Fischer: Letting House Burn Down Was The Christian Thing To Do

Last month, firefighters in Obion County, Tennessee watched a home burn to the ground because the homeowner had failed to pay a $75 fee to receive fire protection from the city of South Fulton.

And, of course, Bryan Fischer says letting the house burn down was not only the right thing to do, it was the Christian thing to do:

The fire department did the right and Christian thing. The right thing, by the way, is also the Christian thing, because there can be no difference between the two. The right thing to do will always be the Christian thing to do, and the Christian thing to do will always be the right thing to do.

If I somehow think the right thing to do is not the Christian thing to do, then I am either confused about what is right or confused about Christianity, or both.

In this case, critics of the fire department are confused both about right and wrong and about Christianity. And it is because they have fallen prey to a weakened, feminized version of Christianity that is only about softer virtues such as compassion and not in any part about the muscular Christian virtues of individual responsibility and accountability.


This story illustrates the fundamental difference between a sappy, secularist worldview, which unfortunately too many Christians have adopted, and the mature, robust Judeo-Christian worldview which made America the strongest and most prosperous nation in the world. The secularist wants to excuse and even reward irresponsibility, which eventually makes everybody less safe and less prosperous. A Christian worldview rewards responsibility and stresses individual responsibility and accountability, which in the end makes everybody more safe and more prosperous.

I’m going with mature, robust Christianity on this one.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Hey, Janet Porter is back.
  • Randall Terry is calling on Abdul Rauf and Nihad Awad of CAIR to join him as he destroys passages from the Quran so they can renounce threats of violence against Christians.
  • On a related note, Operation Rescue wants to make it clear that they have no connection to Terry and his "negative lifestyle choices, financial mismanagement, misleading donors, and bizarre media events."
  • Alan Keyes' Black America’s PAC has spent just 1% of $2 million it has raised since 2007 supporting candidates.
  • Apparently, Christians are very concerned that they might unknowingly be eating meat that is halal.
  • Richard Land supports the construction of an Islamic center in Tennessee while Mat Staver warns Christians that if a court or other government official can ban a mosque, it could also ban churches: "There will be losers in this, and one of them could be you."
  • Finally, the Coming King Foundation just spent $200,000 getting this 5,000 lb, 18-foot tall bronze sculpture of Jesus Christ as a mighty warrior, returning in glory on a white horse installed in Minnesota:

Tennessee Mosque Opponents: Islam is not a Religion

The construction of a community center and mosque in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, has garnered more attention due to the extreme rhetoric and actions of the project’s opponents. The ARF and FBI are investigating an arson attack, a Republican congressional candidate dubbed it an “Islamic training center,” protesters said Muslims “are out to overthrow this government and this country” and another detractor shouted at a Muslim woman, “our constitution doesn’t apply to you.”

And now opponents are asking a judge to overrule the zoning board, claiming Muslims do not have the right to build houses of worship since Islam is not in fact a religion but a traitorous, anti-American political movement.

This radical argument echoes the statements of Tennessee’s Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey, who said that “could even argue whether that being a Muslim is actually a religion, or is it a nationality, way of life, cult or whatever you want to call it.”

The Tennessean reports on the novel and radical arguments of the mosque’s opponents:

Mosque opponents say that Islam is not a real religion. Instead, they argued in a Rutherford County courthouse last week that the world's second largest faith, with its 1.6 billion followers, is actually a political movement.

Opponents say local Muslims want to replace the Constitution with an Islamic legal code called Shariah law. Joe Brandon Jr., a Smyrna attorney representing a group of mosque opponents, argued that the proposed mosque is not a house of worship. He said the Rutherford County Planning Commission erred on May 24 when it approved the mosque.

Brandon wants Chancellor Robert Corlew of the 16th Judicial District to issue an injunction stopping the mosque.

