The tragedy of Terri Schiavo illuminated many things, and none more startling than the deep anti-Christian bigotry among many on the left.
On March 29, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman warned that "liberal politicians, and even conservatives who aren't sufficiently hard-line" may someday have to fear assassination from religious believers "unless moderates take a stand against the growing power of domestic extremists."
Five days earlier, Mr. Krugman's colleague on the Times opinion page, Maureen Dowd, exclaimed that "we really are in a theocracy."
Writer and commentator Andrew Sullivan branded Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol an "ally of religious radicalism" and a revolutionary because Mr. Kristol blasted the federal courts' refusal to follow congressional urgings in the Schiavo legislation.
When Gov. Jeb Bush brought forward the affidavit of a distinguished physician, Dr. William Chesire, who argued for a reconsideration of Terri Schiavo's diagnosis, The New York Times tracked down Ronald Cranford, who had examined Terri Schiavo under court appointment. Dr. Cranford declared, "I have no idea who this Chesire is. . . . He has to be bogus, a pro-life fanatic."
These are examples of vitriolic caricature that are fit to print. The websites of the left were full of comments that cannot be printed about Christians who supported Terri Schiavo's parents, the Schindlers.
Two things are remarkable about this outpouring of fear and hate.
First, it ignored the numerous and visible allies of the Schindlers who cannot be classified by any stretch of any imagination as the "religious right." Among them: Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin, Ralph Nader, and Jesse Jackson.
Second, the springboarding from the Schiavo case to (in Mr. Krugman's fevered mind) the threat of assassination or (in Ms. Dowd's world) theocracy is simply astonishing for its absurdity, its complete separation from logic or factual support. These are anti-Christian propagandists for whom no big lie is too big, no exaggeration too bold.
On the same day as Mr. Krugman's outburst, The Boston Globe ran an extensive profile of a family living in a Cincinnati suburb. The Wilkersons are evangelicals, and the Globe report treated them as though they were representative of an indigenous tribe from a faraway and curious culture, one that could not be expected to be familiar to the people of Boston.
This extraordinary piece simply underscored the distance that has developed between the mainstream of America and its elite journalists. The latter have lost sight of the normal and think it dangerous.
What an astonishing thing.