Re: Patrick Hynes's Christian Republicans:
Patrick Hynes's statements about the Republican Party and its makeup and history betray a lot of looking at the party through the lens of the Contract With American Republicans of 1994. Much of what he says is factually accurate, yet misses the spirit. Was the party that nominated and elected Herbert Hoover dominated by evangelicals? Was the notorious alcoholic Ulysses S. Grant nominated by a party dominated by teetotaling evangelicals? As recently as the Sixties, the Republicans were anything but the party of Christians. They were known as the party of the country club set. When I was a kid in the Sixties, no evangelical Christian movement for the Republican Party existed. In 1976 people who called themselves Christians voted 2-1 for Jimmy Carter. The modern evangelical influence in the Republican Party began with Reagan and reached its peak in 1994. I for one am worried about the Republicans in 2006 precisely because this "Christian Party" image spells trouble. Evangelicals are relatively new to the Republican Party as a force, anti-slavery times noted, and would do the party as a whole some good to cease portraying every election as a referendum on abortion and the culture wars in general.
-- Robert L. Barninger
Parson Danforth saw nothing wrong with the 1993 Clinton Administration's forceful targeting of the Branch Davidians, a small religious minority in Waco, Texas, and the deadly final event of that drama that killed dozens of unarmed women and children. I have no respect for the ex-Senator whatsoever.
-- SPC Snuffy Smith
The author has it correct even in the wording of the title. We are Christians first. Christianity MUST come before everything else in our lives. If the Republican platform would change its views on items such as abortion, there would be a mass exodus from the party. Why? We as Christians are tied to laws and precepts. We cannot change, we must not change. We have been here since the forming of our country. It is not the Republican Party that is the enemy of the left, it is the Christians.
-- Kevin W.
Morgantown, West Virginia
Amen Patrick Hynes, I am a conservative Roman Catholic who has been voting PRO-LIFE since my first election in 1976. Isn't it amazing that those of us who value and respect all life are called radical extremists, as opposed to those who wish to destroy life in its most innocent form being referred to as mainstream. Isn't it questioning why those who espouse good Christian values are considered dangerous, whereas those who murder thousands of people, i.e., the attacks on September 11, 2001, are called Freedom Fighters. Doesn't it seem evilly ludicrous, that while the majority of Americans who adhere to the credo of the Great Ten Commandments are belittled, we have the publicly funded ACLU fighting for the right of grown men to sexually harm young boys. And while every year we have to fight for the right of the Christmas creche to be placed on public property during the legal public holiday of Christmas, taxpaying funded museums have the right to display sacrilegious displays of the Holy Crucifix, the blessed Mother Mary, and other sacred icons for Christians.
The most troublesome aspect of all the above mentioned is that of the gleefully liberal, socialist agenda driven media exploiting it to their benefit, i.e. the brave and ultimate sacrifice of the over 200 soldiers in the battle of the terrorist.
Well, I pray everyday that you are right, Patrick, that the tide is turning and common sense and decency shall prevail in this county. Prayer helps and courage such as those conservatives who took the battle to demand from our President the absolute (yes, black and white absolute) right person to sit on the supreme court in the years to come.
-- Joellen M. Arrabito
Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey
In regard to Mr. Danforth's view regarding Christian fundamentalism, one has to wonder exactly what the so-called fundamentalist Christian position on specific issues is troubling to him. The labeling of a particular group may be convenient but hardly qualifies as a credible statement of opposition when the issues which define the so-called group identity are not described. For example; does Mr. Danforth disagree with the fundamentalists on abortion or gay marriage? The expansion of government power?
As former ambassador to the U.N. does he believe that the view that we should not sacrifice American sovereignty in order to get along with the rest of the world is inappropriate? Yes, he deserves credit for having defended Clarence Thomas during his nomination debate. What has he otherwise done to help level the playing field for everyone? As a Senator he was a consistent pro-firearms vote until he decided not to run for re-election, at which point he adopted the elitist anti-firearms position that the common masses should only be armed at the behest of the government. I will not comment on his role in the Waco investigation other than to suggest that no one familiar with his record believed he was going to ultimately find the FBI, or any federal law enforcement officials, culpable in the actions that resulted in the deaths of the Branch Davidians. As someone born to privilege his experience is based on a far different understanding of why the Bill of Rights is necessary than someone of lesser economic and social standing.
