The Passion of the Left: Hating Christians

If viewers happened to be tuned into CSPAN several weeks ago, they were in for quite a spectacle. CSPAN was re—airing a conference that took place in May of 2005 with the ominous title, "Examining the Real Agenda of the Far Religious Right."

Sponsored by the New York Open Center, the conference was anything but open—minded. Instead, participants launched into a litany of complaints against the so—called Christian Right that bordered on bigotry. I half expected it to end with a pitchfork armed mob breaking down the doors of a local church.

Perusing the Open Center's website, one will find the sort of New Age psychobabble melded with eastern mysticism and apocalyptic environmentalism that is common on the left these days. Having been taught by multiculturalism to hate their own western religious background, they turn instead to the east. It just goes to show you that people need to believe in something.

Those who run the Open Center obviously believed they were enlightened in holding their anti—Christian confab, but elitist would be more like it. Every time a speaker referred to a particular Christian belief or quoted a remark they found particularly inflammatory, the audience snickered knowingly, as if to say, "what a fool." Obviously, the secular fundamentalists of the Open Center consider themselves far more reasonable than those nutty Christians. But judging by the level of paranoia expressed at the conference, I wouldn't bet on it.

At one point, a speaker spoke about the need "to save democracy" from the "Christian Right," to which the audience broke out in applause. An associate professor of comparative studies equated the zeal of the "Christian Right" with that of "suicide bombers." A former Pentecostal minister gave a presentation titled, "Christian Jihad," while someone claimed to unveil, "The Real Hidden Religious Agenda: The Theocratic States of America." For those suffering under such delusions, evangelical Christians are indeed the biggest threat to America and the entire world for that matter. Meanwhile, actual threats from a different religion go unnoticed.

Not once during the conference was it mentioned that the real suicide bombers are Islamists who have been killing innocent civilians all over the world. Call me crazy, but isn't the zealot who's actually acting on his beliefs just a tad scarier than the one who's simply talking about it? Anyway, in a democratic society, belief does not equal theocracy.

Islamists on the other hand, are actively pushing a system that hearkens back to the 7th Century and they're not taking no for an answer. To compare this approach to that of American citizens simply exercising their democratic rights is beyond ludicrous.

The conference attendees seemed particularly concerned with Christians who believe literally in the Book of Revelations, The End Days, The Rapture, Armageddon and so on. They labeled such beliefs Dominionism and decried its real or imagined influence. They spoke menacingly about Tim LaHaye's "Left Behind" series and referred to its "surprising popularity." The fact that 82% of the country is Christian seems not to have come under consideration. Much like those who lament the popularity of conservative talk radio as if it weren't simply a case of supply and demand, the Left is simply in denial about the nature of their country.

Lest it be thought that Christians were the sole objects of wrath, "Neoconservatives" or in other words Jews, were also reviled.

Apparently, it's the Christians and the Jews that are the problem.

The funny thing is that's exactly what the Islamists are always saying.

And that's exactly why some of us are so concerned with maintaining that bulwark of Western civilization, the Judeo—Christian alliance. At precisely the time that Jews, Christians and all those interested in advancing democracy should be banding together in the face of a fascistic and totalitarian threat, the Left would have us hasten our demise.

It's no coincidence that as Christianity has declined in the West, Islam has been ascendant. Whether through demographics in Europe or ideological sway in America, Islam is clearly on the rise. In an ironic twist you couldn't make up if you tried, the attacks of 9/11 seem actually to have helped this along. The number of Muslim converts is growing, with disaffected secularists being ripe for the picking.

Meanwhile, Saudi money continues to pour into the coffers of U.S. institutions and to taint future generations with the stain of Wahhabism.

The left flank in the battle against Christianity certainly hasn't been neglected. The fact that President Bush is a man of faith has upped the ante for the left and they've been in anti—Christian overdrive ever since his election. While organizations such as the ACLU and Americans United for Separation of Church and State were doing damage long before Bush's presidency, the campaign to erase Christianity from American public life has reached new heights in the past six years. This combined with the encroachments of Islamism has led to an ideological battle in which Christianity finds itself on the defensive.

Although almost a year ago, the attitudes expressed by leftist attendees at the Open Center conference have if anything magnified in the time since. A recent article by Bill Moyers demonstrated the same anti—Christian fervor, complete with references to the "rapture index." Moyers' main bone of contention is that evangelical Christians somehow threaten environmentalism. Never mind terrorism, it's the specter of global warming we should be worried about.

Then there's the new television show, The Book of Daniel, which portrays an Episcopal priest and his family as a collection of druggies, perverts and sociopaths. When NBC's Nashville affiliate chose not to run the show due to the large number of complaints from viewers, those on the left immediately cried, "censorship." To them, not publicizing one of their pet projects is tantamount to banning it.

Yet Christians are not taking the abuse lying down. Groups such as the American Center for Law and Justice, The Alliance Defense Fund and others have had great success tackling the legal front. The recent hoopla over the "war on Christmas" was really generated by the Left, which is simply outraged that Christians are now fighting back. Jews Against Anti—Christian Defamation have jumped into the fray as well, demonstrating that Christians are not alone in this struggle. The secularists' attempts at bullying are in fact starting to have the opposite effect and Christianity in America is now stronger than ever.

I certainly hope so, for in civilizational battles, those that cease to believe in anything tend to fall by the wayside. And if people aren't willing to fight for their civilization, there's always someone waiting in the wings that is.

