Now He's A Godless Commie

Bill Kristol, trained in the same politics as Hillary Clinton, now argues that Obama's remarks in a fundraiser q and a are the "real Obama" - and that his voluminous writing and speaking about the sincerity of his own religious faith, and of others, are presumably "masks." The reason for inferring Obama's Marxism is the following point Obama artlessly made about the way in which economic distress can alter people's tolerance for others:

"It’s not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."

Is this indistinguishable from saying, along with Marx, that all religion is an obviously false consciousness caused by the alienation of the world-historical class struggle? No, it obviously isn't. It's saying that economic distress does often in human history express itself in more rigid forms of religion, more reactionary cultural identification, less tolerance of "the other." Since large swathes of human history have shown this to be true - and perfectly arguable without any materialist understanding of religion - Kristol is deliberately distorting to paint Obama as a cynical manipulator of religious faith for political ends, rather than as a genuine Christian. He's calling him a lying, Godless communist.

You could argue, as Kristol and others hilariously will, that Lou Dobbs has no base,

that fundamentalist Christianism has no problem with "the other" in a globalized world, that dozens of state constitutional amendments banning civil marriages that had never and would never have taken place were just spirited forms of civic engagement, rather than scapegoating or politicking on resentment. You could also argue, as others legitimately will, that spasms of economic distress and social discontent are unconnected. Hey: Weimar had nothing to do with Hitler. But Kristol is doing something much more pernicious: he is saying that Obama is faking faith, that his very profession of faith is a "mask" that is slipping, and that Kristol is the person to determine whose faith is genuine and who is a fraud.

A non-Christian manipulator of Christianity is calling a Christian a liar about his own faith. That's where they've gone to already. And it's only the middle of April. What are they so scared of?

2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan

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