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U.S. founders and Christ were liberals: We cannot let right-wingers like Coulter define liberalism

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Some say it 's better to ignore right-winger Ann Coulter 's latest book, which boringly retells her basic premise of lies that she 's built her cult-like following on for years - that so-called liberals are Godless traitors. They say we should ignore Coulter and not add fuel to the fire that will make more people want to read her book.
Sorry, I can 't. Coulter likes to claim she speaks truth to power, as if liberals have any real power in the United States. Conservatives are in power, controlling the White House, Congress, Supreme Court, talk radio, and much of the rest of what they like to call civilization.
This is my way of speaking truth to power.
Rather than viewing this topic as giving Coulter more of what she craves more attention, book sales, and money we should see it as an opportunity to engage in a national discussion on the enormous positive contributions of liberals to the United States and the world. We should turn this debate around from liberals as "Godless" to liberals as defenders of liberty and justice for all, including for those who want to worship as they please.
The first thing those of us who are often referred to as "liberals" in a dismissive and even insulting way need to do is ask the person who calls us a "liberal" exactly what he or she thinks that term means. When I have done this, the person cannot come up with much more than, "Someone who wants to raise my taxes."
I respond that I don 't want to raise taxes I want to live under defined budgets as we did when Bill Clinton was president. I talk about the record budget deficits under Bush and ask the person if he or she is really paying lower taxes, or if the state and local tax bills rose higher than the slight federal tax cut they received. I ask how their children and grandchildren will pay the national debt Bush and other Republican leaders are giving them.
If the person hasn 't left the room in a huff by now, I explain that the textbook definition of liberalism is a philosophy and political tradition that holds liberty as its main value. Basically, liberals want liberty and justice for all, as we often repeat in the pledge of allegiance. That includes the poor, the rich, atheists, the religious, people of color, whites, gays, and even conservative Republicans like Coulter who want to send liberals to prison camps where we have no such rights.
Furthermore, liberals seek a society characterized by freedom of thought and ideas, limitations on government and religious power, and a system of government in which the rights of minorities are protected. In other words, we want to count everyone 's votes, not petition to the Supreme Court to stop the counting process.
The textbooks say that the American War of Independence in the 18th century established the first nation to create a constitution based on the concept of liberal government, particularly the idea that governments rule by the consent of the governed.
That 's right, our country 's forefathers established this nation as a liberal nation, not a Christian nation. Take that, Coulter.
Most founders were religious to a degree, though they were not necessarily Christian; many were Deists, some Unitarian, some spiritualists. Most were highly wary of Christianity; for instance, Thomas Jefferson wrote, "I do not find in orthodox Christianity one redeeming feature. "

George Washington, the celebrated father of the U.S., wrote in a 1792 letter: "I was in hopes that the enlightened and liberal policy, which has marked the present age, would at least have reconciled Christians of every denomination so far that we should never again see the religious disputes carried to such a pitch as to endanger the peace of society. "

Thus, the founders did not have Christianity in common as many religious right leaders say these days. What they had in common was a belief in a liberal democracy with open and fair elections, equal rights although it took a while for that to extend to women and people of color - and an equal opportunity to succeed, at least in theory.

