Now that the hiring and subsequent retiring of John Edwards's two anti-Christian bloggers is over, conservative commentators from all corners of the internet have started bidding good night to the Edwards campaign. The public "nyah nyahs" demonstrate that many are still missing the larger picture of the incident: while this may or may not mean the end of the coiffed one's bid for president, it does not mean the end of unhinged hatred for Christianity from a growing faction on the left.
The blogging mischief made by Edward's staffers reveals more than his inept hiring practices and more than that secularists don't like evangelicals and Catholics expressing their faith through their politics. What we are witnessing is a loathing of Christ and of his followers that has never before been expressed so openly from such a large segment of one of our major political parties.
Even 1960s counterculture revolutionaries had enough respect for Christ to regard him as a teacher, an example of love and peace to emulate. In the Age of Aquarius, Jesus was just alright with them (not great, perhaps, but thankfully at least alright) -- he even inspired a colorful and refreshingly non-blasphemous musical and film.
Then we went through a time when the ivory tower elite on both the left and right simply didn't mention him, except from a detached view as a framing device for history, philosophy, or literature (nothing smothers the power of a figure like niche deconstruction). Then we come to what Edwards's aides Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan wrought last week.
How do Democratic candidates contend with a base that would treat Christianity's most basic doctrine so sneeringly, as Marcotte did when she wrote on her blog Pandagon: "What if Mary had taken Plan B after the Lord filled her with his hot, white, sticky Holy Spirit?"
Reveries about the potential abortion of the Messiah go far beyond the bounds of simply not liking right-wing believers. So did her revelation that Rick Santorum's public expressions of his religious beliefs make her want to, "go to a born-again church and scream about how God loves to come in our backyards for our milkshakes." (For those too innocent to untangle that web of putrid pop-culture metaphors, I'm afraid you're on your own.)
What Marcotte wrote wasn't just a complaint against conservative Catholics or evangelicals, it was a screed against God himself. Amongst the secular intellectual crowd, she is hardly alone.
Slate is running a weekly "Blogging the Bible" feature, ostensibly intended to retell portions of the Word in hip, modern lingo -- a caustic Cliff Notes for the Old Testament, if you will. But the flippancy used to characterize God's actions leaves the sneaking suspicion that it's more an attempt to patronize Scripture. As I write, today's entry describes the Lord of Hosts as being "Like a crazy girlfriend, [who] plays a confusing I-love-you-I-hate-you gameâ€¦" Months ago in Columbus, Ohio, Moveon.org held a rally in front of a church by singing anti-Christian songs, blocking the entrance for the faithful. Hard to get more hostile than that.
Marcotte's partner in prejudice, Melissa McEwen, might have been slightly less wild-eyed in her treatment of believers, but she echoed the feelings of thousands of liberal blogs and websites when she referred to pro-life Christians as "wingnut Christofascists."
What began as a slow murmur in film, art, and academia has now progressed to a full-tilt caterwauling on the Left: "We hates him, we haaaates him" (to paraphrase J.R.R. Tolkein's most vivid creation).
At least those of us who take Christ at his word can find comfort in the idea that their very reaction validates his claims -- that he did not, as the milquetoast peace-activists are wont to claim, come to be a unifying presence, but a divisive one. As for what's to be done about this irrational hatred of us and our Savior, there's nothing we really can do. Except what has always been our commission: start fishing.
And perhaps we should pray that Ms. Marcotte experience a Damascus moment -- after all, in God's infinite humor and mercy, the greatest Christ-hater of all time wound up being the very man who planted the faith plaguing her today.