"Shariah law is pure sedition," said Brandon in his opening statement Monday.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • The Pacific Justice Institute is trying to force California to defend Prop 8.
  • Richard Land may not support the "Ground Zero Mosque," but he condemns anti-Muslim crimes like arson in Tennessee.
  • Glenn Beck has some new website.
  • Peter LaBarber really likes Ryan Sorba.
  • Joseph Farah really hates GOProud.
  • Liberty Counsel wants you to cast a "Vote of No Confidence" in President Obama.
  • Jordan Sekulow says people will continue to question President Obama's faith so long as he continues to be a bad Christian.
  • Finally, behold Mike Huckabee featuring AshleyMadison.com on his program:

Right Wing Round-Up

Robertson Warns The Muslims Will Do What His Christian Coalition Did

Today, The 700 Club ran a segment on the attempt by Muslims to build a new Islamic Center in Murfreesboro, Tennessee that was nothing more than a collection of baseless insinuations that funding for the development was coming from overseas and that Murfreesboro was being targeted by Muslims because it is such a strongly Christian community:

Mosque officials say the money was raised in the community. But local journalist Rebecca Bynum said she isn't convinced.

"In other mosques, like in Boston and other areas where there's been huge mosques built, the funding did come from overseas, principally from Saudi Arabia, rich individuals from countries like Saudi Arabia and the UAE," she said.

Murfreesboro is not alone. two more mega-mosques are now being planned for Tennessee--one in Memphis and another the town of Antioch, near Nashville.

"It does seem to be part of a larger strategy to build mosques in rural areas and create Islamic communities--large Islamic communities--in rural areas for some larger purpose," said Bynum, a columnist for the New English Review


Cardoza-Moore believes the purpose is clear in middle Tennessee.

"You have Bible book publishers, you have Christian book publishers, you have Christian music headquartered here," she said. "So this is where the Gospel message goes out. And the radical Islamic extremists have stated that they're still fighting the Crusaders--and they see this as the capital of the Crusaders."

But nothing quite captures the absurdity of this piece like the fact that, at the end, Pat Robertson claiming that Muslims are bribing local officials in order to build these sorts of complexes while warning that Muslims are going to move into this sorts of communities in order to take over city councils so that they can turn their religious views into law. 

That, by the way, was the exact purpose of the Christian Coalition, which Robertson himself founded:

Right Wing Round-Up

  • Think Progress: Opponents of same-sex marriage ask Prop. 8 judge to invalidate 18,000 marriages of gay couples.
  • Towleroad: Study: Millions of Dollars Spent on Proposition 8 and Similar Campaigns Has Been a Complete Waste.
  • Adam Shah: Witch hunt: Wash. Times literally tells its readers to be "very afraid" of Obama judges.
  • Joe.My.God: Baptist Softball League Bans Entire Team Over Lesbian Coach.
  • Adele Stan: Arch-Conservative U.S. Christians Help Uganda 'Kill-the-Gays' Bill Stay Alive.
  • Minnesota Independent: Pawlenty takes first step toward 2012 bid.
  • Religion Dispatches: DeMint Uses Christian Reconstructionist Mailing List To Raise Money For Angle.
  • Autumn Sandeen: The Prophet Hartline Speaks On Recent Natural Disasters.
  • Steve Benen: Republicans Just Don't Like The Unemployed, Cont'd ...
  • Kevin Drum: Psychoanalyzing the Tea Partiers.

Who Is "Dr." David Barton?

Late last year, I wrote a post questioning why David Barton of WallBuilder's was trying to pass himself off as a professor ... and another post shortly thereafter wondering why he was being refered to as "Dr." Barton when his academic credentials consist entirely of a "B.A. from Oral Roberts University and an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from Pensacola Christian College."

There is no evidence that we have ever seen that Barton earned a Ph.D ... yet for some reason we keep seeing instances in which he is billed as "Dr. David Barton":

Unionville Christian Church will observe the National Day of Prayer May 6 at 6:30 p.m. There will be a showing of "Is America a Christian Nation?" by Dr. David Barton followed by prayer for the community, government leaders and nation lead by David L. Williams.