Contributions of liberalism to the U.S. and world are enormous

The contributions of liberalism to the world are enormous and profound. We have liberals to thank for bringing the world the ideas of individual liberties, personal dignity, free expression, religious tolerance, universal human rights, limitations on government power, popular sovereignty, national self-determination, privacy, the rule of law, civil rights, and free trade, just to name a few concepts.
In the U.S., liberals worked to eradicate slavery and child labor practices, allow women and minorities the right to vote and other rights, bring about civil and religious rights, and establish and raise the minimum wage. Liberals helped stop corporations from polluting as much, provided for safer food and water supplies, worked for better public schools, established the national, state, and local parks systems, and brought about employee health benefits.
John Gray of Cincinnati, Ohio, highlighted liberals ' contributions to the U.S. this way: "Joe gets up at 6 a.m. to prepare his morning coffee. He fills his pot full of good clean drinking water because some liberal fought for minimum water quality standards. He takes his daily medication with his first swallow of coffee. His medications are safe to take because some liberal fought to insure they are safe and work as advertised.
"All but $10.00 of his medications are paid for by his employers medical plan because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance, now Joe gets it, too. He prepares his morning breakfast, bacon and eggs this day. Joe 's bacon is safe to eat because some liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry.
"Joe takes his morning shower reaching for his shampoo; his bottle is properly labeled with every ingredient and the amount of its contents because some liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and how much it contained. Joe dresses, walks outside, and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some tree-hugging liberal fought for laws to stop industries from polluting our air.
"Joe walks to the subway station for his government-subsidized ride to work; it saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees. You see, some liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.
"Joe begins his work day; he has a good job with excellent pay, medical benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation days because some liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. Joe 's employer pays these standards because Joe 's employer doesn 't want his employees to call the union. If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed he 'll get a worker compensation or unemployment check because some liberal didn 't think he should lose his home because of his temporary misfortune.
"It 's noon time, Joe needs to make a bank deposit so he can pay some bills. Joe 's deposits are federally insured by the FSLIC because some liberal wanted to protect Joe 's money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the Depression.
"Joe has to pay his Fannie Mae underwritten mortgage and his below-market federal student loan because some stupid liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his lifetime.
"Joe is home from work, he plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive to Dad 's; his car is among the safest in the world because some liberal fought for car safety standards.
"Joe arrives at his boyhood home. He was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers Home Administration because bankers didn 't want to make rural loans. The house didn 't have electricity until some big government liberal stuck his nose where it didn 't belong and demanded rural electrification. (Those rural Republicans would still be sitting in the dark).
"Joe is happy to see his dad who is now retired. His dad lives on Social Security and his union pension because some liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Joe wouldn 't have to. After his visit with Dad, he gets back in his car for the ride home.
"Joe turns on a radio talk show, the hosts keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. (He doesn 't tell Joe that his beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day.) Joe agrees, "We don 't need those big-government liberals ruining our lives; after all, I 'm a self-made man who believes everyone should take care of themselves, just like I have."

