Editorial writers have an advantage over journalists. Journalists, at least in the days when fact checking was an honored part of the profession, had to get their stories straight. Writing an opinion column that reads like a news story has become fashionable. Opinion trumps facts. The latest entry into fantasy land is an article by Leonard Pitts who writes for the Miami Herald. He takes on the so-called Christian right, every liberal’s whipping boy these days. He begins his article on “Americans rethink religious right” with the claim that he had read a magazine article about 25 years ago that called attention to the Christian right. He doesn’t tell us the author, the name of the article, or where it appeared. He only says that “it was prescient.”
The Christian right is “well-funded” and “well-organized,” Pitts tells his readers as if this is sinister and un-American. As if liberal movements like the ACLU, NAACP, labor unions, environmental groups, and abortion rights groups aren’t well-funded and well-organized. Some of these Christian right advocates sit on school boards and have been elected to state legislatures. I know this is shocking. But it’s true. People who hold a particular religious view are politically active. If Pitts had made a similar charge against Jews, the Anti Defamation League would be all over him.
In an attempt to make his case against the Christian right Pitts dives in the shallow end of the pool. “And along the way, books were burned and banned.” Who has burned and banned books? Pitts doesn’t say. Of course, he brings up the creation versus evolution debate. He believes any discussion of creation should be banned from government schools. Atheists and liberals are the biggest book and idea banners in America.
Pitts then tells us that “a lawmaker suggested unmarried pregnant women be prohibited from teaching in schools.” Notice that it’s “a lawmaker.” Not lawmakers. There are tens of thousands of lawmakers in the United States, and Pitts has found one of them who has “suggested” that unmarried women not be allowed to teach in schools. Given the high incidence of unwed mothers, especially in the black community, it’s not such a whacked out idea. But still, he’s only found one lawmaker. Liberals are always so concerned about unmarried pregnant women, while they support abortion on demand.
Pitts cites a Gallup Poll “that suggests that people are becoming a little concerned about the power of the Christian right.” He claims the poll shows that “39 percent of us now say the religious right has too much influence over the Bush administration.” But consider the other percentages revealed in the poll. Another 39 percent “think the Christian right has just the right amount of influence” and “18 percent believes it has too little.” Do the math: 57 percent believe the “agenda” of the Christian right is a good thing. Pitts “chooses to believe” that “people are beginning to have their doubts about the new American theocracy.” Ignorance, thy name is Leonard Pitts. Considering that only 51 percent of voters voted for George Bush in the last election, 57 percent is a huge number. That means some of John Kerry’s voters like what the Religious right is doing.
Pitts moves from ignorance to absurd when he writes, “Yes this is, as the fundamentalists are fond of saying, a Christian nation. Thing is, it’s also a Jewish, Muslim, atheist and gay nation.” Of course, following Pitts’ logic, it’s also a Ku Klux Klan, racist, pedophile, and rapist nation. If we’re going to include, let’s include everybody. What “fundamentalists” mean when they assert that America was founded as a Christian nation is that the moral foundation of America was based on biblical values, that our rights, to use the language of the Declaration of Independence, are an endowment from the Creator. That’s why laws prohibiting women from killing their preborn babies and men from sodomizing other men and young boys in the name of “love” and “civil rights” and parading their sexual lifestyle in front of the world were written into law. Call it a theocracy if you will, but it was a better America with these prohibitive laws on the books.
Pitts claims that the Christian right is all about “pious moralizing” and “self-righteousness” rather than “right.” But how does Pitts know what’s right? What standard does he want this nation to follow? He tells us that we must “inculcate respect for difference” and “respect for the laws and customs that protect differences.” What does this mean? What is the basis of this concept? Does it include all differences just because they’re differences?
There was a time when racists wanted “respect for difference,” the difference between the white and black races: Different seats on a bus, different rest rooms, and different water fountains. The laws at that time were written to protect these differences. Was it “pious moralizing” and “self-righteousness” when Rosa Parks said no to the back of the bus in defiance of the law? Was it wrong when blacks joined together into a unified voting block so that more than 90 percent of them now vote for a single political party?