The Republic of T.

Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.

And You’ll Know They Are Christians By Their …

What, exactly? Pandagon is down. Melissa has resigned. I grabbed a screenshot of the holder page, in which Amanda shares some of the email she’s received from people who identify themselves as Christians.

These are the folks who must be appeased, apparently. Or, at least, they loudest among them. They must not be offended. They must not be insulted. They must not be maligned. Their beliefs must not be questioned. They must be respected and deferred to.

Paula Zahn won’t do a story on them. The New York Times and the Washington Post won’t quote these emails on their pages tomorrow. If anyone in the media comes anywhere close to condemning these attacks, they’re unlikely to do more than cluck their tongues, shake their heads, and make some closing remark about how these people were “provoked.”

Why? Because there are things you can’t say and things you can say.

What Amanda and Melissa said, you can’t say and get away with it.

What’s in these emails you can say, and suffer little to no consequences.

What’s amazing is that despite their feelings about religion, both Amanda and Melissa were willing to support a devoutly religious candidate. And, at least it appeared so for a time, that candidate was happy to work with them. Both despite their differences on religion. In a way, the situation had the potential to be a bridge between the “religious left” and the “non-religious left.” A bridge that has now been effectively blown up, from what I can tell, while one side was standing on it after the other had retreated.

After writing what I hoped were several thoughtful posts on the subject, I now understand that was a waste of time. These are the voices that carry the day.

Christians Write to Ex-Edwards Blogger

And just for fun, here it is as a blockquote.

Whenever the site is up, we get slammed and it goes down. I have to suspend the site until the fervor dies down. At this point, I think it might be a few hours before the Lookie Lous give up refreshing the site. In the meantime, here’s the latest post I wrote about all the “Christians” who have written me in the past week:

Update: To correct misinformation in the comments, I was not “fired”. I offered my resignation and it was accepted.

Because I had the nerve to be critical of the Catholic church’s stance on birth control and abortion—nevermind their political opposition to distributing condoms to fight HIV, a stance that has helped usher thousands and possibly millions to their untimely deaths—I’ve gotten a number of letters from people who call themselves “Christians”, as Bill Donohue also calls himself. Chrisitians are people who are supposed to follow the behavior and teachings of Jesus Christ. I mention this, because it seems to me that therefore, when Christians are contemplating an action that is morally questionable, it appears they should consult the Bible before acting.

Luckily, I happen to have a Bible laying around this house, because even though I’m not a Christian, I was an English major, and it is important to Know Your Ancient Mythologies if you are reading poetry. And I flipped to this passage that seems to have solid advice on what to do if you’ve got some asshole dragging a woman in front of an angry crowd and yelling, “SINNER!”:

The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst 4 they said to him, Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say? This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.’ And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus stood up and said to her, Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you? She said, No one, Lord. And Jesus said, Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.

Granted, I don’t think criticizing the church for policies that hurt families and even get people killed is a “sin”, but my letter writers do. But I thought I’d bring up this story for two reasons. One, I’ve always been impressed by the subtext of the story. I suspect, strongly, that this story is part of the reason that Christianity was so attractive to women in its early days, because this sort of random misogynist scapegoating is all too real in a patriarchy, and this story must have touched a lot of women at the time, who would be impressed with Jesus’ unwillingness to play into such misogyny. In fact, from everything I understand, much of the history of Christian misogyny is one 2,000 year long backlash against early female power in the church.

I’m also impressed by how so many people who claim to follow Jesus have basic reading comprehension problems when they regard this story. (Not all—for instance, some fellow Pandagonians take their faith seriously enough to read the Bible and try to follow its precepts.) From my mailbag:

I pray that I had some small part to play in your “resigning” from the Edwards campaign you libelous fraud!

That’s from a Vivian Thomas, who also wants me to know that I’m a worthless hag.

Catholics are concerned about killing unborn children, you stupid bitch. Chop away if it suits you, but we don’t

have to accept that as moral. That’s why it’s called a religion. Look into it.

Frankly, if I were a churchy person, this “Look into it” thing would insult me, since R.R. from Tallahassee, FL is all but saying that religion is his excuse to declare his misogyny “moral” so he doesn’t actually have to think and decide what his morality is for himself.


after reading your vile screed against Catholics and the Holy Spirit, I just had to see what you looked like. (I envisioned you eyebrow-less, with no visible pupils, and a blank, dead stare.) I see I was correct about the blank, dead stare, but other than that you’re not too bad. I then thought maybe you were mad at God (and by proxy Catholics) for making you ugly, but now I’m figuring you’re just mad at him for making you a woman.

