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Indiana rep. Hostettler denigrates and demonizes Democrats

Reported by Chrish - June 22, 2005

Indiana Republican John Hostettler defended his over-the-top attack on House Democrats on The Big Story 6/21/05. Hostettler made these remarks yesterday:"Like a moth to a flame, Democrats can't help themselves when it comes to denigrating and demonizing Christians." House Democrats immediately called for his censure for the remarks. He retracted them quickly but was on Fox to expound on his beliefs.

Gibson introduced the segment saying there were fighting words in the House about "religious intolerance, or alleged religious intolerance" at the US Air Force Academy. He said Hostettler sparked outrage from Democrats when he said "part of a "long war on Christianity" (Gibson left out "led by the usual suspects, Democrats") was now playing out on the house floor.

Gibson asked if, by retracting the remark, Hostettler had reconsidered and concluded there was NOT a long war on Christianity?

Hostettler said that that particular phrase, occurring at the beginning of his statement, was not removed from the record. He says this is a long-standing issue that has been evolving over the last several months, and cites this example: The day before Priscilla Owen was confirmed, Tom Harkin called her a "wacko". Hostettler asks, Is she a wacko because she received the highest rating from the ABA, or is it because she's a Sunday school teacher? He then says now we know of the bigoted comments of Howard Dean, who stated that the Republican party is 'pretty much a party of white Christians.'"

Comment: Tom Harkin's remarks were directed at an individual, not an entire religion. I'm guessing it was based on evidence beyond the two choices given by the Congressman. Dean's comment was factual, just an observation, and oh by the way, true.

Gibson allows that as part of the record, but says that many politicians are reacting to the growing power of what they call the Christian Right, and they are more worried about Hostettler than he is about them. Hostettler replied that those who value democracy as the highest value in political life don't like it when the Christian act democratically.

He continued: "The legislation that was before the House yesterday was a result of what has been reported everywhere as the actions of "evangelical Christians" at the Air Force Academy. The language referred to abusive and coercive proselytizing as has been reported. There has not been a single report of coercive proselytizing. Proselytizing means, according to the dictionary, a conversion from one belief to another. No one has been able to inform me or anyone in Congress as to a coerced conversion from one belief system to another..."

Gibson cut him off with "Indiana Congressman John Hostettler, I got to cut it off there but thank you very much."

Comment: The Miriam-Webster on-line dictionary defines proselytise as
1 : to induce someone to convert to one's faith
2 : to recruit someone to join one's party, institution, or cause.
Perhaps his extreme interpretation of how far the Air Force proselytizers had to go to merit condemnation is indicative of how far he is willing to let them go, to further his own shared religious views.

Once again Fox gives a platform to a religious extremist without rebuttal.

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