FRC Exploits Amish Tragedy to Make Bizarre Political Claim

The notion that Christianity is under attack has become a mainstay of religious-right campaigns this year, from Vision America’s “War on Christians” conference to the Family Research Council’s recent “Values Voter Summit” – where groups that defend the constitutional separation of church and state were constantly excoriated – to FRC’s upcoming “Liberty Sunday” telecast, which goes a step further, imagining a growing “government intolerance against those who live out their faith in the public square.”

In yesterday’s “Washington Update,” FRC President Tony Perkins somehow manages to work the tragic murder of Amish schoolchildren in Pennsylvania into the “War on Christians” theme. Describing a Washington Post photograph of a coroner sitting in grief in an empty church after working at the schoolhouse, Perkins writes:

How long will it take the American Civil Liberties Union and Americans United for the Separation of Church and State to file suit against [Deputy Coroner Janice] Ballenger for breaching the “high wall of separation” they claim (wrongly) that the Constitution requires. Yet no matter what they say, nothing will deter Americans–even government employees–from leaning on their faith in God as a principal source of comfort in times of tragedy.

Perkins’ claim – that groups defending the separation of church and state will sue government employees who take comfort in God – is patently absurd, but by drawing on the public’s emotional response to the Amish tragedy, he might recruit a few more believers in his election-year fantasy of a persecuted Christian majority.