and her colleagues shouldn’t have been born.

They shouldn’t have been born.

That brand of Christianity, which I once might not have recognized, is becoming all too familiar to those of us outside the faith.  I hear it practiced by, among others, Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh and Laura Ingraham, Christians all.

In any case, while I am sure GOP Jesus approved of Cal Thomas for his casual dismissal of the value of human beings who happen to be liberals, perhaps there is Another Jesus who may, one day, have something more definitive to say about it.

In the meantime, here is the brief clip from St. Rachel’s show (in which you will see why she is a saint):

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…to the left there is no real God. Government is God.

The Gadsden Guerillas Want To Evict The Uppity Negro From The White’s House

As a difficult-to-perform public service to my readers, and while the world was focused on the confusion in Egypt, I listened to Michele Bachmann and others speak today at the gathering of Gadsden Gorillas Guerrillas, also known as CPAC.

At least one of the things Bachmann said demonstrates her intermittent connection with reality:

Obamacare is quite clearly the crown jewel of socialism.

Now, you might not like the Affordable Care Act; you might think it won’t do much to keep health care costs down; you might even think it will destroy the country.  But only a colossal fool like Michele Bachmann would say “Obamacare is quite clearly the crown jewel of socialism.”  Would to God it were, but given how it props up the private, employer-based health insurance system, it would be more accurate to call it the “crown jewel of capitalism.”

Bachmann, who suffers from the delusion that she could possibly be President of the United States, has used this nonsensical metaphor before, both during the so-called debate in the House on repealing the health reform law and last week at a Republican dinner in Montana, where she put it in this incomprehensibly dramatic way:

I take my first political breath every morning with one thought in mind – repeal Obamacare. That’s my motivation in life. … This bill is something else. It is the crown jewel of socialism. President Obama, and I’m willing to say it, ushered in socialism under his watch.

There are four possibilities that account for such agonizingly incorrigible ignorance:

1) She doesn’t understand “Obamacare.”

2) She doesn’t understand what the term “crown jewel” means.

3) She doesn’t understand what the term “socialism” means.

4) All of the above.

Oh, there is a fifth:

She’s nuts.

In any case, Bachman, who seems to have a strange fascination with despotic headgear, also talked today about the “Triple Crown of 2012,” which, in case you don’t know, involves Republicans maintaining control of the House, a conservative takeover of the Senate, and, of course, the crown jewel of the Triple Crown: throwing the Uppity Negro out of the white’s house

That seemed to be the theme of the day, perhaps of the conference, since Bachmann said, “all our chips are in on 2012…this is it!” and a plump Newt Gingrich, who never misses a chance to diminish the value of his college degree, naturally changed the metaphor from crowns and poker to food:

2010 was the appetizer; 2012 is the entrée.

If Gingrich becomes president he will eat us all.  And he could do it.

Rick Santorum, who has been crowned the “relentless ethicist” by George F. Will, made an appearance today and regaled the crowd with more relentless moralizing and exploitation of our social differences.  Besides expressing his support for a military dictator in Egypt, Santorum used yet another bleeping political metaphor, this time the old three-legged stool of fiscal policy, national defense, and, his speciality, social issues:

When you start throwing away the third leg of a three-legged stool, it is not going to be stable very long.

I happen to subscribe to the four-legged school of political metaphors, which, I think, is much sturdier. The fourth leg is sanity.

Speaking of the missing fourth leg, Donald Trump, whose Michele Bachmann-sized ego has convinced him he has a chance to be president, made a surprising appearance today.  Who knew there was a Gadsden flag flying over Trump Tower? 

Anyway, besides truthfully trashing Ron Paul (“Ron Paul cannot get elected. I’m sorry folks.”) and essentially trashing the country (the “United States is the laughingstock of the world.”), Trump trumpeted his greatness and told the hopped-up Gadsden guerillas that he was a pro-lifin’ gun lovin’ tax hatin’ Republican, and that, if he ran and won, “this country has a chance of being respected again.”

What he didn’t tell his frothy admirers is that he is a billionaire whose financial savvy is so spectacular that he used bankruptcy as a way of forcing investors in his business competence to take hundreds of millions of dollars in losses.  I can’t wait for President Trump to restore respectability to our declining land. We would be so fortunate if he allows us the honor of voting for him. What a guy! 

And what a day!  I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s festivities.

Killing Social Security and Medicare, One Speech At A Time

I watched Glenn Beck’s speech at CPAC this past weekend.  I am the first to admit that he is quite good at what he does. The man has talent.  Forever forecasting inevitable tribulation, he is like a gifted evangelist who writes books and sermonizes, warning us of the doom to come.  And like most gifted evangelists, he profits from his prophesying, making God-like money as he points the way through the apocalypse.

His latest speech—a continuation of a theme he has been hawking for a while now—contained his diagnosis of our sickly condition:  “progressivism is the disease in America.”

He preached:

Progressivism is the cancer in America and it is eating our Constitution. And it was designed to eat the Constitution. To progress past the Constitution.

Comparing progressives to Communists, he explained there is a small difference between the two: Communists of old desired revolution; progressives, being more patient, were and continue to be willing to wait for things to evolve.  But the goals are the same: trash the Constitution and turn America into a “big government,” “socialist utopia.”

