Letters to the Editor (June 2004): Kerry’s Relativism vs. Bush’s Religion

by | Jun 18, 2004

The following is the correspondence between Ed Cline and John Lewis, Ph.D. concerning Dr. Lewis’ recent op-ed “The Threat of a Faith-Based Defense of America, Capitalism Magazine, June 6, 2004: Dear Dr. Lewis: Your remarkable and succinct summation of the religious nature of President Bush’s foreign policies (The Threat of a Faith-Based Defense of America, […]

The following is the correspondence between Ed Cline and John Lewis, Ph.D. concerning Dr. Lewis’ recent op-ed “The Threat of a Faith-Based Defense of America, Capitalism Magazine, June 6, 2004:

Dear Dr. Lewis:

Your remarkable and succinct summation of the religious nature of President Bush’s foreign policies (The Threat of a Faith-Based Defense of America, Capitalism Magazine, June 6, 2004) I will treat as a companion piece to Harry Binswanger’s recent HBL Reagan “obituary” that ran down the latter’s legacy and record. GWB should be viewed as Reagan’s successor in all the important points of foreign and domestic policies, especially the religious aspect.

The only thing I would disagree with you on is Kerry’s hypothetical behavior if he got into the White House. I don’t think I would ever be convinced that he would be “tough on terrorism” or “not sympathize with Islamic fundamentalism.” My question might be: If Kerry wanted to be “seen as tough on terrorism,” then by whom? The electorate? I think too many Americans have been bamboozled by the news media (but first by our education system) and as a consequence they believe it isn’t necessary to be “tough on terrorism” or could really believe, as former Secretary of the Navy Lehman recently stated, that our real enemy is not terrorism, but Islamic fundamentalism.

That is, too many Americans don’t know or believe that it is a war between reason and religion. This November, they may vote in defiance of what they’ve been told in the media about Bush and the war, or because they believe what they’ve been told. I don’t know what the polls say about this; I don’t buy polls, Gallup or otherwise.

As for Kerry, he’s lower than Clinton (either one), and I can’t believe that he’d care enough about this country to want to defend it properly. That is, if you pointed out grass to him, and asked him to identify it, he might or might not admit that it was grass. I wouldn’t trust him to mow my lawn.

Anyway, it’s a pathetic choice we have to make in November. The fog is lifting to reveal an enormous chicken coop to which a great, noisy swarm of diseased chickens is flocking to roost.

Ed Cline
Yorktown, VA

Dear Ed;

Thanks for your letter. My article is not about Kerry, of course, but about Bush. The deeper question is whether Kerry’s relativism–which is, at root, nihilism–is worse than Bush’s religion–which is working out politically into theocracy. I adamantly maintain that religion in American politics today is far worse, especially since the theocrats, like the nihilists, are also committed socialists.

Religion gives a much deeper, and more serious, moral justification to socialism, appeasement and all the other manifestations of altruism. Religion will destroy the American spirit at its root in way that the emptiness of nihilism cannot. Religion offers a replacement for American individualism (God) whereas nihilism offers only–nothing. The American people–academics aside–are not ready to accept that nothing is the essence of all values. But many are willing to turn their minds over to God, and therefore to a militant socialism of the type that God intends.

It is a brazen affrontery for the religious right to claim that there is a war against Christianity occurring in this nation, because some of us think that the government should protect religious freedom by having no involvement in religion. Every political constraint on religious freedom has been founded by the religious, whereas no atheist has suggested that religious people be prevented from worshipping as they wish. But the essence of theocracy is to meld religion with government force–and this is what every “faith-based” political initiative (law) does.

Kerry IS completely vacuous, and he would equivocate on grass (“It depends on the meaning of the word ‘shorter’.”) But he might do an OK job of mowing if a Republican were yelling from the side “push the mower!” He might do no worse than a Republican who kept running over to a Democrat to ask if he’s doing OK (and not hurting the grass), especially if the Republican claimed to be an expert on lawns while weeds covered the house.

Rather than using analogy, I’ll put it directly: so far, Bush has not addressed neither Iran’s nor Korea’s nuclear programs in any serious way. He will not get my endorsement–and I will not accept that he is “better” than Kerry–until he ends these threats. A Wall Street Journal editorial yesterday ended: “History will not look kindly on the leaders who let Iran get the bomb on their watch.” We cannot wait for history to make such judgments for us. If by November Iran is still building bombs, I vote against Bush.

Of course, the choice this fall is sickening. But the American people have got to realize that what Bush is doing is not a forthright defense of America.

Dr. John Lewis
Department of History and Political Science
Ashland University

Cartoon by Cox and Forkum

Hi, Dr. Lewis:

Thanks for your reply to my remarks, not an iota of which I disagree with. I watched much of Reagan’s state funeral, and was struck not only by the religious tone of the affair, but by many news commentators’ explicit linking of “patriotism and religion” that governed the event. What was interesting (and somewhat scary) was that they did not disapprove of the link, which goes some way to substantiate your thesis that there is a melding of religion and socialism that will supplant American individualism and which must be vigorously exposed and opposed .

As for the country honoring Reagan’s memory, I must sadly conclude that the Americans shown in all the coverage were honoring the memory of something that has not existed here for quite a while, but which they imagined did in their lifetimes. That is, to hark back to Ayn Rand’s plea to Americans, “don’t let it go,” they have let it go, and last week were to be seen indulging a kind of nostalgia. Quite a number the philosophers have done on our country, and quite a job of work we “new intellectuals” have before us!

Ed Cline

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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