Hewitt's Confession of Faith

Here's Hugh Hewitt's creed:

"I do believe that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Powell, Gonzales and Ashcroft have run the global war on terror about as well as it could have been run, and their commitment to its prosecution has been unyielding. I admire their courage and their consistency.  This presidency is already among the most significant of our nation's history, and like Reagan's, will be admired for generations long after the Bush haters have been forgotten."

He can see no flaws in the war strategy as run by this administration. The secretary of state may have confessed to "thousands of errors" - but not Hugh. Then he accuses yours truly of being an anti-Christian bigot and a Bush-hater. I am a Christian myself and find the notion that I am an anti-Christian bigot deeply offensive. Readers of this blog also know that while I am extraordinarily angry at the incompetent recklessness that has characterized this presidency, I find it impossible not to like the president personally. Except when his cruel streak emerges - laughing at women on death-row, endorsing torture, telling Islamists to "bring it on" against U.S. troops, for example - he seems like an amiable fellow, if completely out of his depth. This realization came too late for me. I once lionized the guy in the wake of 9/11, letting my fear and hope overcome my skepticism and better judgment. To equate me with haters like Michael Moore is preposterous. I gave this administration every single benefit of every doubt until it became impossible not to acknowledge their dangerous incompetence.

But Hewitt says something else about my use of the term "Christianist." He writes the following:

"Sullivan's "christianist" rhetoric, like a great deal of other similar rhetoric, is deeply offensive, and is in fact hate speech, designed not to describe but to incite, specifically to incite an emotional, irrational hatred of the person(s) to whom it is applied. Sullivan has never defined the term, but its accordian-like quality allows it to expand to take in Roman Catholic-turned-Presbyterian, Arlen Specter-supporting big tent Republican me." [my italics]

Hewitt is not telling the truth. I have defined the term very carefully and very often. My most thorough attempt was in a very widely-disseminated Time essay, which Hewitt read. You can read it here. Money quote:

Christianity, in this view, is simply a faith. Christianism is an ideology, politics, an ism. The distinction between Christian and Christianist echoes the distinction we make between Muslim and Islamist. Muslims are those who follow Islam. Islamists are those who want to wield Islam as a political force and conflate state and mosque. Not all Islamists are violent. Only a tiny few are terrorists. And I should underline that the term Christianist is in no way designed to label people on the religious right as favoring any violence at all. I mean merely by the term Christianist the view that religious faith is so important that it must also have a precise political agenda. It is the belief that religion dictates politics and that politics should dictate the laws for everyone, Christian and non-Christian alike.

I have also repeatedly and carefully defined it on my blog - here, here, and here, for a few recent examples. Hewitt needs to issue a factual correction. He won't, I'll wager (and I'll link if he does). Like most fanatics, if the truth contradicts him, he simply reasserts more forcefully his own dogma. Like George "we do not torture" Bush, Dick "last throes" Cheney and Don "stuff happens" Rumsfeld on Iraq. But saying something does not make it so, as any sane person must now concede. A lie is a lie is a lie.

I should add that Hewitt still refuses to acknowledge or account for his own role in credentializing, supporting and using for political purposes the work of fanatical anti-Semite Mel Gibson. Again, his inability to cop to even basic moral and intellectual responsibility is a feature of the very Christianism I have tried to sketch. He still insists that "The Passion" is not an anti-Semitic movie, but does not make an actual argument against the many Christian and Jewish scholars who see in it deep tropes of medieval Jew-hatred, perhaps invisible to a contemporary Christian. Hewitt backed the movie for political reasons. If abetting anti-Semitism (or homophobia, for that matter) can achieve the party's aims, then so be it. As he once used as the very slogan of his site "The Power of the Democrats Must Be Destroyed." It's the one coherent thread in everything he writes. It is his true faith.