M-O-O-N. That spells moon. Laws, yes.

by John Holbo on September 29, 2004

Eugene Volokh is too reasonable. Maybe. Regarding Republican mailers alleging liberals are hot for an old timey Bible banning:

Whether the usage is actually misleading depends on how people are likely to perceive it. If the literal meaning is clearly extremely implausible (such as that the liberals would actually criminalize private possession and distribution of Bibles), then people are more likely to recognize the alternative meaning. And this is especially so if the usage is in a medium that’s known for hyperbole (such as political mailers), then I suspect that people will discount it in some measure. This is why, having read both the cover separately and the cover and the insides together, it seems to me that the flyer is likely to be understood as making a plausible allegation — that liberals are seeking to ban the Bible from public schools (at least in most contexts) and from government-run displays — rather than a wildly implausible one (that they’re seeking a total outlawing of the Bible).

A very popular fiction genre in the United States is (what’s a good name?) tribulit. Christian tribulation/persecution fantasy. Unkinder critical terms – raptureporn and such – have been applied. I don’t read the stuff; I’ll bet Volokh doesn’t either. The snippets I’ve seen are stand-out dreadful. But never mind the literary criticism. Jerry Jenkins (of LaHaye and Jenkins Left Behind fame) has a recent novel, Silenced, the plot of which involves – well, I’ll let you read the news today oh, boy: Silenced Times (PDF). [And you really might want to click the Silenced link. It goes to the book site, which is dramatic. Not safe for work if there is any sort of no-cymbals policy in your work place. Or just turn it down. Site needs a fast connection.]

Does the audience for this book realize it is just fantasy? Total fantasy? That worrying about secular, left-wing conspiracies to ban the Bible is like worrying that Kerry is really The Walkin Dude? Matthew Yglesias on the two epistemologies problem: “you talk with rightwingers and you see that you basically share the same vague normative goals, but disagree about what’s happening in the universe.”

When Democrats find it funny to wear Republicans for Voldemort baby-tees, they don’t literally think Republicans are for Voldemort. Maybe Republicans readers of Silenced are also capable of discerning the point where fiction stops and political reality begins – namely, political reality would be the stuff outside of the covers of these sorts of book. (I’m not sure to what extent these books draw theological lines that are implied to be mappable onto partisan lines, left and right, to be honest.) The devil is in the details of the real world reception of this stuff. When I visit the Amazon page for LaHaye and Jenkins The Mark: The Beast Rules the World, the book info appears under a banner ad for the Paris Hilton Collection. That’s sort of funny. Maybe Left Behind literature just expresses allegorically (or however you want to categorize it) revulsion with – alienation from – perceived decadence of American culture.

Speaking of false consciousness studies, Michael Bérubé had a series of pretty interesting posts last week about Thomas Frank’s What’s Wrong With Kansas??

Full disclosure: Mr. Frank himself wrote me a nice little letter to accompany my publisher’s copy—what, you think maybe I buy my books? – in which he said that he knows that it’s not “fashionable” to speak of false consciousness but that someone’s got to point out just how much damage the right has done, or something like that. The proper reply, I think (aside from “hey, thanks for the free book!”), is to point out that “fashion” isn’t the problem here. The reason that lots of cultural-studies people stopped talking about “false consciousness” at some point between Raymond Williams’s 1973 essay “Base and Superstructure in Marxist Cultural Theory” and Stuart Hall’s 1986 essays “Gramsci’s Relevance for the Study of Race and Ethnicity” and “The Problem of Ideology: Marxism without Guarantees” wasn’t that it became “unfashionable.” Rather, it was because it began to look as if, in trying to understand why the dominated classes participated so eagerly in their own domination, left cultural theory was simply inventing the same wheel over and over again, and worse, it was a weird kind of triangular wheel that didn’t actually work on the road.

