What we’re up against

An opinion piece in the LA Times by radio host Frank Pastore:

Christians, in politics as in evangelism, are not against people or the world. But we are against false ideas that hold good people captive. On Tuesday, this nation rejected liberalism, primarily because liberalism has been taken captive by the left. Since 1968, the left has taken millions captive, and we must help those Democrats who truly want to be free to actually break free of this evil ideology.

In the weeks and months to come, we will hear the voices of well-meaning people beseeching the victor to compromise with the vanquished. This would be a mistake. Conservatives must not compromise with the left. Good people holding false ideas are won over only if we defeat what is false with the truth.

The left must be defeated in the realm of ideas, just as it was on Tuesday at the ballot box. The left hates the ballot box and loves its courtrooms, which is why it hopes to continue to advance its agenda through the courts. This must end.

The left bewitches with its potions and elixirs, served daily in its strongholds of academe, Hollywood and old media. It vomits upon the morals, values and traditions we hold sacred: God, family and country. As we learned Tuesday, it is clear the left holds the majority of Americans, the majority of us, in contempt

And bush is beholden to these people and their beliefs; he owes them some big favors. I don’t want to think about it. I want to go away for a few years so I don’t have to watch.

Link via Kevin Drum.

UPDATE: There is an absolutely great article at Slate by novelist Jane Smiley on this topic — what we’re up against. She is devastating. Sample:

The reason the Democrats have lost five of the last seven presidential elections is simple: A generation ago, the big capitalists, who have no morals, as we know, decided to make use of the religious right in their class war against the middle class and against the regulations that were protecting those whom they considered to be their rightful prey—workers and consumers. The architects of this strategy knew perfectly well that they were exploiting, among other unsavory qualities, a long American habit of virulent racism, but they did it anyway, and we see the outcome now—Cheney is the capitalist arm and Bush is the religious arm. They know no boundaries or rules. They are predatory and resentful, amoral, avaricious, and arrogant. Lots of Americans like and admire them because lots of Americans, even those who don’t share those same qualities, don’t know which end is up. Can the Democrats appeal to such voters? Do they want to? The Republicans have sold their souls for power. Must everyone?

Progressives have only one course of action now: React quickly to every outrage—red state types love to cheat and intimidate, so we have to assume the worst and call them on it every time. We have to give them more to think about than they can handle—to always appeal to reason and common sense, and the law, even when they can’t understand it and don’t respond. They cannot be allowed to keep any secrets. Tens of millions of people didn’t vote—they are watching, too, and have to be shown that we are ready and willing to fight, and that the battle is worth fighting. And in addition, we have to remember that threats to democracy from the right always collapse. Whatever their short-term appeal, they are borne of hubris and hatred, and will destroy their purveyors in the end.

Yes. Time for us to become more shrill and more outspoken than ever — when called for. Silence equals death, especially in this environment, when the fate of the world hangs in the balance.

The Discussion: 19 Comments

Hi, Pekingduck, you’ve got my vote. And here’s some good news for your broken heart. You are currently in the second place with 17% votes, holding a comfortable lead over your superstars like Wonkette and Back to Iraq. Given the latest election results, it is perfectly likely that you will win the popular vote by a huge landslide, although this may be beyond your comprehension. So cheer up. Seriously, I want to thank you for your sincere concern for China and your excellent comments on the potential crises looming in the country. I don’t agree with you on everything, but I certainly share your idea that 1.3 billion Chinese people deserve a more free and open society. Of course, the focus of this blog has not been so much on China lately, for completely understandable and justified reasons. But I hope you can write more about China when you get through this difficult time.

