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What's 'right,' anyway? page 2
Americans need to embrace diversity, no matter what the political climate

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RICHARD AMRHINE
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Date published: 5/16/2004

continued

"Moral clarity" means different things to different people. We have to accept that. Certainly Rove's audience at Liberty, evangelist Jerry Falwell's college, has its own idea of morality that others may not share. Rove is saying that tunnel vision is fine; to heck with the wide-angle view.

"[T]he courage to do what's right, regardless of consequence, fashion or fad." Once again, people have very differing ideas about what is right. The gay couple who marry are doing what they believe is right, regardless of the consequence, but I doubt that is Rove's context. What that couple chooses to do isn't anybody else's business.

The problem arises when those who think they know what is right attempt to impose their views on everyone else, believing it is for the common good, when nothing could be further from the truth.

America is great because of the broad array of its people's views and backgrounds, and the cultural freedom they enjoy.

So Maryland's Republican Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. is free to go on the radio and proclaim, "I reject the idea of multiculturalism. Once you get into this multicultural crap, this bunk, you run into a problem."

Now there's some "moral clarity" for you, there's "the courage to do what's right."

Ehrlich's view of the Great American Melting Pot it that it's only OK as long that everything that goes in is poured out into "good American" molds. Diversity is therefore a bad thing, to be discouraged, because the more alike we are, the better.

Well, bunk.

Even if the governor retracts that statement, the damage to his leadership is done, and part of America has taken a step backward.

Also earlier this month, a Southern Baptist leader proposed a resolution urging parents to remove their children from the nation's public schools because they are, by law, "Godless" and "anti-Christian."

T.C. Pinckney, the Alexandria publisher of a Baptist newsletter, thinks the church should resolve that parents ought to home school their kids or put them in Christian schools.

Of course he's free to suggest such a course of action, and there are those few who may accept his advice. But he is fortifying the home-school stereotype that such children are taught a religion-based curriculum that ignores certain modern realities.

But some parents choose to home school for positive reasons--because they are enthusiastic about the opportunity to teach their children--not to prevent them from attending public school. Religion might have nothing to do with it.

But Pinckney's premise is that diversity, in culture and thought, is bad, and that we are wrong to think in anyway other than the way he prescribes.

Of course, there is no condoning the actions of the Timothy McVeighs or Eric Robert Rudolphs of America. We are still a nation of laws. But differences of opinion, culture, and conviction help America thrive. Suggesting that others have no right to believe what they believe--therein lies the problem.


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