HAVING SAID THAT, though, I should get to the damn point. I don’t think, in the end, that What’s the Matter with Kansas? relies wholeheartedly on a theory of false consciousness. There are moments when it sounds otherwise – say, when Frank speaks of Kansas conservatives as “deranged” (and conservatives in the media were, for some reason, quick to pick up on this) – but I actually don’t mind these moments: it seems pretty clear to me that Frank is addressing this book to other liberals and progressives rather than to the Kansas Cons themselves, and you know what, I too think some of the Kansas Cons’ political senses are just deranged. (Ordinary economic libertarianism combined with cultural conservatism I can understand; people appointing themselves Pope or conducting searches for the bodies of all the people Bill Clinton killed with his own hands I do not understand.)

So yeah, there are times when the book sounds as if it’s always the economy, stupid – as when Frank insists that for the New Right, “cultural anger is marshaled to achieve economic ends. And it is these economic achievements – not the forgettable skirmishes of the never-ending culture wars – that are the movement’s greatest monuments” (6). But his own work shows that for many heartland conservatives, it really is about the cultural anger; it’s a cultural anger that is marshaled to cultural ends, and they don’t mind being impoverished by the economic agenda of Bush’s crony klepto-capitalism. On the contrary, for them, their immiseration is but another sign of their Election: they understand that they must live in poverty and tribulation on this earth, because they are serving a higher calling … That isn’t false consciousness, folks. It’s true consciousness – the true consciousness of a theocratic right wing in which people really do think that their “fundamental interests” lie in prosecuting those never-ending culture wars.

Getting back to Volokh’s point: “Whether the usage is actually misleading depends on how people are likely to perceive it.” What do you think?

I admit the joke will be on me if it turns out Kerry is The Walkin Dude, after all. Maybe there’s nothing wrong with Kansas. That’s where the good people went to take refuge from The Walkin Dude, after all. Abigail Freemantle? She was in Kansas, wasn’t she?

Oh, and in the spirit of full disclosure, I’ve been making jokes about Amazon Associates on our other blog. I think you should know: if you buy anything from the Paris Hilton collection through the link above, I get my cut. That’s only fair. This whole secular decadence thing ought to turn a decent profit.

UPDATE: everyone should go read Belle’s post if they haven’t yet. It’s more important than this nonsense.



Carlos 09.29.04 at 4:20 pm

Well, setting aside EV’s known biases of high-but-not-perfect-predictive quality, it seems to me that he is reversing the typical exoteric-esoteric model of political advertising. Instead of people divining a scary esoteric meaning from the relatively inoffensive exoteric surface reading (i.e., from “states rights” to “gay welfare Negroes will AIDS abort you and your little dog too”), Volokh believes people divine a safe esoteric meaning from an extremely offensive exoteric reading (i.e. “godless liberals want to ban the Bible” to “I am concerned about my personal values not being promoted in the public schools”).

Let’s immediately get Godwin on his ass. What safe esoteric meaning did Germans get from Julius Streicher’s Der Stürmer? From “leprous Jews are corrupting our precious Aryan bodily fluids” to “the National Socialist movement is concerned about your health”?

It doesn’t pass the smell test.


PS apologies if this appears twice. Different error than the usual.


Randolph Fritz 09.29.04 at 4:25 pm

“Does the audience for this book realize it is just fantasy?”

Well, I know one reader–the only one who I know I know and a reasonble conservative–who does know that.

The Left Behind crowd (a description which could apply to other groups, hmmm) probably believes some version of that theology. Assuming all the purchasers of Left Behind books actually read them–an assumption which may not be warranted–that’s perhaps 2-3 million people, a sizeable minority, but only about 1% of the population. Is it so surprising that 1% of the US population believes this radical christian theology?


