Jon Sanders
p>A famous piece of Christian doggerel, often seen in cross-stitched wall decorations along with a silhouette of a kneeling child, begins (and feel free to recite it along with me), "Now I bow my head to pray / If thou sayest nay / I'll blow thee away."

OK, so it's made up. But that must reflect the thinking at Burlington Township High School in New Jersey, which last month held a mock hostage-taking and school shooting training scenario. As the Burlington County Times reported, the perpetrators in this scenario were "members of a right-wing fundamentalist group called the 'New Crusaders' who don't believe in separation of church and state" and who "went to the school seeking justice because the daughter of one had been expelled for praying before class."

These "Christian terrorists" also shot several students and took 10 hostages. Remember, they were supposedly angry that a girl was expelled for praying. Sound feasible?

Well, imagine for a moment the confused frustration of being a leftist academic. You've spent your entire academic career warning friends, family, colleagues, and anyone else unfortunately in earshot of the dangers posed by fundamentalist religious zealots. You've been haunted by the nightmare of theocratic fanatics taking over your schools and letting kids pray, wish folks merry Christmas, and stop believing that they're essentially upgraded monkeys (a sort of DarwinSoft Primate™ 6.0).

And then one day it happened —fundamentalist religious extremists actually attacked your country. They killed your fellow countrymen for being infidels not prostrate before their god. And they're still issuing warnings of future attacks if Americans don't convert. For once in a lifetime of making wild predictions of imminent catastrophes (from mass starvation to the "obesity epidemic," from global cooling to global warming, and all the frights in between), you were right.

But — O cruel irony! — the zealots weren't the rich, white, heterosexual, Christian dads terrorizing New York City as they do on "Law & Order." Instead, they were Islamic radicals; i.e., minorities. Non-white peoples from the Middle East. Part of the Repressed Other.

They were, in a word, multicultural.

So you were preempted from enjoying your rare moment in sunny correctness. You couldn't join in the outrage shared by your fellow citizens. An intimate, inseparable part of being a leftist academic is celebrating multiculturalism. But what if "multicultural persons" do something horrific? You can't celebrate, but you can defend, and in your defense you can channel all your frustration and outrage against a "proper" scapegoat — the United States of America. They did it, but we caused it.


Jon Sanders

Jon Sanders is associate director of research at the John Locke Foundation in Raleigh, N.C.