In a wonderful example of the No True Scotsman Fallacy, Conservative pundit Doug Giles argues that A Christian Can Be a Christian or a Liberal, But He Can’t Be Both. This rant is interesting not because it regurgitates popular Conservative disinformation about how Christians are losing their “rights” in America despite being the majority religious group, but because it’s another in a growing trend of articles from the Conservatives that tries to paint being a Liberal as being synonymous with being an atheist/agnostic/secular humanist which, as well all know, are Satan’s offspring. It’s clear that for Doug the only “true” Christian are those of a Fundamentalist Evangelical bent who accept the Bible as the inerrant word of God. In an interesting twist he makes the claim that Liberalism has been hijacked by the forces of Secularism that is somewhat similar to claims that the Republican party has been hijacked by the Fundamentalist Christians:
Liberalism has been hijacked by bizarre special-interest thugs who spit on the Word of God and believe that the Bible has no place in public life, (except maybe in a museum where people can look at it from time to time).
The Christian who has a bent to the liberal left needs to understand something: while he is skipping around the maypole with his rose-colored glasses on, if it were up to the modern, secularized liberal establishment, he would be more restricted than Bill when Hillary’s in town. Yes, if the Christophobic thugs had it their way, Christians would be relegated to a marginalized spiritual ghetto on the sidelines of life.
Note that it’s not enough that Secularists don’t believe in the Word of God, but they also spit on it. I do like his invention of the word ‘Christophobic’ though. That’s a pretty clever way to play up the idea that Christians are in danger from us nasty Secular Liberals of finding themselves unable to express their faith outside of their homes and churches, which Doug appears to feel are the “spiritual ghettos” of life. Doug continues with:
For the naïve Christian voter who thinks he can toss a ballot in the Nuevo liberal direction, please know that a vote toward the secular left could leave you bereft of sacred liberties. Thanks to the aggressive ludicrous liberal lug nuts’ anti-Christian agenda, your vote for a liberal, Christian, is a vote for …
Nice use of alliteration there. We’ll take each of these claims in turn and see how much merit they hold:
1. Christianity to be scrubbed from government and whatever turf the government owns. Thanks to the liberals, the Ten Commandments have about as much acceptance in our government and their properties as Rush Limbaugh would at Al Franken’s family reunion. Yes, the Judeo-Christian principles that formed the rock-solid foundation of this great American Experiment are now aggressively fought against by the lascivious left.
If… if… the secularists continue to stay behind the wheel of this American bus, you can kiss all semblance of Christianity good-bye in this heretofore God-graced government. Saint, you might as well say farewell to our government’s recognizing Christmas and adios to Good Friday if you’re going to vote the liberal ticket. If the secularists have it their way, Easter will be behind your keister, and you can kiss the Cross good-night as an acceptable public symbol that represents your faith and our nation’s recognition of Christ’s atoning work.
It is true that the entanglement of Christianity with Government in this country has been under unprecedented attack the past few years and, honestly, it’s been too long in coming. Doug repeats the false claim that this country was founded on Judeo-Christian principles and then tries to paint the attempts to extricate Christian dogma from areas it shouldn’t have been allowed in the first place as an attack on this fictional foundation rather than the rectifying of a wrong that has been allowed to persist for too long already. The simple truth of the matter is that the government has no business endorsing one religion over any other which is exactly what its doing when it posts copies of the Ten Commandments in government buildings or on government property. The Christian Right’s argument that this doesn’t amount to an establishment, but rather a “recognition of our country’s religious heritage” is utter bullshit. The Christian Right would have you believe that America has grown to become the great nation so many of us feel it is solely because of the contributions of Christians thusly making their dogma worthy of special recognition by the government above all other creeds.
From there we enter into the slippery slope argument with dire threats that the Secular Liberals will cancel Christmas and Easter if they gain control. Here Doug is promoting the idea that being a Secular Liberal is synonymous with being an atheist. It is true that there have been atheists who have tried to have Christmas as a Federal holiday overturned as a violation of the First Amendment, but not all Secular Liberals—or even all atheists—agree with this idea. Many of us agree with the Supreme Court in it’s past rulings that there are “legitimate secular purposes for establishing Christmas as a legal public holiday.” Even if a day were to come where the SCOTUS decides that Federal recognition of Christmas, Easter, and other such holidays is a violation of the establishment clause it’s debatable how much of an impact that would really have beyond determining whether or not Federal employees get the day off. The laws surrounding the issue are mainly there to allow Federal employees these days off with pay and don’t place any requirements on anyone else to observe these holidays. Your employer is free to make their own determination on whether or not you get the day off or whether or not you get paid for it. Truth is that there’s not really a need for the government to endorse any particular holiday, religious or otherwise, but there’s not necessarily any harm in it doing so and certainly some secular benefit in doing so.
Finally, in regards to his claim that you can “kiss the Cross good-night as an acceptable public symbol” if you vote for a Secular Liberal politician, it’s hard to say how realistic that statement is without knowing what he means by “public symbol.” The initial implication I get from that statement is that displaying the cross in public by anyone will be outlawed, which is quite simply ridiculous. Not only isn’t there any Constitutional grounds for such a law, but I don’t know anyone who even thinks such a law should be passed.
In regards to it being a symbol which the government should make use of in official seals or as monuments on public land then there is definitely a conflict with the establishment clause as it gives the appearance that the government favors the Christian religion above all others. The outrage expressed by the Christian Right over the removal of these symbols of their faith from places they don’t belong shows that even they recognize the special status having those symbols in place grants their religion.
