(CNSNews.com) - Just two weeks into her new job as co-host of "The View," comedienne, actress and political activist Rosie O'Donnell has made her views about Christianity known to the world.
While discussing the 9/11 anniversary and the war in Iraq on Sept. 12, O'Donnell compared "radical Christianity" to the Islamo-fascist beliefs of those who planned and carried out the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Advocates for traditional, biblical Christianity are not surprised by O'Donnell's attack.
View co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck was defending the proactive strategy followed by the Bush administration in removing the Taliban government in Afghanistan and toppling Saddam Hussein in Iraq.
"I mean, it's been five years, we have not been attacked," Hasselbeck said. "We're also in a- We're on the on the offense here. We have to be, because we were attacked five years ago."
"One second, We were attacked, not by a nation," O'Donnell argued. "And as a result of the attack and the killing of nearly 3,000 innocent people we invaded two countries and killed innocent people in their countries."
Hasselbeck continued, arguing that she believed the U.S. was not attacking the countries, but the Islamo-fascist beliefs of those who support and carry out terrorism against the U.S. and its allies.
"But do you understand that that the belief funding those attacks, okay, that is wide spread?" Hasselbeck asked O'Donnell. "And if you take radical Islam and you want to talk about what's going on there, you have to..."
But O'Donnell interrupted, again, before Hasselbeck could finish her comment.
"And just one second," O'Donnell said. "Radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam in a country like America where we have a separation of church and state. We're a democracy here."
Hasselbeck seemed shocked by the comparison.
"Hang on," Hasselbeck interrupted. "We are not bombing ourselves here in the country. We are being attacked."
"No," replied O'Donnell. "But we are bombing innocent people in other countries. True or false?"
View co-host Joy Behar had been supportive of O'Donnell's comments, earlier in the program, criticizing the Bush administration's response to Hurricane Katrina. But O'Donnell's attacks on Christians were, apparently, too much for Behar.
"But, but Christians are not threatening to kill us. There's that difference," Behar said. "This group [radical Islamists] is threatening to kill us." (See video.)
Randy Sharp, director of special projects for the American Family Association, told Cybercast News Service that "No one should be surprised when Rosie O'Donnell shows her contempt for Christianity and her anti-Christian bias."
"It's been a matter of public record for quite some time now," Sharp explained. "Rosie has a well-documented hatred for the war on terrorism, a hatred for our president, and a hatred for the principles of Christianity."
Sharp also criticized ABC for providing O'Donnell with a forum for what some critics have called religious bigotry.
"ABC is pleased to give her an open mic," Sharp said. "This is another example of why their ratings are tanking."
Later in the show, O'Donnell indirectly accused the White House of fear-mongering regarding the potential for a future terrorist attack against the U.S.
"But in life, you have two choices always, faith or fear," O'Donnell said. "A government should lead by faith, never by fear."
"I think we are leading by faith," Hasselbeck responded.
"How about rationality?" Behar asked. "What happened to that?"
O'Donnell then dropped the adjective "radical" when referring to the Christians with whom she disagrees.
"And faith is not Christianity," O'Donnell stressed, "faith in humanity, faith in equality."
Michele Combs, director of communications for the Christian Coalition of America, expressed particular displeasure with that comment.
"This is America, and everyone can have their own opinion, however, we do disagree with her opinion," Combs said. "Christianity is all about faith.
"Christianity is all about humanity and equality," Combs continued. "That was the core of the life of Jesus Christ"
Some experts speculate that attacks like O'Donnell's may be the reason fewer evangelical Christians - who are considered more fervent in their beliefs than adherents to so-called "mainline" denominations - are willing to identify themselves as such.
The day before O'Donnell's criticism of "radical" Christians, the Baylor University Sociology Department and the Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion released the first part of their survey on religious life in America entitled "American Piety in the 21st Century."
Researchers found that one-third of Americans are evangelical Protestant and five percent are evangelical black Protestant. But of the nearly 40 percent identifying themselves as holding evangelical beliefs, only 15 percent chose the word "evangelical" to describe themselves. Only two percent said it was the best descriptor.
Dr. Janice Shaw Crouse, senior fellow of Concerned Women for America's Beverly LaHaye Institute, in a news release commenting on the survey, said that "Today's pseudo-sophisticates view Biblical orthodoxy with disdain and/or hostility."
"The Washington Post, reporting on the Baylor survey, noted that those who view God as 'engaged and punishing' are more likely to 'have lower incomes and less education, to come from the South and to be white evangelicals or black Protestants,'" Crouse noted.
"Such statements, implying that Southerners, white evangelicals and black Protestants are poor and uneducated, reinforce old prejudices and continue the negative stereotypes about true believers," she said.
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