The reality is that while John Danforth may portray himself as a man of principle, he is also very careful about defining those principles in such a way that having to raise them doesn't roil the water. But sometimes, to paraphrase C.S. Lewis, progress means to stop going in the wrong direction and turn around. When there is a strong difference on fundamental issues, those who are not willing to take strong positions and defend them without compromise, are always going to end up on the losing side. In Mr. Danforth's go-along, let's all be friends world, even though we disagree there is always room for accommodation. However, to suggest that the moral and social climate of our country is better as a result of his tenure in public life is ludicrous. To make a difference you have to understand what and why you believe as you do and then be prepared to defend them, even at the risk of losing.
-- Joe Phillips
Red River, New Mexico
The Bill Clinton School of Public Service? Is that a joke? Who's the dean, Larry Flynt?
As for the subject of the article, while much is made of the Religious Right its counterpart is largely ignored by the MSM. It is, of course, the Religious Left. The Religious Left exists and its adherents are nauseating in their smugness. To justify themselves they have but one issue: the plight of the homeless. This gives them, in their sanctimonious minds, moral superiority to others and with it the right to do as they please. But just like the rest of the Left, they have no real concern for the world's downtrodden; they simply desire power. It is all about them.
As for the homeless the Religious Left's proposed solution is (surprise, surprise) Big Government interference. The Christian element of the Religious Left claims that that is what Christ would have us do. And with that claim they reveal that they are willing to twist the scriptures in an attempt to make them conform to their wishes. Jesus often taught that we must perform charity. But charity is necessarily performed with one's own resources. To perform works using others' resources, taken from them involuntarily, is not charity; it is theft.
The recognition of property rights can be found throughout the Bible, with a particularly poignant example of it in Acts 5. In that passage a couple named Ananias and Sapphira sold their property and gave the proceeds to the church while secretly withholding a portion thereof. In Peter's subsequent chastisement of Ananias he told him regarding his property, " Didn't it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn't the money at your disposal?â€ (Acts 5:4) For their sin Ananias and Sapphira were struck dead by God. But their sin was lying, not withholding funds. (See the passage for verification.)
The concept of property rights is an anathema to the Religious Left because they espouse Socialism. But let's be clear: they seek Socialism because they desire power, not the other way around.
-- R. Trotter
Mr. Hynes makes some very good points. Religiously conservative people have been the backbone of this nation. They pay its taxes, fight its wars, raise its future generations, and produce the goods that make life easier. Yes, they do happen to vote Republican more than Democrat. John Danforth on the other hand is the epitome of a hypocrite. As long as it looked like we had the upper hand, he sucked up to us, and now because we tend to choose principle over compromise, he disses us....
-- Pete Chagnon
P.S. By the way, I found "Cut and Shoot." Texans have such a colorful history. I'm happy to say we have one thing in common (I'm a Vermont Yankee, an endangered species): we both were republics and asked the United States to join us.
"'Nothing is more dangerous than religion in politics and government when it becomes divisive,' he said. 'I'll give you examples: Iraq. Northern Ireland. Palestine.'"
Nothing? I don't recollect that the Soviet gulags were religiously driven. Besides, the three examples he gave are not religion in government and politics; they are politics and government in religion, as was the case with the communist oppression of religion. There is a difference: if it weren't for religion, slavery would still be legal.
Senator Danforth is a "religious realist" much like Brent Scowcroft is a "world realist." They would prefer appeasement -- Danforth would like to cultivate "more moderate to liberal" Christians to the Republican flock. Forget about those Evangelicals. Scowcroft has never met a dictator he didn't support. Republican Christians, according to Danforth are divisive. Howard Dean said the religious right is equal to the Taliban. The Religious Right is not divisive. Hate is divisive. It behooves the Republican Party to keep in touch with the "Religious Right" for its support. If it appears to cave to those moderate to liberal folks, it will have lost its purpose.
