Essay / Politics


What was best reason as a member of a traditional faith to vote for George W. Bush in 2004?There many good reasons for all Americans, including non-religious persons, to support the President. However, the best reason for the majority of the population that is religious was the power of the President to appoint judges.Too often in our culture judges have legislated from the bench for the secular views of the “intellectual” minority. In the last fifty years, these judges have caused major social upheaval, turning issues like abortion and school prayers into open sores, by backing causes popular only in Harvard Yard. They condescend and they ignore the traditions of this nation and the philosophy of the Founders.The President ran, in part, as a candidate who wanted to get rid of the those judges following normal Constitutional means. He won in large part with the backing of religious conservatives sick of being marginalized and tired of having their election victories stolen by judges who legislate from the bench.The largest group of religious people in America are Christians. Most Christians believe in what the late John Paul the Great called a “culture of life.” We may disagree about the means to achieve it, but we all agree that justice for the poor and the handicapped are essential. We know that there is a right to life, liberty, and the ownership of private property that cannot be given by government nor can it be taken away by government.We argued for our claims in the last election. Questions regarding these claims played an important role in the candidates debates. Traditional religious persons won the last election.Religious claims to provide knowledge about the world. The Christian tradition claims to know that each human being has a soul, that this soul has been given rights by a Creator God that cannot be taken away by the state, and that no state can demand the ultimate allegiance of any man. This claim to knowledge has been tested philosophically and in practical experience and has been found reasonable.This knowledge helped inform the Founding Fathers of the United States. It also informs the voting patterns of millions of Americans. While no person should be forced to be religious, it is equally true that no man should be forced to deny something he knows to be true to work in government. If there is a God and He has spoken, then Christians should be able to apply this information to the practical problems of our culture. This can be done in a way that respects the rights of minority religions and of secularists. However, secularists do not win by default in a republic. They must compete in the open market of ideas and win elections.Secularism and the idea that open religious expression is bad lost the last election. Secularists, who want to strip the marketplace of any mention of religion or God, voted overwhelmingly for John Kerry. They lost. Religious traditionalists won.Now Republicans in the Senate seem to have lost their nerve. They refuse to vote to stop a minority of Senators from blocking the will of the people. They are unnerved by irrational charges that voting to change a process is “undemocratic.” Nobody is asking that Bobby Byrd be arrested. We are asking that he be put to the test to see if he has the votes to maintain a procedure that Senators created for themselves. If he lacks the votes, then the rules will democratically change. This is not tyranny for Mr. Byrd can take his case to the people and throw the rascals out, if the people agree.I suspect that Mr. Byrd knows the people would do no such thing and that most folk in West Virginia would love to see abortion returned to the states, school prayer (or no) returned to the school districts, and the nativity not the constant point of litigation by the Grinch Brigade.Mr Byrd is no secularist, but is in danger of becoming, in his old age, a sort of prop for the secularists. Personally pious, but clueless about the direction of the culture, Byrd is allowed to twang away as a red state cover for his godless blue state masters.Let’s have a vote in the Senate over whether Bobby Byrd and his pals should have veto power over the selection of judges.Otherwise: why should I bother to work so hard for Republicans in the Senate?If the Republican Senate lacks the spine to vote on the President’s judges or to change the rules of the Senate by a majority vote, then what good are they? Why did religious traditionalists labor so hard for them? My calmer side remembers that they are better than their foes, but being “against” is not enough to motivate giving and the hard labor of supporting

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