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"Just like what Nazi Germany did to the Jews, so liberal America is now doing to the evangelical Christians...It is the Democratic Congress, the liberal-biased media and the homosexuals who want to destroy the Christians [by] wholesale abuse and discrimination and the worst bigotry directed toward any group in America today. More terrible than anything suffered by any minority in history," Robertson told columnist Molly Ivins in a fit of rhetorical excess in a 1993 interview.

Because oppressors now claim the mantle of oppression, it was not surprising that the investigation into religious discrimination at the Air Force Academy drew immediate accusations of "reverse discrimination" against Christians.

In June, Rep. John Hostettler (R-Ind) lashed out at Democrats whose proposed bill condemned "abusive religious proselytizing" at the academy. The bill was a response to accounts like that of anti-Semitic slurs directed at a Jewish cadet; a chaplain urging condemnation of fellow cadets "who are not born again, [destined] to burn in hell"; and branding a cadet a "heathen" for failure to attend religious services. The football coach commanded religious allegiance by hanging a banner in the locker room, reading "I am a member of Team Jesus Christ." On the House floor, Hostettler railed against "those who would eradicate any vestige of our Christian heritage," accusing Democrats of "demonizing Christians," part of a "long war on Christianity in America."

The right-wing feint of "Christian persecution," like that of "liberal media," is intended to distract from the fact that the culture war raging in America has been declared by biblical literalists against mainstream Christians, adherents of other religions, and secularists. The litany of alleged Christian oppression is expansive-- non-reproductive sex ("eliminating our posterity"), gun laws, the wall of separation, privacy and gay civil rights, AIDS research, environmental protections or international cooperation, public schools, the United Nations, teaching evolution, sex education, or "nonbiblical" roles for men and women--in brief, any perceived challenge to the right-wing political agenda is named an assault on American "Christian heritage."

Christian orthodox litmus tests of morality and faith were applied to opponents of former Alabama attorney general Bill Pryor's Appeals Court nomination, who were labeled "anti-Catholic bigots" - another way that literalists wrap their religion around their politics and claim attacks on the faithful to silence opponents. Wielding "with-us-or-against-us" rhetoric, Robertson invokes the wrath of God against such "demonic spirits" as "abortionists, gays and Democrats."Multiculturalism denigrates men of European descent and "western Christian culture," he asserted. The absence of biblical Christian teaching in public schools, Jerry Falwell declares is reason for their elimination. (More at www.theopolitics.com)

Originally posted to Michele Swenson on Tue Aug 09, 2005 at 09:03 PM PDT.

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