In their quest to deny Democrats and President Obama any legislative victories in this lame duck session of Congress, Sens. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and Jim DeMint (R-SC) have sunk to a new low: questioning Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) faith for potentially keeping Congress in session through January 4, 2011. Kyl said Reid is “disrespecting” Christians, while DeMint said it’s “sacrilegious.” Yesterday on the Senate floor, Reid fired back. “I don’t need to hear the sanctimonious lectures of Senators Kyl and DeMint to remind me of what Christmas means,” he said.
Today on MSNBC, the Morning Joe crew ripped into Kyl and DeMint for their remarks. “These are not serious people,” Mike Barnicle said, adding, “Do they really think we’re that stupid?” Co-host Willie Geist said, “This rises to the level of self-parody.” Host and former GOP congressman Joe Scarborough was the most incensed at the senators’ comments, noting that American troops are fighting in Afghanistan during the holidays and that they owe Reid an apology:
SCARBOROUGH: It’s offensive that people would use Christianity for political leverage with an argument that is so baseless that I got to say, my breath is taken away. Do we want to start with the most obvious one about who else is not going to be home on Christmas day? Troops in Afghanistan. So are they disrespecting the holiday by continuing to vote to keep them in Afghanistan? […]
The Republican Party has the upper hand in so many ways; in these areas they need to just shut their mouth. They’re embarrassing themselves. […]
I do think that Senator DeMint…and Jon Kyl owe Harry Reid an apology and I will say it I will go there, it is unChrist-like. I will go there. It is unChrist-like to judge another man’s faith in a way they have judged Harry Reid’s faith.
Scarborough said later in the show that Vice President Biden’s office called to associate themselves with Scarborough’s remarks and emphasize “how offended the Vice President was at these senators’ questioning the faith of Harry Reid.” Watch the segment:
Faith in Public Life notes that Christian leaders around the country are condemning the senators’ remarks. “Senator Kyl’s and DeMint’s statements suggesting Christmas is a reason to delay action on a treaty aimed at reducing the threat of nuclear war is a misuse of the Christian holiday,” said Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches. “If anything this time of year should be an encouragement for our leaders to work harder for peace on earth in response to God who wills peace for all.”