A Purpose-Driven Baathism


Over at Slate, Christopher Hitchens explains that Saddleback pastor Rick Warren is not only a purpose-driven religious crackpot (his mentor, whom he identified as the "greatest pastor of the 20th century," is a rapture enthusiast, obviously) but also a chum of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad:

"Syria," he told his viewers back home by video, is "a moderate country, and the official government rule and position is to not allow extremism of any kind." This is a highly original way to describe a regime that is joined at the hip with the Iranian theocracy, that is the patron of Hezbollah in Lebanon, and that is the official and unabashed host of the fugitive Hamas leadership whose military wing directs massacre operations from Damascus itself. (One might also add that the Syrian Baath Party's veteran defense minister, Mustafa Tlas, published a book under his own name that accused Jews of using the blood of non-Jewish children for the making of those ever-menacing Passover matzos. I suppose it depends how you define extremism.)

Here is a photo of Warren presenting Assad with some sort of commemerative plaque: