The ad hominem approach – chief among logical fallacies – undergirds an effort to both marginalize conservative viewpoints and avoid arguing on the merits the controversies of the day. For liberals, to set sail in fair debate is to navigate treacherous waters.
We’ve seen this tired tactic abused ad nauseum in recent days by the mainstream media and Democrats. Aided by hard-left outfits such as the Southern Poverty Law Center – all too eager to provide “expert analysis” tailor-made for jaundiced journalism – liberal elites have been desperate to throw poison on bourgeoning grassroots opposition to Obama’s careening Marxist agenda. It’s straight out of the “progressive” playbook: Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals.”
Hence, in the face of zero supporting evidence, “Tea Party” conservatives, Constitutionalists, pro-life and pro-family Americans, and generally any patriot who disagrees with the Obama administration are smeared with “hate’s” broad brush.
Grandma and Grandpa; your fireman neighbor; school teachers; pastors; butchers; bakers; and candlestick makers are now “potentially violent right-wing extremists.” They are, as Mark Potok, Huffington Post columnist and SPLC director puts it, “…shot through with rich veins of radical ideas, conspiracy theories and racism,” and are widely linked to “hate” and “vigilante groups.” (Knock it off, Mark. With the exception of your fellow moveon.org-types, the vast majority of Americans aren’t biting.)
Nonetheless, every once in a while, as it goes, “even a blind squirrel finds a nut.” While I rarely agree with the Mark Potoks of the world, today, on at least one issue, I find myself doing so. Cult leader Fred Phelps and his Westboro brood of “God hates F-gs” fame are infused to the marrow with pure, unadulterated hate.
Phelps hates homosexuals. He hates the military. He hates America. He apparently hates everyone. But he also hurts people. Intentionally, I believe.
Phelps contends that every time a U.S. soldier dies in combat its God’s judgment for our nation’s affirmation of homosexual sin. Best known for disrupting military funerals, Phelps is – and was – a lot of things: He’s a former Kansas Democratic gubernatorial candidate; he was an Al Gore fundraiser for the ex-Veep’s 1988 presidential run; he’s a self-styled “Baptist minister;” and he’s a buffoon.
But one man decided to fight back. As reported by the AP: “Albert Snyder of York, Pa., is suing [Phelps’] church that picketed the funeral of his son, who died in a vehicle accident in Iraq. The Westboro Baptist Church contends U.S. military deaths are God’s punishment for tolerance of homosexuality. The Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case.
“The appeals court ordered Snyder to pay $16,510 in court costs to Westboro and its pastor, Fred Phelps. Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly has pledged to donate that amount. An American Legion spokesman says the veterans’ group has collected more than $12,000 in donations. People can also donate directly to Snyder on a Web site in his son's name.” (To donate go to www.mathewsnyder.org).
Indeed, Phelps and his incestuous band of Dale Carnegie rejects represent hate personified. Rather than taking the biblical “love the sinner, hate the sin” approach to sexual immorality, these false prophets preach counterfeit Christianity, devoid of the faith’s core tenet: redemption.
They labor under the misconception that, somehow, they are exempt from the Gospel’s central “judge not lest ye be judged” provision. “As it is written: ‘There is no one righteous, not even one.’” Romans 3:10.
I pray that Phelps and Co. will both repent and seek Christ’s redemption for the harm they’ve caused people like the Snyders. I also pray that liberals will repent. By lumping together with Phelps those who recognize traditional, biblical sexual morality, homosexual activists and the left-wing media trivialize true hate.
Indeed, many Americans – perhaps most – adhere to the biblical notion that all sexual conduct outside the bonds of marriage between one man and one woman is sexually immoral. (Sorry liberals, that’s just the way it is; nothing personal. Despite disingenuous bleatings to the contrary, such beliefs are typically as far removed from hate as Phelps is from cuddly. Every major world religion, thousands of years of history and uncompromising human biology hold this to be true. And as with all absolute truth, it just is.)
So, Fred Phelps aside, every time you hear some lefty like Anderson Cooper or Keith Olbermann despicably refer to Bible-believing Christians as “homophobes,” or who call grandma a “teabagger” (slang for a vile homosexual act), consider who the real haters are.
Whenever Mark Potok, Rachel Maddow or some liberal politico in Congress attempts to equate conservative Joe to a “right wing extremists” or a “domestic terrorist,” contemplate who the true bigots are.
The palpable irony is that leftists – with their slanderous name-calling, harsh judgments and ad hominem attacks – are, in truth, more like Phelps than those they falsely accuse.
Progress demands a vigorous, open and honest debate. “Progressives” should quit the empty name calling and stop running-scared from true progress.
Matt Barber is founder and editor-in chief of BarbWire.com. He is an author, columnist, cultural analyst and an attorney concentrating in constitutional law. Having retired as an undefeated heavyweight professional boxer, Matt has taken his fight from the ring to the culture war. (Follow Matt on Twitter: @jmattbarber).