Yiddish for Evangelicals

Sharlet: How often do you get a chance to defend the Christian Right, public vulgarity, and Yiddish all at once? At Religion Dispatches, Randall Balmer, an eminent historian of American evangelicalism, calls on Southern Baptist leader Richard Land to resign. His chief offense? Calling Senator Chuck Schumer a shmuck. Balmer turns to an editor of EthicsDaily.com, of all places, for a definition of shmuck. I usually like Balmer’s stuff, but in this case — what a schlemiel. Shmuck, meanwhile, has the virtue of rhyming with Chuck and precisely describing a pol who, whatever you think of his politics, is famed for self-aggrandizement and self-interest. Richard Land, in most cases a momzer — that is, petulant, mean-spirited, and a bully — got it right this time. What a mensch.