Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Right goes overboard with "hypocrite fish"

You may have heard about the recent "controversy" over a magnet that the Washington State Democrats briefly put up on their website. The magnet is a parody of the ichthys, which is a revered symbol of Christianity. (In fact, probably Christianity's second biggest symbol, after the cross).

Hypocrite FishHere's an image of the magnet, which you see to your left. It's billed, "The Flaming Hypocrite" by the company that's selling it. Of course, the ichthys has been a target of parody before.

As you might expect, the "Hypocrite Fish" is drawing tremendous fire from the right, which I suppose considers this parody to be a huge insult and deserving of massive outrage. They've gone totally overboard.
Now, if you were to apply this magnet to the religious right (which doesn't seem so Christian to me), I could see this as legitimate criticism. They are hypocrites. The trouble, of course, is that the religious right is really just a very vocal and loud minority. They seem bigger than they really are. And they've immersed themselves in politics.

The "hypocrite" label just doesn't stick to a lot of Christians. Most of the Christians I know oppose the Iraq War, allowing people to suffer in poverty, the death penalty, etc.

The religious right concerns itself with trying to make abortion illegal (which will not put an end to abortions) and trying to ostracize gays and lesbians from society.

They're just fine with the war in Iraq, eliminating funding for social programs, and allowing people to be executed (and not just criminals - leaders of other countries, too. Remember Pat Robertson's suggestion that we should assasinate Hugo Chavez?) They're hypocrites because they call themselves "pro-life" but they really aren't.

I think this image is a poor parody because it lumps all Christians together as hypocrites, when there are many devout Christians who legitimately try to practice Jesus' teachings. The creator of the magnet says they were meant to spur a discussion about hypocrisy in politics. I think the goal is a good idea - and I don't think this parody helps achieve that goal.

I noticed that this image was given the name "DemChristianHaters" on Orbusmax's website (and who knows where else). That's completely uncalled for. Many Democrats are Christians (such as myself). Is Orbusmax suggesting that I hate my own religion? Or that my party hates my religion? Because that's wrong.

Chairman Paul Berendt had this magnet pulled from the website because it's a poor parody. Because it could be interpreted as attacking all Christians, when it really is aimed at the religious right. By doing so, he made it obvious that the Democratic Party doesn't hate Christianity.

Berendt is not someone who is known to be afraid of the Republicans or the religious right (his persistence in the gubernatorial election challenge proves that).

The religious right likes to slyly imply that we Democrats must all be evil atheists. It's just not true. Democrats are Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and followers of countless other religions.

We have respect for many different religious traditions - not just one. We also respect those with no religious tradition. That is a major difference between us and the religious right. They only respect people who buy into their distorted view of Christianity. And that's too bad. They've really left the Gospel behind.

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