Must Stress American Ideals Over Bush's Vision of a Cruel God
in a cruel God makes a cruel man.
forewarned, John Kerry. By contesting George W. Bush, you are contesting
spite of Bush's sworn duty to uphold the constitutional separation of
church and state, this president wears his Christian evangelist religious
fervor on not only his sleeve but his every policy proposal and decision,
including the one that lied us into waging a world-be-damned war on a
the day he took the oath of his office, George W. Bush has behaved more
like a muddled mullah than a president.
for instance, by Bob Woodward (as detailed in the book "Plan of
Attack") how he approached the final decision to go to war, Bush
replied, "I was praying for strength to do the Lord's will ... that I
be as good a messenger of his will as possible."
if he had conferred with his father, George H.W. Bush, the president
responded, "There is a higher father that I appeal to."
lest candidate Kerry simply dismiss "God as God," he should know
the dimensions of the deity he may be up against. George W. Bush's divine
father is the God of an estimated 90 million evangelical Christians in
assuredly, most evangelicals conduct themselves as witnesses to Christ's
teachings of love and tolerance. Near their fringes, however, are large
numbers of extremists who, unlike their more moderate co-religionists,
practice no "love thy neighbor" unless their neighbors believe
as they believe: no religious or racial parity, no gay or abortion rights,
no stem cell research, no United Nations, no evolution, no
environmentalism, no eye without an eye in return, no personal salvation
without their Christ.
at their absolute fringe, they are the befuddling prophesiers who hold
that something they call the "Rapture" may be at hand. In short,
this phantasmagoric forecast calls for a final "seven-year
and the hordes of the "antichrist." Before the onset of their
Rapture, God's truest believers will be lifted into heaven to observe the
pestilence and bloodshed erupting below.
ensure his re-election, this "faith-based" president will rely
on the coattails of extremist right-wing Christians like these. They
number in the tens of millions. They could make the difference.
what's to be done?
as Bush's opponent, Kerry would do well to study ex-President Jimmy
Carter's broad pragmatic distinction between Christians. In a recent
interview, Carter, a Baptist, said that "the two principal things in
a practical sense that starkly separate the ultra-right-wing Christian
community from the rest of the Christian world" are the support of
peace and the "alleviation of suffering among the poor and the
while Kerry cannot run as a religiously inspired candidate (he has read
the Constitution), the question becomes can he win over Christian voters -
including legions of evangelicals - without citing Christianity? He can.
John Kerry must do is cast his every position on every vital issue in a
bright moral light that reflects the longstanding ideals of this nation.
Embedded in our ideals is a humane concept of Jesus Christ that stands in
sharp contrast to Bush's harsh, vainglorious vision. For most of us,
believers or not, Christ is a peacemaker, champion of the poor, a healer,
steward of the earth, a lover of each of us as a child of God without
in secular opposition to Bush, must invoke the moral philosophy that
underlies our Constitution.
, he must offer a plan for a generous withdrawal, leaving behind a country
guided by the United Nations. On the economy, he must renounce the rich as
the fount of economic well-being for the rest of us, while repositioning
the poor and middle class for prosperity. On human rights, he must assert
that all of the world's inhabitants have the same rights to dignity and
respect. On the environment, he must avow that the Earth is now in our
human hands to hold precious for future generations.
must proclaim that if he is elected president of the most powerful nation
on Earth, its "rules" will be a return to the "golden
rule" of its Constitution and Bill of Rights. That's all. Really.
What's so hard about saying that? These ideals embody what most of us as
Americans thought we stood for. And by Nov. 3, we could stand for them
in a cruel God makes a cruel man," Paine reminds us. It also makes
for a cruel nation. To defeat George W. Bush, we must defeat his god as
Rozelle lives in rural Spring Green,
. E-mail: email@example.com
2003 The Capital Times