03/29/2006 04:55 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

An Open Fan Letter to Embattled Christians

Dear Embattled Christians:

You don't know me, but I'm one of your biggest fans. Let me see if I can adequately express my admiration for you, your public remarks, and the important work you're doing.

First: It takes a certain kind of courage to bring together (in a single room! On purpose!) Tom DeLay (R--Tex.) and John Cornyn (R--Tex.), Rod Parsley, Gary Bauer, Phyllis Schlafly, the notably execrable Janet Parshall, and--in a particularly brilliant casting coup--the Luciano Pavarotti of religious lunacy, Alan Keyes.

But you did just that, at a conference whose topic, in a dazzling combination of self-pity, demagoguery, and advertising know-how, was announced as the "War on Christians and the Values Voters in 2006." So reports the Washington Post of Wednesday, March 29. And if "Values Voters of 2006" sounds like a Busby Berkley movie about a Major Appliance Event at Sears, well, isn't that what it really was? Sort of?

I'm sure, although I wasn't there, that the minds of all assembled burned with but a single thought: What, no Pat Robertson? What good is a family reunion without one's favorite mad uncle? But this is War. And, while President Bush kicked off our own War on Terror with the stirring advice to our countrymen to go shopping, still, in most wars, you can't have everything.

Not that you can't try--as you all do, endlessly, when you seek to have it both ways, both by claiming that the U.S. is "a Christian nation" while in the same breath bemoaning your "persecution." That's what (as I know you know) we Jews call chutzpah. It's also what we Jews call "hypocrisy," and is one of my personal favorites among your many qualities.

And speaking of chutzpah, what gathering of reactionary self-righteous "Christian" moralists would be complete without their very own representatives of the Hebrew persuasion? The Post article cites two: First, Don Feder, who is presumably brother to Rosanne Rosannadanna's favorite correspondent (from Fort Lee, New Jersey), and who founded an organization called Jews Against Anti-Christian Defamation.

This is something that, frankly, I wish I had thought of. To be house Jew to the meshugge Christian right: brilliant. No heavy lifting, contributions from the credulous and the pious, cushy travel and lodging budgets, nice per diem, no actual work, and all the shiksehs you can eat. And me sitting at home like a putz, wondering why my Jews Rabidly In Favor of Anti-Christian Defamation can't raise bupkes.

"Another Jewish speaker," the Post continues, "Michael Horowitz, told the conference that the 'Christian decency of this country' saved him from becoming 'a bar of soap' in Nazi Germany." Nice, yes--pandering to the goyyim by reducing the sacrifice of all America to a Christian impulse--but it gets better: "'You guys have become the Jews of the 21st century,' said Horowitz, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute in Washington."

What's with all the right-wing idiots named Horowitz? First David, now Michael. In any case, well done, Michael Horowitz (if that really is your name). For you're a jolly good Senior Fellow. You offer proof--as if any were needed--that it's possible, in a single smarmy speech, to exploit the Holocaust, cash in on five thousand years of actual persecution at the hands of Values Voters of 1492 and 1939, and kush the tuchas of an entire religious sect whose troglodyte membership (and theocratic-fascist leaders, i.e., your receptive audience) can't wait for you and yours to go to Hell so that they can get to Heaven, already. (Yes, literally. As you know.)

Or perhaps you didn't hear that moment on November 17 of last year, on the radio show modestly entitled Janet Parshall's America, when the self-parodying Janet and the loathsome John "The War on Christmas" Gibson sniggered at people "following the wrong religion..." "We know who they're going to have to answer to," John said, with perhaps a touch of understandable self-satisfaction. Naturally Janet agreed. Then, in a burst of all-American broadmindedness, Gibson went on, "And that's fine. Let 'em. But in the meantime, as long as they're civil and behave, we tolerate the presence of other religions around us without causing trouble, and I think most Americans are fine with that tradition."

Good Christian people. Decent people. People who know what "behave" means. Your people, Michael Horowitz. And you call them "you guys." Nice doggie!

The Post article fails to quote Parshall or Keyes, at which my disappointment is as a physical thing. But we do hear from Tom DeLay, and for that we can be thankful. Because all men know that when the Hammer opens his mouth, hilarity and moral hi-jinx must ensue. Thus, the article quotes DeLay, "'We are after all a society that abides abortion on demand, that has killed millions of innocent children, that degrades the institution of marriage and often treats Christianity like some second-rate superstition. Seen from this perspective, of course there is a war on Christianity.'"

"Of course"--this is why I love you guys. The sheer epic scope of the intellectual dishonesty, equating having an abortion with waging war on an entire religion. The "culture of life" double standard which denounces the experimental use of blastocysts in a Petri dish as "murder" but stands up and cheers for the bombing of actual, sentient (and innocent) women and children. The smug, presumptive custodianship of "the institution of marriage." It would take the love child of Moliere and Mark Twain to do you justice.

As for our living in a society which "often treats Christianity like some second-rate superstition," well, DeLay may be many things, but stupid he isn't. He knows how to flatter his audience. He knows--in fact everyone except you, dear Defamed Christians, knows--that evangelicals are never so happy as when they feel they are being ill-used.
You could institute your hideous brand of All-Christian America on Tuesday and on Wednesday you'd resume bitching about how oppressed you are. What else do you have to do for fun? I mean real fun. Oh, sure, you've got alcoholism, spousal abuse, pederasty, swinging, drug taking, adultery, gambling, gluttony, home entertainment, video games, pop music, pornography, and golf, like the rest of us.

But they're not enough. They don't make you better than everybody else, and isn't that what you really want? To (like your mirror selves, the Islamic jihadists) feel superior to a modern world that, you think, disdains you and scorns your faith?

If the meaning of Einstein's discoveries just bounces off your helpless brains; if the Hubble doesn't send back pictures of the angels in Heaven but, instead, of just more and more space; if evolution threatens to mean that you're not Daddy's special child after all; if rock 'n' roll (to say nothing of hip-hop) and movies and art are just too loud or rude or nihilistic or perplexing; if the contemporary secular world (as seen on TV!) is a no-fault orgy to which you assume you weren't invited and would be intimidated to attend if you were; if everything our culture presents as objectively true is a threat to what you subjectively feel--well, who wouldn't want to take shelter in a self-righteous, morally elitist victimhood?

Your brand of Christianity has nothing to do with JC and the Sermon on the Mount (which, as Leonard Cohen admits, "I don't pretend to understand at all") and everything to do with cultural resentment, sexual repression, and sheer existential terror at the complexities of the real, modern world. Whoever doubts that need only read your Dispensationalist writings that set forth, in loving wacko detail, the bloody revenge fantasy that is the Rapture, the Tribulation, and the Second Coming.

This bizarre combination of the surreal, the arbitrary, and the sadistic, is literally what you live for; until the happy day that billions of us are destroyed, all you can do is wallow in your (bogus) "persecution" and assure each other that, sooner or later (and maybe tomorrow!) we sinners will feel the sting of His divine wrath and you "Saints of the Church" will be airlifted to paradise.

So let me close with one minor correction. Christianity, at least as practiced by you conferees and the poor ignorant bastards that you fleece in your various religious and political flocks, is not (pace DeLay) a "second-rate superstition." It's an absolutely first-rate superstition. I find it endlessly entertaining in a morally appalling and ultra-fun way, and I won't hear a word against it.

Your fan,