I just received this email and I think it warrants a response:
Might I offer a suggestion to you NRO contributors regarding the current debate/rant about the “Paleoconservatives”?
I would suspect that many NRO/NRDT readers are committed Christians, from a number of denominations. As you folks have had this debate, I have detected a subtle sarcasm, even ridicule, of Christians creeping into the tone of the posts. It is true that Pat Buchanan received a lot of support from Christians through the early efforts of the likes of the Christian Coalition, however I think that the NRO contributors should be a bit more discriminating and avoid flinging generalizations around.
I’ll use a couple of your posts today as examples:
“But if Frum is engrossed, Buchanan is obsessed to the point of dementia. Unless, that is, obsession with ones Christian faith and Irish upbrining doesn’t count.”
A bit too general, nearly stereotypical, wouldn’t you say? Christians do not like to be sterotyped any more than other groups, like Jews for example.
“One question: Can the paleos buy their mattresses from just anybody? Or do they have to be made in South Carolina?”
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw this one. Sure, many South Carolinian Christians supported Buchanan a while back, but do you not think that they are intelligent enough to see through his malarky by now? Another stereotype? Shame on you, Jonah. I really had come to expect better from you.
This is not the first and only time this sort of snide stereotyping of Christians has occured on NRO. Since I have been reading NRO (about 1 year now), I have seen this stuff pop up on a regualr basis. Mr. Dreher is especially prone to dangerous and inaccurate generalizations every time he forrays onto a discussion of some aspect of Christianity, in spite of his personal claims of faith.
In all friendliness, please be more careful.
For full disclosure- I am a Christian, and I currently live in South Carolina. I grew up, however, in Massachusetts.
My response: I appreciate the criticism and the spirit in which it is offered. But, in my own defense I plead not guilty (I can’t speak for Rod, but I’m sure he can). I’ve written too many sincere defenses of Christian Conservatives to concede this charge. In terms of the Novak example, my reference to Buchanan’s “obsession” is sarcastic. Personally, I don’t care if Buchanan– or anybody else — invokes his or her faith or ethnicity in relation to their politics. My point was that if Novak is going to hold Frum to such a standard Novak shouldn’t say something as factually dumb as he did. It makes Novak look as if what makes him uncomfortable is not discussions of ones own ethnicity so much as revelations of ones own Jewishness. I stand by that and, frankly, I don’t see anything wrong with what I wrote.
As for the South Carolina line, well, I may have been sloppy. But let me explain that my intent had absolutely nothing to do with Christianity and everything to do with the fact that Pat Buchanan is a raving protectionist of the Roger Miliken variety. If that didn’t come across, my apologies. I really hope that nothing I have written about the Paleos — or about anything else for that matter — is construed as anti-Christian. Now, I’m off to drink some Jameson’s. (What? It’s not like I can just pour the French-owned stuff down the drain).