Sunday, October 16, 2005
As the nation ponders future prospects for Harriet Miers to be confirmed as associate justice to the Supreme Court, the wise words of former presidential candidate, Arizona senator and father of the early conservative movement, Barry Goldwater, hanker to be retold.
During the nomination of Sandra Day O’Conner to the Court by President Reagan in 1981, the Moral Majority and Jerry Falwell had been quick to condemn her nomination; and Goldwater had enough, giving a speech on the Senate floor.
With few choice words directed at those who were denouncing her, Goldwater said.
I'm frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that, if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in A, B, C or D....I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate.
Taking a walk down memory lane is a fine place to unearth historical gems of prescient proportions. Read on.
"I don't like the New Right," Goldwater said to his fellow senators.
"What they're talking about is not conservatism." ” [L]ook at the carnage in Iran,” he warned. “[T]he bloodshed in Northern Ireland, or the bombs bursting in Lebanon," all can be laid at the feet of “religious issues into the affairs of state."
"By maintaining the separation of church and state," Goldwater added, "the United States has avoided the intolerance which has so divided the rest of the world with religious wars."
”[T]he religious factions that are growing throughout our land...a divisive element… could tear apart the very spirit of our representative system, if they gain sufficient strength."
It has taken religious modern-day Pharisees only 24 years to gain enough political clout to call their chits and demand the president appoint a religious nutwing to the nation's highest court.
And like the Democratic Party of old that allowed Southern racists to join them in the seats of power with a wink and a nod, the current party of Lincoln made a similar Faustian deal with the Christian right in advancing their vile unholy agenda in exchange for support.
This was not only morally corrupt, but politically untenable; the chinks eventually fall off. Witness the recent fallout over the Supreme Court nomination with directives from religious leaders from the right for the president to appoint a person who is like-minded; pay the piper or else.
Just as President Johnson stood up to segregationists during the 60s, Republicans need to confront religious zealots and sacrifice facile victories for the good of our nation. Press ideas in the court of public opinion and have faith in the democracy you like to talk about so much.
And to the truly Christian Republicans, I submit a a quote from your professed Lord."Put your sword back in its place," Jesus said to him, "for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.” Matthews 26:52.
Honor both the Bible and constitution, butt-out of Supreme Court politics or suffer at the hands of your own political sword.