Just yesterday, Barton addressed a prayer breakfast in Tennessee and again he is being refered to as "Dr." Barton

Americans have "moved away from knowing our own history" in believing the Founding Fathers were a group of non-religious men and women, the head of a national pro-family group says.

Dr. David Barton, speaking Tuesday to a record crowd of 1,800 at the 32nd annual Chattanooga Area Leadership Prayer Breakfast, said truths about the country's founders have been removed from history textbooks, misinterpreted by courts and distorted by the media.


Dr. Barton said Americans still have the opportunity to follow George Washington's challenge to his beleaguered men following their winter at Valley Forge: "To the distinguished character of patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian."

"Become a part of what made America great," Dr. Barton said. "We need religion and morality ... to thrive as Americans."

Did Barton earn a doctorate that we don't know about?  Are people just mistakenly calling him "Dr." Barton?  Or is Barton falsely billing himself as "Dr." Barton?  Is he using the honorary Doctorate from Pensacola Christian College to justify this title? 

What is going on here?

Randall Terry TV: Comedy, Music, and Politics as Performed by Stephen Colbert, Rush Limbaugh, and John the Baptist

mentioned that Randall Terry has created his own television show yesterday but I didn't really know how to describe it ... so we'll just let Terry describe it himself

Randall Terry, Founder of Insurrecta Nex and OverturnRoe.com, is launching a five day per week half-hour television show, originating from Washington DC called "Randall Terry: The Voice of Resistance." The show premieres on Monday, May 10, 2010.

"The show will be a combination of news, comedy, songs, skits, and of course...leadership training for culture warriors. Think of a hybrid of Stephen Colbert, Rush, and John the Baptist. And of course, we will torment our adversaries, just because we can." -- Randall Terry

Terry says his show has been picked up by two stations so far: WQXT in St. Augustine FL and WCKV in Clarksville, Tennessee.

Here's the trailer again ... just because it is awesome

Right Wing Round-Up

  • Rachel Tabachnick: Lou Engle's "The Call Uganda" Reported but NAR Remains Under Radar.
  • Towleroad: Florida AG Bill McCollum Paid George 'Rentboy' Rekers $87,000 to Be Star Witness for State's Gay Adoption Ban.
  • Sarah Posner: Clarion Fund Claims Times Square Bombing Attempt Proof Of "Coordinated Jihad Against Western Values".
  • David Weigel: A mixed primary night for the tea parties.
  • Steve Benen: Lieberman's Tenuous Understanding of Due Process.
  • Frederick Clarkson: Ugandan 'Kill the Gays' Bill Becoming an Issue in Kansas.
  • David Neiwert: 'Oath Keeper' under arrest after driving to Tennessee to take over courthouse, conduct 'citizens arrests' of public officials.
  • Think Progress: Cantor says Americans are ‘better than’ everyone else.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell has declared April to be Confederate History Month.
  • Newt Gingrich says people need to stop attacking RNC Chair Michael Steele and instead focus on defeating Democrats.
  • J.D. Hayworth says his race against Sen. John McCain is pitting the Tea Partiers against Washington.
  • It looks like Team Huckabee is fracturing over a House race in Tennessee.
  • Peter LaBarbera says Augusto Pereira de Souza doesn't need asylum in the US because Brazil is just about the gayest place in the world.
  • Finally, I am very much looking forward to seeing "Casino Jack and the United States of Money":

