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SCARING UP THE GOP VOTE

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By Michelle Malkin  •  September 24, 2004 11:59 AM

A few days ago, I blogged about stupid Democratic scare tactics. Now, here’s a not-so-bright one from the RNC that has been making the rounds on liberal blogs and an AP report titled GOP Mailing Warns Liberals Will Ban Bibles.

Steve Clemons has a photo of the front and back of the flyer. Clemons notes: “This is the kind of right wing thing that has made centrists like myself look like lefists.”

Eugene Volokh carefully asks whether anyone has a copy of what’s on the inside of the flyer:

Certainly if the claim is that the liberal agenda includes actually banning the Bible as such, that seems quite false. (Unfortunately, hostile environment law may sometimes be interpreted as restricting the publication of Bible verses when this may offend people based on religion, sexual orientation, sex, and the like; but though I quite oppose that, it still seems wrong to say that liberals would ban the Bible more generally.) On the other hand, if the mailer makes clear that it’s discussing banning Bibles in schools, or something else that’s at least plausible, then it’s the AP story that’s misleading for not mentioning this.

Mark Kleiman notices that “one of Clemons’ commenters points out that the plutocratic party in this country has been using this stunt since it was called the Federalist party and the Democratic candidate was Thomas Jefferson. Presumably it worked then, and works now. The only way to reduce the frequency with which this appeal to fear is employed is to make it expensive for those who employ it by arranging for as many as possible of those who will be offended by such items to hear about them when they appear.”

I’m with my friend Bill Donohue of the Catholic League, who minces no words in condemning the RNC’s obvious fear-mongering tactics:

For the past week, reports have surfaced that the RNC has been behind a mass mailing warning the residents of Arkansas and West Virginia that if the ?liberals’ win the election, they will ban the Bible. Now the RNC has admitted that it did so; this was its way of appealing to religious voters. But what it did is exploitative. Not only are the Republicans indulging in fear-mongering, they are also playing to the stereotype of Christians from rural communities.

The role of religion in the public square is something the Catholic League wants discussed by both Republicans and Democrats, and that is why we ran an op-ed page ad in the New York Times on September 20 called ?Censoring Religious Speech.’ But what the RNC did in these two states has nothing to do with the public expression of religion. No more mailings of this sort should be approved.

Amen.

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