Rhetoric is flying. Picketing businesses is happening. Christianity has been hi-jacked and made an appendage of the Republican Party. Most of all, the "antichrist" has arrived.
This story got out of Colorado about as fast as starter out of the blocks in a 100-meter dash. Newly elected Sen. Ken Salazar (D-CO) made comments Tuesday that Focus on the Family (FOTF), the organization founded by Dr. James Dobson, has relentlessly and unfairly attacked him. In an interview with KKTV in Colorado Springs he said, "from my point of view, they are the Antichrist of the world".
Wow! I could have saved all that money I spent on the "Left Behind" series and just called Ken Salazar's office.
The next day, Salazar retracted the use of the phrase "antichrist" saying that he meant that the approach by Dobson and Co. was un-Christian, self-serving and selfish. That would not be a statement that would get an argument out of some folk. It goes without saying.
But why is it that politicians say something and then backtrack the minute someone calls them on their words? Just once I would love for a politician to show some testicular fortitude and say something like this: "you know, I said yesterday that Focus was the antichrist and I mean it. They have hijacked the teachings of Jesus and picked one or two verses and based their smear campaign of everyone else on those issues. That is about as anti- Jesus Christ as I know. They parade around as if they are so holy but when someone holds their feet to the fire they cry foul. If you parade around as one of the flock and are acting opposite the teaching of Jesus, you are either the Antichrist or his duly appointed servant."
The Colorado Springs based group has been very up front with their criticism of Salazar, a pro-choice Catholic. It began when Salazar was Attorney General of Colorado and continued through the campaign last fall when Salazar defeated the beer mogul, Peter Coors. Dobson and Company were supporting Coors. The unholy yoking between the political arm of a religious organization and a beer man seemed to be an oxymoron to me but I digress.
During last fall's campaign, Salazar said he supported the idea of an up-or-down vote on the president's judicial nominees. Earlier in April, he changed his mind, just as one Colorado paper had predicted during the campaign that he would do. That brought the rhetoric to a peak as been widely reported this week. It is flying in both directions, as Dobson claims that nothing has been said that was personal against the senator. The president of Focus on the Family's government and public policy arm said that it was the Democrats who were the one's that were against people of faith. How could you get more personal than attacking someone's practice of faith?
Let me say that I don't think that either political party has a corner on the market on faith nor should they. Neither party is the party of God. Both fall way short in light of the teachings from scripture. An up-down vote is not a Biblical mandate, so lighten up Focus. And senator, choose your words carefully next time. Words do mean something.
Finally, I wonder if Salazar's comments would have got the attention that it did if all of the talk of late wasn't focused (no pun intended) on the end times. To be against "people of faith" is quite a charge but to be called the Antichrist ... them is fightin' words.
That's fightin' - as in Armageddon. That final battle may come in 2010 when Salazar is up for re-election.