In a past diary, "On Persecution", I offered my take on the alleged "abuse" Christians suffer in modern society. Originally, it was part of a newsgroup thread, and not surprisingly, one of the evangelicals participating in the discussion dismissed the entire thing by saying, "I've never heard of anything like that happening".
At the time of posting here, I hadn't assembled many links to some of the more outrageous commentary I've heard over the years, but knew that someone had. Turns out, here it is.
I'm sure there will be some who insist that these quotes are taken out of context, and I'll be happy to allow for this possibility. However, I have a hard time imagining how even IN context, these statements can be anything other than repugnant.
I'll also allow for the possibility that some of these quotes are entirely fictional. Most cursory cross-checking fails to reveal links to original published articles in which these statements are alleged to have been made. I don't pretend that opponents of funamentalists are any less prone toward misrepresentation than other groups.
Disclaimers aside, these things are still worth reviewing. Why? Because some of these folks are very chummy with GOP leadership, and at the very least, represent a measurable influence on voters and officials alike. These perspectives are as easy to find throughout the blogosphere as in small town bars any night of the week. As we try and understand the mindset behind the vehement opponents of gay marriage, critics of reproductive rights, supporters of "Intelligent Design", and advocates of a "Christian nation", we need to be aware of what their more radical peers are saying. Their moderate colleagues may water down the message to make it more palatable to mainstream "values voters", but make no mistake -- the core sentiment remains.
The public face of any political movement is a product of marketing and spin, of course. But understanding who is behind the scenes is as critical as understanding official platform and disclosed agenda. And we dismiss the shadow players as "fringe" at our peril.