Christ was a liberal and Coulter is not a Christian

One of the best Internet sites that explains how Christ was a liberal who worked to help the poor and oppressed is www.liberalslikechrist.org, which is done by Ray Dubuque, a retired United Methodist pastor and former seminary professor.
Dubuque explains that Christ was "an extraordinary friend of the down- trodden, definitely a liberal, whose advocacy on their behalf so infuriated the ultra-conservative religious and political leaders of his day that they had him killed to prevent the public from hearing the very liberal teaching that you will see quoted abundantly in Jesus ' own words on this web site!
"Those who actually know what the Bible says about the life and teaching of Jesus recognize that far from being like Jesus of Nazareth, today 's 'Religious Right ' are much more like the kind of clerics who battled this revolutionary prophet from the day he opened his mouth until the day they had him nailed to a cross. Although these people claim to represent Jesus Christ, they rarely quote his teaching or follow his example. What they do instead is use his name ["in vain"] to promote their ideas, ideas which Jesus himself did not teach, and might well have opposed."
Like many right-wingers, Coulter takes pains to tell viewers, readers, and listeners that she is a Christian. "I do think Christianity fuels all of my books, because you are called upon to behave in a certain way as a Christian, and that is to fight lies, injustice, cruelty, hypocrisy," Coulter recently said on Faux News ' Hannity and Colmes Show.
Yet, many of her statements are contrary to basic Christian principles. Remember "Thou shall not kill" and "Do unto others?" In a Feb. 15, 2006, column, Coulter wrote that the U.S. should bomb Syria "back to the stone age." In 2002, Coulter told the New York Observer that she regretted that Oklahoma City terrorist Timothy McVeigh did not choose The New York Times building. She has written that the U.S. should invade Middle Eastern countries, kill their leaders, and force them to become Christians.
In a 2006 speech at an Arkansas college, Coulter said "somebody" should "put rat poisoning in [Supreme Court] Justice Stevens ' crème brûlee." She claimed it was a joke, but then in a later email to the Washington Times she said Bush needed to get rid of Stevens.
Coulter, who worked on the legal briefs in the Paula Jones witch-hunt case against Clinton, once said of Clinton that the only question was "whether to impeach or assassinate."
In many columns, Coulter vilified Clinton for supposedly raping a woman an act that was never proven. Yet, in a 2000 column, Coulter used the Bible to justify man being able to "rape the planet." "That 's our job: drilling, mining, and stripping," she wrote. "Sweaters are the anti-Biblical view. Big gas-guzzling cars with phones and CD players and wet bars -- that 's the Biblical view."
Nowhere in the Bible does it justify rape.
The definition of a terrorist by the United States Department of Defense is someone who employs the "calculated use of unlawful violence to inculcate fear; intended to coerce or intimidate governments or societies in pursuit of goals that are generally political, religious, or ideological." In other words, a terrorist uses violence, particularly against unarmed civilians, to accomplish usually political or religious goals. Does not Coulter fit such a definition?
In a recent exchange with Alan Colmes, Coulter claimed that "liberals always think of Christ as, you know, some pantywaist. No. We are called upon to do battle."
Colmes, who writes in his own book about Jesus being a liberal, asked her what liberal said Christ was a pantywaist. Coulter could not name anyone. "The point is you can 't name somebody who exemplifies the very things you 're talking about, who 's godless, who has all these terrible qualities, because it 's a myth," Colmes said. "You 're talking in generalities and creating a myth about liberals."


Coulter slanders Sept. 11 widows

Since going on the TV and radio talk show circuit in the past week or so, Coulter has drawn heat for certain passages in the book, which was purposedly released on June 6, 2006, to reinforce Coulter 's lie that liberals are anti-Christ followers. In one part, she calls four widows of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks "The Witches of East Brunswick," "broads," and "harpies" whose husbands were about to divorce them. Coulter also claimed the widows are "enjoying" their husbands ' deaths, just because they wanted a bipartisan commission to review what went wrong before the attacks. She ridiculed them, writing that "their shelf life is dwindling, [so] they 'd better hurry up and appear in Playboy."
Even right-wingers like Faux News host Bill O 'Reilly said Coulter went too far there. "I think this kind of stuff does conservatives more harm than good, because it basically reinforces what the left is trying to sell, that the right is mean, out of control, and whatever other adjective you want to put in there," O 'Reilly said on a recent show.
Still, O 'Reilly found a Republican "strategist" whose main job these days is to find wedge issues to divert voters ' attentions from the real problems caused by the Republicans in power - to stick up for Coulter. Karen Hanretty called the women "Jersey girls" and claimed Coulter was writing "tongue-in-cheek." Meanwhile, in several appearances, Coulter said she was dead serious about the "enjoying" passage and slandered the women again.
On the same O 'Reilly segment, Faux News analyst Juan Williams said, "What you see is Hurricane Coulter blows through with a lot of blowhard rhetoric and shrill stuff that calls attention to her ....I think she 's driving people to agree with Hillary Clinton, which is not what the far right wants in this country."
New York Republican Rep. Peter King said, "It 's totally inhumane to be saying things like this about people who went through such agony."

