David Limbaugh

 Under the policy, certain staffers were admonished for putting innocuous biblical verses at the bottom of their e-mails, and cadets were warned after using academy e-mail accounts to encourage others to see Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ."

 Don't be confused. This was not a church/state issue per se, but involved the school's "tolerance" policy. But can't you see how the term has been mangled to further certain ends having nothing to do with the stated policy of promoting tolerance?

 Is it "tolerant" for the school to discourage Christian students or staff from speaking freely about their faith, in e-mails, no less? Only if we accept the idea that Christianity is presumptively offensive and intolerant on its face.

 As far as I can tell, there was nothing remotely threatening to non-Christians in those e-mails, merely positive words about Christianity. But in many pockets of postmodern America, bold (and even meek) professions of Christianity are often seen as expressions of intolerance precisely because intolerant secularists have succeeded in branding Christianity itself as intolerant.

 The lesson is that there is a comprehensive practice afoot by liberals, even if not conspiratorial, to misuse words to mischaracterize people as something they're not in order to demonize them. It's propaganda of the most calculated and vicious variety.

 Conservatives, to be sure, use words to describe liberals that the latter find offensive as well. But the difference is that the words are merely descriptive, not laced with distorted undertones.

 Conservatives, for example, often call liberal, left-wing Democrats liberals or left-wingers -- see, I just did it. We deliberately called John Kerry a liberal during the presidential campaign because the objective evidence indicates he's a liberal.

 We believe that if more voters realized that, fewer would have voted for him -- not because we had unfairly depicted Kerry (we don't have to cheat to win), but because we had accurately portrayed him as the liberal that he is. He spent most of his time trying to pass himself off as anything other than a liberal. So in this situation, our application of the label was fitting, informative, fair and served the public interest.

 So beware not of labels, but the deliberate misuse of language and concepts to demonize people for political purposes.

David Limbaugh

David Limbaugh, brother of radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh, is an expert on law and politics. He recently authored the New York Times best-selling book: "Jesus on Trial: A Lawyer Affirms the Truth of the Gospel."

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