We’ve had Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty, one of those well-meaning Herculean efforts from the liberals that cost who knows what? We are, for all practical purposes, as poor as we were in 1964, when our president declared that war.
And there is the continuation of Ronald Reagan’s War on Drugs, a strange battle that imprisons the poor and hasn’t lessened our thirst for illegal drugs an iota. An iota is a very small amount. Come to think of it, the miniscule drop in the poverty rate may be due to jailing so many of the poor.
We’re excellent at declaring wars on this and that social issue and spectacularly unsuccessful when it comes to the shooting kind. But that’s another issue.
I was amazed to read just yesterday that you needn’t travel to the Middle East to find a War on Christians. Rick Scarborough, a large-caliber televangelist guy (what other kind is there?) hosted the initial declaration of this particular war. Turns out that the Situation Room in his reenactment of Onward Christian Soldiers was a small ballroom in the Omni Shoreham Hotel over in Rock Creek Park. Alan Cooperman reported the two-day strategic session in the Washington Post, artfully titled "War on Christians and the Values Voters in 2006."
The honor roll of kooks playing to his choir included Tom DeLay, who took the "chattering classes" to task for thinking there is no war on Christians. The same chattering classes who seem to think Tom’s a crook. Chattering classes is a new buzz-word. The President used it the other day, so I guess that puts a sort of national stamp of approval on it, although it’s not nearly so clever as Spiro Agnew’s “nattering nabobs of negativity.”
According to Tom, "We are after all a society that abides abortion on demand, that has killed millions of innocent children, that degrades the institution of marriage and often treats Christianity like some second-rate superstition. Seen from this perspective, of course there is a war on Christianity." I clench my teeth and refuse the easy comparisons Tom sets himself up for.
Additional kooksters included Senators John Cornyn and Sam Brownback, as well as conservative Christian leaders Phyllis Schlafly, Rod Parsley, Gary Bauer, Janet Parshall and Alan Keyes. Each and all of them no doubt felt their image needed the photo-op burnishing of a war against something and what better target than their political base? What better year than a mid-term election year?
Cooperman writes “The opening session was devoted to "reports from the frontlines" on "persecution" of Christians in the United States and Canada, including an artist whose paintings were barred from a municipal art show in Deltona, Fla., because they contained religious themes.”
Whar’s my shootin’ iron. Man the barricades. It’s painful to have people wishin’ me Happy Holidays on Christmas and downright sorrowful folks just don’t understand Franklin Graham, when he says that Islam "is a very evil and wicked religion." But damn-nation, when municipal art shows won’t let a good, Christian artist dis-play his good Christian art . . . it’s war! Municipal art shows are the heart and soul of Christian belief.
According to a 2004 poll, three-quarters of evangelicals believe they are a minority under siege and nearly half believe they are looked down upon by most of their fellow citizens.
I know, it’s hard to believe.
K. Hollyn Hollman, of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, takes issue with those who find themselves outraged:
"Certainly religious persecution existed in our history, but to claim that these examples amount to religious persecution disrespects the experiences of people who have been jailed and died because of their faith."
Further in Cooperman’s piece, Robert M. Franklin, a minister in the Church of God in Christ and professor of social ethics at Emory University is quoted,
"This is a skirmish over religious pluralism, and the inclination to see it as a war against Christianity strikes me as a spoiled-brat response by Christians who have always enjoyed the privileges of a majority position."
The pastor of a Congregational Church in Holland, Mass., said that after hearing about a gay beauty pageant in California, he decided to hold a "Mr. Heterosexual Contest" in Worcester. "It was just an event to proclaim the truth that God created us all heterosexual," he said. But to his surprise, "even Bible-believing churches were not on board. They said it wasn’t loving."
I don’t know about loving, but an attitude like that, espoused from the pulpit, might get you looked down upon by most of your fellow citizens.
But then again, war is hell.