Coulter 's book takes facts out of context

Republican "strategist" Hanretty also claimed Michael Moore takes a lot of facts out of context in his films and challenged people to read Coulter 's book and find something that she took out of context. Like most challenges by Republicans, that 's not hard to beat.
For one, Coulter writes, "If a Martian landed in America and set out to determine the nation 's official state religion, he would have to conclude it is liberalism, while Christianity and Judaism are prohibited by law." That 's not just something taken out of context from U.S. basic laws nowhere does a law say that Christianity and Judaism are prohibited it 's a downright lie.
And if you want to find instances where Coulter has taken items out of context in past books and columns, that 's not hard to do either.
In 2002, then Today Show host Katie Couric said that Coulter took something she said out of context in Coulter 's book, "Slander." The show quoted Edmund Morris as calling Ron Reagan an airhead, and Coulter wrote that Couric made the remark. "You used me as an example of liberal bias against Ronald Reagan, and I 'm just curious why you took it so out of context," Couric said to Coulter.
Coulter claimed that she didn 't do so, and an ugly exchange followed. Coulter claimed Couric blamed the Texas dragging death of James Byrd by white supremacists on "intolerance created by evangelical Christians," which Couric denied.
Then, Al Franken in his book, "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them," pointed out numerous factual and misleading statements in Slander and other Coulter books, many of which were corrected in later editions.
In a January 2005 column, Coulter took a 1993 column by New York Times writers Maureen Dowd and Frank Rich out of context. Dowd and Rich sarcastically wrote that Bill Clinton 's inauguration was "so much fun, is it too much to ask that it go on forever?" Coulter mischaracterized the column as "gush[ing]" over the inauguration, according to Media Matters.
And in a November 2004 column, Coulter quoted former Gore 2000 campaign manager Donna Brazile
out of context. Coulter wrote that Brazile said during the 200o campaign that "she was not going to 'let the white boys win in this election. '" As The Washington Post and Media Matters pointed out, Brazile was speaking about the "white-boy attitude" towards black women in politics.
Coulter went on to slander liberals and blacks by writing, "The closest black woman to most of the liberals accusing Rice of being incompetent is the maid they periodically accuse of stealing from the liquor cabinet."

More Coulter hypocrises

Coulter claims so-called liberals are rich and privileged, but the truth is that she grew up in a privileged, country-club atmosphere in Connecticut. Her lawyer father represented clients in opposition to labor unions before he obtained a government job as a constable.
Coulter likes to complain about rich New York liberals, but the fact is she purchased a $1.5 million condominium on New York 's Upper East Side. And in 2005, she bought a $1.9 million home on Palm Beach Island in Florida.
The latter residence led to an investigation by election officials in Florida on whether Coulter falsified her voter registration form and knowingly voted in the wrong precinct in 2005, a felony offense. Government documents indicate she provided her real estate agent 's address rather than her own home address. When Faux host Alan Holmes questioned Coulter about that, she refused to answer his queries.
Coulter, who claims to support honesty, also lied on a Washington, D.C., driver 's license that had her birth date listed as two years after the date on her Connecticut license, according to a Washington Post article.
Coulter claims she is an American patriot who supports the democratic process, which includes allowing all eligible people, including women, the right to vote. Yet, in a 2000 National Review column, she wrote that the constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote should be repealed. And in a 2001 Politically Incorrect show with Bill Maher what is up with Maher 's friendship with Coulter, are they having a secret tryst? Coulter said women should "have to give up their vote" to ensure that Republican presidential candidates win.
Coulter supported in another 2005 column the "spying on all Arabs, engaging in torture as a televised spectator sport, dropping daisy cutters wantonly throughout the Middle East, and sending liberals to
Guantanamo" just because of their views. And some people still consider Coulter an American patriot?

