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Bush's victory: The triumph of the simplistic evangelical agenda page 2
An election postmortem, or, more compassionately, an election reflection

RICHARD AMRHINE
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Date published: 11/21/2004

By RICHARD AMRHINE

continued

Let's hope this massive Christian movement realizes that the administration it elected pursues some very un-Christian values, such as worsening the lives of the poorest among us while deepening the pockets of America's wealthiest. We should always make charitable giving a priority, but it's never been more important than during this Republican regime.

In the aftermath of the election, many people pointed to the political pendulum that has swung back and forth throughout U.S. history. If you don't care for where it is now, it'll swing back sooner or later.

That may be true, but it doesn't keep people from tugging on it one way or another in the meantime. When one side becomes complacent, it loses ground to the other.

Our goals on many key issues--national security, crime, education--aren't that different. What seems to divide us is how we live our private lives.

A nation founded on diversity and religious freedom should keep those principles in place. We pursue our own happiness, but we shouldn't try to prescribe happiness, or morality, for anyone else. The majority rules in elections, but it must not usurp a minority's rights. The majority rules the government, but not the bedroom.

The reason we don't have organized prayer in public schools is because of the minority who might not subscribe, but whose rights must be honored and protected. If one side wasn't attempting to impose its religious beliefs on others, such as by erecting a Ten Commandments monument in a county courthouse, then maybe the other side wouldn't push to have the words "under God" removed from the Pledge of Allegiance.

It is far too simplistic to expect that we could all just get along, as Rodney King pleaded. Reason, however, is a necessity.

To lead successfully, America's ruling majority, many of whom are probably reasonable people, need to recognize the danger of absolutes. For example, outlawing abortion doesn't stop abortion, just like outlawing guns doesn't eradicate guns. But you can strive to reduce abortion.

We should focus on sex education, on preventing unplanned pregnancies, and on encouraging the adoption of unwanted children. Preach abstinence if you want to, but if you really want to reduce the number of abortions, don't deny access to contraceptives. Abortion is on the decline, and everyone agrees that's the right direction. No one is pro-abortion.


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