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Thursday, July 20, 2006

A Repugnant Slur

Hunter Baker points out a commenter's use of the term Christianist in a comment to a post below, and asked the purveyor of the term for a definition. I shall supply it, as I think it evident that the term was meant as an entirely repugnant slur comparing devout Christians to radical Muslims by using the term Islamist as a model.

The use of that term shows a monstrous ignorance of both Christianity and Islam, and it exposes its user as a vile slanderer and a contemptible coward.

When I wish to condemn someone, you see, I say it directly.


Hunter Baker said...

I happened to read Ross Douthat's article "Theocracy, Theocracy, Theocracy" in the latest issue of First Things. As I read, I thought to myself, "The individuals pushing this crap about Christianists should be embarrassed by their obvious lack of learning and care." That was before I knew I'd been tarred with the label, myself.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Decorum, please. We do not address each other by last names only and we don't call each other buffoons, even if it is probable they are.

I simply won't have it. Try again.

IMO, "Christianist" is indeed a slur by innuendo in an attempt toward a link to Islamism and shar'ia.

When Dr. Dobson advocates hanging gay people or stoning adulteresses as they do in Iran, the link is justified. Until then, it is cowardly.

Tlaloc said...

How unsurprising that my post was deleted even though it was perfectly civil. I guess it hit a little too close to home?

"Decorum, please. We do not address each other by last names only and we don't call each other buffoons, even if it is probable they are."

Tom, addressing someone by last name is in fact more polite than to be familiar and use the first. And I called no one a buffoon. In fact I explicitly said I did not think Hunter was a christianist from what I had seen.

The incivility (as usual) all seems to be coming from the side that claims to value civility so highly.

Matt Huisman said...

Whoa, everybody...give peace a chance...lets keep our responses proportional...get Kofi over here and work this thing out.

James gave his explanation of what he meant, start from there. But James, we're headed right back to the same old discussions with explanations like this one:

They demand that such primacy be given to their Christian point of view that they would trample on the rights of others to get there.

[BTW James, crypto-fascist faux conservatism? I must confess that the term fascism is now virtually meaningless to me.]

James F. Elliott said...


Please feel free to email me directly ( if you'd like a better explanation of "crypto-fascism." I'll be writing more on it on my blog since this afternoon is relatively free and I've decided to start writing in earnest again.

As for this brouhaha:

Please allow me to be clear. I am rather offended by the double standard I see here in the calls for "decorum." I have routinely used "Mr. Karnick," and yet this time it is offensive; in fact, Hunter Baker referred to me as "Mr. Elliott" in the very title of his demand below, and I certainly took no offense (indeed, you say "Mr. Elliott" and I look for my father...). And then I am attacked as "a vile slanderer and contemptible coward" for... not spending all my time on Reform Club so I can see a post addressed to me? That is the height of rude behavior - indeed, S.T. Karnick didn't even mention my name, failing his own test of, "When I wish to condemn someone, you see, I say it directly."

As I explained below, the term "Christianist" is used in the same way as one would use "Marxist" or "socialist," (and, yes, "Islamist") as someone ascribing to a certain world-view and enacting it via politics. Any attempt to associate that with a slur, as the Right is wont to do with "Islamist," is purely subjective and in one's own mind. You take offense because you feel your religion attacked. I can't help that you're wrong and will stick to your guns.

Further, if he or Hunter Baker required a time-sensitive response to Hunter's post, S.T. Karnick and Tom Van Dyke both have my private email address and could have requested a public or private response, or asked permission to give it to Hunter Baker so that he could request one. That never occurred.

All I ask is that the posters at The Reform Club hold themselves to the same standards they publicly require of their commenters. If the "contract" is one-sided, simply state so. Otherwise, you resort to "do as I say, not as I do."

Tom Van Dyke said...

Let's be clear about a recurring issue. "Van Dyke" is not acceptable by the standards of the house in any contentious discussion. "Mr. Van Dyke" or Tom or TVD are.

And one more thing. Posts disputing deletions will heretofore be deleted as unhelpful to the flow of discussion. The house's word is final. To this point, to my knowledge no comment has been deleted for content, only for lack of comity. If one finds his post deleted, try rephrasing it.

