Jim Hoft’s obstreperous Gateway Pundit blog is associated with the conservative Catholic magazine site First Things. That may seem odd to those of us who know Hoft best for his non-sectarian ravings against Pepsi Cola and Honest Tea as “in the tank” for President Obama or, more recently, items like “The Obama Curse Continues… Top Seed Kansas Falls in 2nd Round [of NCAA Tournament].” Unless hatred of Obama has become a full-fledged Catholic sect (and who knows), what’s any of that got to do with religion?
But Hoft really earned his Vatican gold this weekend; as the House muscled across a health care bill, Hoft’s postings — and those of some other rightbloggers — accrued a more overtly religious dimension.
As part of his attack on the health care bill, Hoft had been running videos of Bart Stupak, an anti-abortion Democratic Congressman who’d been holding up the bill in the House, speaking ill (or at least candidly, which amounts to the same thing) of the Democratic leadership.
To his credit, Hoft never believed Stupak wouldn’t flip when the time was right (as opposed to Nice Deb, who had rashly compared Stupak to Braveheart). But when Stupak did flip on Sunday (in a way that displeased abortion supporters and opponents alike), Hoft reacted with theological scorn: Stupak, Hoft reported, “Sells [His] Soul!”
(When the House finally passed the bill, Hoft resorted to the most profound spiritual signifier in the rightblogger vocabulary: A quote from Star Wars.)
Why was Hoft so upset over the expected vote of a Democrat for a Democratic bill? Because for him, as for many rightbloggers, the perfidy of Democratic health care legislation is an article of faith, and the struggle within the soul of any sinner, however unworthy, between Good (free market) and Evil (government health insurance) is momentous. (“REMEMBER,” added Hoft, underlining his Manichean vision, “You Can NEVER Trust a Democrat… You can sometimes trust Republicans but… You Can NEVER Trust a Democrat…”)
Most rightbloggers’ big issue with the bill is, of course, socialism. But as the health care plan gets dangerously close to reality, the audible rending of garments and speaking in tongues indicate that in the last ditch some of the brethren have been feeling the Holy Ghost at least as much as that of Adam Smith. And aren’t you tired of hearing them yak about socialism all the time, anyway? Us too, so let’s amuse ourselves with a detour and see how the rightblogger Christer contingent has been handling this terrible defeat.
We especially liked the response when Nancy Pelosi, a longtime Catholic, though also a member of the demonic Democratic Party, mentioned that the feast of St. Joseph was “significant to Italian Americans,” and a “day where we remember and pray to St. Joseph to benefit the workers of America, and that’s exactly what our health care bill will do.”
Catholic Heart and Mind roared, “Nancy Pelosi is an ardent practicing Catholic like I am a Jedi Knight,” and led the congregation in the Kyrie Eleison. Donald R. May cautioned readers that “Pelosi is not signaling the end of the Progressive Left assault on Israel and Christianity” — no, that nefarious plan was still on; “Pelosi is simply attempting to wrap the evil that is ObamaCare in a cloak of goodness and religion.”
Pelosi’s “ignorance is almost sublime,” sniffed The Anchoress — a housewife who likes to compare herself to a medieval religious hermit for some reason. ” ‘Italian Americans,’ ” she began in quotes, as if these were mere creatures of Pelosi’s fancy, “certainly do honor St. Joseph, but they do not ‘pray’ to him. They ask him to pray for them, before the Throne of his most holy and almighty step-son, the Christ.” Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey joined her attack on Pelosi’s comprehension of the finer points of Catholic doctrine.
In old-fashioned households, longtime Catholics will know, saints are by custom “prayed to” frequently, but The Anchoress wielded the catechism like a truncheon to demonstrate that she, rather than the low church rabble, knew best what health care system Jesus would prefer — and it certainly wasn’t that favored by thousands of Catholic sisters (“not nuns,” the Anchoress hastened to assure us) who had endorsed the Democrats’ plan.
The Catholic ladies’ endorsement, The Anchoress asserted, was “inaccurate,” and may have reflected a lack of discernment — after all, they are “mostly boomer sisters who have issues with the authority of the hierarchy and have come to rather delight in sticking their fingers into the eyes of Catholic orthodoxy,” in stark contrast to The Anchoress, who, though she has no actual religious vocation, would never stick a finger in any orthodoxy’s eye.
Further adding, in The Anchoress’ estimation, to the sisters’ confusion: “Obamacare — like much of Barack Obama’s agenda — depends upon ambiguity and confusion in order to thrive, and so this story has been hauled out as a means of muddying the waters.”
The Father of Lies has been busy among the Weaker Vessels! Hadn’t they — and other wets, like the Catholic Health Association — felt the strong, guiding hand of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, who advised against passage?
Apparently not, the vote suggested to these rightbloggers — and, though Catholics are a minority among federal lawmakers, the failure of Doctrine to influence national affairs required explanations to the faithful. One Godblogger suggested the Catholic Health Association had been bought off by Obama to betray Jesus. Other plots were seen afoot, too: An Angry Catholic found it “disturbing that they have decided to hold this healthcare vote on a Sunday — the holiest of weekdays — when at least some of them know that this is going to increase abortion availability in the United States!” Coincidence — or a direct and willful attack on Our Lord?
Rightblogger responses to defeat are always amusing whatever their religious content. (Like the newly elevated Erick Erickson again crying for Republican purges — still the same kid with stars in his eyes!) But perhaps because we were raised in the faith ourselves, we are sensitive to religious imagery in even their less overtly Jesus-y offerings.
We are especially tickled, for example, by the GOP.com brainstorm, Fire Nancy Pelosi, which shows the speaker raging in front of an infernal wall of flames, and Dan Riehl’s post on it, “Fire Pelosi: What We Won Tonight… Let them have their self-congratulatory night and day or two. They’ve been drunk on power and ideology throughout this debate. Kicking the snot out of them when their hangover sets in — and it will — may be the political highlight of many of our lives.”
There’s your common Jesus denominator: Act as if ye have faith, and faith will be given to you! Will it work? Well, depends on whether you think its purpose is to win new supporters who may increase the chances of the inchoate anti-Obama movement, or to instead make the defeated faithful feel like winners.