I chafe when I hear the words 'Christian Right'. It's very unfair. Reading the press, you wouldn't think there's any 'Left Wing' in this country. Have you ever seen Jesse Jackson or Ralph Nader described as 'left wing'? These days, I bet they wouldn't even call the CPUS (Communist Party of the United States) 'left wing'. But we're somehow fervent right wingers. It's not even appropriate. If you go back to the history of the 'right' categorization in politics, you're led to the French Revolution, where those on the right called for monarchy and an established church. It was an elitist group. The Family Research Council, and other Pro-Family groups, are just the opposite. The pro-family movement is a middle class revolt against the "snobbery" manifest by the chattering classes. We're not part of the 'economic conservatives' who make up so much of the Republican party. I remember a discussion I had with a Reagan Republican some years ago, shortly after the election. He said that the combined strength of evangelicals and business-types was so great that "if you'd just shut up about abortion, we'll have heaven on earth." It's that arrogance that I'm talking about. Without us, the Republican party doesn't exist. Without the pro-family vote, the Republicans are reduced to forgettable candidates trotted out by the media for their entertainment value. Republicans would be a permanent minority1
Bauer has talked about starting a new party2, and the appeal of that is that you're no longer this wing, this radical wing that they're always talking about, you're your own wing and you can fly on your own. Of course, there are problems. Party discipline would be very difficult, and a good deal of our voters would be those in the "leave us alone coalition". A split from the Republican party would make it very difficult to re-energize those voters.
These are some of the difficulties that Preston Manning, leader of the Reform Party in Canada, has encountered. For the first time ever, Canada has enshrined homosexuality, a conduct, a style of living, into their constitution's list of protected minorities. Canadians have suddenly had Hillary's whole village set upon them...
The Republican party is in a strange marriage with the pro-family movement. They act like they've got their arm twisted out of their socket before they say "All right, all right, I love you." The selection of a pro-choice running mate would only serve those who don't want to wait until November for the election results. The failure would be that immediate. Besides, if the Republicans abandon the abortion position, the election is irrelevant. They wouldn't be worthy of governing.
Look, Bob Dole has been getting some strange advice lately. I don't know who it was, some slow reader, I suppose, that told him to attack Gary Bauer by name on television. They said "Do a 'Sista Souljah' to show that you're not tied to those conservative Christians, it'll be great". What were they thinking? Who is Gary Bauer's constituency? Besides the 400,000 members of FRC, it's millions of hard-working Evangelicals. Sista Souljah has no constituency! Her constituency is people who think that taking a day to kill white people is a good idea!
But we were patient. Bauer responded very rationally to Dole's attack. That's why they've got him out there instead of me, I don't think I could have been as calm. Gary just rationally re-stated all of our positions and made no counter-attack on Dole.
In truth, the Pro-Family movement has been a very patient member of the Republican coalition. In 1981, after Reagan's victory, we were told that our concerns would have to wait until after the economic concerns were dealt with. Of course, our concerns were never acceptably addressed. Then, after the congressional elections of 1994, we were told that the Contract With America, a primarily economic document, would take precedence over our concerns. Again we waited. We have been very patient with the Republicans.
Will we be involved with the Reform Party? Ross Perot's Reform Party? The man who in 1992 was so pro-abortion and just collapsed to the gay activists? Of course, since FRC is not a partisan group, we generally don't make out feelings known on specific political figures, but Perot is anything but one of us. It is cruel that Perot, a billionaire, a man who could have anything that he wants, would deny an unborn child the breath of life. He's odious. 3
Richard Lamm?! The man who, in Colorado, was the sponsor of this country's first abortion bill back in the 1960s? The man who told the elderly that they have a 'duty to die?' A composted electorate, just crush them ... I cannot describe the contempt with which I view Richard Lamm.4
Not from now until the end of time.
"Fondly do we hope and fervently do we pray": Lincoln in his second inaugural. Can't you imagine how that would be portrayed today? "Kowtowing to the religious right, Lincoln said today that ..." "Obviously part of his 'Southern Strategy' ..." The press is so convinced of our "fervor", they call it. What about the fervor on the Left? What about the fervor of Gay activists?