Even many conservatives can 't stand Coulter

There is evidence that even conservatives are tiring of Coulter 's rhetoric. In 2005, Coulter 's syndicated column was dropped by the Arizona Daily Star, whose publisher, David Stoeffler, said that she had "worn out her welcome. Many readers find her shrill, bombastic, and mean-spirited. And those are the words used by readers who identified themselves as conservatives."
In a recent Internet column, conservative writer Rick Moran called Coulter "a brutish lout, a conservative ogre who should be denied a public platform to spout what any conservative with an ounce of integrity and intellectual honesty should be able to see as unacceptable .....The networks who use Coulter as some kind of 'spokesman ' for the right should be told in no uncertain terms by as many of us as possible that she doesn 't
speak for any conservatives that we want to be associated with. Coulter owes those [New Jersey] women an apology. Failure to give it only reveals her to be a shallow, bitter, b*tch of a woman whose hate-filled mouthings will eventually lead to her destruction."
Not all conservatives distance themselves from Coulter. In a recent letter in The Washington Post, Tom Kelley, a Maryland Republican official who chaired a May fund-raising event attended by Coulter, likened a Democratic official 's concerns over the Republicans using a public school for partisan purposes to trying to stifle Coulter 's right to talk. Kelley mentioned Democratic officials in the old South in the 1960s not wanting to support civil rights without noting that many Republicans didn 't support civil rights then and many do not now, especially the former racist Democrats who crossed over to the Republicans beginning in the 1960s.
In the typical childish and simplistic language of a Republican, Kelley summed up the Democratic concerns over using a public school for partisan purposes this way: "Wah, wah, wah, wah, wah." He called Democrats the "party of negativity" when it 's Republicans who have run the dirtiest campaigns in recent years. What did Republicans do when Clinton was president except whine and find every way to oppose him? Ever look at what negative campaigns Bush and Rove have completed throughout their political careers?
And Kelley called Coulter 's views "elequent and on-point" and said she made his county "a little saner ....a little funnier, and a lot better informed."
Saner? Funnier? Informed? Tell that to the Sept. 11 widows Coulter slandered. Is saying that widows are "enjoying" their husbands ' deaths really funny, Kelley?
Kelley forgot to say "informed with right-wing vitriolic propaganda." I moved to Maryland from Texas several years ago partly to get away from Coulter cult members like Kelley. Just goes to show you can 't get away from these cultists, no matter how far you move.
So we have to stand up to them and counter their lies. Liberals have to stand proud and stop letting conservatives like Coulter define us. We have to point out how most every social gain by this country was brought about by liberals including the right for women and minorities to vote, civil rights, abolishing slavery, abolishing child labor, and raising the minimum wage. We have to stop letting right-wingers like Coulter make "liberal" a negative label.
Liberals are just as Godlike if not more so - than conservatives. Christ indeed was a liberal.
And I 'm proud to be a liberal.
Finally, I 'll leave you with this quote:
"The national government will maintain and defend the foundations on which the power of our nation rests. It will offer strong protection to Christianity as the very basis of our collective morality. Today, Christians stand at the head of our country. We want to fill our culture again with the Christian spirit. We want to burn out all the recent immoral developments in literature, in the theatre, and in the press - in short, we want to burn out the poison of immorality which has entered into our whole life and culture as a result of liberal excess during recent years."

Quick, who said that? Coulter? Bush? Ralph Reed? Limbaugh? Pat Robertson?

It was Adolf Hitler in his first radio address to the German people after coming to power in 1933.

 

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Jackson Thoreau is a Washington, D.C.-area journalist/writer. His latest book, "Born to Cheat: How Bush, Cheney, Rove & Co. Broke the Rules, From the Sandlot to the White House," debuted at the Take Back America conference in June 2007. More info on (more...)
 

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Authentic spirituality will lead one to "Public Ac... by Eileen Fleming on Friday, Jun 9, 2006 at 5:09:50 AM
To all Ann Colteur would not do all that if she... by Mark Sashine on Friday, Jun 9, 2006 at 7:45:37 AM
I am proud to be of a 'liberal' persuasion as we c... by Tom B. on Saturday, Jun 10, 2006 at 1:53:55 PM
I love your writing Jackson, and I love OP-ED, but... by Jay Diamond on Monday, Jun 12, 2006 at 9:44:00 PM