Liberal Paranoia About Christian Conservatives

February 25, 2010

The left’s paranoia about the intersection of Christianity and the public square continues unabated. It’s amazing how much they fear something that represents such a little threat to them.

In his column in the British newspaper The Guardian, Northeastern University associate journalism professor Dan Kennedy rails against Republicans’ “intolerance” of secularism and accuses them of representing a threat to the First Amendment.

In their penchant for projection, leftists accuse conservatives and Republicans of intolerance, when in fact, their own intolerance dominates the issues of freedom of speech and religion. Liberals accuse conservatives of being theocrats, when they are the ones trying to chill religious freedom and expression.

One would expect that Kennedy, having made these charges, would provide some proof in his column that Republicans have abridged or advocated abridging someone’s First Amendment rights — such as using the authority of government to infringe on citizens’ freedom of speech, press, religion, assembly or petition or somehow violating the establishment clause.

I searched in vain for the payoff. He provided no examples, no scintilla of proof that Republicans are even skirting up against an activity that could fairly be considered threatening to Americans’ First Amendment guarantees.

The main source of Kennedy’s current angst seems to be a few statements from Republican politicians at the Conservative Political Action Conference a week ago. Apparently, the greatest offender was Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, whom Kennedy describes as a “fire-breathing Christian warrior and aspiring presidential candidate in his spare time.”

What did Pawlenty say that struck such fear in Kennedy? He said: “I want to share with you four ideas that I think should carry us forward. … The first one is this: God’s in charge. … In the Declaration of Independence, it says we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights. It doesn’t say we’re endowed by Washington, D.C., or endowed by the bureaucrats or endowed by state government. It’s by our Creator that we are given these rights.”

Kennedy responds that Pawlenty misrepresented the Founders’ “intent” because Jefferson, the “primary author” of the declaration, deleted all references to Jesus’ deity from his personal Bible.

Jefferson’s Christianity may be subject to debate, but it is clear that he didn’t view himself as expressing his own views in the declaration; rather, “it was intended to be an expression of the American mind.” (The American mind, it should be noted, was decidedly Christian.) Plus, a congressional committee led by the devout John Adams made more than 80 changes, deleting nearly 500 words and adding two references to a providential God. The declaration was a corporate statement of Congress. Also, Jefferson was not present at the Constitutional Convention. So Kennedy’s reference to Jefferson is at best misleading, as is his convenient omission of many other relevant facts — including that 52 of the 56 signers of the declaration and 50 to 52 of the 55 signers of the Constitution were orthodox Trinitarian Christians.

Kennedy’s other proof of Pawlenty’s intolerance and “hatred”? He “oozed mild-mannered hatred for anyone who doesn’t share his beliefs.” Kennedy’s basis for that claim? Pawlenty “trashed anyone who attended ‘Ivy League schools’ or who go to ‘chablis-drinking, brie-eating parties in San Francisco’.”

Please get a life, Mr. Kennedy, and learn to take at least a little ribbing in exchange for your vitriol.

You see, in Kennedy’s leftist mind, if you simply disagree with and make fun of the left, you’re guilty of hatred. If you merely invoke God in your public pronouncements, such as Pawlenty’s “God’s in charge” or Huckabee’s call to “take this nation back for Christ,” you’re proposing “a theocracy of believers. It is an assault not just on anyone who isn’t one of them, but on the American idea, and on liberal democracies everywhere.”

Once again, Kennedy is projecting. He’s the one objecting to the speech of others. He’s the one accusing them of advocating a theocracy, when nothing could be farther from the truth. He’s the one exhibiting intolerance for the other man’s religious views and speech.

He cites no evidence of Republicans advocating any theocratic ideas. When Christians say God is in control, they mean that in the sense of his divine sovereignty — not as some endorsement of turning any political control over to a national church, much less any individual church.

When we witness this kind of scattershot Christian-bashing paranoia from the left, we must remember that you won’t find censorship of speech or thought or infringements on religious liberty emanating from conservatives or Republicans. Those impulses, when present, generally originate from the left.

So settle down, liberals. When it comes to threats to liberty, you have nothing to fear from us. We will fight to protect your religious liberties and even your political speech — wrong as it is. Can you say the same in reverse?