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Peter LaBarbera challenges the SPLC's Mark Potok to a debate over the SPLC's designation of LaBarbera's Americans for Truth as a hate site.
  • Carrie Prejean is being sued by a Christian PR firm over failure to pay for some nearly $65,000 in services.
  • Tony Perkins and Harry Jackson are headlining a Family Action Council of Tennessee "Stand for the Family" rally.
  • Apparently, the Presidential Prayer Team has issued an urgent appeal for funds, as several members have dropped out because they refuse to pray for President Obama.
  • Jerry Falwell, Jr. defends Liberty University's lawsuit against health care reform legislation, saying most of the students support it ... and even if they didn't, it doesn't matter because the board does.
  • The president of the Eagle Forum of Georgia was shot to death by her husband over the weekend in a murder/suicide.
  • It seems that being unemployed gives people a lot of time to focus on their Tea Party organizing.
  • Finally, do you remember Terry Kemple?  Well, he's running for a seat on the Hillsborough County School Board in Florida.

The Resurrection of Ralph Reed

Religion Dispatches' Sarah Posner has a really good article on Ralph Reed and his miraculous resurrection through his Faith and Freedom Coalition which contains a lot of useful information, a lot of which I was totally unaware of, like the fact that Tim Phillips, which whom Reed c0-founded Century Strategies after leaving the Christian Coalition, is now the president of Tea Party activist firm Americans for Prosperity and that Reed's new organization is apparently cannibalizing his previous organization to create his new organization:

Reed’s FFC is essentially a retread of the Christian Coalition which, under Reed’s leadership, was investigated by Congress, the Federal Election Commission, and ultimately (after Reed’s departure) had its tax-exempt status denied over its engagement in electoral politicking. But Reed, who has managed to survive the Christian Coalition meltdown, his two-timing of evangelicals through his business association with Abramoff, and his 2006 loss in the Republican primary for lieutenant governor of Georgia, is sifting the remnants of the Christian Coalition infrastructure to build FFC.

O'Neal Dozier, pastor of the Worldwide Christian Church in Pompano Beach, Florida, and a Christian Coalition of Florida board member, said that the board voted last year to “come under the umbrella of” the FFC. For an organization that was low on funds, said Dozier, it was “a great opportunity that we felt we couldn’t pass up.”

Now Dozier also serves on the FFC board, and says that the affiliation brings “more fundraising capabilities. With Faith and Freedom and with Ralph being known as he is, we can get more conservatives involved and coming to functions that we have in order to raise funds,” both locally and nationally. “It costs a lot of money to print voter guides,” he chuckled.

Also rather amazing is the fact that nobody in the movement is particularly concerned about Reed's Jack Abramoff-related double-dealings:

Yet Reed continues to elicit effusive praise from fellow evangelicals. The Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody claims FFC “is indeed poised to be a major player in the 2010 and 2012 elections.” About Reed’s association with Abramoff, [Iowa Christian Alliance president Steve] Scheffler told RD, “if you look at the whole explanation it was a nonissue, it was the press that made something out of nothing that was there.” He added that Iowa activists were “excited” that Reed was the master of ceremonies for the Iowa Christian Alliance’s fundraiser this week, at which Rick Santorum was the keynote speaker.

Cindy Costa, the Republican National Committeewoman for South Carolina and former Christian Coalition activist, told RD that Reed is a “fine gentleman” and “helpful to the conservative movement.” After an FFC organizing event in Tennessee last week, Richard Land, head of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, called the FFC “one of the most important forces for sound public policy in America in the coming years.” And GOP operative Chip Saltsman, forced to pull out of the race for Republican National Committee chair last year after he distributed a “Barack the Magic Negro” CD, added that FFC “has already been effective in identifying and turning out conservative voters and we’re pleased to bring it to Tennessee.”

But rest assured that even though Reed might be seeking to tie his current activism to the Tea Party movement, he isn't abandoning his Religious Right foundation:

Reed went on to claim that not running the country on a Judeo-Christian moral code is actually contrary to democracy. “So really, when you really get right down to it, James,” he said, “democracy doesn’t really work at all unless there is a citizenry animated by a moral code that derives from their faith in God. That’s what makes the whole thing work because otherwise, the government has to tell everybody what to do.”

