Senators looking to pointlessly obstruct the re-ratification of the START treaty -- something that virtually everyone outside of Washington's radical-moron set understands to be vital to our national security -- have decided to use Christmas as their excuse in an effort to preserve their precious time off from the work they don't do a good job of doing, ever.
Mind you, no one in the world is asking senators to actually come to work on Christmas. But opponents of START have very strategically marked off the calendar to create a holiday-themed "no-go zone" for considering the treaty. First, we have Senator Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.):
GOP Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl quickly took offense to the notion that legislators might be expected to work after December 25 and accused Reid of potentially "disrespecting one of the two holiest of holidays for Christians."
"It is impossible to do all of the things that the majority leader laid out without doing -- frankly, without disrespecting the institution and without disrespecting one of the two holiest of holidays for Christians and the families of all of the Senate, not just the senators themselves but all of the staff," Kyl said in response to Reid's claim that he would force the body to work through the holiday recess in order to vote on a number of key Democratic agenda items including Obama's START nuclear arms treaty, the DREAM Act, a bill that would overturn the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy, and a highly contentious spending bill that would authorize federal spending for next year.
In case you were wondering if a lot of Christians would feel disrespected by the Senate hanging out in Washington, D.C. for the purposes of getting work on the START treaty done, wonder no more:
With Senate Republicans stalling ratification, the Two Futures Project, a movement of American Christians for the abolition of nuclear weapons, decided to step in and organize yesterday's meeting. "This is not simply a matter for politics, but is really a conversation that has to be infused with a sense of moral seriousness," Director Tyler Wigg-Stevenson told TIME. For Two Futures, killing the treaty threatens Christian morality. "Is that a world conducive to life and human flourishing? Is that something that Christians can support? I think the answer is just flatly no," Wigg-Stevenson says.
Bishop Howard J. Hubbard, chairman of the USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace, adamantly agreed. "It was 45 years ago this very day that Vatican Council issued its condemnation of any type of war that would target entire cities of expansive areas. That type of war--which would include certainly nuclear weapons--we said is 'a crime against God and against humanity itself,' and it deserves unequivocal condemnation," Hubbard told TIME on Tuesday.
A biblical mandate similarly drives evangelicals to ratification. "'If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone,'" National Association of Evangelicals President Leith Anderson affirmed, quoting the New Testament. "And so we are always looking for possibilities, for ways to move toward peace." For both groups, sanctity-of-life principles reach much farther than just abortion.
Sounds to me like START re-ratification is in keeping with the spirit of the season! But don't expect Senator Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) to see things that way. If Kyl has marked off the days after Christmas as inappropriate to help preserve and enhance America's national security, DeMint has deemed the days leading up to Christmas off-limits as well.
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) called Democrats' push to force through an arms control treaty and an omnibus spending bill right before Christmas "sacrilegious," and warned he'd draw the process out to wage his objections.
"You can't jam a major arms control treaty right before Christmas," he told POLITICO. "What's going on here is just wrong. This is the most sacred holiday for Christians. They did the same thing last year - they kept everybody here until (Christmas Eve) to force something down everybody's throat. I think Americans are sick of this."
So, it's not just unjust to discuss and re-ratify the START treaty before and after Christmas -- it's also sacreligious, because of that time the three wise men visited Jesus in Bethlehem bearing gold, frankincense, and a coupon for a free dinner with DeMint at Poogan's Porch in Charleston.*
Again, if you want to know what actual Christians think about DeMint's "sacrilege" line, here you go.
DeMint had originally planned to run out the clock on START with a total Grinch move of his own -- he was going to compel a Senate clerk to read the entire START treaty aloud. He's since put the kibosh on those plans, but it makes you wonder: with all the constant carping over who has and has not read what bill, shouldn't the guy who's forcing the Senate clerk to read thousands and thousands of pages of legislation aloud be forced to sit there in the Senate chamber and listen? This has obviously not occurred to anyone in the most dysfunctional deliberative body in the history of homo sapiens.
*One of my favorite restaurants in America, Poogan's Porch is open for business on Christmas. This may be "sacrilege," but it is also delicious.