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Going Off a Cliff at the Chronicle

As leftwing lemmings go, Mark Morford is well ahead of the pack.

He's the guy, if you recall, who wrote in his San Francisco Chronicle column on Oct. 24 about “mindless, fundamentalist evangelical Christian lemmings.”

Now he's back with a less nuanced approach.

Unlike the atheist-inspired The Golden Compass, which Morford extols as a wonderfully sneaky way to get kids to hate Christianity and God, Morford is right up front with his outright hatred and contempt for all things traditional.  His Nov. 30 column on SF Gate, the Chronicle's Web page, struts his stuff in a tone so vicious, so dripping with perverse sensibility, that, if it was any other group targeted thusly, the editors just might …pass on it. But the Chronicle's brain trust apparently thinks Christian bashing is good reading in the City by the Bay.

Here's Morford's take on the Philip Pullman trilogy His Dark Materials, of which The Golden Compass, debuting as a movie on Dec. 7, is the first book:


“The nefarious thing the books aim to kill is, well, religious authority. It's about the destruction of dogma. It's about power, about who wants to control and manipulate life on Earth; it is about blind, ignorant, even violent adherence to insidiously narrow codes of thought and belief and behavior, sex and desire and love. This, of course, is the God of organized religion. The is the false deity that promotes numb groupthink and inhibits growth and abhors the feminine divine (perhaps the books' most beautiful, inspiring theme), the same paranoid, dreadful God that votes for George W. Bush because, well, he will smite the icky gays and protect us from vile pagans and Buddhists and Muslims and feminists and frumpy genius atheist British writers.”


Note that Morford goes after Christians, not radical Muslims, under whose rule libertine San Francisco just might be a little less carefree and gay.

Back to the Christian-bashing:


“While the books have as their evil antagonist a sinister cabal called the Magisterium (obvious parallel: Catholic Church), they also have a slew of dark characters in service to the Magisterium, various assassins and double-agents and robot drones running around trying to annihilate the children's spirit and destroy magic and lock down faith forever. Let us call these robotic drones, oh say, the Catholic League. Or Focus on the Family. Gosh, no wonder they're a little peeved.”


Morford was just warming up:


“They are spiritual caricatures, the creepy clowns in organized religion's gloomy circus, all scrunched brows and gnarled hands and so much repressed sexuality it would make a porn star wince. Really, why give their silly protests any attention at all? Well, for one thing, because these groups have proven they can be highly dangerous, utterly toxic to the culture as a whole.”


Hmm. There certainly are few things more frightening than “toxic” lemmings.

Elsewhere in the piece, he trashes The Chronicles of Narnia as “thin, simpleminded Christian morality,” castigates Christians for protesting things like a “Jesus-shaped dildo,” and warns that conservative Christians want to create “a fascist theocracy in America.” In between, he sprinkles the column with Freudian descriptions like this one of an “open-minded and attuned” person: a “humor-licked and spiritually aware and intellectually curious and sexually alive human worth her moist, wine-massaged soul.”  Or, taunting Christians for “how negatively it portrays their seething, condemnatory God,” he counsels fellow non-believers to “break out the Champagne. Or buy that book. Or get very, very naked.”  

Good grief. Aren't Christians supposed to be the ones hung up on sex? Morford can't keep his hands off it for more than a few sentences. Psychology 101 teaches about “projection,” that is, accusing someone else of the very thing of which you're guilty. In recent years, the pansexual Left has accused Christian conservatives of being “obsessed” with sex and full of hate, which is a pretty accurate description of what much of the old liberal movement sadly has morphed into.

It's nothing new for a libertine San Francisco columnist to project such misleading, defamatory venom. You can find it on any given day in the “alternative” papers and blogs.

What is disturbing is that an ostensibly mainstream newspaper like the Chronicle yawns and runs it.


Robert Knight is director of the Culture and Media Institute, a division of the Media Research Center.