David 09.29.04 at 5:23 pm

Or perhaps they believe that Bible-banning is on the liberal agenda because they hear of it actually happening. The “Christian” talk-radio circuit routinely seizes upon incidents where school administrators try to muzzle religious expression as a CYA move. The actual principle at stake [No *state-sponsored* religious expression] is superficially clear, but in application is tangled in ambiguities, and school administrators often aren’t terribly bright [Remember your assistant high school principal?]. Nor does it take very many such incidents [“straws in the wind”] to feed a sense of beleaguerment; indeed, the phenomenon isn’t unknown on the left, especially at our own overheated moment. In other words, I think there’s plenty of reason for Republicans to think such propaganda will be effective [They’ve amply shown themselves to be ace marketers of sow’s ears, after all]–and an argument such as EV’s, which assumes that the RNC is putting stuff out without any consideration of whether it will be effective, simply makes no sense.


Silent E 09.29.04 at 6:17 pm

Randolph, if the books are selling to 2-3m people, that represents a lot more than 1%. Sure, it’s exactly 1% of roughly 300m, but remember each family only needs one set. And you can borrow them at the library or the church (very important for a 12 volume set – even the trade paperbacks will set you back more than $100).


Dubious 09.29.04 at 6:30 pm

I suspect both types of claims occur — ‘states rights’ type claims which appear mild but are actually signals for something more radical.

There are also ‘Bush is Hitler’ type claims which grab something wild for shock value when they really mean something more mild such as an unhealthy increase in jingoism, decrease in civil rights, etc. After all, there have been many nations, nationalism, and leaders which have had those effects without being Hitler. Bush could be merely Franco or Pinochet :).

Given that nothing at all appears about banning the bible on the inside, I have to say that this is an example of propagandists using a wild shock value claim to get people to open and read the pamphlet.

The equivalent, I think, of saying Republicans want to “turn back the clock on women’s rights to 1900”, then detailing their efforts to restrict abortion, weaken affrimative action, refusal to fund family planning overseas, etc.


Julian Fischer 09.29.04 at 6:42 pm

“Abigail Freemantle? She was in Kansas, wasn’t she?”

She lived (will live?) in Nebraska.


Julian Fischer 09.29.04 at 6:44 pm

“Abigail Freemantle? She was in Kansas, wasn’t she?”

Freemantle lived in Nebraska, baby.


Ginger Yellow 09.29.04 at 7:36 pm

Surely Volokh realises the irony of arguing that a fundamentalist/evangelist Christian audience wouldn’t take an extremely implausible text seriously?


eudoxis 09.29.04 at 7:39 pm

Tim LaHaye has sold some 32 million copies of the Left Behind (hmm) books. And there’s a secondary market for games, movies, etc.

I’m afraid this is not fringe.

And then there’s Dan Brown and I don’t think his market overlaps entirely with LaHaye’s.


Carolos Obscuros 09.29.04 at 7:47 pm

It’s certainly an exaggeration to claim that liberals want to ‘outlaw’ the Bible. However, many liberals consider that educating children in the Christian (or any other) faith is a form of child abuse, and that parents should be prohibited from doing so. They therefore support the criminalisation of religious doctrine. For example, here’s what Nick Humphrey said in his Amnesty Lecture entitled ‘What shall we Tell the Children?’ (Oxford. 21 February 1997):

“In short, children have a right not to have their minds addled by nonsense. And we as a society have a duty to protect them from it. So we should no more allow parents to teach their children to believe, for example, in the literal truth of the Bible, or that the planets rule their lives, than we should allow parents to knock their children’s teeth out or lock them in a dungeon.”

(see here for the text of the lecture in full).

Now if that isn’t ‘tribulit’ (tribulation plus persecution), what is?

The truth is that many liberals don’t just want to ban the Bible — they want to wipe out religion altogether, and if persuasion won’t work, they’re quite happy to apply their own, atheistic version of the Spanish Inquisition, dressed up as children’s rights.

No wonder they detest freedom of association.