Like you used to be an American living in China, I’m a Chinese living in the U.S. For the first time in my life, I saw an election going on around me. And this one, as I understand, was one of the most dramatic presidential elections in the country’s history. As a foreigner, an outsider to American politics, I want to offer a few observations that may be interesting to you insiders. First, about the blue states and the red states. I already gave up in explaining to my friends in China that what they think to be “American” is considered “Non-American” in America. For my friends, the word “America” means Boston, NYC, L.A., and Chicago. They can’t imagine why a presidential candidate would be put at a disadvantage simply because he’s from Massachusetts, where according to our history book, the American Revolution began. Second, about moral values. It’s certainly news to my friends that a lot of Americans vote for “moral values”: faith and family. I mean no offence here, but America does not distinguish itself by the best of the world-class family values. (You lived in China before, so I assume you understand the power of family values there). But apparently almost a quarter of American voters care more about family and faith than any other thing in the world, either it’s their own wallets or loss of thousands of lives in Iraq. Third, about the word “liberal”. My friends think Americans must love liberals to death since the country do all kinds of things (like invading Iraq) under the slogan of freedom and liberty. I tried to explain to them “liberal” and “liberty” has fundamentally different meanings even though they share the same word root, but they don’t understand the real difference. Neither do I. I guess it’s really hard to comprehend for anyone whose mother tongue is not English. So it seems to me that the whole world just misunderstands the U.S.A. When accusing America of ignoring the voices from other countries, people around the world fail to realize that the whole world is so out of touch of America. We just admire or hate the U.S.A. in our head, not the U.S.A. in reality. So probably all the tensions between America and the other parts of the world are actually due to a miscommunication disaster. This should be corrected immediately by communicating to the world in simple and unambiguous language. Tell the world Americans value nothing more than faith,family, and nationalism. Drop the use of such words as “freedom” or “liberty” if “liberals” are such hated by so many at home. These words would do no good but create confusion.

November 5, 2004 @ 2:29 pm | Comment

Thanks for ther great comment, Hui. I think your assessments of the US and its odd discrepancies are spot-on. It is a country so rich in ironies and contradictions and anomalies, it is a bit indescribable. Such a religious people, so dedicted to Jesus, and yet so in love with the death penalty. So hysterically worried about “the sanctity of marriage,” yet so casual about getting a divorce. So obsessed with family values, but so addicted to sex and alcohol. So proud of the Constitution and our great Founding Fathers, and so loathing of the word “liberal.” I can go on and on all day. Bottom line: As you say, many people have a very unrealistic perception of America, and we are a very hard country to explain to others.

November 5, 2004 @ 3:25 pm | Comment

I’m rather worried that so many people are linking politics with religion right now. The right apear to be evangelical and the left appear to be a mixture of everything else. Even though the US system is ment to be seperate from religion and Church and state are not ment to colude, it is looking more and more like members of the state are members of one particular church and that they are trying to force their religious values on other people by making them issues of law (gay marriage, anti-stem cell movements, faith based family planning).

There are legal issues and religious issues and they are fast shifting to one or other side of the political spectrum. People are assosciating religious retraints with political ideologies and are becoming more and more polarised into party-church alegances.

Despite having a non religious government, the US is now proposing enacting more laws because of religious values than some countries with high church-state integration, and there are still people complaining that the state is trying to wipe religion out of their lives (pledge of alegance, no state funding for faith schools etc).

An example would be the UK, the head of state is also the head of the national church and her prime minister is an activly religious man, both religiouosly proposed to gay marriage and stem cell technology, yet the government supports these things because faith is kept out of politics. The same goes for many other contries around the world.

November 5, 2004 @ 6:49 pm | Comment

Shrill? No, that is a way of alienating people if you are using the common understanding of the word. The liberals and Democrats need strong and good ideas for governance that people feel comfortable to commit to. Not like true believers, but having realistic beliefs in these ideas as they are the way to help US go forward with strength, humanity and compassion. These need to be promoted by the Dems and liberals starting now with action, belief and reach into the dark corners of the nation.

“Liberal” is not a dirt word unless we allow it to be. It is not a barnyard cuss word, but by running away from it and not standing up to promote the benefits of liberalism we let it be used as a dirty word by the anti-liberals, just as a racial slur is used. We can’t allow that to happen again. On the other hand, the liberals and Dems in the politics of governance need to try to understand where the anti-liberals are coming from and to learn what their fears and concerns are. There should be an effort to show the fearful that liberalism is not the real source of their anxieties.

November 5, 2004 @ 6:56 pm | Comment

ACB, in the US religion is a very odd thing, due to our Puritan-Calvinist background and the rise of Evangelical Christianity. What they call “religion” many others would look at as an absurd denial of our basic human-ness: sex is disgraceful, the human body is lewd, sex shouldn’t be mentioned or taught — this is oh so American. No matter how much the bush camp detests Europe, their attitude toward God and sex and the human body is infinitely more open-minded and sane than America’s.

