Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Lamb?

Apparently, many people.

In his Townhall column today, Michael Medved asks, " Why would a major corporation invest big money in a gratuitous insult of millions of potential customers who, according to the company’s own figures, represent a clear majority of the American public?"

Mr. Medved examines a full page ad appearing in The New York Times headlined "
“RELIGION=MADNESS?”, announcing the publication of A Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris. According to the ad, A Letter to a Christian Nation is "The courageous new book that arms all rational Americans with powerful arguments against their opponents on the Christian right."

Let me get this straight: there are Muslim leaders who are telling the U.S. to "convert or die" and we have to worry about the Christian Right?

I didn't know those Left Behind books were so darn powerful.

Of course, attacking the Christian Right is, for the most part, safe. Mr. Harris is not hiding himsself or his family in fear of their lives. George Soros is still happily giving money away. Michael Moore and Oliver Stone are still making movies that are being played in public theaters. Barbra Streisand can still claim she's Jewish while flipping her own hair in public and enjoying mu shu pork. No mosques have been burned. No iman has been shot in the back and killed on his way to his job.

So, while reading Mr. Medved's article, I had to wonder--as he did--why does the Left fear Christians so much? Why do they feel so threatened by a religion who has two primary Commandments: Love God With Your Whole Heart, Your Whole Soul, and Your Whole Mind and Love Your Neighbor as Yourself? Frankly, the second Commandment seems pretty close to what Lefties are always telling the rest of us that we should do.

Mr. Medved points out that,"...
as recently as 1955, the nation clearly exemplified all the accommodations to faith desired by religious conservatives for the future. Did the recital of a non-sectarian prayer after the pledge of allegiance in public school classrooms some fifty years ago constitute the essence of theocratic tyranny? Did minority religions find themselves relentlessly persecuted because local service clubs installed nativity scenes in public parks?"

Well, in some cases, yes. A friend of mine who grew up in Southern Ohio during the 1950's remembers reciting The Lord's Prayer after the Pledge of Allegiance with his class. The problem was the version used was the Protestant version and he was Roman Catholic. His parish priest, in those pre-Vatican II days, told the children that they were committing a sin by saying the Protestant version (it was heresy). But if they didn't say it, they got in trouble with the teacher.

I wonder what the Jewish students did?

Christians can't even agree on the Ten Commandments, the number of Psalms, or the Book of Tobit. How can we come up with a "non-sectarian" prayer?

However, I do not have a problem with a moment of silence (or a moment of reflection). I think removing religious symbols linked to the local through history, like the cross from the seal of the City of Los Angeles (c'mon, folks, the name of the city is religious!) is fatuous. And, if you're going to celebrate a religious holiday like Chinese New Year because it's quaint, colorful, and brings in a lot of tourist dollars, then you'd better be willing to allow displays and celebrations of other religious holidays.

Either we celebrate all ethnic and cultural diversity or we don't.

Still, that doesn't seem to explain the almost primal fear of Christianity that many secularists have.

Mr. Medved nails it, I believe, "In Letter to a Christian Nation, Sam Harris unwittingly provides the answer. Addressing his believing fellow citizens, he dramatically declaims: “If the basic tenets of Christianity are true, then there are some very grim surprises in store for nonbelievers like myself. You understand this. At least half of the American population understands this. So let us be honest with ourselves: in the fullness of time, one side is really going to win this argument, and the other side is really going to lose.”

So that's it: the Left sees this as a "win-lose" situation, despite many of them advocating "win-win" and "consensus." (Ironically, this was the way the Catholics saw things for, oh, about a millenium or so.) They marshall up all the logic and rationales they can; they search through history for examples of the Church Behaving Badly, and they contrast that with the "peaceful" and "holistic" native religions (ignoring human sacrifice and cannibalism if necessary).

But, like Jiminy Cricket in Pinocchio, that little voice just keeps whispering in their ears, "What if you're wrong?"