Impugning the religious faith of others based on their political views is one of the basic themes of the Religious Right, but it’s still refreshing to hear it as openly stated as this simple test: a “True Christian” is one who opposes abortion and same-sex marriage.
That’s the message of “True Christian VP,” a petition drive from Gary Cass’s “Christian Anti-Defamation Commission,” which is “calling for each candidate to select a true Christian as a running mate for the all important 2008 elections.” And in case there might be any confusion, the group has narrowed down the definition of “true Christian” to two criteria:
What qualifications are embodied in a truly Christian candidate for the Vice Presidency? Quite simply, the candidate will demonstrate actions and hold the beliefs personified by all of us who proclaim the name of Jesus Christ as Savior: the need to be re-born in Christ and the affirmation of historic Christianity, having a demonstrable and proven record of support for traditional Christian morality.
A life of dedicated Christian service to the public is demonstrated by the following:
Support for traditional marriage. As a Christian, the candidate for Vice President must affirm that marriage is an institution created by God and defined as a union between one man and one woman. …
Support for the Right to Life, proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence, without exception.
The group also clarifies that, for example, the two Democratic candidates for president would not qualify as “real Christians”:
Who is the real Christian seeking the Presidency of the United States?
The three major presidential candidates, Democrats Barrack [sic] Obama, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Republican John McCain have presented Christian voters with a vexing problem for Christians. Both Mr. Obama and Ms. Clinton have declared they are Christians, yet based on their votes, both have consistently demonstrated a failure to support the values and policy positions important to Christians. While Mr. McCain proclaims support for traditional Christian values and morality, he has chosen to not discuss his own religious beliefs.
Since founding his group last year, Cass has concentrated on promoting two ideas: one, that Christianity is being persecuted (or “bashed”), and two, that other people’s faith is fair game. In particular, Cass attacked Mormon candidate Mitt Romney for his religion’s supposed “secret rituals” and “hostility to Christianity.” Presumably Cass isn’t happy that Romney is being floated as a potential running mate for McCain.
This counterintuitive notion—that Christianity is to be defended from persecution in public culture by attacking others’ faith—is apparently shared by the so-called Christian Defense Coalition, which attacked Obama over the weekend for resigning from his church after public disagreements. “[I]f his church membership was truly spiritual — then this action shows a fundamental lack of integrity,” declared Patrick Mahoney, who has attacked Obama’s religious credentials for some time. “Obama’s resignation of membership in Trinity United Church demonstrates that he will trade even on his faith for political advantage.”