Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Former Republican Denounces Palin's Hate Speech

When I was in high school I discovered the writing of Francis Schaeffer whose Christian commune in Switzerland attracted disenfranchised youth looking for something more solid upon which to build their lives. What Schaeffer provided was a space and place for young people to ask questions and probe issues, helping them see that Christianity might provide them with the answers they sought.

Unfortunately, like many evangelicals in the '60's Schaeffer allowed his solid evangelical ministry to get hijacked by the divisive politics of the religious right. He became, in fact, one of the early ideologues of the movement when they were finding their political voice in the early 70s.

His son, Frankie, grew up in this politically charged evangelical hothouse, which also pushed him into the politics of the Christian right, joining his father to become one of its more militant camp followers.

He's since had a change in heart, feeling that the politics of the Christian right is a betrayal of true Christianity. He's seen the hatred it engenders. He's now become one of its most outspoken critics.

Until recently Schaeffer was a strong supporter of John McCain. But he's now seen what many others have seen - the inclusion of Sarah Palin has meant a resurrection of the politics of divisiveness and hatred, once again being done in the name of Christianity.

Here's an op-ed piece he just published in the Baltimore Sun.

Yes, he's angry. And has every reason to be.

Remember this when you're listening to the latest re-invention of John McCain tonight in the debates.

From the Baltimore Sun:

McCain’s Attacks Fuel Dangerous Hatred

By Frankie Schaeffer

John McCain: If your campaign does not stop equating Sen. Barack Obama with terrorism, questioning his patriotism and portraying Mr. Obama as "not one of us," I accuse you of deliberately feeding the most unhinged elements of our society the red meat of hate, and therefore of potentially instigating violence.
At a Sarah Palin rally, someone called out, "Kill him!" At one of your rallies, someone called out, "Terrorist!" Neither was answered or denounced by you or your running mate, as the crowd laughed and cheered. At your campaign event Wednesday in Bethlehem, Pa., the crowd was seething with hatred for the Democratic nominee - an attitude encouraged in speeches there by you, your running mate, your wife and the local Republican chairman.


John McCain: In 2000, as a lifelong Republican, I worked to get you elected instead of George W. Bush. In return, you wrote an endorsement of one of my books about military service. You seemed to be a man who put principle ahead of mere political gain.

You have changed. You have a choice: Go down in history as a decent senator and an honorable military man with many successes, or go down in history as the latest abettor of right-wing extremist hate.

John McCain, you are no fool, and you understand the depths of hatred that surround the issue of race in this country. You also know that, post- 9/11, to call someone a friend of a terrorist is a very serious matter. You also know we are a bitterly divided country on many other issues. You know that, sadly, in America, violence is always just a moment away. You know that there are plenty of crazy people out there.

Stop! Think! Your rallies are beginning to look, sound, feel and smell like lynch mobs.
John McCain, you're walking a perilous line. If you do not stand up for all that is good in America and declare that Senator Obama is a patriot, fit for office, and denounce your hate-filled supporters when they scream out "Terrorist" or "Kill him," history will hold you responsible for all that follows.

John McCain and Sarah Palin, you are playing with fire, and you know it. You are unleashing the monster of American hatred and prejudice, to the peril of all of us. You are doing this in wartime. You are doing this as our economy collapses. You are doing this in a country with a history of assassinations.

Change the atmosphere of your campaign. Talk about the issues at hand. Make your case. But stop stirring up the lunatic fringe of haters, or risk suffering the judgment of history and the loathing of the American people - forever.

We will hold you responsible.

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