2. Secularism to be continually mainlined into our public school system. Thanks to rabid vapid secularism, our public schools and universities would rather you be a Rocky Horror super freak than a Christian. If your beliefs run to the bizarre or the banal, or if you want to smoke the same philosophical crack that Caligula, Nero, Castro or Lenin freebased, they’ll accommodate you.
Our schools are totally open to anyone and to anything, unless, of course, you’re a Christian. And if that’s the case, then you’re likely to get more sympathy from a badger with minimal sleep than you will from liberal educators who are hard at work making your life hard. A vote for the secular left is a vote for Christianity to continue to be officially vilified on campus and Christians to be ostracized in campus life.
Once again we see Secularism being touted as a great evil without any explanation as to what, exactly, Secularism is. I especially loved his description of it being both “rabid” and “vapid” which in some ways is a contradiction in terms. Doug makes a lot of claims here without providing any substantiation for them. I don’t know of any public schools or universities that have made it clear they’d rather your kids show up as a “Rocky Horror super freak” than a Christian or which welcome people with bizarre and banal beliefs with open arms while being openly hostile to Christians. Nor do I know of any Liberal educators who go out of their way to make life hard for Christians—unless you count the ones who refuse to teach Intelligent Design as a legitimate scientific theory. I would challenge Doug to provide a single example of a university that officially vilifies Christians.
3. Public officials, employees and appointees to be pressured to hide their faith in the closet and suppress their public displays of belief in God lest they be grouped with Hitler, Osama, or Mussolini and then fired. Not only will the liberals aggressively work to prohibit the State from green lighting and recognizing Christianity as a legitimate and positive force in our land, they will also attempt to stifle Christians from influencing the path of government.
Doug’s obviously making a reference to former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore here. What Moore engaged in went far beyond merely displaying his faith in public to abuse of his office to promote his religious views as superior to all others. Bush has managed to publicly express his religious views consistently without a single call for his impeachment, but then he hasn’t tried to sneak any multi-ton representations of the Decalogue into the White House foyer in the middle of the night either. The fact that Moore did this in the dead of night shows he realized what he was doing was crossing the line.
Additionally the government doesn’t have any business in green lighting and recognizing any religion as a legitimate and positive force in our land, let alone Christianity. Can you imagine the outcry from the Religious Right if, say, the Muslims wanted the government do the same for their religious viewpoint? For that matter, what about if it were the Wiccans? As for influencing the path of government, as long as they can vote they can influence the government. That’s part of why Christianity has managed to entangle itself to the extent it has so far.
4. Public attacks on churches and Christians and attempts to restrict them in the private sector. Consider this, Christian pastor and Christian lay person looking to vote for the ludicrous left: the secular Mafioso’s intent is to make your ministerial life difficult, your evangelistic work taxing and your voice minimized. And good luck, pastor and church committee, in trying to buy property and get zoning with the anti-Christian libs at the helm.
This is just utter bullshit plain and simple. Secular Mafioso? This guy’s gift for hyperbole is limitless it seems.
5. The continued media endorsement of the same putrid hedonistic stuff that sunk ancient Rome. Yes, with the liberals in place, expect more weird crap in movies and on television. Expect to see more paintings of Christian symbols/ saints smeared with elephant dung. Expect Christianity to be bashed and vilified and Christians made out to be buckled-shoed morons with three teeth and an IQ of 50. Expect the culture to coarsen. Expect your kids to continue to be exposed to things that only rock stars see backstage with groupies. A vote for a liberal is a vote to see Christians continue to receive special ridicule and be flogged more than a piñata during a Cinco de Mayo festival.
Aside from being an amazing bit of whining, the implications inherent in the above are chilling. Doug seems to suggest that if we hand the reins over to his Conservative Fundy Politicos of choice that we can expect to see new restrictions on the freedom of expression and special rights for Christians against being criticized and ridiculed. The Christian Right seems hell-bent on destroying as much of the First Amendment as they can manage. They’re all for the bit about freedom of religion (or at least their religion), but they can’t stand the establishment clause and they want all manner of restrictions on the freedom of speech. You can almost read the above paragraph as suggesting that a vote for Conservative Christians is a vote for increased entanglement in government and the diminishing of any rights the Christians don’t consider sacred themselves.
My ClashPoint is this: Modern liberalism tosses the scripture out on several different levels. How a true believer in the Christ defined by the scripture can buy into what Jesus, the prophets and apostles said and also what these secular thugs say is beyond me. In addition to liberalism’s obvious and odious pro-holocaust-like abortion stance, its anti-biblical view of marriage, its scripture-slamming aggressive secularism, and its feckless view of our nation’s defense, liberalism completely clashes with the Christian worldview. Secular liberalism’s aggressive desire to eradicate Christians’ rights should cause Christians to be concerned.
This is pretty standard rhetoric here including the suggestion that somehow “Christian’s rights” are being eradicated by Secular Liberals. As distortions of the truth go, it’s pretty impressive. Most of the issues Doug brings up in his screed don’t have anything to do with rights, Christian or otherwise, and for those few items that are what he’s arguing for is the restriction of non-Christian’s rights. Clearly Doug is advocating for a government that not only favors and endorses the Christian religion, but which actively restricts any minority viewpoints from so much as complaining about Christianity’s special status. The only real Christian in Doug’s book is a Fundamentalist Christian and his argument attempts to cajole the moderate Christians into becoming more Fundamentalist by trying to paint Liberals with a very broad brush in a you’re-either-with-us-or-against-us approach to fear mongering.