Something has happened to God in our society. An article commented on it, and I think the description is perfect. The Amish, they have a tradition called "shunning". When someone has done something horrible, they don't lock him up, they simply ignore and stay away from him. That individual ceases to exist for that society. But then, as the next generation is raised, they also "shun" that individual, but they don't know why. The children don't know why they shun him. God is not dead, he has been "shunned".
No, not really. the big issues which we struggle with over-shadow any denominational squabbles. We can look past our differences over baptism and communion in order to take on abortion. But those disagreements do exist. It's why you could never have a theocracy in America.
There is that threat in ecumenism, the threat that you can fashion 'another God'. As much as the pro-family movement may accomplish, we must never mistake it for the kingdom of God. And there are certainly disagreements within the movement. Like vouchers. We are torn over the subject of vouchers. While it is a way for the poor to get their kids out of public schools, there's always the threat that comes with government money. Remember, a man cannot serve two masters, and once the government starts spending the money on the parochial schools, they're going to want changes. There is a certain 'corrupting influence' that comes along with federal money. Is there a causal relationship between federal aid and secularization? It's tough to say.
But vouchers aren't being debated now, the liberals squashed it. Not just the liberals, actually. Behind the teachers unions, do you know who one of the largest constituencies opposing the California initiative 174 was? The suburban Republicans who had their kids in good public schools and who didn't want to risk anything happening to them. So the issue probably won't come up for a while.
We're not satisfied with it. We define the problems differently. For example, in the welfare debate the issue for us is not as much how much the check is or the requirements for work, but rather the failure of marriages. It comes down to this: if the government decided to send a letter to every woman who had just given birth, a letter which said something along the lines of "Welcome new American" or "Congratulations on your new child"; should that letter be sent to women who conceive out of wedlock? As pro-life as we are, women must be discouraged from having children outside of marriage, and should never be congratulated, by letter or a check, for doing so ....
This is what was so ironic about the debate over the Defense of Marriage Act. You had someone like Ted Kennedy up there arguing against it on the basis of states rights. I mean, over his time in congress, Ted Kennedy has been to states rights what a steamroller has been to ... asphalt!
I think that the solution to so many of our problems is with a limited government that respects true diversity. When my kids were growing up, they had playmates of all races. In fact, they didn't have any white playmates5. They never fought. But they didn't go to the same schools. So I didn't need to fight with schoolboards over curricula.
Like with parental choice [in schools]; people say that if you let parents send their kids to whatever school they want, then 'You'll have people teaching witchcraft!' To which I answer, 'Do you know what they're learning now?'
First off, there are some in our movement who would 'write off' certain denominations as just being 'too liberal'. I won't do that. I have one friend, not a Christian, but a Unitarian, and we agree on almost every major social issue. You can imagine how popular this makes him at his church! What I try to do is make friends. In fact, the most hostility I encounter is with fellow Lutherans. It's because we agree on so much that tensions mount when we do disagree.
But a pro-choice Christian? How can I even begin to understand that? I can't. We are not out of sync with mainstream America. If we are truly a government of the people and for the people, then we can beat them every time.
I don't know if they will, but I do know that with parental choice, 95% of these intractable battles would go away. We are being driven to a liberty position. People must understand that I'm not trying to force my views on their children. We should not threaten Mike and Kitty Dukakis's kids. I'm just trying to have some say in what my kids learn. This is what makes the homeschooling movement so admirable. They're doing it all themselves.
There is the sentiment among pro-family people that if we could just go back to the status quo ante, back to the '50s, then everything would be fine. But we can't, nor should we try. We must realize that minorities were discriminated against and women were frequently discouraged from schooling. We must be sensitive to this...
Some say that with school choice, we'll have the balkanization of America. But what we're getting now is the balkanization. The school curriculum just sets sex against sex and race against race. We see the re-hashing of old battles and the re-salting of old wounds...
