In the post below, I quoted Jesus, which prompted a commenter to accuse me of hypocrisy for quoting the founder of a religion I dislike. When I asked the commenter to cite evidence that I dislike Christianity, he replied, "You don't seem to like rightwing talk radio, which is full of Christian morality and teaching."
Even by blogging standards, that is a remarkably weak argument. But it raises a larger question: How much Christian morality and teaching can one find on right-wing talk radio? My response: not much.
I'm going to make a few broad generalizations here, so bear with me. Specific examples available upon request. While talk radio generally supports some Christian notions, such as chastity, it badly abuses others. Here's the moral stance I find on much right-wing talk radio:
1. Moral relativism. No conservative should be punished if any Democrat has ever committed an equally egregious act. If Bill Clinton pardons a political buddy, Scooter Libby must go free. If Giuliani has three marriages, Robert Byrd was in the Ku Klux Klan. If a Republican congressman makes untoward advances on a page, well, what about Chappaquiddick?
2. Hard-heartedness. Jesus commanded us to forgive one another. Byrd has apologized for decades for his KKK membership, but Sean Hannity, to cite an example, never misses a chance to label him "Robert 'KKK' Byrd." And what about Chappaquiddick?
3. Greed. When the rich man asked Jesus how to be saved, Jesus told him to go and sell all that he had and give it to the poor. That idea does not appear on talk radio. Even asking for a few tax dollars to help the poor is questionable in talk-radio world.
4. Afflicting the comfortless. Right-wing pundit Ann Coulter accused World Trade Center widows of enjoying the deaths of their husbands, a clearcut violation of the command to comfort widows and orphans. Oddly enough, she did it in a book whose thesis appears to be that God likes conservatives better than liberals. That went too far even for some talk-radio hosts, but Hannity defended her. After all, Chappaquiddick was worse.
5. Violence. As John Prine said, Jesus don't like killin', no matter what the reasons for. But talk radio leads the push for institutionalized violence of all sorts, from waging war to abusing prisoners. Would Jesus have attacked Iraq? Interesting question, but don't even try to argue on talk radio that he wouldn't have.
Should I go on? No, time to get back to work.