- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 26, 2004

Panicky liberals

“Secularists are in a state of panic about the role of evangelical Christians in the re-election of George Bush. They actually believe that American democracy is in danger, that we are on the verge of becoming a theocracy,” Gene Edward Veith writes in World, a magazine that reports the news from what it calls “a perspective committed to the Bible as the inerrant Word of God.”

” ‘Putting God in the public square runs the risk of turning our democracy into a theocracy,’ frets DeWayne Wickham in USA Today. Leonard Pitts of the Miami Herald warns darkly of ‘the soldiers of the new American theocracy who want to force “creation science” on the schools.’

“Former Democratic presidential candidate Gary Hart warns that ‘America is a secular, not a theocratic, republic. Because of this, it should concern us that declarations of “faith” are quickly becoming a condition for seeking public office.’

“Historian Garry Wills calls Nov. 2 ‘the day the Enlightenment went out,’ saying that with the influence of Christian ‘fundamentalists,’ Americans have now come to resemble the Islamic jihadists that we are fighting,” Mr. Veith said.

“According to this way of thinking, which has become commonplace in academia, evangelicals and jihadists are essentially the same. They both oppose homosexuality (as if opposing gay marriage were the same thing as stoning homosexuals to death). They are both ‘anti-women’ (with opposition to abortion as the moral equivalent of the utter subjugation of women in Muslim countries).

“They are both opposed to modern science (meaning skepticism about evolution and revulsion at embryonic stem-cell research is the same as Muslim primitivism). Fundamentalists of both sides are violent, murderous and oppressive (with the war against terrorism as the moral equivalent of terrorism itself.)

“The line of thinking considers President Bush to be no different from Osama bin Laden, Christian conservatives to be just as scary as Muslim conservatives, and America as perhaps soon resembling Afghanistan under the Taliban.”

Mr. Veith added: “Conservative Christians actually are more supportive of reason than postmodern secularists. Note, for example, who is descending into irrational hysteria.”

Come home, America

George McGovern, the former senator from South Dakota and 1972 Democratic presidential nominee, has volunteered his support for Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld — sort of.

“I’m for keeping Donald H. Rumsfeld as secretary of defense because he is against increasing the number of American soldiers in Iraq. Sending more soldiers only means more targets for those Iraqis who don’t want our army occupying their country,” Mr. McGovern said in a letter to the New York Times, published Saturday.

“I did not want any Americans to risk their lives in Iraq. We should bring home those who are there. So better Mr. Rumsfeld than some eager beaver who wants to double our army in the desert as we repeatedly did in the jungle to no avail in the 1960s and ‘70s. We toppled Saddam Hussein; as George Aiken, that wonderful old Republican senator, said of an earlier time of troubles, declare victory and come home.”

Mr. McGovern added: “I tried to persuade Santa Claus to bring our troops home for Christmas, but he said, ‘No, Rumsfeld sees light at the end of the tunnel if we hang in there and don’t listen to old veterans like McGovern.’ ”

Award winners

“A Dec. 22 press release from the interfaith Becket Fund for Religious Liberty announces the ‘Ebenezer Award’ for 2004: a lump of coal in a red stocking sent by FedEx to the person or group responsible for the most ridiculous affront to the Christmas and Hanukkah holidays,’ ” the Wall Street Journal notes.

“This year’s winner is Principal Mark Robertson of Seattle’s Lake Washington High School, who canceled a performance of ‘A Christmas Carol’ by a private group because it might inject religion into a public school. Coming in second, with a dishonorable mention, is the Plano School District near Dallas, for ‘prohibiting student speech about Christmas so severely that, [on Dec. 16], a federal court ordered the school to allow students to engage in religious expression at the school’s ‘Winter Break’ party,” the newspaper said.

“The Becket Fund also cited Macy’s for ordering employees to stop saying ‘Merry Christmas’ and for changing decorations to read ‘Happy Holidays’ or ‘Season’s Greetings.’ As the Fund’s media and legal counsel, Jared Leland, explained: ‘It’s ironic that the setting for the classic Christmas film “Miracle on 34th Street” … suddenly forgot its history. Not to mention the reason why the bulk of its customers come flooding in this time of year.’ ”

Falwell’s new group

The Rev. Jerry Falwell has started the Faith and Values Coalition, which he describes as a “21st-century resurrection of the Moral Majority.”

The new coalition will lobby for pro-life judicial appointments; a federal amendment barring same-sex “marriage”; and the election of another conservative president in 2008, CNSNews.com reports

Mr. Falwell, 71, said he would serve as national chairman of the new coalition for four years.

“Following the sweeping re-election of President Bush and a new generation of conservative lawmakers nationwide, a new organization, the Faith and Values Coalition, has been launched,” Mr. Falwell announced last week from his headquarters in Lynchburg, Va.

He said the group would capitalize on the momentum of the Nov. 2 elections “to maintain an evangelical revolution of voters who will continue to go to the polls to ‘vote Christian.’ “

Mathew Staver, founder and general counsel of the Orlando, Fla.-based Liberty Counsel, will serve as vice chairman of the Faith and Values Coalition. Mr. Falwell’s son, Jonathan, will serve as executive director. And theologian Tim LaHaye will serve as the board chairman.

“One of our primary commitments is to help make President Bush’s second term the most successful in American history,” Mr. Falwell said. “He will certainly need the consistent prayer and support of the evangelical community as he continues to spearhead the international war on terror and the effort to safeguard America.”

Rangel’s analysis

Rep. Charles B. Rangel, New York Democrat, appearing yesterday on CNN’s “Late Edition” with Wolf Blitzer, offered the following pithy analysis of the 2004 presidential election:

“Even today, the people doubt whether we should be involved in the war [in Iraq]. But once you’re in, all Americans want to get out. And they obviously thought that Bush could get us out a lot better than John Kerry.”

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes.com.

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