In a column appearing in the Sunday edition of the Washington Post, Peter Perl, the paper's director of professional development, heaps scorn on Tom DeLay and in particular on his strong religious beliefs. The column approaches parody, so much does it seethe with secular, elitist condescension.
The headline sets the tone: "DeLay's Next Mission From God".
- "DeLay may be leaving Congress, but he will be back with a vengeance [note choice of phrase], in a new and potentially more powerful role, because he is a ferociously determined man who believes he is on a politico-religious mission from God."
- "DeLay's crusade [again note choice of term] will not be sidetracked by the acts of mortals such as states' attorneys, crooked lobbyists and disgraced former staffers who are poised to testify against him. In DeLay's world he answers only to a higher power, and his personal Armageddon has only just begun."
- "He will artfully squeeze a load of money from the Christian Right as he makes his thunderous argument from multiple pulpits in the weeks and months ahead."
- "The new Tom DeLay will combine aspects of the Revs. Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell, and Lee Atwater, the late right-wing political consultant with the legendary killer instinct."
- "Looking back, I see DeLay as a somewhat pathetic figure."
- "What struck me as truly pathetic, though, was his shambles of a family life."
- "We will see DeLay constantly smiling as he delivers his message because in his heart he knows that we hopeless sinners will always hate the messenger."
In keeping with the religion-themed nature of Perl's column, let's undertake a little exegesis of his parting shot at DeLay - that he will be "constantly smiling because . . . he knows that we hopeless sinners will always hate the messenger." If DeLay is a devout Christian - as is the gist of Perl's column - why would he believe that sinners are "hopeless"?
I'm certainly no Christian theolgian, but isn't the ever-present possibility of salvation the essence of Christianity? In any case, why would knowing that he will always be hated cause DeLay to be "constantly smiling"?
Perhaps of most interest, when Perl writes "we . . will always hate" the messenger DeLay . . . just who is "we"?
Finkelstein lives in Ithaca, NY, where he hosts the award-winning public-access TV show 'Right Angle'. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org