Jennifer C. Braceras | Boston Herald | Monday, March 5, 2012 | Op-Ed |

What is it about a presidential election year that brings out anti-Christian bigotry in so many liberals?

In 2008, we had candidate Barack Obama attacking evangelicals as “bitter clingers.”

This year, Obama’s friends in Big Media and Big Hollywood have all but declared war on those “cultish” Mormons and Catholics.

After all, there are only a few months left in which to make Mitt Romney(who is Mormon) and Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich (who are Catholic) seem like freaks. (Ron Paul has crazy covered all by himself, so no need to go after Lutherans just yet!)

Even putting aside Hollywood’s obsession with Mormon polygamy (which the church banned in 1890), examples abound of the media’s attempts to caricature Mormonism and Romney.

Last summer Newsweek published a cover story featuring a Photoshopped picture of Romney’s face on a campy poster for the anti-Mormon musical, “The Book of Mormon.”

More recently, New York Times columnist Charles Blow tweeted some flippant remark about Romney’s “magic underwear.” Blow was forced to apologize, but had he tweeted a pejorative remark about gay practices, does anyone doubt that the Ol’ Gray Lady would have blown him right out the door?

As for anti-Catholicism, this year’s Grammy Awards show featured a sexually explicit, homoerotic, hip-hop simulation of Catholic worship by rapper Nicki Minaj. The performance included flamboyant dancing bishops, altar boys knelt in prayer between the legs of scantily clad women, a satirical confessional scene and — best of all — a mock exorcism! The sickening performance was met with applause from the audience and (surprise, surprise) barely a word of condemnation from the mainstream media.

After all, this was art!

Last week, the Huffington Post published a vitriolic screed by writer Larry Doyle. In the piece, entitled “The Jesus Eating Cult of Rick Santorum,” Doyle (a lapsed Catholic) describes Catholicism as a “cannibalistic” and “barbaric” sect headed by a Nazi and populated by pedophiles. Nice.

In publishing the piece, HuffPost tried to hide behind a cloak of “humor.” Problem is, the piece isn’t funny. It’s just offensive.

Would HuffPost have seen the humor in a similar piece about Muslims? Doubtful. More likely the editors would have issued endless self-flagellating apologies and joined in the chorus of voices crying racism.

But Doyle’s piece isn’t about Islam. It’s about Catholicism. And, unfortunately, many on the left reflexively defend negative depictions of Christianity as entertainment or as “courageous” acts of resistance.

Only the most hardened leftists will admit to the actual objective of such work: the social and political marginalization of Christians.

Caricaturing believers as backward, cultish, and outside the mainstream serves both the left’s political and policy objectives.

By employing the politics of fear, Democrats hope to win elections. Once in power, many secularists seek to use the coercive power of the state to strip religious institutions (hospitals, charities, schools) of their religious nature, thereby turning them into organs of government control.

It is within this climate of hate that in 2006 Massachusetts tried to force Catholic Charities to facilitate gay adoptions in violation of religious principles. (Catholic Charities decided to exit the adoption business rather than be strong-armed into compliance).

And now our president is forcing religious institutions to offer health coverage that includes abortifacients and contraceptives that violate their religious beliefs — or else close their doors forever.

If he gets away with it, it will be because radical secularists have succeeded in stereotyping believers as purveyors of strange and oppressive practices. And because honest liberals — who usually embrace diversity and religious liberty — did nothing.

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