When Did Religious Right Leaders Become Experts on Terrorism?

I seem to remember a time, not all that long ago, when any effort by Democrats or liberals to try to forge unified a approach with Republican neocons and right-wing leaders on how to deal with the issue of terrorism would have been shot down amid screams from the Right that they had no intention of working with a bunch of America-hating, terrorist-appeasing traitors. 

But times have changed and now it looks like Gary Bauer, who has recently been fancying himself something of a national security expert, has taken it upon himself to round up a bunch of other Religious Right leaders and magnanimously offer to meet with President-Elect Barack Obama so they can share their suggestions:

Gary L. Bauer, president of American Values, and 12 other conservative leaders are seeking to work with President-elect Barack Obama on a unified agenda designed to produce an enduring national consensus in support of policies designed to defeat Islamist terrorism.

In a letter sent today to President-elect Obama, the conservative leaders write: “In a heartfelt spirit of cooperation, we are eager to work with you and your administration to identify, advocate, and implement an innovative and robust agenda designed to achieve a lasting victory over the violent Islamists committed to killing Americans on a mass scale.”

In addition to Mr. Bauer, signatories include: Donald E. Wildmon, Chairman, American Family Association; Chuck Donovan, Executive Vice President, Family Research Council; Paul Weyrich, Chairman, Free Congress Foundation; Jonathan Falwell, Pastor, Thomas Road Baptist Church; Janet Parshall, Nationally-Syndicated Talk Show Host; Tom Minnery, Senior Vice President of Government and Public Policy, Focus on the Family; Rod D. Martin, Chairman, TheVanguard.Org; Chris Brown, Executive Vice President, National Federation of Republican Assemblies; Bishop Harry Jackson, Chairman, High Impact Leadership Coalition; John Hagee, National Chairman, Christians United for Israel; Colin Hanna, President, Let Freedom Ring; and Phil Burress, Chairman, Citizens for Community Values Action.

The letter concludes: “It is imperative that Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, join together, first, to recognize the threat and, second, to forge a national policy embraced by a broad coalition. We stand ready to work with you to advance a policy agenda designed to challenge radical Islam wherever it jeopardizes the interests of America and her allies.”

Commenting on the letter, Mr. Bauer remarked, “In the spirit of President Truman’s efforts to unite the nation against Soviet communism, it is time to forge the enduring national consensus that will be needed to sustain an unshakable, long-term commitment to prevailing over Islamist terrorism. Many conservatives are eager to work with President-elect Obama in advancing the objective of defeating Islamist aggression. I hope he will embrace this effort to build a unified policy premised on the recognition of radical Islam as a distinct, immediate, and fundamental threat to our nation.”

While Obama is all for working with those who disagree with him and forging consensus, I fail to see what he could possibly learn from meeting with a gaggle of socially conservative, militantly anti-Islamic right-wing leaders such as Bauer, Hagee, Falwell, Weyrich, and Wildmon other than that he should hurry up and bomb Iran.

But more importantly, just when did the Religious Right decide that they were now experts on national security and foreign policy? 

Do you suppose that President Bush would have agreed to meet with People For, Americans United, NARAL, the NAACP, the Alliance for Justice, the ACLU, and others if we’d wanted to share our views about an issue like this … or any other issue, for that matter?  I kind of doubt it.