Pete, I buy all that you say. The problem right now is that the differences between the “two Americas” seems so vast, so insurmountable that proud liberals like me are being forced to wonder if there is anything — anything at all — that we can do to reach those on the other side. I mean, they are never going to reach me with their “Christian” message so I’m gonna have just as hard a time reaching them with my “liberal” message. It seems so frikkin’ hopeless right now, especially with them having the majority rule, however slender that may be. (Did you get all that? I’m getting tired.)

November 5, 2004 @ 7:39 pm | Comment

I post not to argue but to commend you on your very open stance. I have always had a great admiration for those that “you know where they’re coming from”. Having said that, I make no apologies for being a Christian. Yes, I do disagree with you on some of your points as you would with me, but those lines are lines that can be crossed, maybe not in ideology, but one from what appears to be total disdain or even hatred for the word Christianity. Are we now going to have the “C” word like the “N” word? For example, you don’t know me and because I am a Christain you hate me, why couldn’t you respect my view points as I do yours and be friends. I fear that these “red’ “blue” divisions is devastating and will do more harm than good to all of us and to promote is wrong as well as lumping everyone into two categories is wrong. I know a lot of folks that are not Christians that disagree with stem cell, gay life styles and abortion. I also know a lot of Christians that agree with the gay life style for example. These divisions are not a true picture unless the agenda is to now start “Christian bashing”. Yes, these are some issues that will probably never go away. Did you really think Kerry could make it all better if he had been elected?

The comment posted about the Elizabeth Edwards is a shame and a disgrace and it certainly shows the ignorance of some people – but don’t put me in that group. Not all Christians hold that viewpoint!

I think what is happening is a back lash of Kerry not being elected. He lost so let’s blame the Christians.

November 5, 2004 @ 9:27 pm | Comment

Right wing Christians in America are like the eunuchs in the Ming dynasty. Carved in stone, Eunuchs and politics were not supposed to mix according to the founding emperor of the Ming dynasty. However, the Eunuchs slowly influenced the system and eventually controlled the Emperors and politics and hence destroying the whole Ming Dynasty in 100 years.

November 5, 2004 @ 9:54 pm | Comment

Haikou Homie, I see nothing in this site that could be construed as hatred of all Christians. I can’t speak for Richard, so I’ll give you my interpretation of what is written here: The problem is not Christianity but a distorted and politicised fundamentalism that seeks to impose its values on the world and suppress all dissent. As a Christian, I agree with what I perceive as Richard’s view of the politicisation of Evangelical and Fundamentalist Christianity. I see no reason for you to be offended or to feel as if your entire religion has been demonised.

November 5, 2004 @ 10:17 pm | Comment

Reality is that Bush wins is a backlash to Christianity as a whole. It is one thing to be Christian, it’s another thing to support Bush. IF you voted for Bush because of his Christian belief, please tell us then whom Jesus would bomb next? Do you hate gays and gay marriage because homosexuality is a sin?
We all know that Bush used these issues to divide the country and gain votes. As a Christian, how can you support a self-righteous, hypocritical bigot like him?

November 5, 2004 @ 10:28 pm | Comment

Haikou, I never once associated Christians with those hateful comments about Elizabeth Edwards. I live in a Christian household, and I used to go to an Episcopalian church when I lived back east. There will be a Christmas tree in my house soon, and if you could see the number of books on the teachings on Jesus in my study you’d be amazed. (No, I am not a Christian, but my partner is and I feel a great respect for Christianity.)

There is, however, more than one “Christianity.” There is what Christinaity should be, a religion of tolerance and love, of turning the other cheek and respecting life. Then there is an aberration that takes selective parts of the Bible literally (while ignoring others parts, inexpicably), and that preaches the opposite of what Jesus taught — closed-mindedness, discrimination, hatred. I don’t think all Evangelical Christians subscribe to this minset, but a lot do, especially in America’s rural areas. And still, I have no problem with them practicing this type of religion — if they keep it to themselves. But first they have infiltrated school boards using stealth methods and then local politics, and now it’s reached an alarming level, with the president of the United States beholden to them. The president should be beholden to NO religious group, least of all one that is so intolerant.

