In his latest NYT column, Nicholas Kristof returns to a subject he’s covered before: the unwarranted deriding of evangelicals. At a New York or Los
February 3, 2008

In his latest NYT column, Nicholas Kristof returns to a subject he’s covered before: the unwarranted deriding of evangelicals.

At a New York or Los Angeles cocktail party, few would dare make a pejorative comment about Barack Obama’s race or Hillary Clinton’s sex. Yet it would be easy to get away with deriding Mike Huckabee’s religious faith.

Liberals believe deeply in tolerance and over the last century have led the battles against prejudices of all kinds, but we have a blind spot about Christian evangelicals. They constitute one of the few minorities that, on the American coasts or university campuses, it remains fashionable to mock.

Scorning people for their faith is intrinsically repugnant, and in this case it also betrays a profound misunderstanding of how far evangelicals have moved over the last decade.

I can appreciate Kristof’s point, but this is unpersuasive. First, the Huckabee comparison is flawed. Judging Clinton on her gender is ridiculous. Judging Obama on race and ethnicity is offensive. But when Kristof hears people disparaging Huckabee at cocktail parties, I suspect he’s hearing people mocking Huckabee’s ideas — which deserve to be fair game in the midst of a presidential campaign.

After all, the former Arkansas governor has been pretty far out there on the fringe. He rejects modern biology. He thinks wives should "submit graciously" to their husbands. He’s equated homosexuality with bestiality. He’s publicly endorsed “quarantining” AIDS patients; he’s boasted that God is directly helping his presidential campaign; and he’s said that if a man and a woman live together outside of marriage, they’re engaging in a “demeaning ... alternate lifestyle.”

And if the intelligentsia ridicule these beliefs, they’re guilty of “intolerance” and “scorn” for the faithful? It’s the moral equivalent of racism and misogyny? I don’t think so.

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