I encourage you to read the whole thing.

The Unsinkable Ralph Reed

While Ralph Reed may be contemplating running for Congress in his home state of Georgia, his work with the Faith and Freedom Coalition continues to move forward around the country. 

Yesterday, he was in Tennessee plotting strategy with the likes of Richard Land and Rep. Marsha Blackburn:

FFC Chairman Ralph Reed held an organizational meeting with key grassroots visionaries, pastors, and former and current elected officials in Nashville, Tennessee, on March 1st to launch the Faith and Freedom Coalition of Tennessee. Everyone left the meeting energized about the great promise and potential of the Faith and Freedom Coalition of Tennessee

“I believe that the Faith and Freedom Coalition is going to be one of the most important forces for sound public policy in America in the coming years,” said Dr. Richard Land, President of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. “I’m excited that the Faith and Freedom Coalition has come to Tennessee. It will help concerned Tennesseans to give voice to their convictions in the public policy arena.”

“In its short existence, The Faith and Freedom Coalition has already been effective in identifying and turning out conservative voters and we’re pleased to bring it to Tennessee,” said Chip Saltsman, former Chairman of the Republican Party of Tennessee. “With the help of our grassroots team here, Faith and Freedom will be a force in Tennessee conservative politics for a long time to come.”

Apparently Reed's deep ties to Jack Abramoff's corruption hasn't undermined his political standing in any way among conservative activists and members of Congress.  Amazing.

It's especially amazing that Land would join with Reed in this effort, considering that Land believes that "gambling is a violation of two, possibly three of the 10 commandments," while Reed took tens of thousands of dollars to dupe his former Religious Right allies into supporting efforts that would benefit Abramoff's clients' gambling interests.

Right Wing Round-Up

Palin, Bachman, Moore, and Scarborough to Speak At Tea Party National Convention

Where can you find Sarah Palin and Rep. Michele Bachmann rubbing elbows with the likes of Roy Moore and Rick Scarborough?

At the National Tea Party Convention next February in Tennessee:

Tea Party Nation is pleased to announce the First National Tea Party Convention. The convention is aimed at bringing Tea Party representatives together from around the nation for the purpose of networking and supporting the movements' principle goals.

Sarah Palin, Governor of Alaska (2006-2009) and the 2008 Republican Vice Presidential Nominee will be the guest of honor and keynote speaker.

Rep. Michele Bachmann will be a breakfast speaker at the convention. Also speaking at the convention are Rep. Marsha Blackburn and former Alabama Supreme Court Judge Roy Moore.

Other participants include: Phil Valentine (Nationally Syndicated Conservative Talk Radio Host), Bruce Donnelly (President, SurgeUSA), Ana Puig, Dr. B. Leland Baker (author of Tea Party Revival), Mark Skoda (The Memphis Tea Party), Keli Carender (aka Liberty Belle), Dr. Rick Scarborough (author of "Enough is Enough"), Lori Christenson (The Evergreen Conifer Tea Party), David DeGerolamo (NC Freedom Tea Party), Walter Fitzgerald (Tea Party Nation - Emergency Preparedness), The Leadership Institute, Judicial Watch, SurgeUSA, FAIR, National Taxpayers Union, American Majority, Smart Girl Politics.

Back in September, Bachmann and Scarborough both appeared at the How To Take Back America Conference, and this is what we got:

We are expecting more of the same the next time around.

The Inane State of The Healthcare Debate - Part II

To follow-up on the post I wrote yesterday, here are a few more.

Why do we need healthcare reform when we already have free healthcare?

Bruce Engelman is pastor of Baptist Temple in Fort Worth, Texas, and is also a spokesperson for American Inspirational Ministries. Engelman, who often travels the country as part of his ministry work, says he has made an observation about available healthcare.

