Help! The Democratic Party Has Been Taken Over by Religious Zealots!
In their attempt to spin the debate over a deeply problematic two-month payroll tax holiday against Republicans, Democrats have resorted to the sort of religious demagoguery that they routinely accuse conservatives of using.
Democrat strategist (and convicted felon) Robert Creamer recently invoked the New Testament in a tirade against Republicans, and accused the GOP of "an attack on the spirit of Christmas."
His spouse, Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), who often borrows from Creamer's talking points (as do other Democrats), took that attack to the floor of the House of Representatives:
And so, Happy Chanukah to middle class Americans lighting the first candle tonight who won't get their $1000 tax break. Happy New Year to our seniors and persons with disabilities who may lose their doctors.
Merry Christmas to the jobless Americans, desperate for work, looking for work, who barely survive on unemployment checks. The House Republicans are the Grinches who stole your Christmas.
That is nothing new--Democrats frequently (mis)invoke religion when it suits their purposes, eagerly discarding concerns about church-state separation. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is a repeat offender, as is Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN), who in 2008 compared Barack Obama to Jesus and John McCain to Pontius Pilate:
The abuse of religion to promote progressive policies and politicians has also become a feature among some religious movements whose leaders typically support the Democratic Party.
The annual conference of Reform Judaism, for example, recently passed a resolution that drew upon selective interpretations of traditional Jewish texts in an attempt to justify several policies favored by Democrats, including tax hikes on the rich and the expansion of government's role in the economy.
Republicans also sometimes invoke religion to justify their policies--and not just on social issues. When they do, however, they are typically mocked by Democrats and the mainstream media, who take every opportunity to stoke fears that Republicans are determined to install a Taliban-style theocracy.
The religious convictions of Republican presidential candidates are also examined far more closely than those of Democrat candidates--the most glaring example being Obama's pastor Jeremiah Wright, who was ignored by journalists for months, even as the bizarre racialist precepts of his church became more widely known.
Whatever the arguments on either side of the payroll tax debate (and it's clear that the fuss is over the lesser of two evils), religion has nothing to do with it. Both parties are trying to shape next year's policy debates, as well as public perceptions of their leaders in Congress. Some of those leaders are actually trying to do what they feel is in the country's best interests.
For Democrats to invoke religion in impugning Republican motives is bad faith--in more ways than one.