Ed Kilgore, who is now blogging for Washington Monthly, picks apart Newt Gingrich’s evidence of a “War on Christianity:
[s]ome religious conservatives seem to feel that anything anyone says or does to offend their sensibilities qualifies as persecution. That is the idiotic essence of the annual “War on Christmas” brouhaha, in which some Christians profess martyrdom at the hands of department stores displaying “Happy Holidays” signs. (Ah, the saints weep!).
Sometimes “war on Christians” rhetoric means conservative Christians who oppose same-sex relationships, abortion or contraception, or full rights for women, feel entitled to receive government funds, or government jobs, or judicial appointments, without anyone questioning the impact of those beliefs on the discharge of the official duties that justify the grant or the job or the appointment. According to this twisted point of view, the right of religious expression carries with it the right to disobey uncongenial laws or even oaths of office, even while enjoying public support. So if there is a “war” going on, such Christians are definitely active combatants, not innocent victims.
And sometimes, especially during the last couple of years, the “war on Christians” involves the complex idea whereby the “Christian” foundations of the nation are being denied by secularists, in turn denying Christians—or more specifically, a particular brand of Christians—their natural dominion over public policy. This is a particular rich vein of delusion in the Christian Right wing of the Tea Party movement, which often argues that the Declaration of Independence—frequently conflated with the Constitution—enthrones not only Christianity but such “divine” and “natural” laws as the Right to Life for the Unborn, the Right to Discriminate Against the Ungodly, or even the Right to Enjoy Private Property Without Taxation or Regulation. These, it is asserted, are all part of the Founders’ design which cannot be abrogated by Congress or courts or any popular majority. You will note that in answering the debate question, both Romney and Santorum made elaborate references to the Declaration, which has become a major dog-whistle to the Christian Right for Republican politicians.