People who oppose school choice must let go of the myth of the common school. To have good schools, there must be a harmony with the local community, and for that to happen, local control is crucial.6
The problem with government intervention is that it so often conflicts with parental rights. We're a strong movement that doesn't want the government telling us how to raise our kids. For example, some people think that we should have 'sin taxes' on alcohol or tobacco to discourage consumption. The problem with sin taxes is that, once the government gets your money, they have an interest in keeping you a sinner. In many cases, "public outcry" is going to be more effective than intervention.
There is certainly a sense of both community and competition. While we share common cause, we realize that resources are not illimitable. Of course, our role is slightly different; we serve these other organizations with our research.
We would look like Europe. We'd have abortion on demand everywhere; maybe a Christian Democratic president with a wife and a mistress, like in France or Germany. America is that shining city on a hill. Even if they don't like us, people realize that we're probably right ...
Liberals are ashamed of American history; they're overwhelmed with women and minorities 7. The history standards you see in the schools are nothing but a catalog of oppression. The school curricula are really an affront to our common citizenship; they offend our sense of love of country. If the Left really respects intellectual freedom, they should realize that no government should give standards in education. What would they think if we had our standards drawn up by Professors Gingrich, Armey and Gramm? Like in the flag burning debate, its an excellent example of the American people against the chattering classes.
Gary worries about that. He worries about the Republicans trying to take us over. Right now, we're a populist movement. Gary Bauer reminds me most of Preston Manning [of the Canadian Reform Party]; he is straightforward and sincere. But when you get near some of these Republican staffers, you can tell that they're just trying to pull you over. If we get co-opted, we'll just be another group. Right now, Gary has his fingers on the pulse of America.
The way we must make these decisions is to approach them like Solomon. You are the ruler, and you must make the decision. These questions, drugs, helmet laws, all come down to the question, "Do you have the right to commit suicide?' And if you do, then you have the right to do it slowly, so drugs, AIDS, all that, are okay.
Is that too paternalistic? We, as a society are Solomon. We must make the choices. The Founders would not have hesitated over that question. Limited government, yes. But no government without self-government. We, as a people must do what's right. People say that they are economic conservatives and social liberals. It's impossible. Social liberalism creates such chaos that overwhelming government becomes inevitable.
You have the extremes. Gay activists want to lower the age of consent first to age 16 then to 13. Christian Reconstructionists want to re-create Mosaic law in America. That will never work. We must do what we can to protect people from known harm. All so called "victimless crimes" have society as their victim.
The Libertarians just see us as some herd of wildebeests, running along, hoping to stay fit. We're becoming like that one Far Side cartoon, at the lion kill, where the lions are just directing other animals past: "There's nothing to see here .... Just move along." Libertarians, who are they? They're young white healthy males, most of them. Their philosophy fosters that "blame the victim" mentality that destroys community. It is not a matter of indifference to us how members of society spend their money.8
Obviously, there are gradations of issues. On some things, there has to be compromise; we certainly haven't written off the Republicans who haven't yet dis-established the Department of Education. But we are unbending on the question of human life. We have no choice.
In these respects, Lincoln was a good model. He was unyielding on slavery, but accommodating on other inter-state issues, [ed note - Bob, forgive me, I forgot what these were] for example. We do a lot for the sake of peace ...
The NEA [National Education Association] has no sense of their own limitations. With them, parents have zero authority; they're just supposed to pay the bill...
When it comes to those things with which we don't agree, we just don't say anything, and that's it. Like the careers bill that so many Republicans are supporting. It's garbage. Do you think that the government can accurately predict the job market five, ten years down the road? No. A good, solid, basic education will do a world of good...
People say that we are extreme in asking for a constitutional amendment to end abortion. A constitutional amendment is our last hope! Our salvation won't be in the courts. It was during Reagan and Bush that the current pro-choice majority was formed! Our patience has been measured in megadeaths. Remember, the long train of abuses by the government is what inspired the Founding Fathers to revolution.
