Nasty Letters To Crooked Politicians

As we enter a new era of politics, we hope to see that Obama has the courage to fight the policies that Progressives hate. Will he have the fortitude to turn the economic future of America to help the working man? Or will he turn out to be just a pawn of big money, as he seems to be right now.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Bill Press' Great Column:

(Or, Pied EYed Piper Falwell Dons Pointy Hat and Blows Meat Whistle to Bring Faithful to Heel)*aj*
By Bill Press
Tribune Media Services

The dust has finally settled, and now we know why President Bush was re-elected. Just ask Rev. Jerry Falwell. Bush owes his win to evangelical Christians who flocked to the polls to reward their fellow born-again, crows Falwell. It was a victory for moral values . . . for religion . . . for people of faith. Praise the Lord!

Falwell's so excited by Bush's re-election, he has raised the Moral Majority from the dead. His new organization, the 'Faith and Values Coalition,' will have three tasks: lobby for pro-life judges; pass a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage; and elect another conservative Republican president in 2008. Falwell himself will be the resurrected body's Pied Piper. His goal: 'to maintain an evangelical revolution of voters who will continue to go to the polls to vote Christian.'

Not so fast. Who died and gave Jerry Falwell the power to decide what's moral and what's not? And how dare he pretend to be the Voice of Christianity? No matter what organization he dreams up, Falwell doesn't speak for all Christians. I'm a Christian. And he sure as hell doesn't speak for me.

For starters, I don't buy his nonsense about 'voting Christian.' No more than I buy 'voting Catholic.' In this country, there's not a Protestant, Evangelical, Catholic, Jewish or Muslim vote. There's only an American vote. Thanks to the wisdom of our Founding Fathers, we don't have an official state religion. Under our Constitution, Americans of all faiths, or no faith, are free to vote their conscience: casting a ballot, not for whom their preacher tells them, but for the person whom they believe will best serve the country.

Any priest or pastor who mixes religion with politics by telling people how to vote or suggesting that all Christians or Catholics must vote the same way is breaking the law. And any church that announces as its goal electing another conservative Republican president should immediately lose its tax-exempt status. If Jerry Falwell wants to endorse the Republican nominee for president in 2008, fine - but not on my tax dollar!

My biggest beef with Falwell is: I don't buy his narrow definition of morality. He sees morality where it's not, and he leaves too many moral issues off his list. Take gay marriage. Granted, this is an issue on which good people honestly disagree. But it's wrong to claim one side has a monopoly on morality. What's immoral about two people in love, willing to commit to each other "till death do us part"? Isn't that better than a 50 percent divorce rate? Or what's moral about branding one group of as Americans second-class citizens?

Falwell also says it's immoral, in every case, for a woman to choose abortion. Again, a case for legitimate discussion and disagreement. But I fail to see the morality in forcing a teenage girl impregnated by her father to have his baby - or in telling a gang rape victim she must go through with her pregnancy, even though she has no idea which of the thugs is the father. If abortion is immoral, it's also immoral to treat women as nothing but slaves of male rapists, judges, politicians or preachers.

Beyond abortion and gay marriage, Falwell has a bad case of moral blindness. Surely, the catalog of moral issues doesn't stop with abortion and gay marriage. Why does his list always begin and end with sex? Morality, after all, is about right and wrong. In the wealthiest nation on earth, it is wrong - indeed, it's immoral - to ignore 36 million people living in poverty.

Faced with the largest budget deficits in history, it is wrong - indeed, it's immoral - to fatten the pockets of our wealthiest citizens, while forcing our children and grandchildren to pay our debts. Even though we are the most powerful nation on earth, it is wrong - indeed, it's immoral - to invade and destroy a country that did not attack us. As it is wrong, indeed immoral, to adopt a policy permitting the torture of enemy prisoners. Or to fail to protect God's magnificent environment.

Falwell is right about one thing: We are primarily a nation of believers. It is healthy to inject morality into our debates on public policy. But we cannot let Jerry Falwell define moral values. Otherwise, we will all end up as narrow-minded and obsessed with sex as he is.- - -

Bill Press is a political commentator for MSNBC. His Web site is: His e-mail address is:

© 2004 Tribune Media Services, Inc.


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