Jesus Christ, what now?

Is there no depth these days to which conservatives in this country will not descend in order to manufacture outrage?

A few days ago, the Wall Street Journal published an interview with VP Joe Biden, in which he discusses the insecurity of a weakened Russia.  Channeling the thoughts of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Biden said, “I can see Putin sitting in Moscow saying, ‘Jesus Christ, Iran gets the nuclear weapon, who goes first?’ Moscow, not Washington.”

Now the right-wing is all upset that Biden has taken the Lord’s Name in Vain.  I’ll grant you that someone in such high political office is well advised to watch what they say if they want to stay in politics, and I’ll grant you that Biden is a gaffe machine in the best of circumstances, but really.  You’d think Biden had committed some capital crime or mortal offense in tossing out a casual “Jesus Christ.”

Redefining overreaction is Washington Examiner Editorial Page Editor Mark Tapscott, who admits he’s uttered an impertinent “JC” now and then, but he takes Biden to task for not apologizing, and takes the media to task for not riding him about it.  Yes, Mr. Tapscott, with two wars, the economy in crisis, North Korea nearing meltdown, and healthcare reform in the balance, your fellow journalists should be hounding the vice president of the United States for not saying sorry over what is at best a slip of the tongue.

But Tapscott goes further.  He’s calling this incident hate speech!  The title of Tapscott’s essay is “Biden’s ‘Jesus Christ’ expletive is hate speech.”  Tapscott says in the essay that “it is sufficient to note that hate speech is speech meant to demean, ridicule, and discredit all who are associated with its target.”

So let me get this straight…Joe Biden somehow decided to slip in a denigration of Christians (of which Biden is one, by the way) during a discussion of Russian foreign policy?  Were the Illuminati involved?  Between the Eye of Sauron crying “Hate speech!” every time someone criticizes the Pope, and disingenuous accusations like Tapscott’s, the term “hate speech” has ceased to have any meaning.  Time was that “hate speech” was synonymous with “incitement to violence” or “terroristic threat.”  Now it means your widdle feewings got hurt.

Tapscott also grouses about the “silence of American Christianity” over Biden’s lip-slip.  Maybe, Mr. Tapscott, they’re actually listening to the teachings of their supposed Savior, who urged us to “forgive seventy times seven” and to “love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.”  My guess is most American Christians have either a) forgiven Joe Biden and moved on or b) don’t think it’s that big a deal.

Tapscott also pulls out that old chestnut that “had Biden used the name Mohammed in this manner, Muslims would be crying foul.”  Maybe so.  But a couple of things to keep in mind.  First, “Jesus Christ” is used millions of times a day in America as an all-purpose expression of pain, confusion, or anger.  It’s a garden-variety expletive that nobody (except Mark Tapscott) thinks anything of.  To suddenly exclaim “Mohammed!” would be rare and obviously out of place.  Second, in the 21st century, it’s true that some Muslims will exact deadly revenge against perceived insults, whereas most American Christians won’t murder for it–they’ll just make sanctimonious asses out of themselves.  Is Mr. Tapscott proposing Christians graduate from assholes to jihadists?

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