Walt Pohl 09.29.04 at 8:28 pm

Carolos: I would estimate over 50% of liberals in the US are practicing Christians. Nick Humphrey is (apparently) British, and I’ve never heard of him until now, both of which preclude him being a major spokesperson for American liberalism.


dsquared 09.29.04 at 8:47 pm

Carolos, could I suggest that if all you really want to do is say nasty things about liberals, the correct place to do so is over at the (now reopened!) Matthew Yglesias site comments board?


james 09.29.04 at 8:52 pm

In the US a great majority of liberals (or at least Democrats) are Christians. Unfortunately there are several liberal organizations that take it as a duty to remove religion from public settings. The ACLU in particular has several outstanding lawsuits in California to this effect. If the call for a restriction of partial birth abortions can be seen as an effort to “role back womans rights”. The effort to remove religion from public settings can be seen as an effort to “remove the Bible”.


will 09.29.04 at 8:57 pm

“Nonsense,” I agree, but I think most liberals would agree that publically controlled curricula are the key to exposing children to more plausible points of view, and it’s most respectful of them to foster critical thinking abilities and allow them to grow into whatever worldview they see fit. Humphrey would be on the fringe, then.


Carolos Obscuros 09.29.04 at 9:01 pm

I chose Nick Humphrey as an ‘ideal type’, because he has clearly spelt out the liberal argument against parents’ rights to educate their children as they wish — read the whole lecture, it’s worth the trouble. Though I suspect that most liberals who oppose private education do so for a somewhat different reason than preventing child abuse associated with exposure to the Ten Commandments: the point is that they want other people’s children to be brought up the way THEY would bring up THEIR children if they had any, which most of them don’t, being too busy with recreational sex, birth-control, abortion, etc.

I understand their viewpoint, because they realise that if they don’t convert the breeders’ children, the breeders’ children will swamp them demographically and LaHaye will become compulsory reading for all teenagers …

Off I go at a tangent — now read this.


cleek 09.29.04 at 9:21 pm

The truth is that many liberals don’t just want to ban the Bible — they want to wipe out religion altogether, and if persuasion won’t work, they’re quite happy to apply their own, atheistic version of the Spanish Inquisition, dressed up as children’s rights.

and when we’re done with religion, we’re going after the slow-witted.


Jeremy Osner 09.29.04 at 9:38 pm

I demand my freedom of free-association dammit!


Matt Austern 09.29.04 at 9:54 pm

Seems to me that this sort of extra-charitable reading sets up a sort of reverse version of Morton’s Fork with the goal of telling people they should never be outraged by right-wing propaganda, no matter how noxious.

Here’s how the fork works. If it’s possible to find a reading that’s reasonable, then you decide to pick that reading and ignore the implications, subtext, associations, and rhetoric. If it’s impossible to find a reading that’s reasonable, then you decide that the literal meaning is the wrong thing to look at and you should instead focus on some reasonable-sounding alternative subtext. Either way: nothing to worry about.

Personally, I think that’s a poor way to look at political texts.


cw 09.29.04 at 10:15 pm

What most liberals believe in is separation of church and state. As that applies to public schools, liberals believe that no peson representing the state (teachers, administrators, secrataries) should be allowed to promote, or appear to promote, ANY religion. They are supposed to remain neutral.

For instance, it is obvious to me that a teacher leading a class prayer is an endorsment of some kind of religion in the eyes of a kindergartner. I, as a someone who believes that governement should stay completely out of religion, would not want my 5 year-old daughter subjected to this. I have my own ideas about how to teach her about spiritual matters and believe it is my responsibility.

That being said, religion, the bible, prayer are all allowed in public schools as long as representatives of the state are not involved. Studants can and do carry bibles, pray, expouse religeious beliefs, whatever.

I think conservative christians should really think about what separation of church and state means to them. It means that the government can’t force conservative christian religious beliefs on, for instance, islamic kindergartners, but it also means that the government can’t force atheistic or satanic or pagan or islamic religious beliefs of conservative christian kindergarteners.



