Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, told the Los Angeles Times that the Senate debate on the health care bill is "going to be a holy war."
A curious choice of words, perhaps best reserved for BYU-Utah football games. But, as a stand-alone statement, hardly a call for armed insurrection. After all, many Republicans would have you believe that God, instead of favoring universal health care, is partial to the GOP-Preferred Plan, aka the status quo.
But then Hatch opened his mouth again, and put his loyalty to the country in doubt.
If the health care bill passes, Hatch told a Fox News audience that doesn't need much incitement to riot, "I hope the American people rebel."
Rebel? What the hell?
Does he mean rebel as in get a tattoo and sass your mama? Whine and moan and disrupt a town hall meeting? Ride the TRAX without buying a ticket?
Or is the senior senator from Utah suggesting something seditious, maybe -- his words, not mine -- a rebellion.
Rebellions and rebels are not unknown in this nation.
There was the Whiskey Rebellion, the Sagebrush Rebellion, Mike Noel's "Rage Against the River OHV Ride." We had the beatniks, the hippies, Tim DeChristopher. There are, I suppose, still activists sitting in trees on otherwise-denuded hillsides throughout the Pacific Northwest.
But "holy war" and "rebel," that combination means trouble, folks. Our nation has not faced such a serious threat from within since 1861, when, in the fair city of Charleston, S.C., where the Ashley and Cooper rivers meet to form the Atlantic Ocean, the South was provoked into firing the first shots in the War of Northern Aggression.
The Democratic National Committee was quick to condemn Hatch's statements as propaganda, which worries me even more.
Propaganda is always the first weapon deployed in war, or at least it was in Operation Iraqi Freedom. And, while the closest thing to a populist uprising I've seen lately is the assault on the bookstores to buy Sarah Palin's Going Rogue , you never know.
Is Hatch seriously advocating for armed rebellion? I doubt it. Surely he's aware that the U.S. military, even in its weakened state, is more than a match for rag-tag, redneck rebels armed with artillery pieces pilfered from VFW posts.
But, while Hatch won't be tried for treason, his subversive comments may not play well in the court of public opinion.
To express the hope that Americans rebel against their country is a slap in the face to every child who holds hand to heart and reverently recites: "I pledge allegiance ... "
And it's an insult to the troops, the brave men and women who answered the call of duty and put their lives on the line to preserve this Republic.
And it's an affront to every Boy Scout who holds three fingers in the air and says: "Help! My scoutmaster is trying to molest me!" No. Wait. What's that other thing Scouts always say. Oh, yeah: "On my honor, I will do my best, to do my duty, to God and my country ..."
Hatch needs to tone down the rhetoric, and be a good scout. He needs to be square, and obey the law of the pack.