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Dear Senator McCarthy...

Updated: Jan 29, 2021

Sometimes I write satire. The other day a Christian apologist decided they needed to "call me out" on Twitter, asking why people were "hyped up" about this Phil Vischer guy, who was obviously just "a leftist doing leftist things." He prefaced his remarks by letting us know he had attended Fuller Seminary. How this factored into his pursuit of 'leftists' remains unclear.

I responded semi-graciously, but also a bit befuddled. "Leftist" typically means "communist," and my communist resume is embarrassingly short. My response was also pretty short, because... Twitter.

So I decided this 'serious' accusation needed a more lengthy, 'serious' response. (Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge.) Below is my formal response to the accusation of 'leftism.' (I have changed my accuser's name to protect his innocence.)

Dear Senator Joseph McCarthy,

By ‘leftist’ I assume you mean ‘communist.’

No, Senator McCarthy, I am not, and have never been, a member of the Communist Party. I am a red-blooded Christian American, committed to Jesus and free markets. Mostly in that order.

After much self-reflection, I recognize how you might have come to this false conclusion. After all, at one point in my youth I had two roommates, and we shared some expenses and food. But I have repented of that. I also in my youth enjoyed listening to the Christian rock group Resurrection Band, whose band mates were members of an actual Christian commune in Chicago. I have repented of that also. And, since we’re on the topic of music, my family really enjoyed the late 70s Christian band 2nd Chapter of Acts, which was problematic both because they chose as their name the most ‘leftist’ chapter in the Bible, and also because their harmonies were so tight and hairstyles so similar it was difficult to discern with any confidence which one was the boy. I now realize boys with high voices and long hair are yet another step on a slippery slope toward socialized medicine.

Not only have I rejected these potentially ‘leftist’ Christian influences, I have removed the entire 2nd chapter of Acts from my Bible, lest it causes me to stumble and arise one day wearing Bernie Sanders mittens purchased on Etsy. Which is, if we're honest, probably a communist sleeper cell. (Etsy, that is. Not Bernie Sander’s mittens. Wait, scratch that. They’re both communist sleeper cells.)

Do not worry, sir, I am no Hugo Chavez. I will not attempt to nationalize our industries, ruining our economy. Neither will I follow Chavez’s lead and import so many hippopotamuses for my personal menagerie that their excrement disrupts the natural ecosystem of our rivers. Oh, you didn’t know about that? Clearly you don’t host a podcast with a recurring segment entitled ‘News of the Butt.’

On second thought, isn’t protecting our ecosystem ‘leftist?’ Scratch that. I just ordered two hippos on Etsy. I only pray they’re not communists.

I apologize for any statements I may or may not have made that caused such concern and required our mutual attendance at this hearing. Thank you, Senator McCarthy, for giving me this opportunity to clear my name, and, particularly, for using your patriotism and intellect to keep the American church communist-free.

Fuller Seminary must be proud.

Yours truly,

P Vischer

(Note: I've been notified - multiple times - that the hippo thing was Escobar in Colombia, not Chavez in Venezuela. My mistake! I'm not changing my piece, though, because it's funnier this way. Chavez can sue me for hippo defamation.)


Lauren Sparks
Lauren Sparks
Mar 29, 2023

Haha, thank you causing my laugh-out-loud of the day! Lovely. :)


A leftist is someone with left-wing political views, I don't see how you got 'communist' from that.



Humor is a valuable tool that must be used wisely. Thank you for your humor and your introspective (like Mike Ere said) and humble attitude that longs for truth to be known. Thank you as well for wrestling with these things in public. Admitting that you could have gone about something differently and having a public conversation about it is a truly wonderful example that many others should follow. This seems to be in line with Matthew 7 - understanding that there's probably a log in my own eye, so I should ask others if they see anything. Please keep asking for accountability and wisdom and seeking diverse counsel. And as always, prayer is usually a good idea when…


Is it just providential that McArthurism is the theological equivalent of McCarthyism? I mean, does Master's have a Special Committee on Unchristian Activities?


friendly mr grinch
friendly mr grinch
Feb 01, 2021

Hi Phil, I know that this was a satirical piece and was supposed to point out the silliness of calling you a leftist but I think that the way you did it kind of closed a door to reaching out to to him and his followers. I don't think that this was a helpful way to address this. I think it is better to address this in a way that doesn't alienate people.

Thanks for what you do. You guys have been influential for me.

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