Tuesday, September 23, 2003

The Other Limbaugh has a Bestseller

From Publisher's Weekly:

They may not get thrown to the lions any more, but today's Christians endure subtler forms of martyrdom, argues this strident manifesto. Limbaugh (Absolute Power: The Legacy of Corruption in the Clinton-Reno Justice Department) recites a litany of abuses and insults perpetrated, he claims, by separation-of-church-and-state absolutists and the forces of secular humanism. Most of them are familiar complaints of the Christian Right: school children are forbidden to pray before football games; nativity scenes are banned from municipal property; the media ridicule Christian politicians, and Hollywood caricatures Christians as Bible-thumping yahoos or axe-wielding fanatics. At universities where Darwinism, relativism and "sexuality studies" hold sway, Limbaugh says, vocal Christians get packed off to the psych ward. Most insidiously, Christians are continually subjected to sensitivity training-which often promotes a "homosexual agenda"-and silenced when they object. Many of the cases Limbaugh cites raise legitimate questions about society's hypersensitivity to religious expression (although the really serious abuses were often remedied after the inevitable lawsuit). Unfortunately, he tends to equate political controversy with religious bigotry, and Christianity with fundamentalism. Many of the issues he cites, like Democratic opposition to pro-life judicial nominees, or laws requiring Catholic employers to cover contraceptives in health insurance, amount to political disputes pitting conservatives like Limbaugh against liberals, feminists, gays or users of contraceptives, with Christians ranged on both sides. Limbaugh has a point: there are anti-Christian tendencies-rigid school bureaucrats, militant atheists and an often profane and irreligious popular culture-in American society. But there are plenty of pro-Christian tendencies too, such that Limbaugh's persecution complex seems overblown.