Cinnamon Stillwell is a columnist for SFGate.com and a staff writer for the New Media Alliance. cinnamon@cinnamonstillwell.com

If viewers happened to be tuned into CSPAN several weeks ago, they were in for quite a spectacle. CSPAN was re—airing a conference that took place in May of 2005 with the ominous title, "Examining the Real Agenda of the Far Religious Right."

Sponsored by the New York Open Center, the conference was anything but open—minded. Instead, participants launched into a litany of complaints against the so—called Christian Right that bordered on bigotry. I half expected it to end with a pitchfork armed mob breaking down the doors of a local church.

Perusing the Open Center's website, one will find the sort of New Age psychobabble melded with eastern mysticism and apocalyptic environmentalism that is common on the left these days. Having been taught by multiculturalism to hate their own western religious background, they turn instead to the east. It just goes to show you that people need to believe in something.

Those who run the Open Center obviously believed they were enlightened in holding their anti—Christian confab, but elitist would be more like it. Every time a speaker referred to a particular Christian belief or quoted a remark they found particularly inflammatory, the audience snickered knowingly, as if to say, "what a fool." Obviously, the secular fundamentalists of the Open Center consider themselves far more reasonable than those nutty Christians. But judging by the level of paranoia expressed at the conference, I wouldn't bet on it.

At one point, a speaker spoke about the need "to save democracy" from the "Christian Right," to which the audience broke out in applause. An associate professor of comparative studies equated the zeal of the "Christian Right" with that of "suicide bombers." A former Pentecostal minister gave a presentation titled, "Christian Jihad," while someone claimed to unveil, "The Real Hidden Religious Agenda: The Theocratic States of America." For those suffering under such delusions, evangelical Christians are indeed the biggest threat to America and the entire world for that matter. Meanwhile, actual threats from a different religion go unnoticed.

Not once during the conference was it mentioned that the real suicide bombers are Islamists who have been killing innocent civilians all over the world. Call me crazy, but isn't the zealot who's actually acting on his beliefs just a tad scarier than the one who's simply talking about it? Anyway, in a democratic society, belief does not equal theocracy.

Islamists on the other hand, are actively pushing a system that hearkens back to the 7th Century and they're not taking no for an answer. To compare this approach to that of American citizens simply exercising their democratic rights is beyond ludicrous.

The conference attendees seemed particularly concerned with Christians who believe literally in the Book of Revelations, The End Days, The Rapture, Armageddon and so on. They labeled such beliefs Dominionism and decried its real or imagined influence. They spoke menacingly about Tim LaHaye's "Left Behind" series and referred to its "surprising popularity." The fact that 82% of the country is Christian seems not to have come under consideration. Much like those who lament the popularity of conservative talk radio as if it weren't simply a case of supply and demand, the Left is simply in denial about the nature of their country.

Lest it be thought that Christians were the sole objects of wrath, "Neoconservatives" or in other words Jews, were also reviled.

Apparently, it's the Christians and the Jews that are the problem.

The funny thing is that's exactly what the Islamists are always saying.

And that's exactly why some of us are so concerned with maintaining that bulwark of Western civilization, the Judeo—Christian alliance. At precisely the time that Jews, Christians and all those interested in advancing democracy should be banding together in the face of a fascistic and totalitarian threat, the Left would have us hasten our demise.

It's no coincidence that as Christianity has declined in the West, Islam has been ascendant. Whether through demographics in Europe or ideological sway in America, Islam is clearly on the rise. In an ironic twist you couldn't make up if you tried, the attacks of 9/11 seem actually to have helped this along. The number of Muslim converts is growing, with disaffected secularists being ripe for the picking.

Meanwhile, Saudi money continues to pour into the coffers of U.S. institutions and to taint future generations with the stain of Wahhabism.

The left flank in the battle against Christianity certainly hasn't been neglected. The fact that President Bush is a man of faith has upped the ante for the left and they've been in anti—Christian overdrive ever since his election. While organizations such as the ACLU and Americans United for Separation of Church and State were doing damage long before Bush's presidency, the campaign to erase Christianity from American public life has reached new heights in the past six years. This combined with the encroachments of Islamism has led to an ideological battle in which Christianity finds itself on the defensive.

Although almost a year ago, the attitudes expressed by leftist attendees at the Open Center conference have if anything magnified in the time since. A recent article by Bill Moyers demonstrated the same anti—Christian fervor, complete with references to the "rapture index." Moyers' main bone of contention is that evangelical Christians somehow threaten environmentalism. Never mind terrorism, it's the specter of global warming we should be worried about.

Then there's the new television show, The Book of Daniel, which portrays an Episcopal priest and his family as a collection of druggies, perverts and sociopaths. When NBC's Nashville affiliate chose not to run the show due to the large number of complaints from viewers, those on the left immediately cried, "censorship." To them, not publicizing one of their pet projects is tantamount to banning it.

Yet Christians are not taking the abuse lying down. Groups such as the American Center for Law and Justice, The Alliance Defense Fund and others have had great success tackling the legal front. The recent hoopla over the "war on Christmas" was really generated by the Left, which is simply outraged that Christians are now fighting back. Jews Against Anti—Christian Defamation have jumped into the fray as well, demonstrating that Christians are not alone in this struggle. The secularists' attempts at bullying are in fact starting to have the opposite effect and Christianity in America is now stronger than ever.

I certainly hope so, for in civilizational battles, those that cease to believe in anything tend to fall by the wayside. And if people aren't willing to fight for their civilization, there's always someone waiting in the wings that is.

Cinnamon Stillwell is a columnist for SFGate.com and a staff writer for the New Media Alliance. cinnamon@cinnamonstillwell.com