So to summarize: I love true Christianity and it has been a part of my life for 20 years. This Chrtistianity has nothing to do with the ugly fundamentalist fanatacism I’ve seen growing like a plague in America in recent years. As soon as you close your mind, you become prone to cults and superstition, things I despise with all my heart. So never mistake my loathing of fundamentalism — Moslem, Christian, Jewish, et. all. — with a loathing of those religions themselves. It’s night and day.

November 6, 2004 @ 8:25 am | Comment

As for the evangelical vote deciding Bush’a reelection, please read this insightful piece from the NY Times.


November 6, 2004 @ 9:56 pm | Comment

Read it already, Tom. Now they’re calling it all a myth. Maybe it wasn’t the only factor — but God knows, it’s a huge factor.

November 6, 2004 @ 10:02 pm | Comment

I really appreciate your honest response and I do agree with your comments.

My comment concerning Mrs. Edwards is that it is in relation to Christians, however ignorant and insensed the comments are, can give and probably will, portray true, I use the word true, Christianity in a such a bad light. I realize you had no comments but then why post it. That was my only point. It is sad that some think and even voice comments like that.

However, as I said in the beginning of the post – I have always admired a person that you know where they are coming from – and your response to my earlier post has shed much light. It’s amazing that one can begin to know someone from a blog! Thank’s for your openess!

Chris – My concern is this red blue division JeusLand thing and what can come from this is nothing good – only more divisions. We have enough of that all ready! I personally feel it’s just throwing more wood to the fire. But your comment is appreciated, I just see it a little different that’s all.

November 7, 2004 @ 2:21 am | Comment

Haikou, thanks for the kind reply. I onloy posted the sickening comments on Elizabeth Edwards’ plight because it underscores a creepy insensitivity that I’ve wrtitten about many times on the part of the other side. Sure, there are idiots on my side, too, who write and say and do inappropriate things. But this mindset seems to be the norm over at Free Republic, not the exception, and I want everyone to know about it, as in the case of the same group’s comments over Christopher Reeves’ death a few weeks ago.

November 7, 2004 @ 1:43 pm | Comment

Come on, friends…

We are all Americans. We come from different countries and different ethnicities and we came to America to live under the Constitution and Democracy and the values of God, Faith and Family. Examine the intentions of the founding fathers in time-sensitive context. Abortion was disgusting to them as was homosexuality and the like, because it is disgusting to God as is all sinfulness and rebellion from Him. It should be disgusting to any Christian–conceding any less is allowing your conscience to be seared with a hot iron and ignored. This is a Christian-founded nation, but so many are obsessed with godless values–abortion, pornography, gay/lesbian rights, and extreme selfishness. This does not invalidate the founding fathers’ intentions and Constitutional work, which is true and timeless, like Biblical truth. I fight every day to resist this Godlessness in my life and in my family. I cannot let my children watch TV because they will get inundated with gay agenda, so I have cancelled cable TV service. They are not allowed to Bring bibles to public schools but playboy magazines are in the library. The moral foiundation of this country is being betrayed by liberalism. This country is laden with ‘moral children’ that are so obsessed with their rebellion against God and selfishness–the dichotomy other nations see is that so many of those in our nation have rebelled against God first and foremost, and it shows in our calling the death of a fetus a choice instead of a life. How many great men and women have been denied existence and their benefts to society beciause of abortion and “a woman’s choice”? What about the fetus’ choice… I guess the liberals heard the fetus say “I want to die”. That is selfishness and evil, face it. The left/Democratic side has almost completely in these last 10 or so years sided with godlessness and humanism has turned it’s back on the foundations on which this country was built. Soummary–The rights the left seek are not right with God–think hard of that… it is true…Basically every framer of the constitution was Christian, yet they built separation of church and state into the Constitution. That is not a contradiction, that is wisdom. Remember the Church of England guys? THAT was what they were rebelling against, a church-state, not the right under God to pursue moral high ground and govern justly with Judeo-Christian morality and absolute truth. If you have a problem with Judeo-Christian morality, then you are welcome to live legally in America, but don’t try to pervert America into your Godless “morality” and destroy the constitution. There is no wall of separation between church and state. Try to find the word church or wall in the Constitution. What you will find is that this nation was founded upon God’s values and principles and freedom to worship God and the Bible as you understand it. The US strives harder, and always has, to be the most generous and Godly nation, fighting for freedom and democracy for it’s citizens and for the world, and I am doing all I can do make it such. We are not perfect but we are trying and we are the envy of the world, or for the Godless in the world, we are hated both internally and externally. Stop being a bunch of children that just want to be able to do anything anywhere at anytime and not ever be judged in any way. Disgusting ungodly actions bring judgement. Your parents/parent needs to give you spoiled brats all a good spanking… Do you guys think ANY war or liberating any country is ever worth fighting for or are you a bunch of cowards? I’d hate to have you guys around in the 1940’s…we’d be speaking German now as the national language. Grow up and be responsible before God and put aside the rights you pursue thast are not right with God.
I respect your opinions, but they are frankly wrong and for the most part Godless.