Our greatest loss. That would have to have been the Webster decision of 1989. You don't understand, we were so close; within one vote of overturning Roe v Wade.
Our greatest victory .... quite a few years ago, there was this child born with Down's Syndrome. She had an esophagus closure, esophageal atresia, it made it difficult to breathe without a medical operation. But the parents were reluctant to have it done because the child, they thought, was already seriously mentally retarded from the closure and the Downs Syndrome. The parents wanted to let the child die. The courts did nothing. Not a single court in the whole country. Liberals have made privacy a fetish in this country. But Gary Bauer and Ronald Reagan, neither one of them would stop talking about this; they created such a furor over that child that one night, the parents went and had the operation performed. And now, the child is grown up, not nearly as retarded as they had thought. You know what the Talmud says: He who saves a single life, it is as though he has saved the whole world...
I'm sorry. I thought that I could make it through this story. It's the first time I've ever told it, I've seen Gary tell it, but I've never told it myself. But... do you realize how many lives have been lost during this brief interview? How many lives have been lost under the liberal theocracy? The issue is not abortion as much as it is the culture that allows it. Liberals just can't bear the fact that the Family Research Council might be right. Planned Parenthood prefers to bash heads rather than to count them. They are like the parasite of tax dollars; the lamprey that latches on to the belly of a sturgeon ...
I suppose I should take the long view of this. Through 2000 years, we've been through much worse. We survived Hitler and Stalin; we'll survive this.
This last little bit here is from an e-mail unrelated to the text of the transcript. I think the reader will find, however, that it does build on some of the ideas.
Jos--I do indeed remember our conversation. I hope it wasn't a monologue. You're quite right about the environmental movement having different tracks, including PETA, EarthFirst and the "mainline" Sierra Club and League of Conservation Voters. It's interesting that we have not seen the movement asked to disavow the Unabomber. It was always assumed that we pro-lifers had something to answer for in Paul Hill and the other murderers of abortionists. We had done about as much, I think, as legally we could do to separate ourselves from them. But our leaders were still facing microphones and hostile questions about the "atmosphere" we had created which allowed such violence to crop up. I would note that it was 21 YEARS before the first violence associated with our movement broke out. Living in Connecticut (82-84), I was not really surprised when, the day after a strike was called against Greyhound, several buses had their tires slashed and others had bullets fired through their front windows while being driven by "scabs." The news media never thought it necessary to corner the president of the AFL-CIO for comment.
Enough of that. I think we are seeing some remarkable ecumenical cooperation occurring now. Gary Bauer was profiled in Our Sunday Visitor several weeks ago. Pretty favorable coverage, even though some liberal auxiliary bishop spoke out about the supposedly huge gap between Bauer and the rank-and-file of the Catholic laity. I fear there's a huger gap between liberal bishops and that same laity.
We will have much building work to do after November 5. The "pragmatism" of some Christian leaders is not rejected simply because it's wrong on issues, it's clearly not even, well, PRAGMATIC. If I judge that so-called philosophy by its own standards, it seeks to ratify itself by "getting things done." In point of fact, in this instance, it will be demonstrated that the pragmatic choice was woefully unpragmatic. Now, a General Powell candidacy would be the real test of pragmatism. He has glacial dignity, genuine charisma, admirable character. You won't see him fawning, trying desperately to show himself acceptable to the beneficiaries of quotas and setasides. He says, firmly, manfully, that he favors affirmative action. Then he moves on. The message is sent. Received. I must say, that is an infinitely more appealing stance than this constant groveling--which is unavailing in any event. We recently saw a college rally for a candidate in which word was received--from the campaign jet still airborne--that the candidate MUST be introduced by a "female." (I'm tempted to check on what Ling-Ling is doing at the zoo.) Several young lads who had shined their weejuns and gotten their blue blazers out of the cleaners were shunted aside. This, from a candidate who claims to oppose setasides and quotas. How 'bout SHOVE-ASIDES? And where is the intelligence behind this move? Can they really think that women are so foolish as to be swayed by the sex of the person chosen to introduce the candidate? What's next? Cross-dressing?
