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In Debate Over Obama’s Claim That Right Wing Has Used Religion To Be Divisive, Hannity and Coulter Attacked Obama’s Faith

Reported by Ellen - June 26, 2007 -

Hannity & Colmes brought out Ann Coulter, of all people, to debate Barack Obama’s recent claim that issues of faith have been hijacked by the religious right and used to drive a wedge between Americans. Predictably, Coulter and Sean Hannity quickly turned the issue around to attack Obama and his faith, thus illustrating his very point. But that irony went unremarked by Democrats Laura Schwartz and Alan Colmes. With video.

The discussion opened with Obama’s statement, “Along the way, faith stopped being used to bring us together. Faith started being used to drive us apart. Faith got hijacked.” Obama said it was partially because leaders of the religious right told their followers that Democrats disrespect their values and dislike their church “while suggesting to the rest of the country that religious Americans care only about issues like abortion, gay marriage, school prayer and intelligent design.”

What is it between Colmes and Coulter? Colmes sounded almost affectionate as he asked her if writing a book called “Godless” isn’t divisive. The middle-aged Coulter beamed like a schoolgirl in love.

Coulter dropped one of her “witticisms” that she had obviously prepared in advance. “No, but I do think anyone named B. Hussein Obama should avoid using ‘hijack’ and ‘religion’ in the same sentence.”

Well, at least Colmes didn’t giggle. But he offered no objection to such a revolting insinuation in the form of a “joke,” not to mention that she had just proved Obama’s point. Colmes said in an indulgent tone, “So in other words, only you can talk like that, only conservatives. Someone whose middle name is Hussein should not talk like that.”

“I love when you quote me,” she squealed.

As Coulter continued beaming at him, Colmes read some vituperative passages from her book, which she was clearly there to promote. He said, “Ann Coulter might be, you know, Exhibit A, in terms of how they love to use religion and try to clobber liberals over the head with it, of course unfairly so and inaccurately so.”

As usual, Schwartz had one point and one point, only, prepared for the debate. She offered a few examples of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson attacking Democrats as un-Christian. “This is not the kind of language we need,” she aptly said. She explained that Obama’s larger message is to bring us together. “So instead of being divisive and trying to divide, let’s look at what comes together.”

That was great as far as it went but instead of confronting Coulter on doing exactly what Obama had spoken of, Schwartz added that evangelicals these days are interested in some of the same causes as liberals: ending poverty, the environment and health care. “I think the Democrats may have a bigger trend with evangelicals.”

Schwartz seemed to be trying to make the point that the Democratic platform is in step with evangelicals but she failed to point out the fallaciousness of the evangelical leaders’ divisive rhetoric and made it sound, instead, as though Obama’s complaint was unwarranted because everyone is on the same page.

Meanwhile, Coulter went on to attack Democrats over abortion – once again illustrating Obama’s point which once again went unremarked.

During the segment, footage was shown of Obama at his church, in a sea of black faces looking rowdy.

Sure enough the bigoted Hannity almost immediately played the race card. He once again falsely attacked Obama’s pastor again for being “a black separatist.” Hannity played a clip from a Hannity & Colmes interview with Obama’s pastor, Dr. Jeremiah Wright, in which Hannity accused Wright but neglected to show or mention the part where Wright explained, “the African-centered point of view does not assume superiority nor does it assume separatism. It assumes Africans speaking for themselves as subjects in history, rather than objects in history.”

Coulter went on to falsely claim that Wright “praises Qaddafi.” Presumably, she was referring to the fact that Wright visited Qaddafi in 1984. But, as the New York Times reported in an April 30, 2007 article (subscription required), “Mr. Wright said his visits implied no endorsement of (Qadaffi’s) views.” Coulter also attacked Wright for saying “we deserved 9/11, it was the colored people of the world striking back against the white people on 9/11.” I could find no substantiation that Wright said the US deserved 9/11. Coulter appears to be referring to this, from the Times’ 4/30/07 article: On the Sunday after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, Mr. Wright said the attacks were a consequence of violent American policies. Four years later he wrote that the attacks had proved that “people of color had not gone away, faded into the woodwork or just ‘disappeared’ as the Great White West went on its merry way of ignoring Black concerns.”

There’s a big difference between saying the attacks were a consequence of US policies and saying that the US deserved to be attacked.

Once again, Obama’s assertion had just been born out.

After Coulter went on to say that she believes in the dignity of all human life, made another stab at holding herself up as morally superior (never mind the blatant substance abuse, the plagiarism allegations or the voter fraud investigation that she pulled strings to weasel out of) because of her stance on abortion, Hannity falsely claimed that Obama was saying that only liberal religious values are acceptable in the public square.

But Schwartz never called him or Coulter on any of the falsehoods, any of the irony or any of the hypocrisy (though she did make some imponderable statement about what Wright and Obama said before or after 9/11). Instead, she lamely said, “Well I don’t think the Democrats have criticized a faith-based value system… I really think we all have values and we’re all entitled to them and maybe they’re not gonna be the same but we can all respect each other’s.”

Yes, and let's hope that one day soon we can all hold hands and sing Kumbaya. But in the meanwhile, it might be useful to articulate a cogent argument against a predictably malicious right wing.