“In God We Trust” In God I trust…

November 15, 2004 @ 2:46 pm | Comment

This one post in particular is so rediculous I’m going to respond line by line to it.

Q:Reality is that Bush wins is a backlash to Christianity as a whole.
A:Tremendously judgemental and unfair. What have you stidied of Christianity for yourself? You are a “Bush hater”, lose the hate… Love overcomes hate…Jesus himself said it. It will get you nothing.

Q:It is one thing to be Christian, it’s another thing to support Bush.
A:True intellectually, but on the issues of morality Bush is VASTLY closer to Christian morality than Kerry/the “left leaders” are today–they used to be better!. Nobody but Jesus is perfect…but he is the “lesser evil” more righteous person.and consequently more Godly person.

Q:IF you voted for Bush because of his Christian belief, please tell us then whom Jesus would bomb next?
A:Jesus usually talked of his Kingdom which was not of this world. Jesus said “Blessed are the peacemakers”, but how do you make peace with a terrorist or an agency/government/person that supports terrorism? You negotiate, then at an impass you destroy them. Complicity is not an option. Read your Old Testament–God destroyed many evildoers…How about Sodom and Gomorrah for example? Thank God he does not do so again and is merciful with San Francisco! Jesus condoned that destruction of S&G. Jesus never professed peace and never fighting for all costs. In fact, there is a peace that can be only found on the other side of war.

Q:Do you hate gays and gay marriage because homosexuality is a sin?
I hate the sin of homosexuality, not the persons that are enslaved by it. I feel compassion for them because they are so actively rebelling against God and do not care. People are to be loved, false godless evil idology and lifestyles are to be called what they are. That is truth. God’s word is truth. Gay Marriage is nonexistent, a completely meaningless expression of further rebellion against God.

Q:We all know that Bush used these issues to divide the country and gain votes.
A:No, he used them to emphasize a return to our founding American origins and the intentions of the founding fathers–One nation, Under God. You can’t be under God and not enforce what He says is right and true. Your understanding of Right and Wrong is severely distorted.

Q: As a Christian, how can you support a self-righteous, hypocritical bigot like him?
A: Because I am against killing defenseless lives, against relationships that dishonor God, and for a strong america that destroys the sources and supporters of Terrorism and institutional and personal relational evil and wants to encourage every nation to be more like us–God fearing, democratic and valuing God faith and family over sin and Godlessness/selfishness.

Your answers are ridden with hypocrisy my friend…. think again.. think for yourself.


November 15, 2004 @ 3:22 pm | Comment

Oh no, a true vintage wingnut.

Jonathan, you are free to believe what you choose. But nowhere in our Constitution does it say we are a Judeo-Christian nation. Nowhere. Influenced by Voltaire, Diderot and John Locke, our founding fathers were polar opposites of today’s evangelical Christians, and their wigs would have fallen off had they any idea American government would fall into the hands of such superstitious, closed-minded, hateful, bigoted louts. You sir, are a bigoted lout. I want nothing to do with a religion like yours, which has nothing to do with Christ of the bible, but is instead some twisted confortion, some curious perversion of what true Christianity, the religion of Love and Forgiveness, is supposed to be.

