The Department of Agriculture released data this week showing that a record number of Americans received food stamp assistance in July.
While Newt Gingrich sees this news as an opportunity to score cheap political points, most people with a basic understanding of cause and effect probably view it as a vivid reminder that the pain of this recession is far from over.
But Michele Combs, Director of Communications for the Christian Coalition, is not most people. From Politico:
Former Speaker Newt Gingrich has always had a talent for getting to the nub of the matter. And when he implies that this election is a choice between “paychecks vs. food stamps,” that just about sums it up. Except for less than a handful of the nearly 250 congressional Democrats running for reelection, not one Democrat running is using advertisements trumpeting his or her vote for Obamacare; or for Obama’s stimulus bill, or for any other legislation the president forced through Congress.
Since every single Republican in Congress voted against Obamacare, they were the ones who voted for paychecks for the American people. On the other hand, the vast majority of Democrats in Congress voted for all of these Big Government programs and as a result, we have a record number of Americans on food stamps.
Combs doesn’t bother to actually enumerate the logical leap she takes to connect the stimulus and healthcare to food stamp increases. But peel back the gibberish and you find an implied “job-killing economic disaster” stage that I suppose is self-evident to conservative ideologues. Most of the time, though, they try to make long-term arguments about the deficit and an “anti-business climate.” Combs wants to assign blame in a more immediate time frame.
But considering the stimulus has been a job-creating success and the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”) didn’t take effect until two weeks ago, it’s clear she comes up more than a bit short.
Employing an economic logic untethered to chronological reality, you’d think Combs could come up with a better cover for her partisan attacks.
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Kyle at Right-Wing Watch finds this amazing gem from the reliably offensive mouth of Bryan Fischer about the free-market fire department (that let a family’s house burn to the ground because they were late paying their “subscription fee”):
The fire department did the right and Christian thing….In this case, critics of the fire department are confused both about right and wrong and about Christianity. And it is because they have fallen prey to a weakened, feminized version of Christianity that is only about softer virtues such as compassion and not in any part about the muscular Christian virtues of individual responsibility and accountability.
The absurdity of this claim should be self-evident to anyone who’s heard of the Bible. But Fischer isn’t someone to let Christian truth get in the way of extreme political ideology:
If I somehow think the right thing to do is not the Christian thing to do, then I am either confused about what is right or confused about Christianity, or both.
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Dan’s earlier post showed how the tea party isn’t really that different from the traditional base of the Republican party. But the graph he used had another useful intersection that helps shed light on a particularly related question: are the tea party and the Religious Right the same?
Early descriptions of the tea party often focused on their concerns about fiscal issues and their overlap with libertarians and Ron Paul supporters. Leaders framed this avoidance of social issues as a strategic move to attract independents.
But as the label has grown more popular, social conservatives have begun insisting that they are tea partiers too, nowhere more strongly than at the Family Research Council’s Values Voters Forum last month.
So which is it? Well…both:
This shouldn’t really come as a surprise. Given their non-hierarchical organizational structure and the competing umbrella groups attempting to corral them, it’s difficult to nail down exactly what a specific tea party agenda looks like. As long as it remains a popular identifier in the minds of conservative voters, I would expect any and all groups on the right to try to claim the title.
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Earlier this week, Dan highlighted President Obama’s discussion of religion at a “backyard conversation” in New Mexico. His heartfelt confession of a deeply personal faith in Jesus Christ was the kind of testimony one would expect to connect with evangelical Christians–and put to rest questions about his faith.
As Kyle at Right Wing Watch notes, this hasn’t stopped Christian right leaders who are doing their best to justify continued attacks on the President’s faith. Tony Perkins, fresh off claiming Obama is “advancing the idea of the Islamic religion,” reacts by explaining that though he “may be a Christian,” it doesn’t really count:
He told the crowd in New Mexico that his “public service” is an “effort to express his Christian faith.” If so, then he has a vastly different understanding of biblical truth than I do.
For Perkins, who has a lengthy record of marrying Christianity to political conservatism, political and religious disagreements are inextricable. There’s no room for Christians across the political spectrum to disagree on the practical application of their faith because there’s only one Christian answer (Hint: It’s Perkins’s).
This logic gives Perkins a double-edged sword. When he wants to discredit his opponents’ faith, he does so under the guise of basic policy disagreements, and when he wants to attack their policies he speaks with the moral authority of a pastor. Conveniently, when others criticize his political positions, he cries foul and alleges religious discrimination.
It’s obviously too much to expect Perkins to cut it out, but it’d be nice if national news networks started treating him as a partisan operative instead of a religious leader.
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Via The Daily Dish
Bassam Tariq and Aman Ali spent Ramadan visiting Muslim communities across America. The photos they came back with give a real sense of the diversity, fellowship and life they found.
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