In praising Gen. Powell, I have the difficult task of opposing him. On issue after issue, he is a New Democrat. How sad for the country that he did not jump into this year's race and take the nomination of the Democratic party. If we have to have a pro-choice, pro-gay rights, pro-quota, pro-New World Order president, how much better for all of us to have one we could at least respect as a man.
In our integrated neighborhood, most of my kids friends and all our neighbors were minorities--black and Asian. My kids did, in fact, go to school with some of these children. When the Rosser family moved in next door, their four girls were already students at Calvary. I will never forget the delighted reaction when this large, loving black family moved in and my kids came running across the lawn yelling, "It's the ROSSERS!" [How different from the reaction in my blue-collar neighborhood on Long Island. When we moved into a new development in 1954, our neighbors discovered our contractor had neglected to tell them a black family lived in the big, stately old mansion down the street. An urgent meeting was held, my folks agreed to host it when the contractor asked them. He patiently explained that the houses he built were of the highest quality and that the black family was very respectable. The meeting broke up with reassurances all around. And the black family moved on a few months later to a better part of TOWN!]Back to the text
7.When I said that Liberals are ashamed of American history, I meant it. When I said they are "overwhelmed with women and minorities," I meant "with groups claiming to represent the concerns of women and minorities." The difference can be seen in my defense of the Hispanic community in San Jose. Some conservatives, aghast at the city council's decision to erect a statue to Quetzalcoatl, have blamed all of that on a too-liberal immigration policy that let to many of THEM in. We agree that immigration has been too liberal, but only because it's been too illegal and has allowed for chain immigration. But I noted in Human Events that it was Anglo radicals who pushed the Aztec god of human sacrifice, not Hipanic pastors, who opposed it. Similarly, groups speaking FOR women in the military never spoke TO women in the military. Most women in the military DO NOT WANT combat assignments. When they learn that they can be arbitrarily assigned, it will devastate enlistments. So, it's my criticism of the liberals and the "groups claiming to represent" women and minorities that I want to emphasize. [I don't know if I mentioned it, Jos, but my wife is a high-ranking naval officer. I could hardly oppose women in the military and continue to live on the Naval Academy grounds, as I do.]Back to the text
But we do differ sharply with them on such questions as legalizing drugs, pornography, sodomy. We've never taken a position on the legality of suicide, although it is my personal view that suicide is not just A crime, but, as G.K. Chesterton said: THE crime.
I should not be so harsh toward bright young healthy white males. I don't want them to get sick. I was reacting testily to the arid philosophy that tells us its ok to chuck helmet laws and just let young motorcyclists pony up for themselves if they suffer Christopher Reeve-like spinal injuries. In fact, it will never happen. Social liberalism always creates the conditions for economic liberalism. William Weld, once the darling of this set, has wound up a big taxer after all. And, in the homosexual arena, he's a big coercer as well. QED.
I ought to buy Bandow's lunch and make peace after he sees this thing in print.
About those wildebeests. The cartoon shows wildebeest troopers telling the rest of the herd to "just move along, folks, nothing to see here." It makes it more pointed in the Gary Larson cartoon. I was trying to offer a herd of wildebeest as a metaphor for our society. So was Larson. Increasingly, whether our children are kidnapped and murdered, as little Polly Klaas was, or killed by terrorists, as likely was the case of TWA 800, it is presented by the media in the same detached way that those wildebeest troopers commented on the lion-kill. Whenever a newsanchor talks with Yasser Arafat, I want to ask him what if Arafat had killed YOUR husband, as he did Leon Klinghoffer or the Achille Lauro and the U.S. Ambassador to Sudan? Would you be so cool, so poised?
My passionate plea is that we not become a herd of wildebeest. The basis of the pro-choice movement is that we may still care for our own lives, but we may not "impose" that care in any way on how society dispenses with others' lives. Back to the text