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By Jeremy Reynalds
A leading political commentator's recent prediction should be sending shockwaves through the conservative Christian community.
Newsweek 's political writer Howard Fineman recently warned about an impending "daring assault" by Democrats that he called an "incendiary battle plan." The strategy basically likens the GOP's right wing to the Taliban.
As Fineman put it, the idea runs along these lines. "Our enemy in Afghanistan is religious extremism and intolerance. It's therefore more important than ever to honor the ideals of tolerancereligious, sexual, racial, reproductiveat home. The GOP is out of the mainstream, some Democrats will argue ... because it's too dependent upon an intolerant 'religious right.'"
Fineman said that the whole idea is to draw an "outraged response" from the president. Then, he said, "Democrats would have Bush just where they wanted him: in a fire fight at home."
Fineman isn't the only one predicting a return to conservative bashing. The American Family Association's Donald Wildmon told Agape Press that while liberal Hollywood activists "toned down their rhetoric" after September 11, he believes that a change is in the works. Wildmon told Agape Press that "You can bet your bottom dollar they're drumming up new ideas of how to get their liberal, left-wing philosophy into the mainstream of America."
Former Moral Majority Leader Jerry Falwell said that comparing conservative Christians to the Taliban would be humorous if the analogy wasn't so frightening. In a recent "Falwell Confidential" letter, Falwell wrote that in the Democrat's desperation to regain the White House they have abandoned legitimate political strategy and sunk to desperate measures with their targeting of conservative evangelicals.
Falwell commented, "If comparing the so-called religious right' to the Taliban is the best strategy the Democrats can come up with to take back the House of Representatives and strengthen their hold on the Senate in 2004, their efforts will be a complete political failure."
However, as Falwell correctly pointed out, there are some deeply disturbing implications to this strategy. Religious conservatives are the only group of Americans who can be routinely targeted and vilified without the American Civil Liberties Union taking up their cause.
Falwell continued, "It has become fashionable to denounce and detest Christians because we adhere to true and defining standardssomething the situational ethicists in the Democrat Party cannot comprehend."
Falwell pointed out that contrary to the Taliban, Christian conservatives have no wish to kill or enslave those who disagree with us even though we are accused of having such intentions. He continued, "However, because we do in fact reject Darwinism, abortion and sexual depravity we expect a continued acceleration of the vicious attacks against us."
And Falwell's evidently not exaggerating. His letter which is available by free e mail subscription to anyone who cares to sign up was a hot topic on the U.S. Queers discussion list. One participant wrote, "I wish he'd herniate himself through self-coitus."
Another list member by the name of blueeyeddevilin949 (referring to Falwell's comments) wrote, "Did this come from Fatwell's Immoral Minority (aka Moral Majority) list? And how can I get on it? I think I'll write a reply to this and let that fat disgusting piece of filth Fatwell know that the truth of the matter is that he and his group of professional liars are not only AS bad as the Taliban ... they're WORSE. At least the Taliban comes right out and says what they believe. Fatwell is a hypocrite who hides behind the Bible, preaching love but practicing hate, while attempting to shove his view of the way the world should be upon us. Isn't it about time this corpulent piece of fecal matter had a massive heart attack from all the lard in his blood and left the world a better place with his absence?"
But in what should maybe serve as a reminder that those who hate us are watching our every move, another member of the U.S. Queers list wrote, "I just like getting (Falwell's) message as soon as his side does, so our side can hear what he's saying. That whole know thyne enemy type of thing."
As conservative Christians, we had better know our enemy, because they are going out of their way to become familiar with us. For example. One civil libertarian group religiously records every broadcast of the 700 Club with the intent of knowing first hand what's been said, as well as getting the opportunity to see if host Pat Robertson or one of his guests make a "politically incorrect" statement.
Other groups have come out with briefing packets about how to deal effectively with the religious right. We are the subject of much discussion; even if you're not aware of it.
So what's the answer? At the very minimum, it's to strategize and keep as much of an eye on those who would wish us harm as they do on us. We must impact our homes, communities and cities with conservative Christian values before it's too late. And after reading Fineman's article, I wonder whether that time is almost here?
Jeremy Reynalds is a freelance writer and the founder and director of Joy Junction, New Mexico's largest emergency homeless shelter. He has a master's degree in communication from the University of New Mexico and is pursuing his PhD in intercultural education at Biola University in Los Angeles. He is married with five children and lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico. His work can be viewed here and weekly at www.americasvoices.org. He may be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com.
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