Grassroots Commentary

My Problem With Andrew Sullivan

B.P. Terpstra · Jan. 25, 2011

As things now stand, Christians who hope to overthrow prostitute-killing Islamism, support a baby’s right to a full birth, and defend time-honored marriage are Christianists.

But there’s more. Tea Party members are also Christianists even if they’re self-identified atheists, according to Andrew Sullivan. Appearing on NBC’s “The Chris Matthews Show” last week, The Daily Dish blogger, inveighed: “The Tea Party, of course is not about fiscal issues at all. They have no plans to balance the budget now or any time in the future. They are radical Christianist, right-wing group…”

I have my doubts.

Indeed, Andrew Sullivan is so obsessed with Christianists (the unicorns of American political life) that some theorize he is one – or am I just spreading a hate joke planted by the Protestant Ann Coulter?

To be balanced, though, in 2006 (May 7, to be precise) Sullivan did admit he had a problem in one confessional piece, “My Problem with Christianism.” In his case against Big Christian, the self-professed Christian even gave examples of Christianism’s evil reach, minus the hooked nosed Baptist cartoons.

It was explosive. Sullivan’s Perry Mason-like investigation uncovered one mind-blowing scoop after another including (among other groundbreaking facts): the alleged fact that right-wing Christians have a problem living next-door to atheists and single mothers (without one shred of evidence), Rush Limbaugh’s anti-abortion comments directed at Democrats for some reason (no idea why), and even the title of Ann Coulter’s New York Times bestseller, “Godless” (which I ordered from a massive internet hate speech store – or was it

Yes, robotic Christianists are what they are, with their Christianizing ways and all.

As well, Sullivan made fundamentalist-sounding arguments against fundamentalists (a contradiction in terms). After reminding tortured readers why he felt their pain, the drugstore philosopher added: “And there are those who simply believe that, by definition, God is unknowable to our limited, fallible human minds and souls. If God is ultimately unknowable, then how can we be so certain of what God’s real position is on, say, the fate of Terri Schiavo? Or the morality of contraception? Or the role of women?”

Or Richard Kim? Maybe breaking babies’ necks is a grey area, but let me scan my NIV Exhaustive Concordance. And maybe Catholics should have embraced red professors during the Cold War, but let’s look for 100 million-plus bodies, before shedding crocodile tears. Then, I’ll let my betters compare, and contrast. Or as the Christian, Joe Carter of First Things put it, a Christianist is, “Someone who calls themselves a Christian and who Andrew Sullivan thinks is wrong about a particular issue.”

Retuning to 2011 again, Sullivan is still a self-styled myth buster, busting numerous mythological myths. “To my mind, there are two widely believed myths about the Tea Party. The first is that they care about debt,” he declares. And (surprise!): “The second myth is that they are somehow unlike the Christianist right, and more tolerant and easy-going on social issues.”

But (surprise!): “Again, I think this is wishful thinking. My own view is that they are hard-line Christianists in a different outfit – powdered wigs, muskets and red cheeks – and are outliers on issues of modernity – racial integration, women’s rights, gay equality.”

I take it that right-leaning Episcopalians opposed to polygamous marriage are being paid by Big Christian, too.

All of this sounds hardline, for a moderate like Andrew “Of No Party Or Clique” Sullivan, so one wonders how the self-identified Christian would receive Jesus, the table-turning, heaven-and-hell warning misfit. And, why do I question? You can thank the “Christianist” Tea Party, Mr. Sullivan.

B.P. Terpstra is an Australian writer and blogger. His works can be found on The Daily Caller (Washington D.C.), NewsReal Blog (Los Angeles), Quadrant (Sydney), and On Line Opinion (Brisbane).

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