Carolos Obscuros 09.29.04 at 10:19 pm

“Carolos, could I suggest that if all you really want to do is say nasty things about liberals ..”

No, no, I want to say nasty things about creeps right across the political spectrum — but banging on about dimwits of the ‘Rapture’ school would be preaching to the converted at Crooked Timber.

The litmus test is probably your view on school vouchers.

If you’re against them, you’re probably just a liberal creep. I say ‘probably’ because, being a right wing bastard, I’m aware that I might be in error.


rvman 09.29.04 at 10:23 pm


Certain level of irony in that “Banned books week” for the ACLU is next week. “Banned”? They are talking about 1) Patriot act rules allowing the government to subpoena library records and 2) Books maybe, possibly (but without direct examples) being taken off library shelves. I suspect the Bible is on their “banned” book list, as well.

Under the ACLU’s “Censored music” link:

Management of the Six Flags Amusement Park in Darien Lakes, New York, bans Marilyn Manson from performing at the park as part of the Ozzfest tour.

Private citizens cannot censor. Censorship is the use of government power to prevent speech. What is happening here is called the right of free association.


Stacy 09.29.04 at 10:34 pm

cw: Yes, but at the end of the day, the rightwingers really don’t like separation of church and state. They absolutely don’t want their own children taught Islam or Buddhism or voodoo, but they kinda do want the Muslim, Buddhist, and pagan children to be taught Christianity. Some of them will even be honest about this, although they will admit that it’s the end result of a long process that begins with letting teachers and administrators lead “harmless” prayers in schools.


Walt Pohl 09.29.04 at 10:41 pm

Carolos: Wow, you’re just chock full of anti-liberal prejudices, aren’t you. As an actual liberal, I do not require external examples to tell me what I do and do not believe.


Jason McCullough 09.29.04 at 11:02 pm

“I understand their viewpoint, because they realise that if they don’t convert the breeders’ children, the breeders’ children will swamp them demographically and LaHaye will become compulsory reading for all teenagers …”

The NYT had an editorial pushing this line of inanity a while back. Does it never occur to people to wonder if the “breeder children” will grow up, move to the cities, and turn into liberals? Historically, that’s what happens.


james 09.29.04 at 11:12 pm

You will actually find that most Christians are for separation of church and state. What tends to rub them the wrong way is avocation of ideology that, while non-religious in origin, runs contrary to deeply held religious beliefs. Especially ideology that attempts to create a moral structure for right and wrong. Christians find it hard to stomach the idea that the ten commandments is unacceptable literature for public schools but any ethics book is ok. Its the attempt to force feed their children an ethos to contrary to the parents beliefs.


Walt Pohl 09.29.04 at 11:30 pm

“Christians find it hard to stomach the idea that the ten commandments is unacceptable literature for public schools but any ethics book is okay” is an example of an exciting new trend: redefining Christianity as a subset of the Republican party. All the cool kids on the right are doing it these days.


Dubious 09.30.04 at 12:08 am

Extremist activists tend to be overrepresented in political parties since moderate members often aren’t so passionate about things.

I think Creationism and the voucher issue are a good way to sort people by their feelings on religion.

Hard-core theocons want Creationism given equal time along side evolution, even in public schools. If there were vouchers, many of them would not want to be required to teach evolution in voucher schools.

Moderate voters (in both parties) want the public schools to stay secular (no Creationism) and if there are voucher schools, want them to be required to teach evolution. (But may be tolerant towards voucher schools teaching religion).

Harder-core secularists oppose of vouchers because it might expose more students to religious non-sense, or, more cleverly, even if voucher funds weren’t literally used to provide religious education, they might help defray fixed costs and thus cross-subsidize religious instruction.

The NEA, IMHO, can be characterized as a harder-core secularist organization. I suspect many members feel that maybe the French aren’t so crazy to ban headscarves and ‘conspicuously large crosses’.