Okay.  So far, there’s nothing unusual about that pew-stirring rhetoric, sold to acne-tortured, college-age Republicans at CPAC and the more mature, meat-loving mobs that buy Beck’s books and watch his hysterical television show.

But I have begun to notice something happening on the right.  The straw poll at CPAC went this year to Ron Paul, not exactly a friend to some of Beck’s crazy ideas, but certainly a supporter of the anti-government philosophy that serves as a foundation for conservative thought.  Paul, to orgasmic applause, said:

Government is the enemy of liberty!

The fire was barely out at the IRS building in Texas—where Joseph Stack took seriously words like Paul uttered—and speakers at CPAC were using words like “enemy” to describe the government and violent metaphors to describe what Americans should do about its growth. 

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, who is moving to the right at brakeless Toyota speed, said Americans should “take a 9 iron and smash the windows out of big government in this country!

Of course, such talk is hyperbole.  I get that.  But what is happening among a growing group on the right is that people are starting to take seriously the idea of dismantling big government programs like Social Security and Medicare. 

Beck said:

It is big government – it’s a socialist utopia. And we need to address it as if it is a cancer. It must be cut out of the system because they cannot co-exist. And you don’t cure cancer by – well, I’m just going to give you a little bit of cancer. You must eradicate it. It cannot co-exist. And we need big thinkers, and brave people with spines who can make the case – that can actually say to Americans: look it’s going to be hard – it’s going to be hard but it’s going to be okay. We’re going to make it.

Now, what could he be talking about?  The subsidy for public television? The Department of Commerce?  No. Big government, especially since most conservatives exclude the Defense Department from budget cuts, has to mean Social Security and Medicare.

He continues:

We believe in the right of the individual. We believe in the right, you can speak out, you can disagree with me, you can make your own path. But I’m not going to pay for your mistakes, and I don’t expect you to pay for my mistakes. We’re all going to make them, but we all have the right to move down that road. What we don’t have a right to is: health care, housing, or handouts. We don’t have those rights.

Rep. Michele Bachmann, another CPAC speaker and trusted ally of Glenn Beck, has advocated “weaning” as a means of reducing the size of government.  A few weeks ago in St. Louis she said:

We’re $14 trillion in debt, but that doesn’t include the unfunded massive liabilities. That’s $107 trillion, and that’s for Social Security and Medicare and all the rest. You add up all those unfunded net liabilities, and all the traps that could go wrong we’re on the hook for, and what it means is what we have to do is a reorganization of all of that, Social Security and all… So, what you have to do, is keep faith with the people that are already in the system, that don’t have any other options, we have to keep faith with them. But basically what we have to do is wean everybody else off. And wean everybody off because we have to take those unfunded net liabilities off our bank sheet, we can’t do it. So we just have to be straight with people.

So, she is saying do away with Social Security and Medicare, after those in the present system are finished.  At least she is being more honest than usual.  And such honesty is being forced upon Republicans, as they are no longer getting away with screaming for deficit reduction and tax cuts without specifying spending reductions.

Rep. Paul Ryan, the GOP’s budget guru in the House, has offered a privatization plan for Social Security and Medicare and has at least nine co-sponsors.

One of those co-sponsors, Rep. Jeb Hensarling, appeared on Chris Matthews recently:

 

It appears that Republicans are becoming so emboldened by the Tea Party movement that some of them are now willing to talk openly about ripping out or seriously reducing the effectiveness of the social safety net that serves so many Americans. 

And if Democrats let them get away with it, then one day Republicans will have their way.

Remarks And Asides

Geoff’s World is growing darker by the hour. On Tuesday he wrote:

40 years of social engineering has not helped a soul in this great nation except for the politicians dishing out the dough.

On Wednesday, Mr. Caldwell popped open his Joplin Globe and found a message from God. In a font fit for such divine decrees, the headline screamed:

Food for thought

Accompanying the article on the WIC program–indisputable social engineering–were pictures of Madison Hembree and her infant son, Charles, as well as four-year-old Donavin Pena. Freeloaders all.

If Geoff’s conservative dreams came true, the nearly 4000 women and children benefiting from the government program each month would have to find other means to supplement their nutritional needs or–more likely–go without.

You gotta love that compassionate conservatism.
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Speaking of social engineering, the Right, of course, has its own version. John Putnam, a local environmentalist wacko, is still pressing for severe restrictions on “sexually oriented” businesses through his group, Citizens for a Decent Environment. The group apparently has no plans to restrict sexually oriented churches, some of which have made headlines around here the last few years.

Mr. Putnam and his group may really be concerned that allowing unfettered access to adult entertainment so close to home will endanger the fiscal health of area churches. Dropping twenty bucks on a porn video tends to make one more likely to short-arm the collection plate on Sunday.
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It took John Cragin all the way until the last paragraph, but he managed to make his point today , which not surprisingly was to bash Democrats. He referred to Obama not as “our” president, but as “your” president. Apparently, there is property on Snob Hill outside the jurisdiction of the United States.
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First it was CPAC, now the Senate-House Dinner. Sarah Palin will be a no-show for the GOP’s beg-fest in June. To demonstrate that the Republican Party is still a fresh and vibrant player in our politics, it has booked…Newt?

There is a God.
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COMMENTS:

Anson writes:
Wednesday, April 1, 2009, 02:50 PM
Duane, check out Carol’s latest blog. You may want to add a comment as well
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