Simple Bigotry

At Vox Max Fisher is actively alarmed over the criticism the president is getting for arguing in his National Prayer Breakfast speech that it’s not okay to pretend Muslims are distinct from any other set of believers (or unbelievers) in their proclivity towards violence. Yet as he points out, many of Obama’s defenders have gone for the capillaries, contending over the details of Obama’s points about the history of Christianity or the counter-points of his critics. It is, says Fisher, actually pretty simple:

To be crystal clear: this is not a fight over the fine-grain imperfections of Obama’s historical analogy or over the implications for US foreign policy. It is a fight over whether it’s okay to hate Muslims, to apply sweeping and negative stereotypes to the one-fifth of humanity that follows a particular religion. A number of Americans, it seems, are clinging desperately to their anti-Muslim bigotry and are furious at Obama for trying to take that away from them.

There’s something else going on, as I have been at pains to point out: those attacking Obama also want to define liberals right out of Christianity. But they do so by way of a most ironic litmus test: to love Jesus, you have to hate some of his children.

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.