-- Clasina Segura
New Iberia, Louisiana
OUR FRIEND TED
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s After Harriet -- One Choice, Really:
Ted Olson will not be easy to confirm, but I'm all for his appointment should it happen. Remember, he only got the solicitor general's position by 51-47.
-- Peter Murphy
Troy, New York
Why is it whenever I spell your name it just doesn't look right? Whether I use one "r" or two, I can never be sure.
Anyways, I agree with you about Ted Olson. I was thinking about him today and wondering why his name doesn't come up on the usual lists of people who might be nominated to the Supreme Court. I've seen him interviewed many times on television. He is obviously extremely bright. He is also gracious, something I wish I were but am not. I hope the people in the White House consider him. After this latest fiasco, though, it's hard to know what guides them in their thinking, if it can be called that.
-- Sheila M. Blanchet, R.N.
Once more Tyrrell has shown us his "superior" intellect. Mr. Tyrrell, you need a vacation, please take one.
-- Pete Chagnon
A good article, one of your many good articles.
Points not in favor of Mr. Olson for SCOTUS, though, are the facts that he did lose his wife Barbara and has had some small part to play in the PATRIOT Act. I am personally in favor of the PATRIOT Act, and I do think it should be one of the everlasting laws of the land.
That being said, would not those two points rather force Mr. Olson, if on the Court, to recuse himself from any deliberations?
I would appreciate any comment you may have to offer.
My very best wishes,
-- Peter B. Krarup
San Ramon, California
Why not Alan Keyes? The man knows the Constitution like Howard Dean knows Lithium. He is extremely intelligent and would easily "John Roberts" all of the dimwitted Democrat senators in his confirmation hearings. He is well versed in politics, so he has that angle covered as well. Plus he is a minority -- liberals will have a hard time bashing him, except resorting to the old "Uncle Tom" playbook.
Mr. Keyes is an extremely competent man, his conservative and Constitutional credentials are second to none, and he is not a former judge, etc., so he would make "W" happy there too.
-- Mark Bruni
Shelby Township, Michigan
Olson is an absolutely great pick! First Roberts, then Olson...what a great duo and would likely prove to be two great decisions by GWB.
-- Richard Veres
BIDEN ONE'S TIME
Re: Christopher Orlet's What's the Plan, Stan?:
I suggest your readers find, on the net, an essay by James Michener written in the 1960s. He talks about the amount of work and time it takes to do anything well. Iraq will be a free society with all the joys and problems we have but it will take time and hard work.
I have nothing but disgust at the Bidens in OUR service. He may be a Democrat, he may have constituents who think he is wonderful, but when acts like a 13 year old proud of a silly remark he does not serve them well. If we do not succeed in Iraq we will certainly have another war, another place, with many more lives lost. This war has been fought by the radicals for decades and 9/11 finally brought it to the attention of the average American. Why can't the MSM get this through their heads? If America fails, and falls, their children will suffer, their grandchildren will live under tyranny.
ON THE MONEY
Re: George Neumayr's The Unoriginalist:
Well said. Very, very well said. Well taken and aptly put, etc., etc., etc.
-- Charles R. Vail
ODE TO COMPILERS
Re: Steven M. Warshawsky's letter (under "Stranglehold") in Reader Mail's Up From Academia:
Finally! A rational approach to reforming the mess that is higher education. I have been waiting a long time for someone to articulate this -- and the exposure of the criminal nostalgia that misguides presumptive good guys to support the worst of the bad guys.
There is something special about The American Spectator's online Reader Mail feature -- it shows the best editing in the business and that includes the WSJ Letters which owned this title before. Many times Reader Mail is a better read than the features -- and considering the excellence of the features that is saying a lot. I hope we do not lose the editorial genius in charge (which I suspect is one person, probably a male).
-- Charles Romer
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