Takes One to Know One

Last night’s “Rachel Maddow Show” turned out to be a Killing the Buddha special. I spoke briefly on a small victory for investigative reporting — the decision by the Washington, D.C. tax office to remove most of the tax exemption enjoyed for the last 20 years by the Family’s C Street House, the heart of this summer’s G.O.P. sex scandals and a nerve center for religious politics such as the Stupak-Pitts Amendment. Buddha killer* Frank Schaeffer follows with scarier stuff — the Christian Right T-shirt, bumper sticker, and teddy bear campaign advising us to “Pray for Obama — Psalm 109:8,” which reads “Let his days be few; and let another take his office.” Well, fair enough. It’s the next verse that frightens Frank: “Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow.” That’s what I call family values!

*Yes, I know there’s some irony in one “killer” denouncing another. But here’s the thing: Buddha isn’t real. Or, at least, he’s not a guy with children to be left fatherless and a wife to be left a widow.

Jeff Sharlet is a founding editor of Killing the Buddha, coauthor with Peter Manseau of Killing the Buddha: A Heretic's Bible (2004) and co-editor of Believer, Beware (2009). Sharlet is also the author of Sweet Heaven When I Die, (2011), C Street, (2010), and the New York Times bestseller The Family (2008).