November 15, 2004 @ 4:00 pm | Comment


We are all free to believe what we choose, but all Choices are not Godly. Also, it does not have to say that we are a Judeo-Christian nation to see that we clearly by our heritage are. Sure there are many influences, but the PRIMARY one is Christianity which has at it’s core the love of God, adherence to biblical faith and strong family values rooted in a respect for human life and obedience to God’s word. Is it hateful to oppose that which God opposes–abortion, terrorism, dictatorships, homosexuality, pornography? Are you actively in your own life fleeing from these things, Richard? Are you calling me a bigot because I’m for the same things God is, and against the things listed above? As a Christian am I not required to fight against those things listed above and many more? So are you as a Christian. I value what Jesus values. Frankly, you do not know me personally to call me a bigot and I said nothing bigoted in what I wrote above and I challenge you to prove the ad hominem, inappropriate, argument you made where you called me a bigot. My faith and lifestyle has everything to do with the Bible. Does yours? Jesus was not only kind but stern-stern towards those that do not obey him but KNEW right from wrong. Besides, I have a news flash for you–not just Christians are against the things I listed above, alot of people are of all faiths and walks and beliefs because ebing against those things is decent and honroable. Those sinful things erode the foundation of our country. Another thing you have to realize, Richard, is that Christianity is an exclusionary lifestyle. You cannot just embrace everything the world has to offer. You must reject that which is unGodly and you cannot have a 100% completely open mind to EVERYTHING-you must reject the ungodly. An open mind is a gutter. Jesus is not a big loving old grandpa that will love AND SAVE you no matter what you do or believe, you and I must STRICTLY ADHERE to his commands. His love was expressed in His death to give all the POSSIBILITY of salvation–but that salvation is conditional and exclusionary. Pick up your cross and follow Him, and stop embracing the values of the worldy. If you reject “a religion like mine” as you put it, then you are rejecting Jesus, not me for my values are in line with His. Your gripe is with Jesus, not me. I am living and attesting to Biblical truth. The biblical truth you are referring to has been so watered down that you cannot see it’s authority and exclusionary nature–exclusion of the evil acts, love expressed in truth and caring for people that have fallen away from God committing those acts. We are all convicted sinners, I just stand covered over by Christ’s justification and have completely turned away from my old sinful lifestyle-being “reborn” as such.

Lastly, How exactly do you mean that 1700’s Christians are polar opposites to todays? That is super-vague. Do they not read and believe the same Bible? I challenge you to put evidence to that–and make it personal if you can. I am not a hateful man at all, if you met and knew me, you would see that. But you have to try and know me, not just label and stereotype me as a bigot. I suppose then you would call Jesus a bigot, too, and paul the apostle.

Do you strictly adhere to the Bible? Are my beliefs that different from Paul the Apostle’s? Are yours really similar to Paul’s?


November 16, 2004 @ 9:10 am | Comment

Pardon me, I forgot to mention–from your last sentence Richard, on forgiveness. You can love people committing sinful acts against you, but how can you forgive them if they are in denial that what they are doing is wrong to you and against God? First they must be educated properly of their relationship with God/Jesus/sin. Forgiveness is only between two, and is prefaced by repentance–a passionate desire to turn away from the sinful behavior with all you have. You cannot forgive someone for something when they are still intentionally and actively sinning against God and still doing that something–rebelling against you and God’s truth/teachings in Jesus. Yes, we are to forgive “seventy times seven”, but the forgiveness has to *start* with integrity, repentance, and be evidenced in life. I just wanted to be clear and do your response full justice. Forgiveness costs in terms of behavior and restriction, and forgiveness cost God immensely in Jesus, so we must take it seriously.

Lastly, I do not practice a religion, I practice a lifestyle obeying and ‘rightly dividing’ the teachings of the bible and imitating Christ, and his initial example Paul to me, a Gentile. I will pray for understanding for you and for your church as well. No matter what else you may think, I do love you and others here. I would not put effort into this if I did not. It is important, as Ephesians 6 says what we are fighting against, and as does 1 Corinithans 1:18 says I expect you to see some of what I say as foolishness, because I have undertaken the Cross of Christ. I have faith soon you will understand and submit to the governmental authorities and honor them as we are commanded to as Christians.


November 16, 2004 @ 9:50 am | Comment

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