Eric 09.30.04 at 12:59 am

I think you’re all on the wrong track. The correct association is with the ammendment to “ban” gay marriage. The term conjures up images of police raiding a wedding and dragging the couple away in handcuffs, while the reality is just about forbidding states from granting certain legal benefits to gay couples. Similarly, “banning” the Bible conjures up images of government censors confiscating bibles and burning them, but it’s really about marginal cases of religious expression by the government. I don’t like the use of the term “banning” in either case, but I don’t think this is outside of the normal bounds of political rhetoric.


Brett Bellmore 09.30.04 at 2:07 am

Not on topic, but what the HECK is it with this site, that large chunks of it tend to become invisible until I select them with the cursor? I can’t off hand think of any other site where this happens.


Blues man 09.30.04 at 3:09 am

I think Eric has a valid point. It seems everyone is so polarized at this point in time that people can’t agree to disagree and respect that other humans have the right to believe differently. This is 2004. I thought that humans in “adanvced” societies would be more civil and less radical than what I read about at this point.


digamma 09.30.04 at 3:14 am

I bet I’m the only person here lame enough to know what happens to the Walkin Dude in Dark Tower 7.


Ted 09.30.04 at 3:21 am

Re: “Christians find it hard to stomach the idea that the ten commandments is unacceptable literature for public schools but any ethics book is ok.”

Unless I’m mistaken, which is entirely possible, the study of the ten commandments as an ethical system in public schools is, in fact, OK. What you can’t do is teach them as the *only* ethical system or the *true* ethical system, or put them (and only them) on the wall of the classroom. But I believe that if you want to do things like offer a comparative religion class which examines Christianity, or a course on the history of Christianity, that’s acceptable; what you’re not allowed to do is indoctrinate kids into Christianity.

Here’s my source:


jholbo 09.30.04 at 3:44 am

Well I certainly don’t know what happened to the Walkin Dude in Dark Tower vol. 7.


Dubious 09.30.04 at 4:15 am

I wonder how many members of the NEA would be willing to switch one year of high school English for one year of Comparative Religion?

The latter would surely be more useful in having an educated and tolerant citizenry than any year of my high school English experiences. For pure real world relevance of understanding other people (even if you disagree with them) you can’t beat the Bible, Koran, and Confucius, along with balance commentary.


cw 09.30.04 at 4:24 am

Re: “Christians find it hard to stomach the idea that the ten commandments is unacceptable literature for public schools but any ethics book is ok.”

If you are really going to have separation of church and state you can’t promote the ten commandments as the ten commandments, because it is a religious text.

You can teach the content of the ten commandments as ethics, and I think almost all ethics/morals taught in public school are based on either the ten commandments or the teachings of christ.

In my experience what conservative christians don’t want their children taught are specific ideas like: it’s OK to be gay, you should use birth control if you are going to have sex, other religious beliefs are valid, non-traditional families are valid, history depends on perspective of the speaker, etc… Ideas that are contrary to specific conservative christian religious belief.

I think this is OK. There are things that I wouldn’t want taught to my daughter in school (religious dogma of any kind) and if it was too bad I would either fight to change the schools or send her somewhere that taught what I believed.

But currently I agree with the values taught in our public school. They seem rooted in pretty basic christian ideas: tolerance, non-violence, compassion.


Matt Austern 09.30.04 at 5:52 am

Actually, you can’t teach the content of the ten commandments as ethics. The first three or four of them (the first three in the Catholic version, the first four in the Jewish and Protestant versions) are explicitly about what kind of religious observance you’re supposed to conduct. The remaining six or seven are mostly things that most people would agree are ethically good advice, but there’s room for reasonable disagreement about a few of them.


Warbaby 09.30.04 at 6:10 am

So the Xtians are just kidding about biblical literalism, eh?

