- The Washington Times - Monday, February 19, 2007

Loathing Christians

“Heavens, it’s getting crowded in the pews these days — at least with Democratic presidential candidates,” Mary Eberstadt writes in the Wall Street Journal.

“Here is Sen. Barack Obama in California’s Saddleback pulpit at the invitation of mega-selling pastor Rick Warren. There is Sen. Hillary Clinton with downcast eyes in Newsweek, praying before the cameras in New York’s Riverside Church. And there preaches John Edwards, also in Riverside Church, weaving his personal faith into everything from AIDS to the minimum wage. Clearly the push is on to show that, for now anyway, the Democratic hopefuls are just plain folks in the religion department,” said Ms. Eberstadt, who is a fellow at the Hoover Institution and editor of the newly released “Why I Turned Right: Leading Baby Boom Conservatives Chronicle Their Political Journeys.”

“All the more reason to plumb the curious episode of Amanda Marcotte, that blogger for the Edwards campaign who resigned [last] Monday and was followed out the door Tuesday by another technical consultant, Melissa McEwan. Both quit thanks to circulation by conservatives of some of these former staffers’ Internet musings. That is to say, in Ms. Marcotte’s case especially: scatological Catholic-baiting rants about ‘theocracy’ marked by leering references to the pope and liberal use of [obscenity].

“So far, so unremarkable. Just being a bilious feminist with a potty mouth doesn’t much distinguish one in the blogosphere these days. What does matter is something else: We have here a Rosencrantz and Guildenstern moment, in which the fate of bit players becomes emblematic of a larger drama.

“For what the blogger tempest really illuminates is a fact that could come to haunt the Democrats as they vie for national office: namely, that their past few wilderness years have also been boom years for the church-loathing liberal/left punditry. As a result, anti-Christian invective now graces (or disgraces) many of the books, magazines, Web sites and blogs to which liberals, including the Democratic elite, habitually look for ideas.

“One motto of this cottage industry is that the most serious threat to the American republic can be found in, no, not those religious fundamentalists, the ones that first leap to mind after 9/11; but, incredibly, certain other believers — our nation’s Christians.”

Back to the future

“Democrats have struggled for a generation to escape the crippling public perception that they are soft on national security. Majority Democrats in the House of Representatives have now revived their party’s electoral curse,” the San Diego Union-Tribune’s Robert J. Caldwell writes.

“The House vote Friday for a Democratic leadership resolution opposing President Bush’s plan to reinforce U.S. troops in Iraq was lopsidedly partisan. Nearly all Democrats voted for it. All but a relative handful of Republicans voted against it,” Mr. Caldwell noted.

“Yes, it is a nonbinding resolution, meaning it has no force in law. Bush is free to ignore it, as he already has said he will. And, yes, it contained political cover language expressing support for American troops in Iraq. Thus, as virtually all Democrats proclaimed during the House’s four days of debate on the resolution, Democrats can claim that they ‘support the troops.’

“But House Democrats are now on record as formally opposing the troops’ mission — a potentially decisive effort to stop the violence in Baghdad and defeat the Sunni insurgency in Anbar province.”

A warm religion

“Global-warming doomsayers were out and about in a big way recently, but the rain came in central Queensland, then here in Sydney,” Catholic Cardinal George Pell writes in the Sunday Telegraph, an Australian newspaper.

“January also was unusually cool,” the cardinal said.

“We have been subjected to a lot of nonsense about climate disasters, as some zealots have been presenting extreme scenarios to frighten us.

“They claim ocean levels are about to rise spectacularly, there could be the occasional tsunami as high as an eight-story building, and the Amazon Basin could be destroyed as the ice cap in the Arctic and Greenland melts.

“An overseas magazine called for Nuremberg-style trials for global-warming skeptics, and a U.S. television correspondent compared skeptics to ‘Holocaust deniers.’

“A local newspaper editorial’s complaint about the doomsayers’ religious enthusiasm is unfair to mainstream Christianity.

“Christians don’t go against reason, although we sometimes go beyond it in faith to embrace the probabilities.

“What we were seeing from the doomsayers was an induced dose of mild hysteria — semi-religious if you like, but dangerously close to superstition.

“I’m deeply skeptical about man-made catastrophic global warming, but still open to further evidence.

“I would be surprised if industrial pollution and carbon emissions had no ill-effects at all.

“But enough is enough.”

Skipping a vote

“When Majority Leader Harry Reid announced late Thursday that there would be a Saturday Senate session to yet again debate a cowardly nonbinding Iraq resolution, Arizona Sen. John McCain didn’t change his weekend campaign plans,” Kathryn Jean Lopez writes at National Review Online.

“Good for Senator McCain,” the writer said.

“The Democrats — and at least one GOP opponent’s camp — sent the news that McCain would spend Saturday in Iowa not Washington around as if they had McCain in a Gotcha! moment. …

“Saturday’s proceedings however, are a disgrace. John McCain, who was for the surge long before the White House was, has made his position on the surge clear. Though vote skipping is not something to encourage in a United States senator, you don’t have to be a campaign donor to be glad that he went to Iowa as planned this Saturday.”

Backing Hillary

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada has not endorsed a Democratic presidential candidate, but his son has.

Rory Reid is signing on as Nevada chairman for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential bid. He will be senior adviser on Western issues, including public lands, transportation, resources and conservation, growth and affordable housing, the New York senator’s campaign said in a statement yesterday.

Mr. Reid, 44, is chairman of the Clark County Commission in Nevada and a former chairman of the Nevada State Democratic Party, the Associated Press reports.

He was elected Clark County commissioner in 2002 and was re-elected last fall. His colleagues appointed him chairman in 2005 and again in January.

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

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