Annette D’Amato is somewhat right, that I’m angry—but not that I’m a woman, but that people like her have such uncalled for contempt for women. But I am impressed that I gave her a small bit of education. Contrary to what people have been telling her, feminists are not demons without eyebrows (she missed the boar’s teeth and snakes on our heads), but human beings.

Andy Driggers from Dallas, TX was also so moved by my criticisms of religious anti-choicers, that he wrote:

Problem with women like you, you just need a good fucking from a real man! Living in Texas myself, I know you haven’t found that real Texan yet. But once your liberal pro feminist ass gets a real good fucking, you might see the light. Until then, enjoy your battery operated toys b/c most real men wouldn’t want to give you the fucking you deserve b/c the shit that would come out of you ears.

Reminder: Donohue was claiming to be so hurt by my “bigotry”. Yet, for some reason, his supporters write me and they are more interested in telling me that my womanhood is repulsive to them. Interesting—almost as if his claims to speak for Catholicism were in fact dog whistles to scare people about women’s equality.

As I told some close friends in the days that Donohue was on the news, spraying code words about “get the feminists” (which explains why he roped Shakespeare’s Sister into this, even though she really had nothing to do with any of this—except she’s pro-equality, which is what is really what offends Donohue and all the people who gave that anti-Semite airtime), a good half of my hate mail could be summed up, “You have a pottymouth, you stupid cunt.” An example, from Paul Bernard of Scottsdale, AZ:

i like the way you trash talk i don’t particularly want to have sex with you but i would like a blow job.

Right wingers right now are pretending like sexism has nothing to do with me, which is an argument that works if you think a) men get emails about how they need to suck a dick on a regular basis and b) that there’s nothing whatsoever sexist about allowing men to curse but hitting the fainting couch if a woman does.

Bud Phelps, another person who opposes “bigotry”, as defined by right wing shill Bill Donohue.

It’s just too bad your mother didn’t abort you. You are nothing more than a filthy mouth slut. I bet a couple of years in Iraq being raped and beaten daily would help you appreciate America a little. Need a plane ticket ?

Time to wake up and smell reality—real bigots follow the siren call of the fascist right wing. Why would they even bother with liberals and all our equality and human rights and other tedious ideas?

Romanco De Leone was also moved by Donohue’s poignant claims about insulating the Catholic church from legitimate criticisms.



But I shan’t belabor the point. I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of the hate mail the Bill Donohue’s “Christian” campaign against me has inspired. This is all stuff from days ago—I’ve gotten more than 100 since. Hell, from the looks of my email from last night, I’ve had more than 100 in the past 12 hours from self-proclaimed Christians who want me to know that I have hurt their feelings and this has nothing, nothing whatsoever to do with their own misogyny and tendency to witch hunt.

Edwards is now at the bottom of my list of acceptable presidential candidates.

It remains to be seen if the rest of the Democratic field will cower in fear of Amanda’s new pen pals. But thus far they’re tripping over themselves to declare their religious affiliation, and my guess is that none of them will stand up to these people. And believe me, each of them will have a chance because they’ve tasted blood now and they will want another, and they’ll go seeking it at any campaign that has a blogger on staff.


  1. Edwards is now at the bottom of my list of acceptable presidential candidates.

    ah, but my friend, all the pols are like this. there is no room for honesty in the government. only the appearance of honesty.

    seriously, tho: i can’t understand why everyone doesn’t see that jesus would completely advocate wishing someone would suck a long cock and in addition, hope for the death of a person’s children and parents. it seems pretty holy to me!

  2. uh….sorry about that link. i dont know what happened there!

  3. Shakes quit too? 🙁

    Do we know that this was actually something the campaign asked them to do, though? I mean, Amanda’s post seemed to suggest she had chosen to quit because she wanted to be able to respond and address these specific issues (esp. the right-wing use of wedge issues to drive the religious left and the secular left apart), which no one can really do from within a political campaign.

    If it did come from the campaign, I’ll definitely be disappointed, too. I was leaning in Edwards’ direction, and this would probably shift me into Obama’s or Richardson’s camp. Already tempted that way.

