The cat's been out of the bag for a long time about the "Culture War" being just another means to keep the Christian conservative flock in-line to support right-wing economic policy that ultimately benefits nobody but the rich, but I am kinda stunned that Sen. DeMint, who seems to have appointed himself queen of the crusade against the economic recovery package in the Senate, is being so obvious about it:
U.S. Senator Jim DeMint tells The Brody File that a newly discovered controversial provision in President Obama's stimulus plan is, "an attack on people of faith" ... The Brody File contacted the Senator and he gave us the following response:
"Democrats are looking for every opportunity to purge faith and prayer from the public square. This will empower the ACLU with ambiguous laws that create liability for schools, universities, and student organizations. This is an attack on people of faith and I don't think Americans will stand for it." - Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina)
DeMint's spokesman Wesley Denton says, "This is an ACLU stimulus, because any school that gets funds to upgrade a student center or building where Bible studies or religious meetings may be held will be slapped with a lawsuit. This bill declares a war on prayer at college campuses in this country. Students have [a] constitutional right to use public facilities regardless of their religious views, and President Obama needs to step in to ask Sen. Reid and Speaker Pelosi to stop this attack on students of faith."
Right Wing Watch thoroughly debunked the notion that there is a provision in the recovery bill to ban Bibles. There are funds in the bill for repairing existing academic and student housing buildings that can't be used for sports or religious buildings. I can't see any anti-Christian bias in that.
But the right-wing noise machine is on full-blast trying to connect the stimulus package with any already-prepared demon. This round it's the ACLU. Last time it was baby-killing feminists. Next time it could be us, which would tickle me in the wrong way.
It's really not important who the demon is - Congressional Republicans want to stop this bill, or at least render it inoperable, because its success wouldn't help them at all. If it works, Democrats will get credit. And if it works really well, their pseudo-Randian ideology of privatizing profit and socializing risk would be discredited and we'd start another age of Keynesian economics.
Generating dozens of quibbles over the bill leaves the impression that the whole thing is a San Francisco values, ACLU-funding, baby-killing liberal orgasm instead of the medicine the economy needs right now to stave off an even worse depression than we're already experiencing. Leaving a bad taste in their constituents' mouths, creating an image of hyper-partisanship (which lends itself to "well, you say that this will help the economy, but that's, like, your opinion, man"), and getting the base to frantically call their Representatives and Senators and write their newspapers and what-have-you all works to kill the bill, or at least make it so half-assed that it won't do much and knee-caps further attempts to stimulate the economy.
I still find the press release humorous, if for nothing else other than the fact that whoever wrote it was trying to make it as dog-whistle dense as possible, mentioning everything from Nancy Pelosi to lawsuits (that is, activist judges!). They really have no shame.