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October 11, 2007

Harry Reid: Christian Republicans The Most "Anti-Christian People I Can Imagine"

Wow. Now that's courting the Values Vote, accusing them of Templar-like blasphemies.

Reid also told reporters the Republican Party has been driven by evangelical Christians for 20 years. “They are the most anti-Christian people I can imagine, the people from the Christian far right.”

In other red-meat religio-political news, Ann Coulter quips that Jews in America need to be "perfected" into Christians:

COULTER: But yeah, I think that's reflective of what's going on in the culture, but it is completely striking that at these huge megachurches -- the idea that, you know, the more Christian you are, the less tolerant you would be is preposterous.

DEUTSCH: That isn't what I said, but you said I should not -- we should just throw Judaism away and we should all be Christians, then, or --

COULTER: Yeah.

DEUTSCH: Really?

COULTER: Well, it's a lot easier. It's kind of a fast track.

DEUTSCH: Really?

COULTER: Yeah. You have to obey.

DEUTSCH: You can't possibly believe that.

COULTER: Yes.

DEUTSCH: You can't possibly -- you're too educated, you can't -- you're like my friend in --

COULTER: Do you know what Christianity is? We believe your religion, but you have to obey.

DEUTSCH: No, no, no, but I mean --

COULTER: We have the fast-track program.

DEUTSCH: Why don't I put you with the head of Iran? I mean, come on. You can't believe that.

COULTER: The head of Iran is not a Christian.

DEUTSCH: No, but in fact, "Let's wipe Israel" --

COULTER: I don't know if you've been paying attention.

DEUTSCH: "Let's wipe Israel off the earth." I mean, what, no Jews?

COULTER: No, we think -- we just want Jews to be perfected, as they say.

DEUTSCH: Wow, you didn't really say that, did you?

COULTER: Yes. That is what Christianity is. We believe the Old Testament, but ours is more like Federal Express. You have to obey laws. We know we're all sinners --

DEUTSCH: In my old days, I would have argued -- when you say something absurd like that, there's no --

COULTER: What's absurd?

DEUTSCH: Jews are going to be perfected. I'm going to go off and try to perfect myself --

COULTER: Well, that's what the New Testament says.

DEUTSCH: Ann Coulter, author of If Democrats Had Any Brains, They'd Be Republicans, and if Ann Coulter had any brains, she would not say Jews need to be perfected. I'm offended by that personally. And we'll have more Big Idea when we come back.

An impolitic remark to be sure but part of standard Christian theology -- Christians are supposed to believe that Christianity is for everybody, etc. It's an enduring problem: How does a Christian preach his faith as he's supposed to without creating the inevitable (and necessary) implication that unless you're a Christian you're not redeemed and going to hell?

Stuff like this doesn't offend me, despite the fact that I fall into that unredeemed and hellbound category, because I do understand the basic tenet of the faith. I don't think most secular or nonchristian people do, mainly because almost all of the Christians they know have resolved that tension by strongly downplaying the "testify for Christ" aspect of the religion in the interests of politeness, etc. I have no problem with that take either, and, not being a believing Christian, really have no expertise with which to weigh in on such a charged topic.

I note that few religions call themselves "One of Several Correct Religions," and that the Jewish faith, for example, teaches that the Jews are the Chosen People, not a Chosen People. It's fairly standard for religions to assert their metaphysical rectitude and superiority, but we only seem to have these controversies when a Christian expresses it.

I can't fault Jews, Buddhists, atheists, etc., for being peeved when they hear a Christian say that Christianity is the true religion, but I think part of the annoyance is reserved exclusively for Christianity. Even when radical Islamofascists assert all nonbelievers, "polytheists," and "infidels" are going to hell, it usually rates nary a peep from the elite academic/media opinion-mongers. The scorn for a religion asserting its superiority -- again, perfectly commonplace -- seems reserved only for those who believe in Christ.

Putting Me Some F'n' Knowledge: I suppose I shouldn't have said so broadly that "Christians' feel an obligation to testify to all, including Jews. ThomasD doesn't think that's true of Catholics, though I don't know and I'm not sure he's sure himself:

4 I'm pretty sure Catholicism has a work around for this problem. Basically it boils down to 'God doesn't break his deals.' Meaning that the Jews have a Covenent with God and as long as they abide by it they will be saved, no Jesus necessary.

Everyone else is expected to get with the program though...

He's speaking of the Old Testament "covenant," the deal between God and the Jews. Most of the more fundamentalist or charismatic or whatever Christians believe this covenant was replaced by a new covenant upon the resurrection of Christ. Which is to say the "deal" established by the Old Testament holds for all Jews who died before Christ announced his divinity and redeemed man.

Again, I'm not sure if it's true that Catholics believe the covenant continues or not, but as I don't know I thought it was important to correct myself.

Eric J explains the Chosen People thing:

Let me speak up a bit on that whole "Chosen People" thing. The Jewish belief is that G-d chose us to have a special relationship with him, and to follow particular laws of ritual purity. Effectively, we were to be a Nation of Priests.

For everyone else not of our tribe, there's a set of 7 laws given to the sons of Noah. Pretty much any monotheist is going to be cool, and have their place in The World to Come. (Now, there's some controversy about whether Trinitarians are in fact, monotheists, but I'm inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt.)

Which is why despite our controlling the media, you're not subjected to a lot of anti-shellfish and pork propaganda. We don't really care what you eat, as long as it's dead.


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