It’s easy to dismiss Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean as a hard-core ideologue, a loose-lipped lightening-rod for the Democratic Party, and a man who’s perfected a form of yoga which involves opening his mouth and inserting his foot to the knee.
It’s always a mistake to underestimate the opposition.
Dean’s seemingly casual remark that the GOP is "pretty much a white Christian party," was in fact a calculated appeal to his party’s Christian-hating base. It’s red-meat intentionally tossed to those who view Christians as public enemy #1 – a clear and present danger to democracy, liberty and tolerance.
Dean’s right, by the way. Most Republicans are white Christians (82 percent). So are most Americans (67 percent). Shame on the American people, for being so Caucasian and Christian!
Speaking at a forum in San Francisco, Dean divulged that Republicans are "a pretty monolithic party. They all behave the same. They all look the same. It’s pretty much a white Christian party."
So, Dr. Dean thinks Secretary of State Condeleza Rice, Janice Rogers Brown (just confirmed for the U.S. Appeals Court), and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales all look like Dick Cheney. Here is a new definition of ideological blinders.
Please, tell me the DNC Chairman isn’t actually accusing the GOP of being "monolithic" – especially with the memory fresh in our minds of delegates to the 2000 Democratic National Convention booing the Boy Scouts for refusing to bend to the San Francisco ethos.
When was the last time the Democrats had a speaker at one of their national gatherings who is pro-life, anti-gay marriage or in favor of an assertive foreign policy? (Because he opposed abortion, then-Pennsylvania Governor Bob Casey was barred from addressing his party’s 1992 convention.) It’s really a hoot for the head of the Democratic Party to complain that the GOP is monolithic.
In an interview with NBC, Dean attempted to clarify his "white Christian" comment, remarking that Republicans "have the agenda of the conservative Christians." And Democrats consider that nothing less than apocalyptic. For years they’ve been telling us that the GOP has been hijacked by wild-eyed Christian "fundamentalists" who are intent on keeping women barefoot and (very) pregnant, returning America to the morality of the 1950s, and establishing a theocracy.
While Republicans chortle over Dean’s latest comments (Sen. John McCain called the former Vermont governor "the gift that keeps on giving") and elected Democrats rush to distance themselves from the leader of their party (Senators Barack Obama and Joe Biden and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi all have criticized Dean’s remarks), in reality, the DNC chair reflects the views of his militantly secularist party. In fact, compared to some of his colleagues, Dean is reticent here.
- In a recent talk show interview, Democratic Senator Tom Harkin charged that Christian broadcasters are "sort of our home-grown Taliban." The Iowan added, "They have a direct line to God. And if you don’t tune into their line, you’re obviously on Satan’s line." On the other hand, the Democratic Party has long maintained that if you don’t agree with it on quotas, you’re a racist. If you dissent from its relentless drive to expand the welfare state, you hate the poor. If you’re not in favor of abortion-on-demand and comparable worth legislation, you’re a misogynist, etc.
- During the debate on ending the permanent filibuster of Bush judges, Sen. Ken Salazar (a Colorado Democrat) called Focus on the Family and its founder James Dobson "the Anti-Christ." Does Sen. Salazar then believe that America’s most popular Christian broadcaster is "on Satan’s line"?
- In a profile piece in The New Yorker, published last September, former Vice President Al Gore (who endorsed Dean for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination), observed that the faith of President George W. Bush was "the American version of the same fundamentalist impulse that we see in Saudi Arabia, in Kashmir, in religions around the world." In other words, because Bush talks about Jesus and wants to get religious groups involved in solving social problems, he is the moral equivalent of true-believers who persecute other faiths, and fanatics who behead hostages.
- Getting down to the nitty-gritty, in an article in the December 1, 2003. issue of The American Prospect, Robert Reich (Bill Clinton’s Secretary of Labor) disclosed that the "evangelical right" despises religious liberty and tolerance and seeks nothing less than a "state-sponsored religion." Which would be what – the evangelicalism of James Dobson, the Catholicism of Pope Benedict XVI, the Methodism of President Bush or, perhaps, the Judaism of Dr. Laura Schlessinger? To ask the question is to highlight the absurdity of Reich’s pronouncement.
Thus, according to Dean Democrats:
- The GOP has the agenda of Christian conservatives;
- Christian conservatives are our homegrown Taliban – violence-prone fundamentalists who are identical to the Saudis and other Islamic militants;
- And – oh, yes – Christian conservatives and their Republican lackeys seek to establish a state-sponsored religion which will, presumably, reprise the Salem witch trials and Spanish Inquisition.
And Democrats still can’t figure out why most Christians view them with emotions ranging from distrust to revulsion. It’s been decades since Dean’s party carried the white, Christian vote. In the last election, John Kerry (ostensibly a Catholic) lost the Catholic vote to Protestant George Bush, while the American Catholic hierarchy discreetly rooted for the defeat of the one-time altar boy.
Straight-talking Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, said Dean’s "snide remark" is "what one would expect from someone who regards white Christians as the enemy."
Precisely. Despite occasionally going through the motions – when he was a presidential candidate Dr. Dean said he had enormous "respect" for Jesus, in the same campaign, the DNC briefly had a religion-outreach director who’d signed on to a lawsuit to remove "one nation under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance – Democrats wrote off authentic Christians long ago.
Dean is playing to the Democrats’ core constituency – the ACLU, the National Organization for Women, People for the American Way, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Hollywood, academia and the establishment media – which is rabidly anti-Christian.
Their sentiments were graphically – one might say pornographically – illustrated in a diatribe of Timothy Shortell, an associate professor of sociology at the City University of New York.
Shortell lost his chance to become department chairman, when his views on religious people ("moral retards") became widely known.
"On a personal level, religiosity is merely annoying – like bad taste," the professor wrote in a 2001 on-line article. Still, Shortell continued: "This immaturity represents a significant social problem…because religious adherents fail to recognize their limitations. So, in the name of their faith, these moral retards are running around pointing fingers and doing real harm to others. One only has to read the newspaper to see the results of their handiwork. They discriminate, exclude, and belittle. They make a virtue of close-mindedness and virulent ignorance. They are an ugly, violent lot." Not only that, they also engage in ad hominem attacks.
In Shortell’s remarks resound the Left’s 200-year war on faith – from the French Revolution to the Bolshevik Revolution and beyond – from priests being sent to the guillotine, to Lenin shutting churches, to Castro prohibiting public celebration of Christmas, to ongoing anti-religious campaigns of the People’s Republic of China.
But, really, is there anything in Shortell’s vicious rant that the average New York Times editorial writer, or Hollywood scriptwriter, or leftist activist would disagree with? And, once again, they represent the Democrats ideological heartland.
Don’t criticize Howard Dean for being offensive. Thank him for being honest. Whatever election-year charades they go through, whatever smokescreens they throw up, Dean’s comments are but a modest reflection of the Democrats’ fear of and loathing for Christians.