"Why do we need socialized medicine or healthcare when there is already free healthcare?" he wonders. "In Grand Rapids, Michigan, Mary Free Bed Hospital; in Pittsburgh, children's hospital; St. Jude's in Memphis, Tennessee; Shriners hospital in Kentucky, Cook County hospital in Chicago, Illinois."

The pastor believes the healthcare option is being pushed for two reasons. "Number one, to increase the voting bloc for the liberals -- of both parties, by the way -- of illegal immigration," Engleman says, "and the other reason is there's no question that the other side wants to advance a radical, and I emphasize radical, social agenda."

Engelman says those who are speaking out against the healthcare plan are heroes, much like the Founding Fathers of the nation.

Churches are the key to healthcare reform:

The head of a coalition of evangelical churches says healthcare reform should focus less on government and more on marshaling churches to meet community needs.

Bishop Harry Jackson, Jr., who chairs the High Impact Leadership Coalition, says large churches could work together to provide diagnostic screening and care for people with diseases like HIV-AIDS.

Jackson says the contrast between government and faith-based relief was striking when Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans four years ago. He says, "When the government failed, the church stepped up."

Instead of government healthcare, Jackson believes "there has to be a community-based answer that includes a faith community component."

Randall Terry Takes His Show On The Road

Last week we mentioned that Randall Terry and his band of merry pranksters were heading out on the road for series of "kill granny/kill babies" healthcare reform protests.  Well, they are now underway:

Terry, 50, and his staffers readied their props: plastic toddler dolls, a trick knife, a Halloween syringe, a bottle of fake blood.

"We're going to be executing babies," he joked as the trio, trailed by another staffer with a camcorder, stepped out onto Salem Avenue in Roanoke toward Sen. Mark Warner's downtown office.


Friday morning, at the entry to Warner's offices, the activist displayed a sign that read: OBAMA DEATH CARE: One dead patient at a time.

"At the core of Obama's health care policy is the murder of babies and the murder of the elderly," he said. "If this bill passes and they expect us to pay ... there will be horrific consequences to pay."

The consequences, as he explained them, would be contempt for the government; vandalism; and acts of violence against those perceived to be involved with abortions, but he denied involvement with violent anti-abortionists.

"This is not a threat, it's a warning," he said, then told his troupe, "Let's do skit one," and began to stab at baby dolls with a plastic knife. Given a pale-handed "thumbs down" from a staffer in an Obama mask, he pretended to give a lethal injection to another employee who was costumed as a trembling elderly woman.

"You really can save money if you kill granny," he said.

Those and other displays were performed twice before an audience of just three reporters, three cameras and the frosted-glass windows behind him.

Here are some pictures from Kentucky:

They also showed up in Tennessee where even teenagers found their antics to be offensive, juvenile, and misleading:

"I think this is a disgrace," said 13-year-old Jontrez London of Nashville. "Obama's trying to save people. He ain't gonna try to kill an old lady."

Another baby doll went flying and 14-year-old Malcolm Wells shook his head and sighed.

"These are adults acting like children," he said.

Military Fatigues and Guns Optional At Church-Held Political Rally

Let us offer some advice to anyone planning on attending a future "A Call to Arms" rally hosted by a right-wing radio host by the name of Ralph Bristol and TEA Party activists: even though it is being held in a church, be sure to wear your best military fatigues if you want to fit in .... and bring your gun:

An old-fashioned God and country revival broke out at Cornerstone Church in Madison [Tennessee] on Friday night, complete with patriotic songs, flag waving, and a dose of fire and brimstone about the dangers of socialism.

There was even an altar call.

But the 600 or so Christian conservatives gathered for "A Call to Arms," organized by talk show host Ralph Bristol, weren't asked to give their heart to Jesus. Instead, they were asked to sign up for conservative causes like the Tea Party Nation and the Eagle Forum, and to donate to charities like the Nashville Rescue Mission.

