When was the last time you have heard – or seen in print – a casual racial or ethnic slur? Don Imus was fired for one. And don’t try any stupid Polish jokes or money hungry Jewish comments. But it seems that the casual Christian slur is still tossed out without a second thought.
I mention this because I was reading Dennis Gartman’s newsletter yesterday and ran across a comment that offended me.
First let me say that I think a great deal of Dennis Gartman. He and I are totally in tune economically and politically, so I was struck by a comparison he made that hit me as so unlikely that I felt I had to tell him what I thought.
To set the stage, Dennis wrote a section on Iranian politics on the assumption that the political turmoil there is not over and that it would be useful to know who the players were to keep score.
Here’s my e-mail:
I read the Gartman Letter in my office … and as a fellow resident of Tidewater Virginia I appreciate both your market and your political commentary. So it pains me to make my first message to you in the form of a disagreement.
Your Tuesday July 14th letter contained the following passage, referring to the “names” in Iran: “He is supported on the archly religious side by Ayatollah Taghi Mesbah Yazdi, who is the Iranian correlative to the fundamentalist Christian sects, here in the US.”
Despite the fact that I consider myself a fundamentalist Christian, I don’t handle snakes. I can’t remember the last time our congregation stoned an adulteress to death and we have not hung any homosexuals this year – or last year – if I remember correctly. We allow out womenfolk to go out without male supervision and don’t insist that they keep their hair covered lest we are overcome with lust.
Regarding the intersection of church and state, we’re not so much interested in imposing a theocracy as we are in making sure that no mention of Jesus escapes our lips in a public setting just in case the ACLU is listening. Our religious police mainly keep the church lawn mowed and the trash picked up in the parking lot. And I cannot imagine the leaders of the Baptists getting together with the Methodists to pre-screen the approved candidates for the next presidential election.
Other than that, Dennis, the correlation between us Christian fundamentalists and the Iranian Ayatollahs is so close that they are amazingly hard to tell apart. I use as clues the facial hair, the turban and the accent.
As I get older, and as I learn from people and groups whose prickliness gets results, I have decided that turning the other cheek is a good Biblical admonition, but perhaps returning the slap is simply one more sin for which I have to ask forgiveness.
In your letter, you casually slur civil libertarians, with a completely false accusation against the ACLU, which has expended considerable effort guaranteeing your ability to speak religious in public forums.
Thanks for responding to this man with such grace and humor...as I a sure any Iranian Muslim would do while addressing an Islam slandering infidel.
In my humble opinion, not being of the ACLU humanist religion, the Iranian religion nor the Evagelical Christian religion, I think you protrayed the legal and institutional harassment by the ACLU of Christians with more good will than I would have expressed it.
The ACLU is picky about what parts of constitution they supposedly support. Forget freedom of religion in the first amendment (unless you are a public school preaching Muslim or atheist) and forget the whole second amendment.
Besides that, the ACLU is a wonderful "civil libertarian" group.
To Anon @ 6:12...
I am unaware of the ACLU's defense of my being able to "speak religious" in public forums. I am aware of the ACLU's vigorous efforts to remove symbols of religion from the public sphere and thought their lawsuits to cause schools to ban public prayers.
My religious freedoms are granted by God, protected by the constitution and defended by the young men and women in the military. The ACLU is doing their best to inhibit the free expression of my religious values in the public sphere.
Well, moneyrunner, you're misinformed. The ACLU has spent considerable effort defending religious speech and display in the public square, from public school students wearing religious t-shirts, to street preachers in Las Vegas. Prayer is not banned in public schools. Were any state to attempt to do so, the ACLU would be one of the first to fight that. What is banned, of course, is the public school sponsoring prayer. The ACLU has long fought, quite rightly, for religious neutrality by the state. There has been a concerted effort by social conservatives to confound an insistence on religious neutrality by the state with a fight against religious expression generally. But that line has to be drawn, since when the state is involved in pushing religion, that inevitably infringes on the religious freedom of those whose religious views are different from those so preferred.
It is you, my friend, who is either misinformed or deliberately misleading regarding the ACLU and Christianity. The ACLU is neither a defender of Christianity or religiously neutral. To be sure, the ACLU takes up a few relatively unimportant cases (your t-shirt example) as a way of providing cover for its anti-Christianity crusade, but the thrust of its threats and legal cases is to drive Christianity away from being expressed in public.
The idea that going to court to wear a t-shirt with a slogan in school, or protecting the right of an obnoxious loudmouth from bothering the passersby is your idea of protecting religious freedom is a protection of religion only in the minds of the deluded.
Someone else has stated it very well and cited example after example. I refer you HERE.
Liberals always act shocked and astonished that conservatives believe that an organization claiming to be the guardian of religious liberty is actually America’s number one religious censor. They will spout off token cases where the ACLU veered from its normal path of hostility toward Christian religious expression to defend free speech. They have a handful of cases they try to convince us with. However, the ACLU’s history can easily be looked at, and the cases against religious expression far outweigh these token cases. If the ACLU were consistent in its positions on religious liberty despite the religion, their defense on the issue would be much easier. However, many cases point out that it isn’t religion in general the ACLU fight, but the Christian religion in particular.
When the Tangipahoa Parish School Board in Louisiana opened its board meetings with a prayer, like they had for 30 years, the ACLU sued. After the ACLU won that case and the School Board ignored the court ruling, Louisiana ACLU chief Joe Cook called for them to be jailed and compared them to terrorists. Mr. Cook is currently leading an attack on plan for a Katrina memorial paid for with private funds, to be erected on private land, simply because it is in the shape of a cross and might offend some sensitive passerby. When valedictorian of Foothill High, Brittany McComb, decided to share her faith voluntarily at her graduation ceremony, the ACLU said it was the right call to pull the plug. And of course we are all familiar with the ACLU’s crusade to eliminate the Mt. Soledad war memorial because it is a cross that might offend some atheist.
It has become a tradition for the ACLU to attack Christian nativity scenes every Christmas. They has already started early this year. We have all witnessed the ACLU’s hatred of Ten Commandment displays across the nation. The ACLU sue city council after city council over praying in Jesus’ name. They don’t sue to stop all prayer, but in every case the target has been Christian prayer. They even fought for the right of a Wiccan to pray at a council meeting. Many times it doesn’t even take a lawsuit. They just type up a threatening letter and that does the trick.
So drop the phony bleat that Christians are being unfair to the ACLU or that the ACLU is seeking religious "neutrality." That assertion, much like the MSM's claim of impartiality, is not a matter for debate. It's now a settled issue.
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