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