June 20, 2005


Republican: Democrats Demonize Christians (ANDREW TAYLOR, 6/20/05, Associated Press)

A Republican congressman accused Democrats on Monday of "denigrating and demonizing Christians" by concluding there was religious intolerance at the U.S. Air Force Academy.

During debate on a proposal by Democrats that would put Congress on record against "coercive and abusive religious proselytizing" at the academy, Rep. John Hostettler, R-Ind., criticized Reps. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., and David Obey, D-Wis.

"Like a moth to a flame, Democrats can't help themselves when it comes to denigrating and demonizing Christians," Hostettler said.

Democrats leapt to their feet and demanded Hostettler be censured for his remarks. After a half-hour's worth of wrangling, Hostettler retracted his comments.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 20, 2005 6:45 PM

Why did he retract? What he said is true.

That's the main problem with Republican politicians. They don't stick to their guns. They're too anxious to be perceived as nice guys and never allow themselves to be thoroughly scathing about their opponents' behavior, however well-deserved such censure may be.

Posted by: Josh Silverman at June 20, 2005 8:04 PM

I agree with Josh. If Dems won't retract or even criticize something as inflammatory as Durbin's comments about US servicemen in Guantanomo, there's no reason for Republicans to take any notice of Dem complaints about Republican comments.

Posted by: pj at June 20, 2005 8:25 PM

You guys just don't get it. Democrats never have to apologize because they mean well. Republicans always must - because they are basically evil deep down inside.


Posted by: obc at June 20, 2005 9:01 PM


The issue at the AFA is a difficult one. Most Jews once they leave the Northeast do experience Christian proselytizing in university or at the job site. Since Christianity is evangelical in nature, many Christians see it as their obligation to preach to the non-belivers. As a proud and unashamed non-believer, I find it amusing for the most part. However, there are cases where this evangelizing impulse can become transformed into intimidation.

Most of what is happening at the AFA seems not to meet that standard. A sign about the need to be 'born again' in the Provost's Office is of no more moment than the 'Keep Algeria French' poster framed in my office. Professors who want their kids to pray before exams are silly but harmless. But if Fisher DeBerry, the very successful football coach at the Academy, is leading mandatory pre-game prayer sessions where he insists that every player be a member of 'Team Jesus', he has crossed a serious line. If he were the football coach at Notre Dame or Baylor, he would not be but he is employed by a taxpayer funded institution which is not permitted to discriminate on the grounds of religion.

Posted by: bart at June 21, 2005 8:34 AM

Hopefully, I feel that wouldn't be sanctioned at Notre Dame Bart, but I could be wrong.

Posted by: Genecis at June 21, 2005 9:22 AM

I agree with most of the above, but usually where there is smoke there is fire and so maybe someone at the AFA needs an attitude adjustment. Hostettler might be the one overreacting instead of Democrats, though no apology is called for.

Posted by: h-man at June 21, 2005 10:12 AM

bart: Um, do you realize how many coaches at public high schools lead their teams in prayer before competitions? Nearly every one in most parts of the country...

Posted by: b at June 21, 2005 10:37 AM

haaretz dot com is questionable content? Apparently some people can't handle the truth. Censorship noted. Any discussion of evangelicals that doesn't include some variation on the phrase 'burn in Hell' isn't worth having. Other formulations taught to these fine youths by their elders include Christ Killer and dirty Jew as well the apparent unmentionable recounted in the link. The backlash against the Christian counterculture is just beginning. It's better to confront them and encourage them to join the pluralistic, secular society that makes religious freedom possible.

"The portion of people younger than 30 who say Jews were responsible for killing Jesus has approximately tripled, from 10 percent in 1997 to 34 percent today. The portion of African Americans who hold that view has doubled, from 21 percent to 42 percent." Perhaps the latter has something to do with being courted into a new in-group famous for its need for scapegoats. Why else would a Christian explain that "the Holocaust was revenge for the death of Jesus?" Those wacky kids, where do they get their ideas?

It seems Christians creating hostile environments is all the rage.

Posted by: Mel at June 21, 2005 12:52 PM


No, we just don't allow profanity.

Of course Jews were responsible for killing Christ. What does that have to do with anything?

Posted by: oj at June 21, 2005 12:57 PM


Again, there is a difference between a pre-game prayer in more generic language and one that insists that all of us adhere to a specific religious interpretation. The message being transmitted is that if you do not believe in Jesus as your Lord and Savior then you are not a member of this team. That is wrong for a public institution to do.


any organization that would employ Amira Hess has content that is infinitely more questionable than that of the Weekly World News.

Posted by: bart at June 21, 2005 1:30 PM

Fine with the profanity. They weren't my words. I guess I was initially confused by the subtle wordplay and what seemed to me a rather odd point of emphasis of the earlier commenters. My apologies.

Posted by: Mel at June 21, 2005 3:56 PM

It has to do with 10 million murders, more of less.

But who's counting? They're only Jews.

1997, if your numbers are right, Mel, was an aberration in history.

The current numbers you give are in line with American experience over the centuries. Read Ross, 'So It Was True' for a detailed survey of American Protestant publications of 1933-45.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at June 21, 2005 7:11 PM

they were killed by anti-Christians--your Darwinist pals in Germany and socialist pals in the USSR

Posted by: oj at June 21, 2005 7:14 PM

Thanks for nothing, Mel. Because of you, we now get to have OJ go off on one of his ahistorical rants on WWII.

Posted by: bart at June 21, 2005 7:54 PM

oh god, no, not the WWII thing again, coudln't we talk about speciation, or harry's eccentricities ?! please.

Posted by: cjm at June 21, 2005 11:06 PM