That would explain away a lot of things…

Sorry, but no. Having spent a lot of time among the extreme right doing field research, I have to tell you that most of the people who buy a copy of The Turner Diaries see it as an accurate description of current trends.

So the short answer is yes, there are plenty of people who believe that “liberals will ban the Bible.” And they are the target audience, not the fuzzy-minded sorts who project their rationist pose onto the world around them — despite the evidence to the contrary.


mona 09.30.04 at 10:40 am

walt pohl – “Christians find it hard to stomach the idea that the ten commandments is unacceptable literature for public schools but any ethics book is okay” is an example of an exciting new trend: redefining Christianity as a subset of the Republican party

Yeah, what’s even more interesting is that before that redefinition, there’s another level where “Christianity” is being redefined as exclusively American. So, right-wing American fundamentalist Christians seem to think they’re the only “true” Christians in the world.


Matt Weiner 09.30.04 at 2:48 pm

I’m a bit surprised that no one has yet asked whether we should apply the Volokh Principle to the more deranged propaganda circulating in the Islamic world. I think we should take it that people mean what they say unless there’s a pretty good reason to think otherwise, and that’s not present here.

You might be interested to know that the ACLU supported the Religious Freedom Restoration Act back in 1993, and I think can generally be counted on to oppose dimwitted assistant principals who confiscate Bibles and ban private prayer and such-like.

Eric–I don’t really get it. The ban on gay marriage means that legally there will be no gay marriages, since marriage is a legal status. So a “ban” on Bibles would mean that legally there will be no Bibles, doesn’t it?


nnyhav 09.30.04 at 8:02 pm

Bible’s not on the top 100 per ALA per Critical Mass


luci phyrr 09.30.04 at 8:28 pm

what is it with this site, that large chunks of it tend to become invisible until I select them with the cursor

OT, but I’ve had the same problem as Brett. Words disappear too, even when selected. And it only happens on CT. I know, I’m complainin’ about free pie, but thought it might be my a glitch on my side…


Kimmitt 10.01.04 at 12:13 am

My in-laws gave me a Left Behind book as part of an ongoing attempt at conversion — a “scared straight” program, if you will. People believe it, and anyone who says otherwise is either lying or painfully deluded.


bellatrys 10.01.04 at 4:19 am

Wow, your new troll carolos really is ignorant, isn’t he? Unobservant and not letting it stop him, as he tells us who we are and how we are – NOT!

I guess he missed all the mini flame-wars back around March which were largely settled in favor of religion, with occasional sporadic firefights in holdout enclaves, between progressive believers and progressive non-believers over assumptions re Christianity etc being inevitably linked with conservativism.

As someone on dKos joked, “What, will I have to hand in my Bible to myself?”

But the serious thing is, they either really think the Pledge of Allegiance is in the Bible, or the truth is not in them, and they don’t care. This is how the GOP spokeswoman defended it, in the NYT, when they finally admitted that it was their work – she said that the Bible-banning image was there because liberals want to take “under God” out of the pledge.

If anyone wants to read the definitive Liberal Evangelical Smackdown of LaHaye and the tribulation literature genre so beloved of Dispensationalists, you need to check out Slacktivist’s long-running series on the series. (Warning, not drinks-safe.) We learn, among other things, why all the main characters are macho dudes with studly names and irresistable to women. (Ans: rampant Mary-Sue-itis.)


morfydd 10.01.04 at 7:38 pm

“Does the audience for this book realize it is just fantasy? Total fantasy? That worrying about secular, left-wing conspiracies to ban the Bible is like worrying that Kerry is really The Walkin Dude?”

To be fair, I can’t read “The Handmaid’s Tale” with my feminist bias without shivering. Sure, it’s not *likely* to happen, but it probably over-sensitizes me to minor persecutions. (For “THT” above, insert “Fahrenheit 451”, “1984”, “Animal Farm”, or whatever political fantasy hits your ideological buttons.)

It’s not a phenomenon peculiar to born-again Christians.

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