He's compared conservatives to radical Hindus and Islamists, called the Tea Party the "racist white bloc" of the GOP, and compared evangelicals to the Taliban, so naturally Huffington Post writer Frank Schaeffer was the perfect guest for Martin Bashir to bring on the May 2 edition of his eponymous program to discuss the importance of religious "faith as an issue" in the 2012 general election campaign.
Schaeffer toned down his rhetoric a tad bit from previous excursions on the "Lean Forward" network, but he still managed to work in grotesquely misleading and hateful slams of evangelicals and conservative Catholics.
That "Roman Catholic bishops are suing the administration to turn their desire to deprive women of contraceptives who work for them into a religious civil liberties issue" will "not go away," Schaeffer groused, nor will how "Romney is a Mormon and evangelicals are going to be uncomfortable with voting for him."
"Basically, the religious aspect of this race will be there, and it's going to stay through the entire election season," Schaeffer insisted.
"Essentially what" Christian conservatives are doing is "using the code that the bishops and the conservative evangelicals led by the recently deceased Charles Colson cooked up in the Manhattan Declaration," Schaeffer hissed conspiratorially, explaining that Christian conservatives like to present themselves as "a poor, persecuted minority" when "they happen to control one house of Congress now" and have "put numerous people in the White House, the last being George W. Bush."
[At least Schaeffer bit his tongue and refrained from further trashing Colson, like he did last week on his eponymous blog where he denounced Colson as Perhaps that was a wise move as, to his credit, in his April 23 "Clear the Air" commentary, Bashir had kind words for the late evangelical leader, describing Colson's repentance as "real" and heralding the ex-convict's devotion to prison ministry.]
For the record, the Manhattan Declaration is hardly a scary, shadowy document. You can read it here. The Declaration, which addresses orthodox Christian beliefs on marriage, abortion, and religious liberty, is not simply a Catholic-evangelical document. It's also been signed and endorsed by Eastern Orthodox religious leaders. Schaeffer, the disaffected son of a late evangelical Protestant leader, is a convert to the Eastern Orthodox tradition.
[Update 6:30 p.m. EDT: Tim Keller, Martin Bashir's pastor, was a signatory of the Manhattan Declaration that Schaeffer maligns so much]
"They have this victimology," Schaeffer griped, adding, "They'll talk about the fact they don't get everything they want, like depriving women of contraception, and they'll call that anti-religious bigotry, and that's what they're trying to saddle the president with and it's an outright lie."
"Indeed," Bashir added, giving his "amen" to Schaeffer's complaint.
I'd humbly submit that Schaeffer's inability to discern anti-religious bigotry may be on account of the huge log in his eye.
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