Dispatches from the Creation Wars

I know, I’ve watched political rhetoric long enough not to be shocked by anything but the utter intellectual dishonesty required to make an argument like this is still astonishing to me. The Worldnutdaily has an article on the Berkley nativity scene controversy that invokes the Nazis in order to build support for the referendum the residents of that city will be voting on next week. It’s one of the most ridiculous cases of dishonest framing I’ve ever seen.

First, they are still trying to frame the issue as being about whether to have a nativity display:

When Berkley, Mich., residents to go the polls next week it’s thought to be the first time that voters will have decided the fate of a Nativity display in a municipal setting, according to campaign organizers. And at least three former mayors are endorsing the restoration of the display that was pulled down last year after the ACLU threatened a lawsuit….

The experts at the Thomas More Law Center have been advising the Berkley campaign, which was launched after the city council last winter gave in to threats from the ACLU, and ordered the Nativity removed.

But this is a lie. The display was not pulled down, it was simply moved. It was moved from public property to private property (and to an even more prominent place in the downtown area), given to the Berkley Clergy Association so the nativity scene could be displayed without being watered down with secular symbols.

The choice here is not between having a display or not having a display; the choice is between having a watered down display on public property, the content of which is owned and controlled by the city and required to meet the standards of the Supreme Court, and having a purely Christian display on private property, in which the content of the display is controlled by Christian ministers and required only to meet the standards of the Christian faith.

But they’re just warming up for the real demagoguery:

Now the campaign to encourage voter approval of the plan is running in earnest, with support come from as far away as Edgewater, Colo.

From there, a Jewish refugee-immigrant who was carried out of Nazi Austria by his parents submitted a donation and some words of encouragement.

“I thought you might want to know that I am Jewish, a refugee-immigrant carried out from Nazi Austria by my parents to this great and glorious nation, and that I want to help honor and protect my Christian brethren,” the donor wrote Nativity supporters. “I wish that I could give more, but my pension is limited.”

This donor, Halloran said, “had firsthand experience with oppression against people of the Christian and Jewish faiths, and we are moved and inspired by his message of tolerance and support. It inspires us to stand against the ACLU’s Grinch-like demand that our community Nativity scene and the Star of David both be removed from the traditional holiday display at city hall.”

Oppression against people of the Christian and Jewish faiths? Pray tell, what oppression have Christians ever had to deal with in this country? Christians have certainly been responsible for a great deal of oppression in America, but they’ve never suffered any. Jews have suffered serious oppression all over the world for centuries, most of it at the hands of Christians during various pogroms. To combine the two and talk about oppression to both faiths is like the last guy off the bench for the Boston Celtics talking about how he and Larry Bird combined to average 29 points a game – never mind that Bird was responsible for 28.5 of those points).

This is nothing more than a cheap and pathetic example of Godwin’s law in action. They’re invoking Hitler in order to paint their opposition with the stain of Nazism. The utter dishonesty of this campaign is simply disgusting.