Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Mark Tapscott has a profoundly silly column in the Washington Examiner throwing a temper tantrum over Vice President Joe Biden using the phrase “Jesus Christ” in an insufficiently reverent manner in an interview. Here’s what Biden actually said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal about Iran getting nuclear weapons:

“I can see Putin sitting in Moscow saying, ‘Jesus Christ, Iran gets the nuclear weapon, who goes first?’ Moscow, not Washington.”


And that’s enough to send Tapscott off into the loonisphere, his cup filled to overflowing with feigned outrage.

I have no idea what the vice president believes about Jesus. What I do know is that he apparently thought nothing of taking the name described in Holy Scripture “as the only name given under Heaven by which men are saved” and used it the same way most people routinely use the words “damn,” “hell,” and others unfit to print in a family newspaper.

Having myself uttered such words on too many occasions, I can hardly fault Biden if this particular incident was simply an unintentional slip of the tongue. One would assume that if such was the case, Biden would have by now offered an apology.

But there is no indication on the public record that he has since recognized the offensiveness of what he said and apologized or otherwise sought to make amends. Queries to Biden’s spokesmen went unanswered yesterday.

So the question must be asked: Did Biden intend to offend millions of his countrymen who worship Jesus, one of whom happens to be his boss, or did he just not care if they were offended?

And then he plays the “no one ever insults the Muslims” card:

Either way, had Biden used the name Mohammed in this manner, Muslims would be crying foul. Quite possibly rioting in the streets, to boot. And if the vice president had used “gay” or “Black” as swear words, folks would be rightfully angry about that, too.

But none of those things would fit in the context of what he said. Like it or not, no one in this culture has ever used “Mohammed” the same way we frequently use “Jesus Christ” as an expression of exasperation. That’s certainly because Islam is a tiny minority religion in this country, while Christianity is the dominant religion.

The use of “Jesus Christ” in that manner has almost certainly been done precisely because it’s such a strong expression in the face of a dominant Christian culture. That’s precisely why profanity exists and why it is used to express stronger-than-usual feelings, because it is saying something viewed as taboo by the dominant popular culture.

But here’s where he goes completely off the rails, by calling its use hate speech:

Hate speech is hate speech, whether it is aimed at Christians, Muslims, Gays, or African-Americans. Whether or not it should prosecuted or, as Thomas Jefferson argued, left undisturbed as a monument to tolerance and the strength of rational argument is a different issue. Here, it is sufficient to note that hate speech is speech meant to demean, ridicule, and discredit all who are associated with its target.

So where is the outrage about Biden’s hate speech against Christians? We’ve not heard a peep of protest from the Southern Baptist Convention. Nothing from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Nothing from the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. Nothing from the United Methodist Church.

And neither have we heard from Biden’s boss, whose spokesman had other things to do yesterday than discuss another veep flap. Obama did have time last week to comment on the quality of law enforcement in Cambridge, Massachusetts, but his vice president’s offensive language doesn’t rate a public comment this week.

God damn it, Tapscott, do you really think that Biden used that phrase because he intended to “demean, ridicule and discredit” all Christians? If so, you’re a fucking idiot. He used it because it is a very common, almost cliche, expression of exasperation in American culture. You may not like that fact, but since you admit to using it yourself “on too many occasions” you certainly should recognize that the use of that phrase does not indicate an intent to demean or ridicule Christians.

You didn’t mean it that way all the times you used it, did you? So why would you assume that someone else does? I suspect it’s because if you did recognize this obvious fact it would undermine your ability to work up all that faux outrage you’ve got going.

And then there’s this bizarre statement:

What is more interesting here is the silence of American Christianity. Like the silence of the hound that caught Mr. Holmes’ attention, this one signifies something far more serious at work in the American body politic.

Biden’s uncorrected cursing is indicative of the slow strangling by the unrelenting forces of political correctness of the religious tolerance that is Christianity’s greatest gift to America.

Wow. Double wow. Jesus Fucking Christ on roller skates. Religious tolerance is Christianity’s greatest gift to America? What planet does this guy live on?