Saturday, September 06, 2008

Huckabee Blows His Dogwhistle

So Mike Huckabee is still using the cockamamie story about the high school teacher who tells her students that they don't have to "earn" the desks in their classroom, because military vets already did it for them. You might recall I wrote about that weird, nonsensical story last year. Now it has resurfaced, thanks to Huckabee trotting it out again at last week's Republican convention.

One of my favorite journalists (and bloggers), James Fallows, has now done a follow-up story, linking to an account that he says "solves the mystery" of the Huckabee story. According to Fallows, "the story makes perfect sense once you assume that its real subject is eternal salvation through the grace and sacrifice of Jesus."

Well, I suppose, in a way, that does "make sense"--if you're willing to overlook the illogic of claiming that having American soldiers fighting overseas is somehow a necessary prerequisite to operating classrooms here at home; and even more egregious, if you're willing to equate soldiers (whose job is to kill as many of the enemy as possible) to the martyred Jesus, who not only did not kill his enemies but actually paused, in the very moment of being betrayed, to miraculously heal one of them (Luke 22:47-51).

I have no doubt that Fallows is right about the "dogwhistle" message that Huckabee is trying to send to his fundamentalist followers--a message that equates US soldiers, and John McCain in particular, to Jesus Christ. But as a Christian myself, I find it awfully depressing that both Huckabee and Fallows seem to share an assumption that might be summarized like this: "Hey, it's a Christian parable! It doesn't have to make any sense!"

Thanks to people like Mike Huckabee, millions of Americans naturally assume that "Christian" is a synonym for "stupid." Can't say I blame them.

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