As a conservative Baptist pastor for more than thirty years and a former executive director for the Moral Majority, my roots in the Religious Right run pretty deep. However, over the last several years, I have become a consistent critic of the Religious Right, as faithful readers of this column already know.
The main objection I have with the Religious Right is they have (for the most part) given President George W. Bush (and the Republican Party in general) a complete and total pass. Over the past nearly seven years now, Bush and GOP leaders have betrayed most every principle that I ever understood the Religious Right to stand for. Yet, our national Christian leaders (and local pastors throughout America) have been content to look the other way and say nothing. Or worse yet, they have actually defended Bush's liberal, big-spending, anti-freedom, and unconstitutional ways. In a nutshell, for a seat at the king's table, the Religious Right sold out its principles.
Another criticism I have with our national Christian leaders is the seeming shallowness they display. About the only thing a Republican politician has to do to curry favor with our illustrious conservative Christian leaders is to say that they oppose abortion and homosexuality. Whether they actually mean it or intend to actually do anything about it after winning an election doesn't seem to matter to a tinker's dam, however. No, it is actually worse than that. Our Christian leaders do not even seem to understand how to deal with these issues in a constitutional republic.
For example, pro-life congressmen such as Ron Paul of Texas are not "acceptable" to many conservative Christians, because Paul actually wants to honor his oath of office to "support, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States," which means he is not prepared to cede to the federal government that which the Constitution has given to the states. This means that Paul understands that the proper way to handle the abortion issue is to pass a "Sanctity of Life" bill, which would recognize the personhood of all unborn babies (thereby giving them complete governmental protection under the law) and would exempt the issue from the jurisdiction of the Court. This would have the effect of immediately overturning Roe v. Wade and ending abortion-on-demand as we know it. However, not only did the entire Republican leadership in both houses of Congress and President George W. Bush not support Dr. Paul when he introduced such a bill, neither did the leaders of the Religious Right.
In fact, as a whole, the Religious Right continues to ignore Ron Paul's candidacy, even though he would probably be the best friend that conservative Christians ever had in the White House. Alas, however, there seems to be a giant disconnect in the thinking of many conservative Christians as to the primacy of constitutional government and how it relates to religious liberty. As a result, many conservative Christians continue to support big government policies, when they are promulgated by Republicans.
(Please see my column on this subject at http://www.chuckbaldwinlive.com/c2007/cbarchive_20070227.html )
Sadly, I cannot think of a prominent national conservative Christian leader who has dared to follow the courageous example of the prophet Nathan and say to King Bush, "Thou art the man." Instead, they have served as lackeys and doormats for President Bush. In doing so, they have lost much credibility, and dare I say, honor.
It even grieves me to say that should the presidential race next year come down to Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani, many conservative Christians would support Giuliani. This is in spite of the fact that Giuliani is not only as bad as Clinton in virtually every area of significance, but, in many ways, is actually worse. Any Christian who would argue that his or her convictions would not allow them to vote for Clinton would have to turn around and surrender those very same convictions in order to vote for Giuliani. In other words, in a Clinton-Giuliani race, there is no "lesser of two evils."
Therefore, since I have been critical of the compromise of our Christian leaders, it is only fair that I would commend them when appropriate. Accordingly, I want to praise James Dobson's recent statements that he could not support either Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson, or John McCain (albeit I don't believe his rejection of Thompson and McCain are necessarily for the right reasons).
Regarding Giuliani, Dobson said, "I cannot, and will not, vote for Rudy Giuliani in 2008. It is an irrevocable decision. If given a Hobson's--Dobson's?--choice between him and Sens. Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, I will either cast my ballot for an also-ran--or if worse comes to worst--not vote in a presidential election for the first time in my adult life. My conscience and my moral convictions will allow me to do nothing else."
Hooray! It is about time that some of our national conservative Christian leaders began telling the truth about these phony conservatives in the Republican Party. However, Dobson needs to keep going and list the liberal Mitt Romney, and also CFR member (along with Thompson), womanizer, and elitist Newt Gingrich as unacceptable candidates.
Giuliani is especially revolting. Dobson is right to say he will vote third party or not vote at all rather than vote for Giuliani. After my recent exposé on Giuliani (see http://www.chuckbaldwinlive.com/c2007/cbarchive_20070921.html ), numerous residents of New York City wrote me to express their agreement with my assertions.
I seldom reprint the responses of readers. However, one New Yorker wrote the following, which seemed to reflect the feelings of most every New Yorker who responded to my column:
"I lived in NYC for most of my life. Giuliani was the worst mayor the city has ever had. I and millions of New Yorkers [are] well aware of Giuliani's duplicitous, mean, autocratic, and just downright scary personality. His father was a small time mafia enforcer that did prison time. Rudy has many of his father's characteristics.
"Thank you for helping to expose this Hitler in waiting. As mayor of NYC, he trashed and spat upon people's rights, especially minorities. He inflamed and divided the peoples of NYC. He opened the city coffers to his corporate crony plunderers and left the city with a monumental deficit.
"Many New Yorkers have been blogging for years, trying to alert the people to this madman's dictatorial and corrupt ways. Thanks for your help."
This email response was typical of the many I received from New Yorkers.
It is high time for each and every one of us who claims to love freedom and liberty, who claims to appreciate our history and heritage, and who claims a desire to perpetuate a free and independent America for our posterity to stop promoting the insane "lesser of two evils" mantra and to start supporting only those men and women who have PROVEN they deserve our support, party or political label notwithstanding.
Dobson is right about Giuliani. I only wish he had been willing to tell the truth about one George W. Bush. Maybe then we would not be in the mess we are in today, because Bush is the precursor to Giuliani and Clinton. And those who supported and fawned over Dubya only waxed the skis for Giuliani and Clinton.