    I did send Amanda an email. She did use some coarse language, and she apologized. I use coarse language about Christians, too. People get angry. What is really going on here is that Donahue et al. don’t like the fact that Amanda sees injustice towards women and others and does something about it. Being a feminist was Amanda’s cardinal sin in his eyes, not saying naughty words. If being a feminist is unacceptable in this political climate, we’re in more trouble than I thought.

  4. The way is usually works in cases like this is that (a) a resignation is offered and (b) that resignation is accepted. There are/were any number of people in, say, the Bush administration who’ve done worse, offered resignation, had those resignations refused (by Bush) and continued to serve. People whose words and actions have done more harm than Amanda or Melissa combined have allegedly done.

    After all, Melissa and Amanda’s words and actions haven’t cost anyone their lives.

    Honestly, when I look at the current field, I don’t think any of the candidates would have shown any more spine than Edwards did. They’re all bending over backwards to do and say anything that they think will win them more religious voters. And the party is already paying a consultant who advises them to distance themselves from the idea of separation of church and state? What would Obama have done? (Probably been savvy enough not to hire any bloggers who’ve written anything remotely controversial.) What would Hillary have done? Richardson?

    I don’t think any one of them would have done any differently? Why would they? They’re getting advised to toe the line on religion, and avoid controversial ideas like church/state separation. And thus they’re timid about standing up to people like Dohonue. And the people who are willing to stand up to people like him, and give as good as they get, are left twisting in the wind by religious progressives who join in calling for their heads, and “leaders” to milquetoast to stand up to bullies.

    So, the bullies win.

    But we get the candidates we deserve, don’t we? I’ve argued over and over again with members of the netroots that the current strategy — supporting candidates who are partially progressive on some issues, and not so on others like choice and marriage equailty — will yield a party that’s more conservative on those issues. And the constituencies who are passionate about those issues become liabilities.

    So, yeah, being a feminist is unacceptable in this political climate. Being non-religious or non-Christian is a liability in this political climate. Being willing to stand up to people like Bill Donohue and Michelle Malkin is a liability, because almost no one will stand with you if you do.

    I don’t know if that means we’re in trouble. But it means we got what we’ve been working for for the last few years. Now we seem genuinely surprised, and even disappointed that we got it.

  5. The charges that Donohue leveled against ShakeSis were:

    1) She said that the Pope was anti-gay.
    2) She referred to right wing christians such as Donohue as “Christofascists”.

    “progressive” christians have ever since been bemoaning her bigotry.

    She stoutly maintains that she resigned, and was not pushed, because of the hatred and threats levelled at her by the christians, but there is more to the story IMHO.

    Why didn’t we see Edwards standing up to oppose the bullies ? Couldn’t he spare a little legal assistance to protect her from the threats and file legal complaints ?

    Did she have to be left to swing in the breeze ?

    Personally, I have to admit that I thought that she made a mistake supporting Edwards in the first place. He had clearly stated tha because of his religion he opposed equality for gays.

    She said she thought he was a good man and she felt she could work from within.

    We see how that works out.

  6. “shares some of the email she’s received from people who identify themselves as Christians.

    These are the folks who must be appeased, apparently.”

    as i have said before, the people writing amanda are vile. Donohue and his ilk are vile. but to smear all “Christians” with the actions of this loud vocal segment is equally wrong. Most Christians such as myself recoiled at Amanda calling our beliefs “misogynist” mythologies. And I’m a feminist too. But I always have to tell people, “I’m not one of those pro-abortion, anti-religion feminists” and I would hate it if your average voter equated liberals as anti-religion/anti-Christians (which they already do), to be confirmed by the likes of Amanda and co (like this blog…). My Christian friends don’t spew and call folks sluts or whores. they minister to the dying. they teach in inner city schools. work at food pantries. protest the war. I’m sorry you don’t know more of those folks. I’m sorry the mainstream media doesn’t know more of us, since they just want to quote Donohue and his ilk. We all found offensive what Amanda had to say, because it only confirms all the stereotypes about anti-Christian Dems, but we hate Donohue too. I thought I would offer this perspective on why some of us Christian Dems feel “sidelined,” both within the party, within the mainstream media, and within our own churches.

  7. I have a loud voice. I can out-holler anyone in any hollering contest. It’s a combination of being a teacher and being in my family.

    All of which means shit and fairy dust without money to buy media time.