That is all. Thank you in advance for your cooperation. In return, I promise to delete anything directed at our guests from the left as "commies" or "traitors."

Hunter Baker said...

I'm copying my response to the initial post here, too, in case it gets missed lower down:

James, all that I can see from reading your commentary is that you haven't been paying attention to me at all.

In fact, I hate to explain myself to someone who seems to have willfully misunderstood anything and everything I've had to say.

In the interest of clarity, I will take on a few of these items.

When it comes to abortion and marriage, I do not reason from Scripture or revelation at all.

When I worked for the Georgia group loosely affiliated with Dobson, I regularly argued for divorce reform and pro-marriage policies based on empirical evidence from established sociologists. I posted a large chunk of those numbers several months ago and if I recall you agreed with some of it.

I have written a law review article attacking Roe v. Wade. In the course of the review I adverted to Christian beliefs as normative for the question a total of zero times.

When it comes to homosexual marriage, I have written on this site my own difficulties in dealing with the question publicly because the argument there does seem to depend largely on revelation. I have never written anything substantive on the question other than on the point that I think it would be incorrect for churches to change their doctrine on the matter.

I certainly never sided with Roy Moore. I argued in a different manner than he does for keeping the Ten Commandments, but I sided with William Pryor in the dispute, not with James Dobson.

I definitely do not favor imposing Christianity on the population via any non-voluntary action. I think establishment nearly destroyed the faith in Europe.

You haven't understood me at all.

S. T. Karnick said...

I have no idea what the comment about a 24 hour deadline and working with needy people is about. And it is an utter irrelevance anyway. A person used a repugnant term, and I condemned it. I don't care when they used the term or why. It's wrong and contemptible. I refrained from referring to the person by name as a kindness to that person, not as an evasion. I did indeed directly condemn the action. I would certainly NOT email the perpetrator personally, as the comment was offered on a public forum and requires a public response.

Let me state this directly: The term Christianist is an insult and will be taken as one. The correct term is Christian. Use it.

James F. Elliott said...

Hunter, it's cute that you think you've used reason to arrive at the exact same conclusions your religion has without the latter influencing the former. I find it charming. I do, however, apologize for assuming that you sided with Roy Moore - I should not have relied on faulty memory, and that charge was spurious. If you are indeed sincere, then my labeling of you was wrong. To use it in that instance was an injustice to you, and you are quite right to ask for a retraction. I was apparently wrong.

As for the existence and use of the term in general:

"Let me state this directly: The term Christianist is an insult and will be taken as one. The correct term is Christian. Use it."

S.T., either you clearly don't understand my point, or you are making a "No True Scotsman" argument - again - and stating that one must be a dominionist to be a "real" Christian.

The only way "Christianist" is "an insult" is that you clearly don't understand what it means and make automatic assumptions. Perhaps that is because the Right is so used to using "Marxist" and "Islamist" as codewords for slander that the suffix is burned into your collective subconscious as a vituperation. I can't stop that kind of subjectivity.

S. T. Karnick said...

Mr. Elliott: I understand exactly what the term means, but you're trying to run away from it. Either have the courage to admit you're using a slanderous term deliberately in order to shut down opposing voices, or stop using it. Any other course is cowardly and dishonorable.

Hunter Baker said...

James, I've seen examples of the cuteness you describe. I once had a lefty law prof go on at great length about how the Supreme Court had been right to go with FDR in greatly expanding the powers of the federal government via the commerce clause. I raised my hand and asked whether she would have approved the Court's choice had it been in the service of enabling sweeping economic reform by a Ronald Reagan type.

She was quiet for a long time while 80 people waited. She then answered, "You're a thoughtful conservative." I tried to engage her before class the next day and she said, "Sometimes I think all political discourse is just a screen for what's in our guts."

I think that was cute.

tbmbuzz said...

If anyone still wishes to dispute whether or not the term "christianist" is a deliberate slur, the term was used in Cynthia Tucker's latest hate-filled column. 'Nuff said and Q.E.D.