The Left and ‘Religious Extremism’ - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
The Left and ‘Religious Extremism’
President Biden delivers remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast, February 4, 2021 (YouTube screenshot)

In its quest to narrow free speech and neutralize its political opponents, the Left is whipping up hysteria about “extremism” raging across the land. This hyperbole is designed to lay the groundwork for the persecution of the philosophically and religiously conservative. The term “extremist” is thrown around very loosely, covering everybody from “libertarians” to “Christian nationalists.” The latter group is the subject of increasingly frenzied discussions on cable TV and in dominant newspapers. Sometimes reporters lengthen the description of the group to “white Christian nationalists” to make it sound even more sinister. All of this inflammatory talk, naturally, comes from the same liberals who decry the “intemperate rhetoric” of Trump and normally scold others for “baseless claims.”

Indeed, the loudest and wildest references to “extremism” come from Obama-era figures, such as John Brennan, who famously refused to apply that label to the violent branches of Islam. It “is a religion of peace,” Brennan, Eric Holder, and others in the Obama administration would insist after every Islamic terrorist attack. Holder wouldn’t even let his Justice Department refer to Islamic terrorism. “Radical Islam, Islamic extremism — I’m not sure an awful lot is gained by saying that,” Holder was quoted as saying.

The Left grants no such courtesies to Christianity. The Left can at once call for ending “Muslim bans” and demand that Christians be treated as domestic insurgents. For the Left, the growth of conservative Christianity at home is always more worrisome than the spread of radical Islam abroad. Christianity, not Islam, is treated as the real enemy of progress. Hence, the Left can accuse American Christians of a “war on women” for opposing abortion while ignoring the horrific mistreatment of women in Islamic lands.

We are “not at war with Islam,” Barack Obama often said, even as he waged culture war on Christians. Joe Biden holds the same view. During the campaign, he pooh-poohed the problem of Islamic extremism and promised to reverse Trump’s ban on travel from terrorist hotbeds. Biden is more concerned about the Little Sisters of the Poor than the Muslim Brotherhood.

Islam is the one religion that escapes the withering secularist gaze of the Left. It never speaks ill of the Koran or countenances challenges to Islamic doctrine. But it heaps criticism on the Bible and never fails to demand that Christians moderate their stances.

The Left is, of course, oblivious to its own extremism. It can support eugenics, partial-birth abortion, and transgenderism for tots, all while fretting over the “right-wing fringe.” But as C. S. Lewis wrote, it is the evils that a complacent ruling class concocts that should frighten us the most. Evil, he said, “is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried, and minuted) in clean, carpeted, warmed and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voices.” Extremism can come as much from the center as the fringe.

Last Thursday, Biden, speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast, said that the religious world should turn its attention to the problem of “political extremism.” How convenient. Go after my political opponents, in other words. Don’t worry about the rot of the ruling class. Yet it is the evils that Biden seeks to normalize with the help of the deep state and the Establishment that pose the greatest danger to the future of the country. Biden has said that he will complete the fundamental transformation of America that Obama started, which it is increasingly clear means replacing America’s Judeo-Christian foundations with a non-Christian dystopia based upon the extremism of the Left.

It is the job of the media, which serves as the chief propagandist for the Left, to make its extreme positions appear harmless and good. Toward that end, the media has portrayed Biden’s flurry of immoral executive orders, from promoting transgenderism to releasing taxpayer monies for abortion, as completely uncontroversial. Biden is even contemplating imposing financial sanctions on countries that don’t conform to his view of LGBTQ rights. Biden calls for expanded efforts to protect LGBTQ rights globally. That would have once been regarded as an over-the-top proposal. Now it barely elicits a shrug in media discussions.

The media’s lectures about violent extremism grow ever more sanctimonious. Yet those lectures never extend to the pro-abortion extremism of the Democratic Party. For weeks the media has been accusing conservatives of having “blood on their hands.” But the blood of abortion rouses no moral anxiety in the media. It applauds Biden for enlarging the culture of violence that abortion represents. So inured to that violence, the chattering class doesn’t even bother to recite the Clintonian trope that abortion should be “safe, legal, and rare” anymore.

The Left makes sure to keep the conversation at all times on “right-wing extremists” so that no one will notice the extremism it steadily incorporates into our politics.

George Neumayr
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George Neumayr, a senior editor at The American Spectator, is author most recently of The Biden Deception: Moderate, Opportunist, or the Democrats' Crypto-Socialist?
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