I do not understand the persistent, vocal assertions from some groups of people that there is some War on Christians going on in this country. It just isn’t true. These groups ordinarily claim that some pervasive culture of licentiousness is being actively promoted purposely to undermine Christian values, but in reality, whatever license flourishes in our society does so because the market wishes it. Liberalism merely recognizes that one ought not legislate a citizen’s private choices with which others might disagree.
Which is, at heart, the problem. The groups who claim there is a War do not want state neutrality on religion–they want active promotion and enforcement of their personal religion. From that standpoint, it might indeed appear there was a War on Christians in this country, because this country was never meant to have an enforced state religion.
Dana Milbank writes, in a column on the Washington Post website,
There are those who would say Tom DeLay lost his job as House majority leader because he was indicted by a Texas grand jury on charges of money laundering and conspiracy, or because of his extensive ties to lawbreaking lobbyist Jack Abramoff. But they would be wrong.
In fact, the Texas Republican fell from power because he is a Christian.
That, at least, is the view of Rick Scarborough, convener of a conference this week called “The War on Christians.”
Now this is a new development. Scarborough apparently claims that “the most damaging thing that Tom DeLay has done in his life is take his faith seriously into public office, which made him a target for all those who despise the cause of Christ.” How can this possibly be taken seriously? DeLay was indicted for money laundering, which is illegal, and that’s what made him a target. Before that, he was a target for being arrogant and, you know, the House majority leader of a party with whom half the country disagrees.
In fact, let’s examine a snippet of DeLay’s speech from the conference (via Milbank’s column):
But this was not the time for a DeLay confessional. Instead, he gave his view on the War on Christians. “Sides are being chosen, and the future of man hangs in the balance!” he warned. “The enemies of virtue may be on the march, but they have not won, and if we put our trust in Christ, they never will. . . . It is for us then to do as our heroes have always done and put our faith in the perfect redeeming love of Jesus Christ.”
You know, maybe money laundering isn’t the most damaging thing DeLay’s ever done after all. Maybe being crazy is.
Conferences like this show the real purpose of the War on Christians claim: to manipulate religion for political gain. By pretending Christian zeal, and victimization by anti-religious culture, DeLay hopes to convince voters to like him, and vote for him, and to ignore his possibly unethical behavior. It is a shameless tactic that debases both the belief and the believer alike.