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Charlie Pierce over at Esquire online wonders about something, and it's a subject which equally perturbs The Gadfly to no end:
The initial reaction to the questions raised about the president's Christianity by the longtime white-supremacist journal National Review is to wonder where in the fk these people get off even raising the question. The more thoughtful reaction is to refer the author to the seventh chapter of the Gospel of Matthew and then move right along, all the while prayerfully wondering where in the fk these people get off.
To my knowledge, the last time this question was raised concerning a sitting president was back when John F. Kennedy was digging the secret gun-running tunnel between Washington and the Vatican. Of course, the same people who worried about a Catholic president were worried about black people generally. Most of them have made peace with us crossbacks. Black folks, alas, not so much.
Now, first off -- let's all agree that there is a whole lot to criticize Obama for when it comes to his politics, his governing policies, his maddening penchant for wanting to be the nicest guy in the room, and of course, his even more maddening view that modern day American conservatives can be reasoned with or can be trusted to be fair and honorable adversaries.
But what the right has done since Obama became President, and escalated since he was re-elected, truly has to be one of the most insidious turns in the manner in which American politics is practiced, and shines a bright hot spotlight on just how deep and visceral the right's hatred for Barack Obama is.
And what The Gadfly is referring to is the form of intimate demonization by conservatives wherein the most personal and private attributes which are at the core of a specific individual's personality, upbringing and educational background, and of course, one's religious leanings, are not only considered fair game for assault, but form the entirety of their opposition to the man.
The right has has been openly attacking all of those distinguishing characteristics of Obama, which make him the individual that he is, from day one of his presidency. They have questioned his birthright status. They have questioned his educational background. They have questioned the morality and character of his birth parents. They have questioned his patriotism to no end. And as Charlie Pierce is denoting here, they are now openly question the veracity and sincerity of his personal religious views.
Here is why this unnerves The Gadfly to such a rage inducing extent. Imagine if you will, back when George W. Bush and Dick Cheney were waging their war of choice in Iraq, torturing prisoners, and lying the whole time to the American people as to why we were expending national treasure and youthful lives in those misadventures -- imagine if the liberals, at the time, had been publicly questioning the Christianity of Bush and his people and questioning the veracity of their religious beliefs? Can you imagine the howls of "traitors" and "America haters" had that occurred? (well - for the record, it actually did occur, but not for questioning Bush's religion, but for questioning his honesty and motives for invading Iraq).
But you know dear readers --- if The Gadfly recalls his childhood Sunday school teachings and his readings about Jesus Christ and his philosophy of love and forgiveness and turning the other cheek and all of that liberal theology stuff -- it would have been entirely appropriate to question whether the Bush people's version of Christianity had a goddamn (pun intended) ounce of legitimacy considering that they were raining down bombs and destruction and death on a country and hundreds of thousands of innocent people whom they had lied to the American people about so far as their involvement with the 9/11 attacks. Mkay?
So yeah -- it's pretty fucking brazenly ballsy for these conservative assholes to be publicly questioning Obama's religious views and the level of his personal commitment to his chosen religion.
All of it though is just simply additional evidence in The Gadfly's eyes that the right in this country is incapable of dealing with Obama on a normal, intellectual, human, man-to-man level. The fact that they have to resort to incessant attacks on his birthright, his education, his religious views and even attacks on his wife and children, are prima facie evidence, as The Gadfly sees it, that they know full well just how inferior their own political solutions, vision, and ideas and policies are for addressing America's very real and life impacting issues, and so they have nothing left other than the viciousness of the politics of personal destruction .. a very dark and dirty art form for which they truly have become masters of. Unfortunately, for the good of the country as a whole, it is the only thing that the conservative right has become proficient at.