Oh my!, Oh my!, Oh my!
Sarah Palin has the Left, including the Left’s religulous wing, angry at her again for something she said about jihadists at the NRA convention: “Oh, but you can’t offend them, can’t make them feel uncomfortable, not even a smidgen. Well, if I were in charge, they would know that waterboarding is how we baptize terrorists.”
The reference to baptism is irreverent to the Christian religion, you see. And if there’s one thing the Left never wearies of, that’s defending Christianity.
Okay, maybe not so much.
Like most of these little eruptions, the faux outrage doesn’t really reflect authentic grief at mistreatment of the sacred; it only reflects the next promising opportunity to slay the unslayable dragon who is Sarah Palin. And because the Left considers Palin’s unfeigned faith in God her most noxious trait, any opportunity to disfigure her image as a Christian woman will be exploited four ways from Sunday. That explains how out of proportion have been reactions to what was -- yes, I’ll say it – a harmless joke.
One outlandish response came from Andrew Sullivan. He describes the remark as invoking “torture in the context of a Christian sacrament. Not since the Nazis’ Deutsche Christen have we seen something so disgusting and blasphemous in the morphing of Christianity into its polar opposite.”
Oh, poo and pshaw. The Deutsche Christen were Nazified protestants malevolently adulterating the faith with the Third Reich’s crackpot racialism. Sarah’s not morphing Christianity into anything. She was giving a political speech at a secular organization, not evangelizing from a mountaintop about a new version of the gospel. To put it plainer than that, she wasn’t discoursing on the meaning of baptism, but talking about enhanced interrogation in response to the Islamist threat. She reiterated this in her response to the criticism, saying “Terrorists who want to annihilate Americans, innocent Americans, our children, whatever it takes to stop them. If I were in charge, I'd be stopping ‘em.”
Then, in “Sarah Palin’s Heresy”, Rabbi Menachem Creditor at HuffPo explains why he’s voting for Sarah’s excommunication.
When Sarah Palin commented, at this last week's national National Rifle Association convention, "...waterboarding is how we baptize terrorists," she did worse than offend, worse than degrade human beings, worse than stir up a group of weapon-advocates. She did so in the Name of God. The fact that the NRA would allow someone to promote fundamentalism at their convention is a violation of their civic responsibility and a threat to human rights on a national scale.
The Rabbi then proceeds to itemize all the world religions that hold water rituals in high esteem, beginning, (why doesn’t this surprise me?) with the “Muslim ritual ablution of Wudu” – the same ritual Major Nidal Hassan engaged in before traveling to Ft. Hood to slaughter as many infidels as Allah allowed as his personal act of worship. Oblivious, the Rabbi instead condemns the NRA for tolerating “hatred garbed in religious symbolism.”
What’s really got the Rabbi worked up isn’t Sarah’s mention of baptism as such as that she endorses waterboarding, and worse, she’d doing it in order to “stir up a group of weapon-advocates.” But that scornful description aside, the Rabbi still believes this group of weapon-advocates have a civic responsibility to ban “fundamentalists” from its list of approved speakers. Does the Rabbi really believe that the NRA is subject to the Left’s draconian enforcement of a separation of church and state? Or even more puzzling, does he really believe that “baptizing” terrorists by waterboarding them is an actual example of Christian fundamentalism?
It’s the vanity of vanities to try explaining a humorous remark to the humorless, but I would like to say this about the Palin Blasphemy: first, it wasn’t “hatred garbed in religious symbolism,” it was a genuine metaphor. For us lifelong English speakers, Sarah wasn’t really talking about baptizing terrorists. She was talking about waterboarding them. What she said is no more a presumption upon the sacrament of baptism than it’s a presumption upon the Last Judgment when one Wild West gunfighter warns another he’d better prepare to meet his Maker. Second, simply using baptism in a metaphor is hardly holding oneself forth as speaking in the Name of God. Third, Sarah’s comment wasn’t an endorsement of torture. Like me and lots of others, we recognize a clear distinction between torture and what happens during waterboarding. It’s the Left that keeps calling it torture, and then accusing us of calling for more of it.
The Rabbi’s umbrage at the NRA’s allowing Sarah to speak – for which he holds them responsible for “a threat to human rights on a national scale” -- is notably outlandish. Does he really believe any of this?
I think I may be excused for doubting the Rabbi’s sincerity as he protests how obedience to the Jewish tradition compels him to speak out against this grave evil of Sarah Palin’s one-liner:
“All who can protest against something wrong that one of their family is doing and does not protest, is held accountable for their family. All who can protest against something wrong that a citizen of their city is doing and does not protest, is held accountable for all citizens of the city. All who can protest against something wrong that is being done in the whole world, is accountable together with all citizens of the world. (Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat 54b)”
Even conceding that comparing waterboarding to baptism actually qualifies as “something wrong,” doesn’t “something wrong” take in a whole lot more ground than just what Sarah Palin says in a speech to the NRA? Except for the Rabbi’s ecumenical bow to Muslim ritual, he manages to mention demagogues, torture, hatred, and killing “in the whole world” without ever mentioning the ugly religious aggressions of Islam. We do know that in spite of the Rabbi’s alarm at all the dying going on, no one dies during waterboarding. No one even bleeds from it, though the Rabbi somehow manages to blame Palin and the NRA for the way “blood saturates our streets.” If it does saturate out streets, it’s not being shed by enhanced interrogation techniques.
But speaking of real blood, not metaphorical – and LOTS of it -- I wasn’t able to find any protests from the Rabbi when Nancy Pelosi actually did trample what is holy last year:
Asked what the moral difference is between what Dr. Kermit Gosnell did to babies born alive and aborting those same infants moments before birth, Pelosi refused to answer.
"As a practicing and respectful Catholic, this is sacred ground to me when we talk about this," Pelosi said. "I don't think it should have anything to do with politics."
Nor did the Rabbi weigh in when fellow member of the cloth Anglican Rev Katherine Hancock Ragsdale actually did impute abortion with a sacramental quality:
Let me hear you say it: abortion is a blessing and our work is not done. Abortion is a blessing and our work is not done. Abortion is a blessing and our work is not done.
I want to thank all of you who protect this blessing – who do this work every day: the health care providers, doctors, nurses, technicians, receptionists, who put your lives on the line to care for others (you are heroes — in my eyes, you are saints); the escorts and the activists; the lobbyists and the clinic defenders; all of you. You're engaged in holy work.
Rabbi, are you bothered at all with the formulary: “I abort thee in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost”?
I do understand that some critics not from the Left, like Mollie Hemingway at The Federalist, have sincere reasons for disliking what Sarah said. But the Left has no business – none – pretending that they’re the defenders of the Christian faith, or that being good liberals makes them guiltless of the bloody crimes of their own ideologies.