"You must get involved," said Judson Phillips of Tea Party Nation. "The time for sitting on the sidelines is over."

Phillips urged the crowd to fight what he called the "Obama-Pelosi-Reed axis of evil," which he believes threatens the American way of life.

"Tonight we are doing a different kind of altar call," he said. "Tonight's altar call is not for God. It's for country."


Toward the end of his program, Bristol replaced the Hawaiian shirt with a green army jacket and baseball cap with the American flag on it, to play a character called Sgt. Bristol. He gave his audience marching orders to slay the socialist monster.

One thing Bristol didn't carry was a firearm. He had thought about bringing one to church as part of his uniform but decided against it.

"Sergeant Bristol gets pretty angry, and to be up there, wearing a gun, didn't feel right," he said.

Some of the audience wore similar uniforms, and brought their guns.

Sobota and his wife, Cindy, said they have permits to carry handguns, and brought them along to church on Friday.

"There's been a lot of fear-mongering about that," he said. "I'm probably the safest person out there, because I don't want to do anything to jeopardize my permit."

Soothing the Savage Beast

The August 3 issue of the New Yorker includes an only-in-the-New-Yorker-length profile (seven full pages) of right-wing radio host Michael Savage. Savage’s fiercely ugly anti-gay and other extremist rhetoric has often been spotlighted by Media Matters, earning the group a special place in the pantheon of things Savage hates. Savage has called Media Matters “evil” and “Stalinists” and is currently engaged in a ludicrous campaign to challenge the group’s nonprofit status.

While Savage loves to hate the media and Media Matters, he’s found a friend in Kelefa Sanneh, author of the New Yorker profile (subscription required), which feels like a many-thousand word promo for Savage’s radio show. Sanneh is smitten with Savage, “more days than not, a marvelous storyteller, a quirky thinker, and an incorrigible free-associator.” He calls Savage’s show “one of the most addictive programs on radio, and one of the least predictable.”

Sanneh doesn’t ignore that Savage has a well-documented hatred of gays and that his central thesis is “that lefties are ruining the world, or trying to,” and quotes some of Savage’s memorable moments, such as the one that got him thrown off MSNBC, when he told a caller “Oh, you’re one of the sodomites. You should only get AIDS and die, you pig.”

But Sanneh finds Savage so weirdly charming and entertaining (he ruminates about death!) that he is quick to dismiss the host’s virulent rhetoric. Here’s Sanneh:

“The immoderate quotes meticulously catalogued by the liberal media-watchdog site mediamatters.org are accurate but misleading, insofar as they reduce a willfully erratic broadcast to a series of political brickbats.”

“Immoderate” is an extraordinarily moderate word to apply to Savage’s serial attacks on gay people, which includes such charges as "[t]he radical homosexual agenda will not stop until religion is outlawed in this county," and that gay people "threaten your very survival." Gays, he says, “want full and total subjugation of this society to their agenda.” Savage has also promoted right-wing lies about Obama being born in Kenya and being a Muslim, and said during the campaign:

"I think he was hand-picked by some very powerful forces both within and outside the United State of America to drag this country into a hell that it has not seen since the Civil War of the middle of the 19th century.”

In a podcast interview posted on the New Yorker site, Sanneh said that people from the left and right do “a pretty good job of getting offended at the other people’s pundits.” Sanneh draws a stunning sort of moral equivalence between Savage, the kind of guy liberals “get all worked up about,” and Al Franken , who some conservatives would consider “an angry, hateful guy.”

Sanneh seems uninterested in considering whether the kind of political rhetoric Savage specializes in has the potential to fuel hatred and violence. Savage’s liberal-hating books were among those found on the shelves of the Tennessee man who opened fire in a Unitarian Universalist church last year to vent his hatred of liberals who he said were destroying the country. Sanneh says that Savage’s best-selling books are “political polemics” but says “none capture the freewheeling sensibility of the show or the complicated personality of the man.”

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