    So don’t be telling me that I’m not hollering enough. I sent them both emails expressing my support, both as an American and as a Christian. I spoke out at work and on the bus and on blogs. But being supportive isn’t interesting, and if it’s not interesting, it’s not fiscally solvent.

    You want I should turn into a censor with the flaming sword of My Own Brand of Truth in my right hand? You want I should threaten violence against their homes and persons? You want I should betray my own beliefs, my own faith which demands I work for peace by meeting them on the battleground with the same devious measures, the same fabrications, the same violent measures to gain air time? You want I should become like them, just so I can gain your approval as a Good Christian™?

    Sir, I respectfully reply: Fuck that shit.

  8. Mary Sue,

    Is it working? Are they winning?

  9. My Christian friends don’t spew and call folks sluts or whores. they minister to the dying. they teach in inner city schools. work at food pantries. protest the war. I’m sorry you don’t know more of those folks. I’m sorry the mainstream media doesn’t know more of us, since they just want to quote Donohue and his ilk. We all found offensive what Amanda had to say, because it only confirms all the stereotypes about anti-Christian Dems, but we hate Donohue too. I thought I would offer this perspective on why some of us Christian Dems feel “sidelined,” both within the party, within the mainstream media, and within our own churches.

    And there are plenty of non-religious people who do all of the above, only to watch the party back away from other issues they’re passionate about in order to court religious voters who are skittish about those issues; in other words, voters whose progressivism only goes so far.

    I wouldn’t say you’re being sidelined in the party though. Getting Melissa and Amanda axed is a big victory. And from Obama’s evangelical outreach, to Howard Deans sitting down with Pat Robertson, to Nancy Pelosi urging Democrats to speak in more biblical terms, to Harold Ford (who justifies being anti-gay based on his religion) taking over the DNC, to the party hiring a consultant who advises them to distance themselves from the issue of separation of church and state, I’d say the party is working overtime to get right with religious voters.

    If anybody is being discounted at this point, it’s progressives who don’t happen to be religious.

  10. I don’t know of any progressive Christians who called for Shake’s Sister to be fired. The people I am aware of, including yours truly, were offended by Pandagon but not SS posts. Pandagon openly mocked Christian ideas of the sacred–not quite as exxtreme but it’s a lot like those bullies at Gitmo who smeared blood on Muslims, solely to mock their idea of the sacred. That is not the way to make society more tolerant!

    Obviously the kind of comments cite above are deplorable, but how do we know that the people who wrote her are really “Christians” at all, some may be just angry troll types. Wheneevr I speak out on something that offends the separatist secular left, I get tons of similar angry e-mails and or comments–should I conclude that all atheists are bullies and not interested in real dialogue? Of course not. It’s hard not to take it personally, though–so I understand why they feel upset and scared.

    FYI: Obama is not anti-gay for crying out loud. Nor is his church, the UCC church is the most pro gay rights of any Christian church. Let’s not draw too large of conclusions from this unfortunate incident.


  11. In Amanda’s defense, having read her since Mouse Words (pre-Pandagon), I really can’t see what she wrote in that light, FP. As I mentioned above (and in my email to her), some of the things struck me as unduly harsh. Sometimes they were indeed put in a way that seems to attack Christian faith or the sacred. But that’s not where those posts were coming from, I think. They came from a visceral reaction to the religious right, and I think the “blasphemy” as it were was incidental, if regrettable. As I also mentioned to Amanda, I’ve used words about as harsh as hers against my fellow Christians; I know many progressives who have. Who is more culpable — Amanda, who is not a Christian, or those of us who are Christians?

    Terrance — I see your point. And while I think there are a lot of winds blowing from different directions that are playing into some of the things you’re angry about, I strongly agree that non-Christians in general and non-religious people in specific are treated poorly by the Democratic establishment.

    In this specific case, I think the big cause is really just a reptilian fear of what the news cycle will do — it’s not about what Donahue will do to a particular campaign, but what CNN will do. But the idea that secular people who are troubled by the influence of (a particular kind of) religion in politics are anathema is certainly strong in our society, too, and you’re right that that should change. I don’t want to minimize that.

  12. but it’s a lot like those bullies at Gitmo who smeared blood on Muslims

    No, mocking somebody’s faith on a blog is not at all like forcibly desecrating a prisoner entrusted to you. It’s EXACTLY this kind of “ooo, I broke a fingernail, we Christians are so oppressed” garbage that makes people think ill of Christians.